Electric bike law passed in New Paltz

As soon as the new law is filed in Albany, it will be legal to ride e-bikes on all roads in New Paltz. A law passed at the March 17 city council meeting replaces language in state law, which prevents their use on roads with a speed limit above 30 mph. Police Chief Robert Lucchesi has said more than once in town hall meetings that police officers do not have the power not to enforce certain laws, which means that this measure was necessary to allow more widespread use of these vehicles.

What this law does not allow is riding a bike on a sidewalk or riding a gas-powered bike, anywhere in the community. These continue to be illegal, and presumably if a police officer observes either sort of operation, that officer would be compelled to arrest him.

The only person who testified at the public hearing was Janelle Peotter, who spoke about the difficulty of riding a manual bicycle to a house on Mountain Rest Road if one has an aging body. Peotter’s bike has been restricted to recreation for this reason, but with electric assistance, Peotter plans to be able to get around on a bike as well. As the climate-smart activities coordinator at New Paltz, Peotter is also aware of the amount of local greenhouse gases that come from driving, including for short errands. Allowing the use of these bikes will expand options for residents trying to do their part for the planet and future generations of life on it.

Support for other road users

At last week’s meeting, council members passed a resolution in favor of the “Accident Victims Rights and Safety Act,” which is actually a set of eight state bills. different designed to improve the safety of those who use the roads without a motor vehicle. If passed, the changes would make it easier to get an accident report, force transportation officials to incorporate complete street principles into more projects, allow city leaders to lower speed limits to 25 mph without asking permission and would create a three foot overrun. buffer around cyclists and others not in cars to protect them from encroachment by their motorized peers, among others.

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