The NY city has been really obstinate about not letting electric bikes run on its roads. It seems as if New York has given up its claim to obstinacy now that it has officially legalized the use of pedelecs, e-bikes, and electric kick scooters. The bikes will now be seen on the streets pretty soon.
The NY city has finally put its stamp on the use of pedelecs up to 20 miles per hour, e-bikes up to 25 miles per hour, and electric kick scooters up to 15 miles per hour. The state’s tentative budget agreement was set on April 1, and there was one provision that sought to legalize e-bikes and scooters. It is undoubtedly a giant win for the right immigrant groups.
The legislation seems like a fresh breeze of relief to immigrant delivery workers who had been facing the brunt of this crackdown for very long and frustrating years. The fight of these delivery workers and immigrant workers that continued for nearly a decade has finally paid off. The NY City authority has finally decided to overturn the rules.
Last year, a bill was passed by the New York State Legislature, which toed similar lines. The bill, sadly, was vetoed at the last minute by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Thankfully, it got cleared this time. The bill carves out classes of vehicles, and under this: Class 1 gets to be assisted by a pedal with no throttle; Class 2 is assisted by throttle having a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
The topmost speed limit has been reserved for the Class 3. Class 3 is powered by throttle with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. The last category is of the E-scooters, which would be limited at 15 miles per hour.
As per a decade-old rule, the throttle based bikes and scooters were not allowed to be run on the streets of the NY city. Anyone who tried to get away with the same was subject to a hefty fine of $ 500. Not just that, the owner was also subject to a confiscation of the vehicle by the NYPD. The authorities usually clamped down those throttle based bikes and scooters that were capable enough to achieve speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
Safety has always been the topmost priority. In keeping with the same objective, the riders of Class 3 e-bikes will need to wear a helmet while riding the bike. All those riders who come under 18 years of age would need to get a helmet.
The dilemma and query that remains to be asked is whether any startup company would survive the slowdown caused by the COVID 19 pandemic to make use of the relaxed norms. The scooter companies are mostly facing a cash crunch and have had to make some difficult decisions too. These included the laying off of a significant number of employees. For instance, Bird’s 30 percent of employees have lost their jobs.
There is a catch, by the way. The throttle based e-bikes and scooters have been all but legalized, but the same does not go for the dockless scooter services. The amendment would vest the localities with the complete authority to decide for them how they wish to regulate the dockless vehicles. Bird and Lime’s dockless scooter services shall need the permission of municipalities before getting launched.
A number of companies are witnessing a sharp decline in their usual demands, and there is hardly any option left for them except pulling their scooters from the streets. As far as the city’s “shelter in place” rules are concerned, the services of these startups are likely to see gloomier days in the days to come.
New Yorkers have been urged repeatedly by the government authorities to avoid public transportation during the pandemic as much as they can. They have also been urged to follow the principles of strict social distancing and work while staying at home.