Electric bike crackdown in New York

Posted: December 26, 2017 by oldbrew in Legal, News, Travel
Tags:

Electric delivery bike [credit: electricbike.com]


Pollution-free pizza deliveries are too racy for NYC it seems.

Cheap, electric bicycles have made life a lot easier for New York City’s legions of restaurant delivery workers, but the party may be over in the New Year, says Phys.org.

City officials are promising a crackdown on e-bikes, which may be loved by environmentalists and the largely poor, immigrant workforce that relies on them, but are loathed by many drivers and pedestrians who think they are a menace.

Under city law, the bikes are legal to own and sell, but riding them on the street can lead to a fine of up to $500.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this fall that starting in 2018, businesses that have employees use the bikes are also subject to a fine of $100 for a first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense.

“Electric bikes are illegal to operate on city streets and those at the top of the food chain need to be held accountable,” city spokesman Austin Finan said. “Instead of merely targeting riders, we’re going after businesses that look the other way and leave their workers to shoulder the fine.”

That policy will undoubtedly prove popular with many New Yorkers who have complained that the bikes, which look and handle just like regular bicycles but can reach speeds of 20 mph or more, are often operated recklessly. Lots of people have stories about close calls where they stepped out into the street, only to nearly be hit by a quick-moving bike they couldn’t hear coming.

But it will be bad news for deliverymen like Clemente Martinez, who spends up to 12 hours a day in the saddle, often in lousy weather.

“It’s not fair because people like me do depend on them,” said Martinez through a translator. The 44-year-old from Puebla, Mexico, came to the United States almost 15 years ago and has been working as a delivery person almost all that time, buying his electric bicycle almost three years ago. “We’re using this as something that lets us work and support our families.”

Continued here.

Comments
  1. tallbloke says:

    Battery bikes are cool, but riders have to obey the same rules as other traffic. They need to make a noise too. As the motorcyclists say, loud exhausts save lives.

  2. Curious George says:

    Let’s ban electric bikes that the poor use. We subsidize expensive electric cars for the rich, that’s enough.

  3. Adam Gallon says:

    A club cyclist can easily maintain 20mph, without any electrical power. Equally as quiet as an electric bike. We can maintain 25mph with a decent tailwind.
    So, what’s the problem?

  4. Crosspatch says:

    I smell the Teamsters Union influence in this decision somewhere.

  5. Dodgy Geezer says:

    …A club cyclist can easily maintain 20mph, without any electrical power. Equally as quiet as an electric bike. We can maintain 25mph with a decent tailwind.
    So, what’s the problem?…

    Perhaps we ought to ban pedal bikes from the road as well? They are an old Victorian form of transport, not suited to modern driving standards, and very unsafe to be on.

    We don’t use horses on the roads much any more – we ride them is specially assigned areas for sport and amusement. Pedal bikes should go the same way…

  6. Phoenix44 says:

    I suspect people with their faces glued to screens are at least as much to blame. And electric cars are just as silent and a lot more damaging if they hit you – so why are they not banned if safety is the issue?

  7. oldbrew says:

    The report says:
    ‘Gas-powered mopeds, which are faster and heavier than e-bikes, continue to be legal under state law, although they must be registered and the driver must be licensed. A business using one for deliveries also has to have insurance.’

    An electric bike loaded with goods can go at say 20 mph with no insurance and no ‘driver’ training, and if it’s carrying hot food is probably in a hurry. Maybe that’s where the problems – as NYC sees them – arise.

  8. stpaulchuck says:

    so they are mostly operated by illegal aliens, and getting rid of both is bad… how exactly?

  9. oldbrew says:

    See how it pans out. Deliveries still have to be made and that requires workers and a means of carrying stuff.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Just use clothes pins to put bubble gum cards in the spokes like we did in the 50s… makes a nice quasimotor sound 🙂

    [reply] http://spokester.com/

  11. Gamecock says:

    ‘And electric cars are just as silent and a lot more damaging if they hit you – so why are they not banned if safety is the issue?’

    Myth. Yes, they are pretty quiet at low speed, but by 20 mph they sound like any other car.

  12. Glenn999 says:

    When I lived in NYC, the problem with bicycle delivery drivers was that they rode in both directions on one-way streets. People sometimes forget to look both ways. The other problem I see, is that the bikes can get going real fast in a hurry, something that doesn’t normally happen with clunky delivery bikes loaded with food in big baskets and tired bike riders.

  13. oldbrew says:

    If they had bike lanes it might be different.

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