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Bird scooters at a maintenance facility in France. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed Thursday a bill that would have legalized electric scooters and throttle-controlled electric bikes across the state, citing safety concerns, including the lack of a helmet requirement.

Why it matters: New York has been a holdout amid the scooter craze over the last two years — despite it being a prime market for the vehicles. The bill overwhelmingly passed the state legislature last summer.

  • The bill would have legalized the vehicles across the state, requiring even New York City to give up its blanket ban, but would allow municipalities to regulate specifics, including permits for rental companies like Bird, Lime, Uber and Lyft.
  • While pedal-assisted e-bikes, whose motors only kick in while the rider is pedaling, have been legal in NYC, throttle-controlled ones have not, forcing many delivery workers who prefer them to do their jobs, to pay fines and risk having them confiscated.
  • The bill would also ban e-scooter rentals from Manhattan, but would allow people to ride scooters they own.

Go deeper: The side effects of the transportation revolution

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Technology

AI could end foreign-language subtitles

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

AI companies are developing methods to translate and synthesize voices in ads, movies and TV.

Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.