TransAlt Backs Albany E-Bike Bill With No Helmet or Age Restrictions

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas O'Mara of Elmira and Brooklyn Assembly rep Nick Perry, would enable adults to carry children on e-bikes.

Photo: Washington Bikes
Photo: Washington Bikes

Transportation Alternatives has issued a memo of support for an e-bike bill that is an improvement over the one introduced by Martin Dilan and David Gantt.

State Senator Dilan, of Brooklyn, and Assembly Member Gantt of Rochester have for years introduced legislation that would define electric bikes as bicycles, rather than motor vehicles, correcting a kink in state law that makes e-bikes legal to own but illegal to operate on public streets. Lawmakers have repeatedly failed to get the bill to the governor’s desk.

The TransAlt-backed bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas O’Mara of Elmira and Brooklyn Assembly rep Nick Perry, is superior to Dilan/Gantt in a few ways.

Dilan/Gantt would require helmets for all e-bike riders, which would discourage ridership. It would also ban people age 16 and under from riding e-bikes, even as passengers — meaning, for example, parents would be prohibited from transporting children. The O’Mara/Perry bill does not have those restrictions.

Like Dilan/Gantt, O’Mara/Perry would limit electric motors to 750 watts and govern top speeds at 20 mph.

The O’Mara/Perry bill passed the State Senate last year but died in Gantt’s Assembly transportation committee.

Dilan is a co-sponsor of O’Mara/Perry, which according to TransAlt Legislative and Legal Director Marco Conner is backed by “a growing coalition of organizations and businesses.”

“It is the legislation with the buy-in and momentum to pass this session,” Conner told Streetsblog.

You can check out the TransAlt support memo here.

Brooklyn City Council Member Rafael Espinal, who publicly called on Mayor de Blasio to cease harassing working cyclists who rely on e-bikes, has drafted a resolution in support of the Dilan/Gantt bill. Streetsblog has a message in with Espinal’s office to gauge his position on O’Mara/Perry.

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