The Business Council of New York State, the State’s leading statewide business and industry association, supports this legislation which would amend the vehicle and traffic law in relation to local authorization of e-scooters.
This bill creates a new section, Article 34-D, within the vehicle and traffic law to allow for the local authorization of e-scooters. This authorization would update State law to enable New York State to participate in one of the fastest growing modes of urban transportation. Many cities across the country have seen a tremendous growth in this safe, fast and consumer friendly form of transportation. However, since the New York State vehicle and traffic law does not currently define e-scooters, this law needs to be updated to reflect this new market entrant.
This bill contains the necessary definitions and amendments to ensure this low-speed, inexpensive, “last mile” mode of transport. Simply stated, it treats scooters as bicycles. This method has been almost universally embraced – and for good reason. Since both motorists and cyclists understand the rights and duties of bicycles, this system is easiest to understand and has a long history, creating reasonable expectations for all of those sharing the same roads be them drivers, pedestrians, or those using e-scooters. This bill contains all of the framework needed to allow e-scooters in New York, such as speed, safety, and oversight mechanisms.
It should be noted that many cities have experienced great gains in numerous areas by embracing scooters. Both Austin and Kansas City can attest to the safety of scooters and show under recent studies that after a review of both rides and EMS calls there have been no fatalities. The City of Portland goes even further, stating in its comprehensive report of e-scooters that they believe their streets are even safer under the widespread adoption of scooters. In the areas of congestion and pollution, data from the cities of Portland and Denver show that e-scooters have taken thousands of cars off the roadways, thus lowering traffic congestion and eliminating associated emissions each day.
The authorization of e-scooters also has the potential for new economic benefits. The jobs associated with this new industry, as well as the increase in pedestrian traffic in business areas, bodes well for increased economic activities. The costs associated with this new industry to consumers is also negligible since the costs are lower than other forms of transportation and, according to the industry, start at only $1 per ride plus $0.15 to $0.20 per minute. E-scooters will provide safe and inexpensive travel options for those seeking “last mile” transportation, those in “transit deserts”, and thousands of shoppers in urban markets.
The Business Council supports the changes to the vehicle and traffic law contained in this bill as another means to create greater economic freedom in this age of electronics. New York has recently adopted ride share and has seen other industries such as car sharing unfold in our State to the great benefit of consumers.
For the above reasons, The Business Council supports this legislation and urges its passage.