Electric Scooter Rentals NYC
For many years, New York City resisted electric scooters and bikes while other major metro areas adopted them. This frustrated groups such as delivery workers and tourists. However, on April 1, 2020, the law changed. Both e-bikes and scooters are now legal in New York State, though local governments can still impose some restrictions.
Part of what caused this change is the Covid-19 pandemic. New Yorkers have been encouraged to avoid public transportation yet many would prefer not to drive. Owning a vehicle in the city remains a hassle, as parking is expensive and congestion is an issue. When the pandemic hit, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio suspended citations to food delivery workers using e-bikes. Now the state government has gone further and made both these and e-scooters legal.
This is a boon not just for New Yorkers but also for tourists visiting the Big Apple. While the subway remains an inexpensive and convenient way to get around the city, much of it is underground, which doesn’t lend itself to sight-seeing. There are open decker tour buses, but many tourists prefer the independence of setting their own schedule and routes. Electric scooter rentals in NYC allow them to do that, at least outside Manhattan.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Can I Ride An Electric Scooter?
Most electric scooters have a range of about 20-25 miles on a single charge. Those that have two batteries can go up to 50 miles before they need to be recharged. With any electric scooter rental in NYC you should ask your rental agency about the scooter’s exact specification.
Can I Take It On The Subway?
In theory, you can take your scooter onto the subway as long as you walk it or fold it up and carry it (if it’s a collapsible scooter). In practice, we’d advise against this. If you do take your scooter on the subway, keep it close to you and out of the way of other passengers. Make sure not to block the doors.
Will It Work On Gravel?
It depends on the electric scooter and its tires and mechanism. Some e-scooters can handle gravel roads without a problem. These are generally those with rubberized tires. Unfortunately, while these can handle gravel and dirt roads they are not as comfortable on bumpy roads. E-scooters with inflated air tires, on the other hand, absorb shocks better but should not be used in areas with lots of gravel or rocks that can rupture the tires.
If you are buying your own scooter, choose one that is suitable to the type of terrain you are traveling. For electric scooter rentals in NYC, ask the agency whether or not the particular e-scooter can handle gravel roads.
Common Areas to Ride in NYC
One question that both tourists and locals may have – where is it possible to ride electric scooter rentals in and around NYC? E-scooters are allowed to share the same spaces that cars and bicycles currently use. They are also allowed on paved bike trails in parks and on some natural trails.
For example, this means that New Yorkers can now ride their e-scooter to the store to go shopping. He or she does need to use the bike lane if there is one. If a bike lane does not exist, the e-scooter is required to share the road with other vehicles. Obviously, riders need to be cautious when doing so.
Additionally, since New Yorkers are now allowed to operate their e-scooters on paved trails in federal, state and local parks, if you want to enjoy sunshine, fresh air and natural beauty while riding your scooter rental in New York you can. However, Central Park is off limits unless you are a Manhattan resident who owns your own e-scooter.
Rentals are still forbidden in Manhattan. This means if you’re a tourist hoping to ride an e-scooter past the Empire State Building, you’re out of luck. However, there are other great places you can visit.
One of these is Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. It was the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs. If you’ve watched The King of Queens you will be familiar with the Unisphere from the opening segment. This is a 140-foot high stainless-steel replica of the earth located near some lovely fountains. Other sights to see in the park are the New York State Pavilion, the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, the Queens Museum and the New York Hall of Science as well as a petting zoo, carousel and botanical garden.
There are also many historic neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Originally the site of Dutch settlements in the 17th century, Brooklyn currently has 33 historic districts. There are many culturally relevant historical buildings and sites in the area. Some feature stunning architecture. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission can help map out a custom tour of the area that you can easily do on an e-scooter.
Electric Scooter Laws in NYC
While electric scooters with speeds of up to 15mph are now legal to ride in all parts of New York City, including Manhattan, there are still certain restrictions. Riders under 18 years of age must wear a helmet, and within Manhattan itself as well as Governor’s Island, only local residents who own their e-scooters may ride them. This latter is due to fears of congestion within the city. Electric scooter rentals in NYC and scooter sharing companies therefore may only operate in the other 4 boroughs and both residents and visitors who want to ride these scooters must do so only outside of Manhattan.
Additionally, while e-scooters are generally allowed to operate in bike lanes and on paved trails in parks, they are forbidden at the Hudson River Greenway in New York City as well as the Niagara River Greenway in upstate New York.
What To Do In The Event Of An Accident
Hopefully this is just a theoretical question and you are never involved in a traffic accident. If you are, however, you must follow the same laws that cover all vehicles that operate in New York. You must remain at the scene of the accident and exchange information with anyone else who was involved. If anyone was injured, you must render reasonable assistance. You must call the police and wait until they arrive and take a report.
It is a good idea, right after the accident, to get out of the road if possible. You don’t want to be exposed to moving traffic. If this is not an option, do whatever you can to make yourself and your scooter clearly visible. Look for possible witnesses. Take pictures with your cell phone of the accident from several angles.
If you are injured, get immediate medical attention. Call an ambulance or have someone do it for you if necessary.
If there is a police report, make sure to ask for a copy of it.