New York League of Conservation Voters
Contact: Shachar Sharon, email@example.com
For Immediate Release: June 25, 2020
212-361-6350 Ext. 206
Environmental, Transportation, and Business Groups Applaud City Council Vote to Legalize E-Bikes and E-Scooters
This step to promote micromobility comes at a critical time when more New Yorkers are relying on socially distanced, clean transportation
New York City, N.Y. – A coalition of environmental, transportation, business, tech, and planning groups applauded the New York City Council for passing Intros. 1250-A, 1264-A, 1266-A by Councilman Fernando Cabrera. The package of legislation will legalize electric bikes and scooters, as authorized by a law passed by the State Legislature earlier this year, and create a pilot program for shared e-scooters.
As an alternative to cars, e-bikes and e-scooters can decrease traffic congestion and slash emissions, improving the air quality and combating climate change. They give New Yorkers a safe and emission-free way to travel while still practicing safe social distancing. E-bikes and e-scooters also provide a multi-modal tool for people in transit deserts to connect to public transportation – the shared e-scooter program will give priority to neighborhoods that are currently not served by CitiBike.
These mobility options are especially essential to delivery workers, as they rely on them for their main means of transport. Additional protections are included in the bills to ensure that workers are not fined and vehicles are not impounded when they are used safely, which has been a problem in the past.
“Our city can’t afford not to have all the clean transportation options available as we ride out of the COVID-19 crisis. E-bikes and e-scooters will help the city’s transition to cleaner transportation as we return to public life. Micromobility can lower emissions, reduce congestion from cars, and allow New Yorkers to remain healthy. We thank Speaker Johnson, Councilman Cabrera and the City Council for passing this legislative package,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
As City and State stay-at-home orders begin to lift, traffic volumes could quickly overwhelm city streets. This is especially concerning because congestion pricing will be implemented soon. The poor air quality that results from increased congestion especially affects environmental justice communities, which are also strongly tied to worse health outcomes of COVID-19.
A majority of car trips in New York City are under three miles. Micromobility can replace these short trips and help avoid the air quality effects of this potential increase in car traffic.
“The last thing New York City needs is a traffic congestion crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “As some look for alternatives to mass transit, the city should encourage use of healthy, sustainable options like e-bikes and e-scooters. We will not be able to drive our way to full recovery.”
“Transportation Alternatives applauds the NYC Council for passing today’s bills and urge Mayor de Blasio to immediately sign them. These bills will help end the criminalization of food delivery workers who have pioneered an industry with nimble, safe and sustainable e-bikes, and create affordable travel alternatives for NYers as our city reopens,” said Marco Conner, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives. “Work remains for the City to address lingering elements of state law, including ensuring all e-bike owners can access manufacturer labels to bring existing e-bikes into compliance, but today is an important first step towards a safer, greener and more just city.”
“At a time when New Yorkers are looking for safe, affordable and reliable ways to move around the City, allowing alternative modes of transportation like e-scooters and e-bikes is essential. Passing this bill will not only give New Yorkers a new way to remain physically distant while getting around the City, but also encourage a more sustainable form of transportation that can help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We commend Speaker Johnson and the City Council for moving forward with such critical legislation that will help New Yorkers,” said Kate Slevin, Senior Vice President, State Programs & Advocacy, Regional Plan Association.
Steve Wasserman of Legal Aid Society said, “Food delivery that is fast and environmentally friendly is an essential part of reopening NYC. We thank the CIty Council for passing legislation that will enable food delivery workers to pursue their livelihood and to serve their city.”
“We are long overdue for more multi-modal transit in New York City. While our city must maintain the vitality of all of its current public transit options, it must also introduce new ones – like e-scooters and e-bikes – that adequately cater to our varying community needs. This is essential to filling transportation gaps and providing connections to other transit modes like ferry terminals located in transit deserts and underserved communities. New Yorkers everywhere should have the choice to use new reliable, affordable transportation options, regardless of their zip code,” said Roland Lewis, CEO and President of Waterfront Alliance.
“Now that e-scooters and e-bikes have been legalized, it is up to localities to regulate them. We applaud the NYC Council’s passage of Intro. 1266, which will move us toward cleaner air and protect the health of countless New Yorkers from tailpipes spewing greenhouse gas emissions. Multiple strategies must be enlisted in order to clean up the air we breathe, and must be prioritized our elected leaders. This is an important movement that we must stand with and support,” said Conor Bambrick, Director of Climate Policy for Environmental Advocates NY.
“A program for an electric scooter service could not come at a more crucial time. Micromobility works in New York City – we’ve seen the proof on our streets. This policy helps support our small businesses, provides additional options for commuters and reduces the stress on our roads and mass transit system. We’re thankful for the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council in moving this important program forward,” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., President & CEO, New York Building Congress.
“As New York City takes the first steps toward emerging from the coronavirus crisis, we have an opportunity to build a more equitable, environmentally-friendly, efficient transportation system — and adopting these micromobility options is a major step toward that goal. We applaud the City Council for paving the way forward with an investment in e-bikes and e-scooters, boosting transport accessibility across the boroughs, and helping our city maintain its status as a capital for innovation,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC.
“COVID-19 has made micro-mobility urgent, as New Yorkers look for alternatives to mass transit for the last mile of their commute. E-scooters are one answer, and we congratulate the Council for moving it forward,” said Michael Blaustein, Vice President, Government Affairs, Partnership for NYC.
“As we slowly but surely emerge from this life-changing pandemic, one steadfast need remains: transportation. We are looking forward to the adoption of this legislation which help move our citizens swiftly and safely throughout New York City,” said Thomas J. Grech, President & CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Phil Jones, Senior Sirector for government relations at Lime, a micromobility company, said, “Scooters and bikes are the safest and healthiest options to get around in the post-COVID world and we applaud the City Council for taking this important step. New Yorkers have demanded access to scooters for years because they offer a sustainable, affordable and easy way to make short trips and they are proven to significantly replace car trips. We thank Speaker Johnson, Council Member Cabrera and Council Transportation Chair Rodriguez for their leadership and vision on welcoming more alternative transportation options and look forward to working with NYC DOT on the rapid implementation of a pilot program to help get New York moving again.”
“With the passage of today’s bill, New York City recognizes the ‘next’ transportation normal is one that indexes on shared micromobility, such as e-scooters and devolves from cars or ride hail options that contribute to increased pollution and decreased safety throughout communities. We would be honored to serve the city and hope to have the opportunity to to provide a convenient transportation alternative New Yorkers can use to get to where they need to go and support local businesses as the city continues to recover, rebuild and reopen,” said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO, Bird, a micromobility company.
Earlier this year, New York State ended the prohibition on e-bikes and e-scooters, though localities need to pass their own legislation in order to legalize them in their own jurisdictions.
The New York League of Conservation Voters is the only non-partisan, statewide environmental organization in New York that takes a pragmatic approach to fighting for clean water, healthy air, renewable energy, and open space. For more information, visit www.nylcv.org.