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City Looks to Address Motorized Bicycles And E-Bikes Issue

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Towards the end of the City of Cortland Common Council meeting on Tuesday, the council discussed the ongoing issue with the use of motorized bicycles and E-Bikes within the City of Cortland.


Cortland Mayor Scott Steve spoke on the issue of seeing the gas powered bikes on sidewalks, and the street. Operators of these motorized bikes have been seen ignoring traffic lights/stop signs, and driving them on the wrong side of the road or wrong way.

Steve spoke that there is currently no local law currently in place on motorized bicycles, and is the main reason why he brought the issue to the council on behalf of Councilmember Michaels.

“Local Law isn’t as clear as it needs to be. From helmets, to what lane they should be in, what their maximum speed could be, what the size of them are.” he said to the council.

Besides just the gas powered motorized bicycles, Steve brought up the fire risk that is well noted in the New York City area of E-Bikes. The City of Cortland Fire Department responded back in April to a structure fire where a woman had to be rescued from a second story window.

The cause of the fire in April was due to an E-Bike battery charging.

“If you have some of these big rental dwellings units, the biggest concern. If somebody had charging one of those charging units put in there, a sprinkler is not going to put it out. If you ever watch those things, it’s like a flare shooting up.” Steve said on his biggest concern.

The typical storage place and charging location for the E-Bikes have been in stairwells of buildings. Due to the location within the stairwell, if a fire did occur, occupants would be trapped above if the stairs was the only exit point.

The City of Cortland looks to get educational pieces, via a flier, out to the businesses that sell batteries that pose a high fire risk.

“Don’t leave them charging overnight. Whether it’s your cordless battery… cordless battery for your drill, vehicle, these electric bikes are a huge concern.” Mayor Steve said as the priority of what the flier asks residents to do.

The city is currently looking into code ability and possible registration on the E-Bikes as an educational “grab” and not a money grab. For the motorized bicycles, the city is referring to counsel on possible local laws.

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