Governor vetoes bill allowing e-scooters & bikes

Dec 27, 2019

New York's governor has vetoed a bill to allow electric scooters and bikes statewide, his office said Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's veto message said the bill overwhelmingly passed by lawmakers this year didn't include enough safety measures, such as a helmet requirement.

"Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed," he said.

Lawmakers may try to pass a bill with more safety measures next year. Cuomo said electric bikes and scooters must be regulated to protect public safety and said he looks forward to working with lawmakers on the issue in 2020.

Cuomo had publicly expressed concerns about protecting pedestrians from e-bikes earlier this year. His veto message cites a 16-year-old boy who died in November after being hit by a tow truck while riding an e-scooter.

Meanwhile, e-scooter manufacturer Lime and environmental advocates and municipal supporters have argued the bill fits into New York's push to address climate change.

The vetoed bill would have allowed local communities to regulate or ban e-scooters.

Bill supporters said thousands of food delivery workers in New York City rely on e-bikes, some of which are illegal when used on city streets. In recent years, city police have increasingly cracked down on illegal e-bikes and seized them from delivery workers.

"Safety is our top priority and we look forward to discussing with state leaders how to ensure the safest possible environment for micromobility to thrive," said Lime Senior Government Relations Director Phil Jones.

Rochester City Council earlier this year approved entering into an agreement with Zagster, the company that runs the city’s bike share program, to establish a similar program for e-scooters if the program got approval at the state level.