A package of proposed bills targeting transportation improvements in New York City are raising debate among City Council leaders, officials, and others about the future of sharable electric scooters and e-bikes in NYC.
As two of hottest transportation trends, e-scooters and e-bikes have seen explosive growth in major metro areas across the country, with companies such as Lime, Skip, Bird, and other start-ups seeing substantially increasing the number of sharable, app-accessible bikes and scooters on public streets.
Through the electric scooters and bikes have become popular in New York, they’re still illegal to operate on public streets, a predicament which has resulted in what some call NYPD’s “over-policing,” and numerous seizures and tickets issued by local law enforcement. With Citi Bike’s pedal-assisted cruisers currently in use, and more companies looking to launch e-scooter programs in NYC, a recent City Council hearing focused on the pros and cons behind these novel forms of commuting.
During the hearing, one City transportation commissioner reiterated Mayor Bill de Blasio’s concerns about giving e-bikes and e-scooters free reign, noting their unregulated status, ability to reach speeds higher speeds than non-electric bikes or scooters, and potential for irresponsible misuse as valid concerns. Still, if the state were to empower local governments with the authority to regulate these devices, the City claims would be “open” to conversations about doing so in a safe and sane manner.
Although the City Council has conveyed it has such power to legalize these electric rides, the City itself argues that only the state can make such legislative authorization. Additionally, despite a proposed budget from Governor Andrew Cuomo which may silence the debate by giving local governments the final say on legalization in their municipalities, real concerns still exist when it comes to safety and implementation.
E-Scooter, E-Bike Safety Concerns
During its hearing, the City Council said sharable e-bikes and e-scooters – many of which are “dockless and can be left just about anywhere – would transform city streets and the experiences of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.” Because there are benefits to improving what transportation officials call “micro-mobility,” doing so effectively will require carefully crafted laws. Two proposed bills, for instance, call for capping e-bike speeds at 20 mph, and e-scooters at 15 mph. Officials also note the need for better enforcement, collaboration with companies, and the creation of more dedicated bike lanes.
Concerns over e-scooter and e-bike safety have been growing nationwide, with Emergency Room workers reporting substantial increases in the number of patients being admitted for injuries they sustained as a result of these new devices. That includes serious injuries commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, such as broken bones, head fractures and brain injuries, dental injuries, and more. Given that many of these scooters and bikes are dockless, reported accidents have involved not only injured riders, but also injuries suffered by pedestrians, cyclists, and others on the road.
Injured? Let Proven NYC Personal Injury Attorneys Fight for You.
As a personal injury law firm that has been serving New York City since 1983, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has seen how various trends transform our city streets and the safety of those who use them, as well as how vehicle accident cases involving new modes of transportation or technology are handled in the civil justice system. As lawmakers struggle with ways to pass meaningful legislation, our team is available to help victims injured in sharable e-scooter and rental bicycle accidents understand their rights and whether they may have the ability to seek compensation for their damages.
To speak with an attorney about your case, call (212) 577-9325 or contact us online. Our firm is available 24/7, and offers free case evaluations.