Are electric scooter legal in NYC? This is a question that many people have been asking lately. The answer, unfortunately, is not black and white. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when answering this question.
Here, I will discuss the legality of electric scooters in New York City and provide you with all the factual base information you need to decide whether to ride one! The potential users of electric scooters are teenagers and delivery workers.
For many people, electric scooters are much more convenient than traditional bicycles because they are smaller, lighter, and do not require pedaling. But some serious concerns are related to electric e-scooters, like parking, safety, and sidewalk congestion.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in New York State?
You might be misinformed if you’re taking scooters and electric ones in the same box. Here in New York, electric scooters are not considered “scooters” under the law. They are classified as “motorized vehicles.”
This is an important distinction because it means they are subject to different regulations than regular scooters. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and debate. In general, motorized vehicles are not allowed on sidewalks. They must use bike lanes when possible and stay off the roadways unless they make a turn.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, electric scooters are allowed on sidewalks in Manhattan below 96th street. This is because the city has determined that the increased traffic from motorized vehicles would be too dangerous for pedestrians in this area.
There are also a few exceptions to the rule, but they are precise and irrelevant to this discussion.
New York State Electric Scooter Laws
Before November 2020, the laws were very clear, and electric scooters will not be legal as they are more prone to accidents. But in November 2020, the governor of New York made an announcement that electric scooters would be legal on a trial basis. This means that people can ride electric scooters, but some restrictions remain.
The major reason for this amendment was due to the 1,100 summons (as per NY Times) issued to electric scooter riders in 2019. And this was a major concern for many people who wanted to ride them.
Electric Scooter Laws by State For Adults
To ride an e-scooter safely, you must follow a few extra rules and regulations.
- It is not allowed for e-scooters to exceed a speed of 15 miles per hour.
- On roads where the speed limit doesn’t exceed 30mph, you will be allowed to ride in bike lanes and on streets with designated bike lanes.
- You are responsible for adhering to NYC Parks rules when riding an e-scooter in parks administered by NYC.
- You will be subject to fines if you ride on undesignated roads, greenways, or parking lots.
- You must understand that your PIP insurance will not cover any damages in case of an accident. The reason is that PIP insurance is not applicable to Two-Wheelers
Do you need a license to drive an electric scooter in NYC?
The first and foremost important issue was licensing as it’s a motorized vehicle with a max speed of 30Km, so it needs to be registered. But as it’s a product of teenagers probably from 12 years onward. So, you can issue licenses to kids.
So the NY State issued a statement, “You don’t need a license but you must know how to operate an e-scoter. A special age restriction of a minimum of 16 years is placed.” know more about e-scooter laws in NYC: click here
Electric Scooter Helmet Law:
Electric scooters somehow fall in the category of motorized vehicles, so by NYC law, you need to wear a helmet while riding an electric scooter. The Helmet with Eye protection with a Class A or Class B rating is compulsory.
You can get a ticket for $50 if caught without a helmet. In short, you must wear a helmet, comply with state laws, and avoid penalties.
Futuristic Approach by NYC State:
The city plans to debut a pilot program for shared electric scooters by May. In order to make the program successful, it will run for no more than two years and will prioritize areas with the shortest transit routes (excluding Manhattan), though it’s not clear how the program will work yet.
But one thing is for sure the need for last-mile transportation is growing, and electric scooters could be a big part of the future.”
Laws do not cover everything. They are meant to bound people with certain rules so that they can be safe while riding. So, here are a few tips for you to follow:
- If your electric scooters don,t have tail lights or reflectors. Then you must buy them and install them as it will help other road users see you.
- Avoid riding at night as much as possible.
- You should not ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Never ride on sidewalks as it’s illegal, and you’re risking the life of pedestrians.
- Wear a helmet; it will save you from severe head injuries in case of an accident.
- Wear the knee and ankle pads to avoid any fractures.
- Use hand signals to indicate turns.
- Do not use headphones while riding, as it will reduce your situational awareness.
- Be aware of potholes, grates, and other obstacles.
- Get your scooter serviced from time to time to avoid any mishap.
Wrapping Up New York State Electric Scooter Laws
The new york electric scooter laws are quite simple and straightforward. You must be 16 or older to ride them, you can’t exceed a speed of 15mph, you must wear a helmet, and you can’t ride on sidewalks. You must have understood that Manhattan does not fall under the category of places where you are allowed to ride a bike.
NY city is also planning to debut a pilot program for shared electric scooters by May. All you need to do is follow the safety guide, and you will be good to go!