2015-05-27 / Features

Peralta, Simotas Unveil Scooter Regulation

State Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas unveiled legislation to regulate delivery scooters used for commercial purposes. State Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas unveiled legislation to regulate delivery scooters used for commercial purposes. State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) introduced corresponding bills in the State Senate and the Assembly to regulate the operation of motor-driven cycles only for commercial purposes. The legislation (S.4814/A.7360) requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to maintain a registry of this particular kind of vehicle and to establish regulations pertaining to their safe operation and relative minimum liability insurance.

The bill would also require drivers of the motor-driven cycles (delivery scooters) to register them with the DMV.

Currently, these vehicles are unregulated in New York, which can create huge liability problems when accidents occur. Under the current lack of regulation, both small businesses and people injured in accidents involving these vehicles face poor consequences. Small businesses face closing their doors in the face of lawsuits that are unaccompanied by liability insurance covering scooters operated by their employees, while those facing an injury cannot recover damages from defendants who may be unable to satisfy a judgment.

“It is evident that these motor-driven cycles, these scooters, have become part of the fabric of small businesses throughout the city. We New Yorkers, like to have food delivered to us in a rapid manner 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Senator Peralta said during a news conference held in Elmhurst, on May 22. “This bill is not about putting the brakes on these types of vehicles. This legislation is about the reality of regulating what has become standard practice, for the good of pedestrian and traffic safety, as well as to address correlative liability concerns.”

Peralta noted, “Pedestrians, deliverymen, cyclists, drivers…there is a way for us all to share our streets and do so in a safe way. We have all seen operators of these motor-driven cycles driving on and across sidewalks, in wrong ways on streets, and passing through red lights. While these scooters have become a part of our lives, we need a new system to hold operators accountable for following traffic rules, just as all drivers must obey the rules of the road.”

“Young families and seniors must navigate streets and sidewalks threatened by motorized scooters ungoverned by any safety standards or accountability,” said

Assemblywoman Simotas during the press conference. “I have heard from far too many people in our community about hits and nears misses. I am proud to stand with Senator Peralta to ensure that these vehicles are operated safely and that drivers are held accountable.”

Peralta added, “There’s simply no denying that deliveries of all kinds are part of our New York culture. Banning these motorized cycles has not worked. Let’s fix the current broken system, let’s hold reckless drivers of these vehicles accountable and let’s keep commerce flowing for small businesses and their customers in a safe and expedient manner.”

“This legislation makes sense. It will provide small business owners, the owners of these motorized cycles and the general population with the means to make sure these bikes become legal in New York,” Eduardo Giraldo, President of the Latin Agents & Brokers Association of New York, said. “The owners will be able to register and insure the bikes, preventing serious legal problems for all.”

Under the bill, each traffic infraction would be punishable with fines of between $25 and $100. The unlawful operations of these motor-driven cycles for commercial purposes would result in the same civil and criminal penalties as the unlawful operations of all other motor vehicles, which include points on driver’s license records.

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