E-Bikes Still Available In Ithaca Despite Veto By NY Governor

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Electric-assisted bikes are still available for rental on Ithaca’s streets.

That’s despite a recent veto from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of a bill that would have made e-scooters and e-bicycles legal in the state. Cuomo cited safety concerns.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

Photo: Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Radio

Alderperson Seph Murtagh said the e-bikes fit in a gray area of the law.

The pedal-assist bikes, because they’re human propelled and not solely dependent on a motor, are closer to something like a bicycle, and thus, are acceptable under the law,” Murtagh explained.

One definition of an e-bicycle in the bill refers to bicycles that can be pedaled. It states, “A bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that provides assistance only when the person operating such bicycle is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.”

The Ithaca Attorney didn’t respond to WSKG’s request for an interview to further clarify the matter.

The Common Council has delayed making a decision about a proposed e-scooter pilot program until the legality of e-scooters and e-bicycles is resolved.