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Gov. Cuomo Vetoes Bill Legalizing E-Bikes and E-Scooters

State Sen. Jessica Ramos and Assemblymember Nily Rozic held a rally in Corona Plaza earlier this month calling on Governor Cuomo to sign their legislation to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters (Sen. Jessica Ramos Office)

Dec. 26, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill today that would have legalized most e-bikes and e-scooters across the state.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jessica Ramos in the state senate and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic in the state assembly, easily passed both houses during this year’s legislative session and needed Cuomo’s signature to become law.

The law would have clearly stated that throttle-controlled e-bikes and e-scooters were legal.

Pedal-assist e-bikes, which get a jolt of electric power only when a rider pedals, are already legal in the New York City, but the throttle-controlled e-bikes popular with food delivery workers are not. The city has said it wouldn’t change how these bikes are regulated until the state explicitly legalized them.

The bill also preserved the right of cities and townships to regulate the use of e-bikes and e-scooters as they saw fit.

Cuomo said he vetoed the bill since it didn’t include a helmet requirement and other safety measures. He also argued that throttle-controlled bikes are indistinguishable from mopeds that require license plates and a driver’s license.

The Queens lawmakers introduced the bill in part to protect delivery workers from having their throttle-controlled e-bikes confiscated and from $500 fines. Supporters of the bill say the fines are unfair to delivery workers — who are largely low-income immigrants– that rely on this type of bike for work.

Earlier this month, delivery workers, transportation advocates, together with both Ramos and Rozic held a rally to urge Cuomo to sign the bill.

Ramos said she was disappointed to learn Cuomo had vetoed the bill Thursday.

“Our state has failed to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers who desperately need relief from the punitive measures taken against them every day for merely doing their jobs,” Ramos said in a statement. “New York criminalizes delivery workers who are merely trying to make an honest living and slaps them with thousands of dollars in fines, effectively ruining their ability to support themselves and their families.”

Despite the governor’s decision, Rozic and Ramos said they would continue working for a path forward.

“Despite this missed opportunity, my goal always was and will continue to be a path forward,” Rozic said in a statement.

Ramos added that they will work to pass the bill again next year and every year until it becomes law.

“In 2020, we will pass this bill and every year after until we finally get the justice these delivery workers deserve,” Ramos said.

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20 Comments

COCED

The argument “trying to make an honest living” is so lame – most of us are trying to do just that. It doesn’t mean that we should be able to do so while threatening other people lives. Take a look at how many (most?) of delivery guys ride, with their feet sticking out, disregarding the lights, weaving through people on sidewalks, not paying attention to anything basically. And there’s not much anybody hit by them can do – no license plate, no registration, no name, nothing! Until this is regulated, let them pedal on a regular bike. Good exercise and safer for them and their families for whom they’re earning an honest living

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Gardens Watcher

The rationale for this bill “merely trying to make an honest living” fails to address whether this is what is good for everyone, NOT just for those who want it. Ramos used this same rationale for her bill to decriminalize sex work and legalize prostitution, but thankfully that bill was tabled this year. Expect she will keep raising that one in the next Senate session.

An “honest living” means paying taxes on your wages and earnings, like the rest of us do. So is she in favor for regulating and registering these jobs, and having these workers pay their fair share of taxes? How about licensing? I doubt it.

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Concerned

Glad it was vetoed. There is enough congestion with the cars and bicyclists already. This affects the elderly and children. Many of these delivery men ride on the sidewalk and this is hazardous. Insurance and license should be carried
by anything motorized as well as those bicycles which do travel at a pretty good speed.

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stan chaz

This is a tough one, both for Cuomo and for many New Yorkers in general.
Especially for the elderly & children, and especially when darkness fall early, city streets are already dangerous enough for pedestrians, as they try to avoid (manual) bikers, who all too often flaunt traffic regulations.
This, without high-speed e-bikes added to the already hazard-filled mix.
On the other hand these often-immigrant delivery workers deserve a break, as they try to survive & support their families on meager slave-wages and tips,
while working hard in all sorts of difficult weather conditions.
This, so that pampered yuppies (and lazy wanna-be yuppies) can have everything delivered right to their doors.
Strict safety & enforcement regulations, for the benefit of BOTH e-riders and pedestrians, should have been included in the bill. Why not?? Somebody dropped the ball.

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Idon Likem

Mandatory Liability Insurance should have been included in the legislation. Many travel at speeds over the NYC speed limit, and have been involved in accidents with motorists and pedestrians. If they are on the road, they should be licensed and insured.

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Javier

Agreed. If I accidentally hit someone with my car, Im responsible and my insurance covers me. If a bicycle or e-bike hits ME, Im not responsible yet, I will still be financially responsible and there’s something wrong with this picture.

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Peter Bilt

On the other hand these often-immigrant delivery workers deserve a break, as they try to survive & support their families on meager slave-wages and tips what about some personal accountability? No one is forcing anyone to take these jobs. Why didn’t they do some research before arriving in New York City to see what kind of opportunities exist for them. If riding an ebike the wrong way on the sidewalk to deliver someone’s grilled cheese sandwich is the best job that was available, they could have reconsidered moving here.

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Crackson Heights

Lol ok Boomer. Def spoken with some white privilege there. They didnt choose to be born where they were born . If you had to survive any way you can you would . You wouldn’t go oh well ya know what I could stay here and die or starve to death or I could try and go somewhere else and live even a little better . It’s not a simple problem. This country was built on immigrants leaving their countries for a better life. Also don’t come here saying they did it the right way. Immigration laws were different or basically non existent back then.

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Fantomas

I applaud this decision. Any motorized moving object should be regulated. He should do the same for electric scooters. They fly through red lights like there were no tomorrow.

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Crackson Heights

They are regulated you get a ticket for doing that. Blame the police for not enforcing it .

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I'm all for immigrant rights but..'

is it that hard to pedal?

Not treating the throttle controlled bikes as vehicles because they are popular seems short sighted.

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Jim

E bikes should be regulated and licensed I was hit by one who was going wrong way through a red light and he kept on going
I understand they are trying to make living but they should not endanger pedestrians crossing in crosswalk with walk signal or ride on sidewalks where there are young children
We have right to walk safely !

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