Governor Cuomo Vetoes E-Bike/E-Scooter Bill That Would Have Undermined the ADA

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed A.7431B/S.5394A, a bill concerning e-bikes and e-scooters. The Center for Disability Rights (CDR) is pleased that disabled New Yorkers will not have to worry as much about increasingly impassable rights of way, at least for now. CDR opposed A.7431B/S.5394A because it would have enabled the proliferation of e-scooters across the State and lifted the ban on e-bikes in NYC. These devices pose a demonstrable threat to disabled people by making the use of public spaces unsafe and inaccessible. Quiet e-scooters are dangerous to blind people and people with low vision because we cannot hear then coming. Speeding scooters are hazardous to people with physical disabilities that cannot jump out of harm’s way. Wheelchair users and people who use mobility devices are severely limited in our mobility when ramps, curb cuts, doors, and other features are blocked by scooters left there by the previous rider. The result of rampant use and misuse of these devices, which we could only expect to increase with legalization and continued lack of enforcement, is the undermining of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which CDR warned about in a position paper.  The ADA was meant to increase access to public places and places of public accommodation; e-scooters and e-bikes make them inaccessible. Disabled people have had to turn to the courts in other places – Minneapolis, San Diego, etc. – to assert our rights. The Governor’s veto message failed to mention these serious concerns of the Disability Community and focused only on other safety concerns. The fact that New York has not stormed ahead in adopting new technologies and outright ignored the negative consequences gives us a small measure of hope that any future action on e-bikes and e-scooter can be taken with greater awareness.