Electric scooters and bicycles and other unregistered vehicles
Operating an electric scooter or bicycle with electric assist
Effective April 2020 - the law allows people to operate bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York State.
Effective August 2, 2020 - the law allows people to operate electric scooters (e-scooters) and bicycles with electric assist (e-bikes) on some streets and highways in New York State.
- Electric scooter - a type of device with handlebars, a floorboard or a seat, and an electric motor that can be powered by the electric motor and/or human power. 1
- Bicycle with electric assist - multiple classes of bicycle with an electric motor and operable pedals. 2 A bicycle with electric assist doesn’t qualify for a registration as a motorcycle, limited use motorcycle, moped or ATV and doesn’t have the same equipment.
You can operate an electric scooter or bicycle with electric assist on some streets and highways in New York State:
- you can operate these devices on highways with a posted speed limit of 30 MPH or less
- municipalities can further regulate the time, place and manner of operation of these devices
- you cannot operate these devices on a sidewalk except as authorized by local law or ordinance
Note: An electric scooter or bicycle with electric assist cannot be registered but still may be operated on some streets and highways in New York State.
Operating a registered ATV on public highway
You cannot operate an ATV on a public highway unless the highway has been designated and posted for ATV use (usually a short distance between off-road trails).
Vehicles that cannot be registered or operated on New York State sidewalks, streets or highways
You cannot register or operate any of the motorized devices from the list below on any street, highway, parking lot, sidewalk or other area in New York State that allows public motor vehicle traffic. You may be arrested if you do.
- Mini-bike - a small, motorized device with two wheels and created for off-road use. A mini-bike doesn’t qualify as a moped, a motorcycle or an ATV.
- Off-road Motorcycle (Dirt Bike) - A motorcycle designed for use on off-road trails or in off-road competitions. Unless exempt, these vehicles must be registered as an ATV. See register an ATV for more information.
- Go-Kart - a small, motorized device with four wheels, created for off-road use. You can’t register a go-kart as a motor vehicle or ATV because a go-kart doesn’t have the same equipment.
- Golf Cart (also referred to as Golf Car or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) - a small motorized device with four wheels designed to carry people. You can’t register a golf cart as an ATV. Many low speed vehicles are similar in appearance to a golf cart, and can be registered and driven on New York State highways. 3
- KEI-Class Vehicles - A class of light weight vehicles, originally manufactured for the Japanese domestic market. A KEI-Class vehicle cannot be registered or titled in New York State. (Authority: Section 400-a of NYS VTL)
- 1. Electric scooter. Every device weighing less than one hundred pounds that
(a) has handlebars, a floorboard or a seat that can be stood or sat upon by the operator, and an electric motor,
(b) can be powered by the electric motor and/or human power, and
(c) has a maximum speed of no more than twenty miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor. Note: It is illegal to operate an electric scooter (as defined in §114-e of NYS VTL) in excess of fifteen miles per hour.
- 2. Bicycle with electric assist. A bicycle which is no more than thirty-six inches wide and has an electric motor of less than seven hundred fifty watts, equipped with operable pedals, meeting the equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 C.F.R. Part 1512.1 et seq. and meeting the requirements of one of the following three classes:
(a) "Class one bicycle with electric assist." A bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that provides assistance only when the person operating such bicycle is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
(b) "Class two bicycle with electric assist." A bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that may be used exclusively to propel such bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
(c) "Class three bicycle with electric assist." Solely within a city having a population of one million or more, a bicycle with electric assist having an electric motor that may be used exclusively to propel such bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when such bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-five miles per hour.
For a low speed vehicle to be registered in New York
- it must meet federal motor vehicle safety standard 500 (49 CFR 571.500)
- its maximum performance speed must be certified by the manufacturer
- it must appear on the list of approved limited use vehicles