• Four bills introduced to New York’s City Council on Wednesday could make electric bikes and scooters legal and establish a pilot program for dockless e-scooters.
  • Bird, one of the largest scooter operators, appears already gearing up to launch, with job postings for NYC operations staff appearing soon after the bills were introduced.

America’s largest city is still a no-man’s land for electric bikes and scooters.

While dockless scooters are all the rage in cities across the United States, New York has remained on the sidelines. Electric scooters are still illegal on city streets, and electric bikes are limited to “pedal assist” versions which accelerate only when the rider is pedaling.

That could soon change.

Three city council members on Wednesday introduced a package of four bills which would legalize most e-bikes as well as electric scooters. One bill would legalize their presence (up to 15 mph) while another would create a pilot program similar to the current one with dockless Limebikes in areas not served by adequate public transit in Staten Island, the Rockaways, and the Bronx.

(The fourth bill would assist riders in converting their existing electric bikes to legal models).

Almost immediately, job postings appeared on Bird’s website for a general manager, and operations coordinators and associates in New York. The $2 billion startup already has a somewhat secretive presence in the city, providing test rides to select journalists on its private property in Brooklyn.

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