The laws involving e-bikes and e-scooters in New York are not always easy to follow. Here are some of the most common questions concerning e-bikes and e-scooters in New York City:
- Question: Are E-Bikes and E-Scooters considered Motor Vehicles?
Answer: No. Under vehicle and traffic Law 125 bicycles with electric assist and Scooters with Electric-Assist are not considered motor vehicles.
- Question: What laws apply to E-bikes and E-Scooters?
Answer: VTL 1281 – All operators are granted all the rights and privileges and subject to all duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle.
- Question: How old do I have to be to ride an e-bike or e-scooter?
Answer: No person under the age of 16 shall operate a bike or scooter with an electric assist.
- Question: Who gets the summons issued to an operator of an e-bike or e-scooter under the age of 14?
Answer: VTL 1238 (5)(c) – If the parent or guardian is present and over the age of 18, the summons is issued to them.
- Question: Am I required to wear a helmet while riding an electric bike?
Answer: Only those operating a class III e-bikes are required to wear a helmet while operating this device regardless of age. A Fine for class 3 helmet violations will be waived if proof is provided that between the date of the violation and the Court appearance, a helmet has been purchased or rented. VTL 1238 (b)
- Question: Are Class III e-bikes legal outside the City of New York?
Answer: A reading of VTL 1242 - states that Class III E-bikes are only legal “solely within a city having a population of 1 million or more”. Given that NYC is the only City with this statistic, a Class 3’s is not legal outside NYC.
- Question: Can I ride or park on a bike or scooter on a sidewalk in NYC?
Answer: Maybe. If you are parking the bike for the transportation of goods or the loading or unloading of commercial goods you are allowed to temporarily park on the sidewalk. All others cannot. (VTL 1242- 5 and subsections)
- Question: Is an operator of a bike required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrian?
Answer: Yes. (VTL 1242 -6)
- Question: Is the operator of an E-bike required to ride single file on a roadway?
Answer: Yes (VTL 1242 – 7)
- Question: Can I ride an e-bike or e-scooter while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs?
Answer: No. VTL 1242- (a-d)
- Question: What is the maximum allowable speed of an e-scooter?
Answer: No Scooter may be operated in excess of 15 MPH
- Question: What is the maximum allowable speed of an E-bike?
Answer: 20 MPH for Class 1 and 2, 25 MPH Class 3.VTL 102-c and 1242(9)
- Question: Am I required to wear a helmet while riding an E-Scooter?
Answer: Only those between the ages of 16-18 are required to wear a helmet. VTL 1286.