Electric Scooters NYC: A Complete Guide

Woman with electric scooter in city

Like many other cities around the world, New York City is establishing more sustainable and safer ways for people to commute since the pandemic has made people more wary about catching public transport.

There’s been a huge increase in e-scooter sales in NYC this year. All five boroughs have seen sales of privately-owned electric scooters go up into the triple digits, however the problem is NYC streets are already congested and not just because of cars. People are traveling by bike, on foot, by electric scooter or bike, and everyone’s moving at different speeds. This is a challenge the New York City Council is looking to address.

Electric scooters are a relatively new light electric transportation option, so this guide will explain everything you need to know including:

  • Are electric scooters legal in New York City and New York State?
  • Where can I ride an electric scooter in New York City?
  • Are helmets required for riders?
  • Can I rent an electric scooter in New York City?

Are electric scooters legal in New York City?

Privately-owned electric scooters are permitted to be ridden in New York City in all five boroughs. The New York City Council legalised the use of electric scooters and electric bikes in June 2020, which was a great relief for transportation advocates and food delivery workers.

E-scooters companies had been complaining for a long time now that they were unable to operate in the most populated U.S. city, despite being permitted in several other U.S. cities.

Electric scooter riders are allowed to ride up to 20 mph (30 km/h) but are not permitted to be ridden on the footpath. However, each borough has different laws surrounding electric scooters.

Are electric scooters legal in New York State?

Electric scooters are allowed to be operated throughout New York State on some streets and highways. It’s best to check your local area to find out what the rules are, and they cannot be ridden at more than 20 mph (30 km/h).

Where can I ride an electric scooter in New York City?

You can ride your privately-owned e-scooter throughout New York City as long as it’s not on a footpath. NYC footpaths are already crowded due to pedestrians, as well as to allow space for people with disabilities. Electric scooters can share the road with other vehicles including cars, electric bikes, motorbikes and trucks. The best part is that riding an electric scooter is much more affordable than other forms of transportation.

You can’t ride your electric scooter faster than 20 mph (30 km/h), but you are permitted to ride your e-scooter throughout the five boroughs. Currently hiring an electric scooter through a share scooter scheme isn’t allowed.

Are helmets required for riders?

If you are under the age of 18 years old, then you are required to wear a helmet in New York State. Currently there is no requirement for riders over the age of 18 years old to wear a helmet, but it’s encouraged that everyone wears a helmet while riding an electric scooter.

Man riding electric scooter on street

Can I rent an electric scooter in New York City?

At the moment you cannot rent an electric scooter in New York City, but a scooter pilot program is currently being created and will last no more than two years. Many electric scooter companies are already lining up to take part in the program.

Manhattan has been excluded from taking part in the scooter program but Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island will all be able to operate shared scooter services. The idea is to give priority to neighbourhoods that lack existing bike-share programs.

It’s not clear yet how many companies will be allowed to operate, or how many scooters will be available to rent. Another concern is where these e-scooters will be parked as NYC sidewalks are already cluttered.

When will this pilot program start?

The pilot program will kick off by May 1, 2021 and will be trialed for one to two years.

Can I ride my Raine One electric scooter in NYC?

Any privately-owned electric scooter is permitted in New York City, so that includes the Raine One. Our e-scooters can be adjusted to your local area’s speed limit, giving you peace of mind as you ride around the city. The Raine One is ideal for everyday commuting and is great on inclines, so you won’t have any issue going over the New York City bridges.

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