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New York Lawmakers Pass Bill Legalizing E-Bikes, E-Scooters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- E-bikes, and e-scooters are now legal in New York, but you won't be seeing scooter rental companies setting up shop in Manhattan any time soon.

CBS2's Jessica Moore has more on the changing landscape of electric travel.

On Wednesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson celebrated Albany's passage of a bill legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters statewide. It's a big win for food-delivery workers who have long fought for the right to rush orders around town.

"I'm really glad that we're going to finally to deliver some justice for these delivery workers," Johnson said. "There's a law on the books that requires the confiscation of their bikes and a $500 fine? That could be a week's worth of pay."

Here are a couple things to know about e-bikes and e-scooters:

* Riders must stay in the bike lanes and are banned from sidewalks and greenways -- the 32-mile stretch of pathway lining the perimeter of Manhattan.

* Riders must be at least 16 years old, but they don't have to wear helmets.

* Speed on the bikes is limited to 20 mph and drivers must have one hand on the handlebar at all times.

Still, some residents said they aren't convinced this is a good idea.

"It's dangerous for sure, if they're, like, driving on the sidewalk," said Ulysse Berneau of Hell's Kitchen.

Web Extra: Read The Latest Version Of The Bill

The bill allows each city or town to create its own regulations for electric travel. Right now, scooter rental companies aren't allowed in Manhattan -- you have to own them -- and scooter-share companies that want to set up shop in other boroughs need special authorization from the city, Moore reported.

Johnson said he's open to the idea of dockless scooter shares, with companies like Bird or Lime, where bikes are left wherever. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, however, said not so fast.

"I'm concerned about e-bikes. I'm certainly concerned about e-scooters. Last year, we had over 200 people killed in traffic fatalities," O'Neill said.

Speaker Johnson said the city council plans to take up the issue of e-bikes and e-scooters in Manhattan soon, but wouldn't commit to an exact date.

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