Scooters are an effective solution to getting around through urban traffic, so if you’re thinking about getting one, our article featuring top-rated models might help you make the right choice, so check it out. You may think that a large city such as New York has got this part of urban transportation covered, but that’s not the case yet.
Just to get a picture, the City of New York is one of the largest and most populated metropolitan areas in the United States. It’s estimated that it has over 8.3 million inhabitants distributed across an area of around 302.6 square miles. And this data doesn’t take into account the Metropolitan Statistical Area that has close to 20 million inhabitants.
Given all of these numbers, it’s a known fact that the City of New York is the largest metropolitan area in the world in terms of urban landmass, as well as a power center that extends its influence on a global scale. Its impact can be seen in most major industries and areas of activity, including the media, fashion, art, sports, and politics.
With this being said, it’s actually quite interesting that the city doesn’t allow motorized scooters to populate its streets. In terms of delivery services, this is something that could have a significant impact on urban mobility and on taking some of the pressure off in terms of traffic.
In 2004, a NY state law banned any type of transportation that uses motorized scooters. Since then, the rules have lightened up a bit, except for those regarding electric-assist bicycles that require pedaling in order to move, and this felt like a small victory for couriers. However, the city still remains rather skeptical when it comes to these vehicles.
First signs of change
After the law was relaxed a bit, other signs started to indicate that a more significant change might be coming up. In January 2020, the City’s Committee on Transportation has introduced four different bills that focused on electric bicycles and scooters.
Of course, this sounded like great news for major companies that rent such vehicles, since they have not been able to operate within the city’s five boroughs. The bills we’re talking about including a pilot program for shared e-scooters and about ways to legalize those vehicles that have a maximum speed of 15 mph.
E-bikes that have a maximum speed of 20 mph and throttle e-bikes have also been taken into account under these legislative changes. Unfortunately for the general public and for those who need to use them on a daily basis, this conversation has a strong underlying political flavor as well, which means that it may take more time to become effective.
At the time, various council members held rallies before the bill was introduced in order to support the legalization of electric transit vehicles. This is both a good and a bad thing for those directly interested in the result. The good part is that this issue gets media attention, which is something that any type of change needs.
The not-so-good part is that this can quickly turn into a political battle, meaning the entire process could be stalled. Actually, the package of e-vehicle bills was first introduced some months before January 2020, but they were held up in the legislative process until the state gave the green light.
In April 2020, a bill was introduced by a member of the state Senate and one of the state Assembly. The goal was to regulate this mode of transit that is, of course, gaining increasing popularity. In the end, if the legislation doesn’t keep up with what the population needs, ways to avoid complying with the law will always be found.
And this is not something a large city such as New York needs since it burdens any progress even more. A bill such as the latest one introduced can pave the way to legalizing e-scooters and e-bikes around the city, and in the end, this is a matter of increased urban comfort.
If e-bikes and e-scooters are recognized under the state law, this means that cities can allow them to be on the roads, but it can also hold their users responsible when riding them around.
The 2004 law that bans any kind of such motorized scooters also imposes a $500 fine on individuals caught using them, but this doesn’t mean that these riders have clear responsibilities for what happens on the road at any given point.
Moreover, this matter concerns immigrants living in the city. Many of them work for delivery services, so finding alternative modes of transportation is more than just a matter of comfort, it’s one of livelihood. According to the official statements of those introducing the new bill, this is a way to ensure equal access to the streets.
How would it work?
The State Senate bill we’re talking about would amend the already existing laws in order to include electric scooters and e-bikes into the “bicycles” category. An electric scooter is defined as a vehicle with an overall weight of less than 100 lbs that cannot attain speeds higher than 20 mph.
Of course, there are other specifications as well, but these are the main ones. If this bill passes, e-bikers and e-scooterists would have the same duties and rights as bicycle riders. According to the bill, it is exactly the lack of definition that has made this matter a confusing one, since there is no way to regulate the usage of low-speed devices.
While efforts are being taken toward clearing the law around such motorized small vehicles, some local officials have expressed concerns regarding the logistics needed to bring such regulations into action. As we’ve said, the important thing in such cases is to avoid stalling the process.
The fact remains that, according to the majority of those directly interested in using e-bikes and e-scooters, such a change would have a positive impact on the city’s traffic, by allowing affordable, safe, and environmentally-friendly alternatives for its inhabitants.
Since so many people working in delivery services could definitely benefit from such modes of transportation, it’s a good idea to bring the entire matter under the eye of the law and, thus, grant users both responsibilities and rights for safer urban traffic.
In the end, it’s true that large cities provide many great opportunities and services for almost every area of our lives, but being stuck in traffic for long periods is never fun, and if there’s a way to get around this, why not take it?
In the meantime, companies such as Charge work on finding the right solutions for the logistics needed in order to manage electric-powered vehicles within New York City. This is a problem that was repeatedly expressed. Once these vehicles would be legal, riders could leave them on the sidewalks, hindering the pedestrian traffic.
Docking stations, renting spaces, and finding appropriate parking garages are just some of the aspects involved in making this type of transportation work around urban areas. Therefore, the efforts must come from all sides, including legislators, riders, and companies that provide such services, particularly those dependent on urban mobility.