New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would legalize electric scooters and bicycles in the state, citing a lack of mandatory helmet requirements and other safety concerns,media reported. The veto means electric bikes and scooters will remain technically illegal and will further delay the deployment of popular shared mobile services such as Lime and Bird in the state.
In fact, as early as June, the bill had overwhelming support in both the state Senate and the House of Representatives (the former passed 56-6 and the latter 137-4), but New York lawmakers were said to have not sent it to Mr. Cuomo for signature until this week, fearing he would block it. While Cuomo has supported the legalization of electric bikes and scooters in the past, he reportedly began to express his displeasure with the bill earlier this year after he was criticized by one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
While the bill would broadly legalize both modes of transportation across new York, it would also be designed to give cities control over e-bike and scooter-sharing services. Cities will be allowed to control the influx of these sharing companies by issuing permits. It would also give local governments leverage to help them negotiate regulations for sharing electric scooters and e-bikes.
Importantly, the bill will help ease the pressure on New York City food distributors, many of whom are technically illegal to travel on electric bikes. Instead, the workers will continue to be fined $500, confiscated electric bikes and subjected to occasional law enforcement inspections by the New York Police Department (NYPD).
In a statement, New York State Councilwoman Nily Rozic of Queens, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said Cuomo’s veto meant an opportunity to provide economic justice to thousands of New York City’s delivery workers and to make new land transportation safe and viable for new York State’s desert transportation.
Phil Jones, Lime’s senior director of government relations, said in a statement that Mr. Cuomo’s decision was “disappointing” but expressed hope that the government would work quickly with legislative leaders to improve travel problems for all New Yorkers at the start of the new year. “Governor Cuomo has been a strong advocate of innovation and sustainable transportation options, and at the upcoming conference he should make New York a national role model for alternative transportation. “
A spokesman for Bird said by email:
“Cities around the world welcome electric scooters as an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to travel, especially in the desert. We are encouraged by the strong support from the legislative and environmental communities. We look forward to bringing more micro-transportation options to New Yorkers next year. “