Skip to main content

Sorry New York, no electric bikes or scooters for you after bill veto

Electric bicycle and e-scooter fans in New York had their hopes dashed after Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill set to legalize the two-wheeled EVs across the state.

The bill was originally approved with nearly unanimous support this summer.

In June the bill was passed in the NY Senate 56 to 6 and was approved by the state Assembly by 137 to 4, margins that few bills ever reach.

Supporters were excited to see the bill outline a legal status for electric scooters as well as three different classes of electric bicycles:

The first class included pedal-assist electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).

The second class included throttle-controlled electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).

The third class included throttle-controlled electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). Such high speed and throttle-controlled e-bikes have been popular for years with fast food delivery workers and couriers in NYC, but these high-speed electric bicycles and their riders have been the target of police crackdowns in the past year. Tickets can be as high as $500 and the riders’ e-bikes can be seized by police. Thus, the passing of legislation to legalize these important and common transportation tools was seen as long overdue.

This throttle-controlled e-bike won’t be legal in NY anytime soon

While there was some worry that Governor Cuomo might respond to the bill with some pushback, an outright veto came as a shock to many that had expected the bill to be renegotiated instead of squashed.

In a statement outlining his decision to veto the bill, Governor Cuomo explained his reasoning, which focused mainly on the lack of helmet regulations and the allowance of throttle-controlled e-bikes:

“Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed. Specifically with respect to e-bikes, the throttle motor that allows a rider to increase speed without pedaling renders e-bikes indistinguishable from mopeds, which are already regulated and require license plates and drivers licenses.”

gateway electric moped

Cuomo is worried about mixing e-bikes with e-mopeds

Electrek’s Take

The throttle on many electric bikes allows riders to use the e-bikes for commercial purposes for hours on end without getting overly tired. However, the motor power is limited to 750 W (1 hp) and thus is much weaker than typical mopeds and motorbikes.

These throttle-controlled electric bicycles are quickly becoming the most common type of e-bike seen around NYC.

In fact, we’ve actually ridden such throttle-powered electric bicycles around NYC. Multiple times.

I’m baffled that the rest of the country has figured out how to regulate and work with these e-bikes, but NYC can’t seem to get it together.

Especially at a time when more research is showing the health benefits of electric bicycles and the sales of these light electric vehicles are sky-rocketing, you’d think New York would be rushing to help integrate them into the transportation ecosystem.

It’s been well documented that moving car drivers onto two-wheelers helps reduce urban congestion and pollution, so I can’t understand why New York wouldn’t want to help make e-bikes and e-scooters part of the local solution. Especially considering they’ve already integrated them into the NYC public transportation system with great success.

Call me crazy, but this seems like a big step backward for New York.

via: New York Post

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

You can send Micah tips at, or find him on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.