New York City Legalizes E-Bikes and E-Scooters

On June 25, 2020, the New York City Council passed three pieces of micro mobility legislation that will help to expand transportation options, decrease traffic congestion, and reduce emissions. The bills follow the recent legalization of electric scooters and bicycles in New York State, and establish a pilot for a shared e-scooter program.

The bills, intros 1250, 1264, and 1266, became law and were adopted by the NYC charter on July 26, one month after their passage.

The first two bills lay out the legal limits for e-bike and e-scooters in New York City. Intro 1250 removed prohibitions in local law against the operation of electric scooters and limits the speed of these scooters to 20 mph. It also reduces fines for the usage of motorized vehicles that are still prohibited by local law. Intro 1264 similarly allows for the use of electric bicycles, following State guidelines. It also ensures that laws which currently apply to bicycle riders will also apply to electric bicycle riders.

The third bill, Intro 1266, establishes a shared electric scooter pilot program. DOT must issue a solicitation for the program by October 25 of this year, and the pilot program may be implemented by March of 2021. This bill also gives priority to communities underserved by bike share programs when considering the boundaries of the pilot program.