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NYC could make e-bikes, scooters legal




  • Four bills introduced to New York’s City Council on Wednesday
    could make electric bikes and scooters legal and establish a
    pilot program for dockless e-scooters.
  • Bird, one of the largest scooter operators, appears already
    gearing up to launch, with job postings for NYC operations staff
    appearing soon after the bills were introduced. 

America’s largest city is still a no-man’s land for electric
bikes and scooters.

While dockless scooters are all the rage in cities across the
United States, New York has remained on the sidelines. Electric
scooters are still illegal on city streets, and electric bikes
are limited to “pedal assist” versions which accelerate only when
the rider is pedaling.

That could soon change.

Three city council members on Wednesday introduced a package of
four bills which would
legalize most e-bikes
as well as electric scooters. One bill
legalize their presence
(up to 15 mph) while another would
create a
pilot program
similar to the current one with dockless
bikes in areas not served by adequate public transit in Staten
Island, the Rockaways, and the Bronx.

fourth bill
would assist riders in converting their existing
electric bikes to legal models). 

Almost immediately,
job postings appeared on Bird’s website
for a general
manager, and operations coordinators and associates in New York.
The $2
billion startup
already has a somewhat secretive presence in
the city, providing
test rides to select journalists on its private property in

New York Times notes
both Bird and Lime have been
lobbying the council for permission for some time. Bird did
not respond to a question from Business Insider about its
presence in Brooklyn.

“What we’re trying to do is classify the e-bikes and scooters as
devices instead of vehicles,” Councilman Rafael Espinal, a
sponsor of the bill,
told the Times
. “The mayor’s position has always been that
e-bikes are a nuisance, a problem, within the five boroughs. I
think we found a path forward.”

It’s unclear if Mayor Bill de Blasio — who has a
contentious relationship with electric bikes
, and has been

criticized for the ticketing and seizure of delivery bikes

will support the bill.

A City Hall spokesperson said that “While e-scooters are illegal under
State and City law, the Mayor is committed to innovation as part
of his all-of-the-above transportation strategy to get New
Yorkers moving again. We look forward to reviewing the

Bird scooters were spotted
on New York City streets
by some observant pedestrians
as early as August.

If you’ve seen others, let us know when and where (along with
any other tips!) Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at
+1 (646) 376-6102 using a non-work phone, email at
[email protected], or Twitter DM at@g_rapier.

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