State’s Stance On Motorized Bikes Needs Some Readjusting

Perhaps New York state should re-think its stance that motorized bicycles are not allowed on public highways or sidewalks.

We don’t necessarily want them on Jamestown roads, though they can be no worse than motorized wheelchairs being ridden in the street. One has to think that motorized bicycles are a way to reduce vehicle congestion in bigger cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse or New York City. The motorized bicycles, which come in gas-powered and electric models, can only reach speeds of about 40 miles an hour, so one wouldn’t want them clogging suburban and country roads. But in a city where speed limits are between 20 and 30 miles an hour, they may make sense.

That is especially true in New York City, which will now charge drivers a fee to drive in the city’s most congested areas. The plan is supposed to reduce traffic and help improve air quality in the city while creating a revenue stream to support public transit and other infrastructure. Is it outside the realm of possibility to think electric bicycles should be part of that mix?

The state should only do so if the motorized bicycles can be deemed safe for the road, the bikes should be registered and the riders should have insurance. Those are the rules of the road — but New York should encourage their use by keeping those fees small since people still wouldn’t be able to ride them on the road outside the city.

New York says it is an environmentally conscious state. Its stance on motorized bicycles says the exact opposite.

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