Council also voted to pass legislation to simplify requirements for street vendors as first set of bills based on Street Vendor Advisory Board report recommendations

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council voted to pass legislation that would increase e-bike regulations in the interest of improved safety. Over the past few years, as e-bikes, e-scooters and powered mobility devices have become more prevalent, the City has experienced a rapid increase in lithium-ion battery related fires in both residential and commercial properties that not only destroy property but result in injuries and fatalities. This legislation is part of the Council’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and improve fire safety city-wide.

The Council also voted on bills to simplify mobile vendor requirements. These include the first phase of bills to implement recommendations of the Street Vendor Advisory Board, which was established by Local Law 18 of 2021 and consists of various stakeholders, including vendor advocates and brick-and-mortar business representatives

“Deadly fires caused by lithium-ion batteries that power electric mobility devices are having an increasingly devastating toll on New Yorkers and communities across the city,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “These preventable tragedies must be curbed to save lives, and the Council continues to take action to advance critical solutions. We’re also proud to pass legislation to modify certain street vending requirements, as recommended by the Street Vendor Advisory Board, to help us have a successful economy. I thank my Council colleagues for their support in passing today’s legislation.”

Improving E-Bike Safety Protocols

Introduction 19-A, sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, would require all businesses that sell e-bikes, e-scooters and other personal mobility devices powered by batteries, to post lithium-ion or other storage battery safety informational materials and guides. Such materials and guides would be required to be posted both in physical stores and on online retail platforms. A violation would be subject to civil penalties ranging from $150 to $350 per violation.

Introduction 21-A, sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, would enhance enforcement efforts around the sale and rental of uncertified powered mobility devices, such as e-bikes and e-scooters. It would give the Fire Department enforcement authority of these laws, increase penalties for illegal device sales, and give the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and the Fire Department sealing authority for repeat violators.

“Prioritizing e-bike safety and mitigating lithium-ion battery fire risks are vital for public safety and the promotion of sustainable transportation solutions,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “So far in 2024, we’ve seen over 30 e-bike related fires, intensifying the need for more public information about best practices for lithium-ion battery safety, which is why Intro 19-A is so important. The City also needs stronger enforcement capabilities to seal unsafe battery shops, and that’s exactly what Intro 21-A provides.”

Streamlining Requirements for Mobile Vendors

Introduction 49-A, sponsored by Council Member Julie Menin, would allow mobile food vendors to display or store goods on top of their carts, and it would simplify the display requirements for general vendors. Additionally, this bill would repeal the City’s bookkeeping requirements for general vendors and mobile food vendors.

Introduction 50-A, sponsored by Council Member Julie Menin, would eliminate the requirement that individual employees of mobile food vending carts or trucks each have a New York State Certificate of Sales Tax Authority. This bill would also eliminate the requirement that mobile food vendors and general vendors obtain a tax clearance certificate upon renewal of a license or permit.

Introduction 51-A, sponsored by Council Member Julie Menin, would prohibit general vendors and mobile food vendors from vending in bicycle lanes. A bicycle lane would be defined as a portion of the roadway that is marked off or separated for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles. This bill would clarify that vendors cannot operate or leave their items in bicycle lanes.

“As Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection, I am proud to have sponsored three pieces of legislation that were recommendations from the Street Vending Advisory Board’s 2022 report,” said Council Member Julie Menin. “This package of bills aims to streamline regulations for street vendors, remove unnecessary requirements for mobile food vendor employees, and ensure safer streets by prohibiting vending in bike lanes. These bills represent a step forward in supporting our vibrant street vending community and I am grateful to the Speaker for bringing these bills to a vote.”