Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have legalized electric bicycles and scooters on New York roads but banned them on trails of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
The governor objected to the legislation’s failure to include a helmet requirement and other safety measures, according to his veto message and a statement on Twitter by an aide.
Cuomo had proposed an e-bikes bill in his 2019 budget and had included speed restrictions and requirements for lights, bells, helmets and other precautions. “The Legislature’s proposal inexplicably omitted several of the safety measures included in the budget proposal,” he said in a veto message tweeted by senior adviser Rich Azzopardi. He said he intends to work with the Legislature on revising the proposal this year.
Pedal-assist e-bikes – the kind that give a motorized boost to riders heading uphill but don’t throttle forward without a cyclist’s pedaling – already are seen in Adirondack communities and bike shops. Some have argued that they should be allowed on forest preserve trails to enable older riders to enjoy nature rides. That view did not hold sway in the legislation that passed last summer and that the governor vetoed this week. Instead, it would allow them on roadways if local governments consented.
Although the legislation would have applied in rural and urban areas alike, the debate in Albany was framed largely around the needs of New York City riders and delivery workers. Sen. Jessica Ramos, D-Queens, released a statement on Thursday expressing her disappointment over the state’s failure “to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers who desperately need relief from the punitive measures taken against them every day for merely doing their jobs.”
— Brandon Loomis