State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) have announced legislation on Friday to authorize the use of electric bicycles and electric scooters to protect the job security of immigrant workers in the delivery industry throughout New York State.
Without the bill, E-scooter and E-bike riders get charged anywhere from $100 to $500 in fines, they could get their vehicles impounded, receive a traffic infraction and face civil action, according to laws enacted in 2004 and 2013.
“I am introducing legislation with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, and with the help and advocacy of the Delivery Justice Coalition, to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters,” said Ramos. “For many of my neighbors, who are immigrant delivery workers, using alternative modes of transportation is a matter of livelihood. Especially since we have not yet restored everyone’s right to a driver’s license, legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters is a matter of mobility and equal access to our streets and our city,” said Ramos. “I encourage all of my colleagues to embrace these alternative modes of transportation as we also consider how to reduce carbon emissions.”
Currently, there are 33 states that have access to E-scooters and E-bikes, which are emission-free and therefore help to reduce the carbon footprint, according to Transportation Alternatives Interim Executive Director Marco Conner, and Councilwoman Adrienne Adams who was at a test demonstration for the E-scooters from Bird Rides last year.
Bird Rides is an E-scooter sharing firm.
In 2018, the City Council put out its own electric bike and scooters bill package for the five boroughs with support from Adams and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-New York), the chair of the Transportation Committee.
“I support E-bikes, New Yorkers need a better way to get around. Immigrants that use the E-bikes do so because they help them support their families and they provide them with a source of income,” Rodriguez said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we legalize E-bikes for all New Yorkers.”
Survey data from the Biking Public Project gathered in 2017 revealed that 60 percent of Asian and Latino delivery workers throughout the city had their bikes confiscated, resulting in lost wages and summons.
Supporters for the State Senate and Assembly E-scooter and E-bike bills also include the Asian American Federation, the Biking Public Project, the Legal Aid Society, the Chinese-American Council, the TransAlt Queens Committee and the New York League of Conservation Voters.
“Expanding low-emission transportation options like e-bikes and e-scooters helps New Yorkers decrease their carbon footprint while removing antiquated restrictions on working-class families,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “Reducing emissions from the transportation sector, the #1 contributor to climate change in New York, and expanded mobility options have long been top priorities for NYLCV. These new transportation options would also help make the streets more livable and decrease congestion. With congestion pricing coming, New Yorkers need all transportation options to be available.”
Other e-share companies like Lime and Spin also support the bills.
“Not only do we have an opportunity to provide accessible and affordable transportation alternatives, but we have an opportunity to deliver economic justice for immigrant workers who have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of unregulated e-bikes,” said Rozic. “We are falling behind the rest of the country in adopting this next generation of sustainable mobility but we can change that by passing this legislation.”