City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has voiced support for a proposal to legalize small electric transports in New York City. The legislation, which was introduced in November by Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal, seeks to legalize so-called “throttle” bikes often used by delivery workers, as well as motorized scooters. Johnson also pushed back on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s characterizations that e-vehicles are dangerous to pedestrians.

De Blasio has changed regulations to permit use of pedal-assist bikes, which can give a small battery boost to riders but rely mainly on muscle power. At the same time, he has overseen a crackdown on the fully electrified variety, which has resulted in police confiscating many food-runners’ bikes and issuing tickets to their employers.

“The [deadliest] vehicles in New York City are trucks and buses and cars,” the Manhattan lawmaker said.  “We need to enable cyclists and pedestrians to get around the city in a safe way. I have real sympathy for the delivery workers who are being hit with tickets while they’re just trying to do their job.”

Though Johnson said he supports e-bike and e-scooter legislation, he acknowledged it could conflict with state Department of Motor Vehicle regulations that the mayor believes prohibits their use. The speaker also insisted that any kind of bicycle must be restricted to bike lanes and streets, and not ride on the sidewalk in violation of city rules. 

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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