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Bird, Lime, and Other Startups Swoop Into New York City to Lobby for E-Scooter Laws

Electric scooters could soon be coming to the streets of New York City.

The city council's Committee on Transportation held a public hearing Wednesday on a package of bills that would legalize e-scooters and clarify rules around certain electric bicycles. If the four bills pass and are signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city could establish a dockless e-scooter pilot program by this summer.

The hearing comes less than a week after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed allowing New York localities control over whether to allow e-bikes and scooters on their streets. The proposal, part of his annual budget plan, would impose new statewide regulations for riders, including the use of helmets and reflective gear. Still, advocates for transportation alternatives view the governor's move as a green light to the city bills.

"Our whole state is getting hip with the times and looking to legalize e-bikes," said council member Rafael Espinal, a sponsor of the bills, at Wednesday's hearing. Council member Fernando Cabrera said he hoped the legalization of e-scooters would reduce congestion, improve accessibility to transportation, and improve the environment.

Among other rules, the legislation would require the city Department of Transportation to create a one- to two-year pilot program with an electric dockless scooter company. E-scooters would need to be operated in a bike lane, and would be capped at 15 miles per hour.

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