Defines the term "electric assisted bicycle" for purposes of the applicability of the vehicle and traffic law; requires persons sixteen years of age or older to wear a helmet when operating an electric assisted bicycle.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A233
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in
relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill clarifies the vehicle and
traffic law to define electric assisted bicycles; establish that elec-
tric assisted bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles;
and establish safety and operational criteria for their use.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill adds a new Section 102-c to the vehicle and traf-
fic law, defining electric assisted bicycles as a bicycle.with two or
three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human
propulsion, and also has an electric motor. However, the electric motor
should have a power output of no more than seven hundred fifty watts,
and should be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of twenty
miles per hour or more on level ground. The electric motor should also
be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human
power is used to propel the device at or more than twenty miles per
Section 2 adds an exception in section 125 of the vehicle and traffic
law to the statutory definition of motor vehicle for electric assisted
Section 3 adds a new section 1240 to the vehicle and traffic law, making
the rules, regulations and provisions of the vehicle and traffic law
applicable to bicycles applicable to electric assisted bicycles; makes
the federal equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles or
motor driven cycles applicable to electric assisted bicycles; and adds
the following operational and safety requirements for electric assisted
bicycles: electric motor disengagement criteria; all operators and
passengers are required to wear bicycle helmets; and no-one under the
age of 16 may operate or as a passenger on an electric assisted bicycle
and establishes the civil fine and enforcement procedures for failure to
wear a helmet.
Section 4 is the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Defining, and establishing operational criteria for
electric assisted bicycles will clarify for authorities that these vehi-
cles are more akin to bicycles than motorcycles. This will assist in
interpreting the application of the appropriate vehicle and traffic laws
to operators and passengers of these vehicles.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: A.2393 2011-2012: A.1350 2013-
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2015-2016 Regular Sessions
January 7, 2015
Introduced by M. of A. GANTT -- read once and referred to the Committee
AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the defi-
nition of electric assisted bicycle
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new
2 section 102-c to read as follows:
3 § 102-c. Electric assisted bicycle. A bicycle with two or three wheels
4 which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion and
5 also has an electric motor. The electric assisted bicycle's electric
6 motor shall: have a power output of less than seven hundred fifty watts;
7 have a maximum speed of less than twenty miles per hour on a paved level
8 surface when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator
9 who weighs one hundred seventy pounds; and be incapable of further
10 increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel
11 the device at or more than twenty miles per hour.
12 § 2. Section 125 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter
13 365 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows:
14 § 125. Motor vehicles. Every vehicle operated or driven upon a public
15 highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power,
16 except (a) electrically-driven mobility assistance devices operated or
17 driven by a person with a disability, (a-1) electric personal assistive
18 mobility devices operated outside a city with a population of one
19 million or more, (b) vehicles which run only upon rails or tracks, (c)
20 snowmobiles as defined in article forty-seven of this chapter, [and] (d)
21 all terrain vehicles as defined in article forty-eight-B of this
22 chapter, and (e) electric assisted bicycles as defined in section one
23 hundred two-c of this article. For the purposes of title four of this
24 chapter, the term motor vehicle shall exclude fire and police vehicles
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 233 2
1 other than ambulances. For the purposes of titles four and five of this
2 chapter the term motor vehicles shall exclude farm type tractors and all
3 terrain type vehicles used exclusively for agricultural purposes, or for
4 snow plowing, other than for hire, farm equipment, including self-pro-
5 pelled machines used exclusively in growing, harvesting or handling farm
6 produce, and self-propelled caterpillar or crawler-type equipment while
7 being operated on the contract site.
8 § 3. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
9 1238-a to read as follows:
10 § 1238-a. Additional provisions applicable to electric assisted bicy-
11 cles, operators and passengers. 1. In addition to complying with all of
12 the rules, regulations and provisions applicable to bicycles contained
13 in this article, an electric assisted bicycle as defined in section one
14 hundred two-c of this chapter shall comply with the following require-
16 (a) Meet the equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles
17 adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 C.F.R. 1512.1, et
18 seq.) or the requirements adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety
19 Administration (49 C.F.R. 571.1, et seq.) in accordance with the
20 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. Sec.
21 1381, et seq.) for motor driven cycles; and
22 (b) Operate in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or
23 ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operate in a manner
24 such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when
25 released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to func-
27 2. Notwithstanding the provisions of section twelve hundred thirty-
28 eight of this article, no person less than sixteen years of age shall
29 operate or ride as a passenger upon an electric assisted bicycle, and no
30 person sixteen years of age or older shall allow any person less than
31 sixteen years of age to operate or ride as a passenger upon such bicy-
33 3. No person sixteen years of age or older shall operate or ride as a
34 passenger on an electric assisted bicycle unless such person is wearing
35 a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. For the
36 purposes of this subdivision, wearing a helmet means having a helmet of
37 good fit fastened securely on the head of such wearer with the helmet
38 straps securely fastened.
39 4. (a) Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision two or
40 three of this section shall pay a civil fine not to exceed fifty
42 (b) The court shall waive any fine for which a person who violates the
43 provisions of subdivision three of this section would be liable if such
44 person supplies the court with proof that between the date of violation
45 and the appearance date for such violation such person purchased or
46 rented a helmet.
47 (c) The court may waive any fine for which a person who violates the
48 provisions of subdivision three of this section would be liable if the
49 court finds that due to reasons of economic hardship such person was
50 unable to purchase a helmet or due to such economic hardship such person
51 was unable to obtain a helmet from the statewide in-line skate and bicy-
52 cle helmet distribution program or a local distribution program.
53 5. The failure of any person to comply with the provisions of this
54 section shall not constitute contributory negligence or assumption of
55 risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for
A. 233 3
1 personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person, nor in
2 any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in any such action.
3 6. A police officer shall only issue a summons for a violation of
4 subdivision two or three of this section by a person less than sixteen
5 years of age to the parent or guardian of such person if the violation
6 by such person occurs in the presence of such person's parent or guardi-
7 an and where such parent or guardian is eighteen years of age or more.
8 Such summons shall only be issued to such parent or guardian, and shall
9 not be issued to the person less than sixteen years of age.
10 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.