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State’s stance on motorized bikes needs some readjusting

Perhaps New York state should rethink its stance that motorized bicycles are not allowed on public highways or sidewalks.

One has to think that motorized bicycles are a way to reduce vehicle congestion in bigger cities. The motorized bicycles, which come in gas-powered and electric models, can only reach speeds of about 40 miles an hour, so one wouldn’t want them on major highways or suburban roads. But they may make sense in a city or village where speed limits are between 20 and 30 miles an hour.

That is especially true in New York City, which will now charge drivers a fee to drive in the city’s most congested areas. The plan is supposed to reduce traffic and help improve air quality in the city while creating a revenue stream to support public transit and other infrastructure. Is it outside the realm of possibility to think electric bicycles should be part of that mix?

The state should only do so if the motorized bicycles can be deemed safe. As with motorcycles, these bikes should be registered, and the riders should have insurance and wear helmets. Those are the rules of the road. But New York should keep those fees small since people still wouldn’t be able to ride them on the road outside the city, and since these bikes don’t have as much impact on infrastructure and the environment as cars and trucks do.

New York says it is an environmentally conscious state. Its stance on motorized bicycles says the exact opposite.

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