City Councilmember Rafael Espinal is calling Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would make e-bikes and e-scooters legal a huge setback for immigrant workers, and he says he will fight in the city council to pass similar legislation instead.

Gov. Cuomo vetoed the bill on Thursday– a bill that passed overwhelmingly in the assembly and senate– citing the lack of a mandatory helmet requirement and other safety concerns: “Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed,” said Cuomo.

“Specifically with respect to e-bikes, the throttle motor that allows a rider to increase speed without pedaling renders e-bikes indistinguishable from mopeds, which are already regulated and require license plates and drivers licenses.”

The veto means e-bikes and e-scooters will continue to remain technically illegal across the state, and will further delay any adoption of services like Lime or Bird.

Espinal said the decision to veto the bill combats the effort to supplement the city’s” faltering public transportation system” and the fight for the rights of immigrant workers”

“Legalizing e-bikes is the next step in New York City living up to its duty as a sanctuary city for immigrants, and as a fair city for its workers,” said Espinal. “While we work hard to improve our public transit system across the City, we also need to support alternative modes of transportation to assist those that live in transit deserts, which includes e-scooters.

“Together, electric bikes and scooters will deliver justice to targeted workers and transit options to underserved communities. Regardless of what ends up happening in Albany, I am fully committed to passing the related legislation we hold in City Council.”

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