Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Verdi Square at 72nd Street and Broadway on Thursday to announce a crackdown on electric bikes, which are primarily used by delivery workers. The bikes are illegal in New York, but have proliferated in recent years as bicyclists race to get you your food on time. Upper West Siders tend to complain about the bikes, and one local has been advocating for months to get them off the streets.
Council member Helen Rosenthal has been advocating for a larger crackdown. She said that there have been “a number of incidents involving e-bikes and pedestrians on the Upper West Side.”
The police did not have data, however, on the injuries or problems caused by the bikes, according to a reporter at the event.
For what it’s worth, NYPD appears to have no stats attached to e-bike problems other than the number of confiscations.
— Gloria Pazmino (@GloriaPazmino) October 19, 2017
The NYPD has already ramped up enforcement, confiscating 962 bikes versus 341 at this time last year. If caught, bicyclists can have the bike confiscated and face fines of up to $500 and a civil summons. Starting January 1, de Blasio says that NYPD will start enforcing the law against businesses whose employees use e-bikes, issuing a civil summons and a $100 fine for a first offense and a $200 fine for each additional offense. “Those at the top of the food chain need to be held accountable,” he said. “The onus of enforcement should not just be on delivery people,” Rosenthal added.
Some street safety advocates argue that electric bike enforcement is a misuse of resources that targets lower-income workers.
This is sad. Ebikes kill ZERO NYs, are used by hardworking immigrants. Actual people will die under these misplaced enforcement priorities. https://t.co/OlMwLarhTz
— Margaret Harbaugh (@harbaugh76) October 19, 2017
Top photo via Mayor’s flickr page.