Motorized scooters: Are they legal in NYC? Can I rent one?

e-scooters in Israel

I just got back from Israel and was amazed once again how Israel truly is the tech service innovator of the world.

Yup, that’s a bold statement, but I’ll stand behind it. They came out first with bike renting. NYC was a few years behind. Israel came out with muni-meter car parking apps about 5-7 years before NYC did.

I’ve been going to Israel every year and this time they innovated a game changer once again. Israel has come out with Lime, Bird, and Wind! My favorite is Lime. It’s the fastest at 23 miles per hour and tallest. My wife liked Bird as it’s the easiest to use and probably the sturdiest. These are the three motorized scooting sharing services you can enlist to go from place to place in Tel Aviv.

Here’s how you can rent an e-scooter in Israel:

  1. Download the app.
  2. Locate the scooter on the app map.
  3. Go to the scooter and scan your phone.
  4. Ride away!
  5. When done, just park it anywhere and scan to end ride.

It’s really simple and this is now the revolutionary next step after Uber, Via, Gett, and other car ride sharing services.

These scooters really allowed my wife and I to get around Tel Aviv easily. And we felt free like, well a “Bird” when on the scooters. No stinky cab ride, no waiting for the most part. Just locate a scooter and away you go. It’s even better than a bike because you don’t have to look for a bike rack to return to. Just park the scooter anywhere on the sidewalk, boardwalk, beach, wherever.

An ingenious aspect of the e-scooter process in Israel is you can earn money if you recharge the scooter battery.

When the scooter runs out of battery, what do you do? Well, Israel gives 20 shekels to anyone who will take the scooter and recharge it. You just need an outlet and a scooter power cord and you’ve just earned some side money. And yes, Israelis love this! The power cord looks like a laptop charger. Very easy to get and only costs about $10.

This brings us to the next question. When will NYC get on board?

If you’ve been reading the news, New York is worried about about pedestrian safety. Basically, there’s a ton of people in Manhattan. So, for now, e-scooters is not happening in the city.

In Brooklyn, Revel piloted a 1,000+ moped sharing service. But, this is different than the scooters. It is almost like a motorcycle, making parking and return more cumbersome than scooters.

Currently, Governor Cuomo is worried about safety concerns. Scooters can go up to 15-20 miles per hour. Pedestrians are at risk. And we all now if given a scooter, we’d ride on the sidewalks here and there. Yes, scooters would be banned on sidewalks if allowed.

e-Scooters have dug up old e-bike legislation. Delivery workers are now able to use e-bikes for their livelihood. This is a win for delivery workers and restaurants who want easier shifts and faster delivery times.

As for e-Scooters, they ARE legal in New York State and NYC. But, here are the restrictions:

  1. Riders must be 16 years old.
  2. Can’t go faster than 20 miles per hour.
  3. Must have one hand on handlebar at all times.
  4. Must stay in bike lanes.
  5. Restricted from sidewalks and greenways (32 mile stretch).
  6. Can only buy to use. Renting is currently illegal.

So, if you want to electrically scoot to work or wherever, you can. But, you must buy the scooter. Renting is not possible due to it being illegal. At least, there’s a crack in the law that we can use. Best of all, buying a scooter really won’t break the bank. It goes for $109 and up.

If you love scooters or biking around Manhattan, buying an e-scooter should be on your list. Well, if you don’t mind getting to work or around faster without much exercise.



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