If you’re a New Yorker who rides an electric bike, you might be in for a $1,000 ticket. Many residents are not aware that electric bikes are illegal in NYC, and as proponents of green transportation, we have to question why they were banned in the first place. While it’s true that these hybrid bikes (which are a cross between a bicycle and a scooter) do pose more of a danger than regular bikes since they can go up to 30 mph, it’s not the vehicles themselves that are the problem but delivery employees and reckless riders who speed in bike lanes, on sidewalks and against traffic. Therefore, we wonder if it wouldn’t be more appropriate for the city to crack down on unsafe riding practices instead of outlawing the bikes altogether.
“Because we see them everywhere, many people don’t know that e-bikes are already illegal. They are a danger to New Yorkers because they are significantly faster and heavier than regular bikes,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a press statement about raising the fine for riding an electric bike from $500 to $1000. “This legislation will help to enforce the City’s e-bike ban, and will send a clear message to businesses that the use of these dangerous vehicles will not be tolerated. Bottom line: e-bikes are unlicensed, unsafe and unwelcome in our city.”
Councilwoman Jessica Lappin has also hopped on board with Quinn in expressing her dissent for the souped up delivery vehicles. Lappin, allegedly, has bared the brunt end of numerous calls and complaints from individuals having been hit or almost hit. She argues that the electric bikes are a scourge to the city. Individuals who have purchased these bikes in the city since the initial ban aren’t aware of the rules and regulations and must now face the increased fine and risk their bike being taken away. Oddly enough, neither city council nor Mayor Bloomberg (who signed the ban) have publicly addressed the benefits of New Yorkers choosing lower CO2 emission bikes over gas guzzling cars and taxis. Go figure.
Others disagree with the council members’ arguments. Many believe that electric bicycles—which have sold exponentially in North America, not to mention highly urban areas like New York City—are a healthy and sound environmental alternative to driving cars. Case in point, the city’s recently launched Citi Bike share program encourages residents to get active on the way to their destination, much like that of electric bicycles. Unfortunately, with a new fine in place and city council members that won’t budge, room for negotiation or exploration of how to make electric bikes work in the city have been completely dismissed.
Via Clean Technica
I think what shoulld be done is that the ebikes should be legal and the users should have to obey the traffic laws and speed limits its a cleaner way to trravel.and efficient way to help clean the environment just think of all the revenue generated from the people who don\\\'t obey the traffic laws.also I have seen a lot of handicap people using these bikes and it has been a great assistance in their lives thank you. Robert .Yagdjis 1758 79 st Bklyn N.Y.11214
We need MORE bicycle paths and less highways, roadways etc. that now support the car culture. A city that is congested with automobiles should be fined for excessive use of these vehicles on public roadways. Electric bicycles and bikes in general should be encouraged. Less polution, accidents and lazyness should be the goal.
This is an easy fix - just license and regulate them, then fine people who don't play by the rules. In my city, I know someone who was ticked for "unlicensed operation" for riding his electric scooter (stand-up type) on a park bike path. The law here considers any vehicle with a motor a "motor vehicle" and all motor vehicle laws apply, so anyone wanting to ride an e-bike would need to register with the DMV, and follow traffic laws.
Some slight misinformation is presented. Ebikes can only go up to 20 mph per Federal law to be exempt from motor vehicle requirements, anything over that is not an ebike. "they are significantly faster and heavier than regular bikes". Since they cannot go over 20 mph, this statement is suspect as regular bikes can easily sustain 20 mph with a fit rider. Depending on the model, the actual bicycle can be heavier, simply by adding a motor will add weight, however in most cases, the heaviest part of an ebike and rider is the rider themselves. "numerous calls and complaints from individuals having been hit or almost hit." I hear about these all the time, but never see any actual statistics, just anecdotes and heresay. Hospital records, police reports, do not seem to exist, but lots of people claiming "near misses" probably more a case of a daydreaming pedestrian startled by a passing ebike they should have been aware of. If there is such a situation, then enforcement of existing laws against riding on the sidewalk should suffice. I suppose we could eliminate care accidents by banning cars, but it tends to be an impractical solution, and laws are made and enforced to control them. Banning seems to be the lazy way of solving what is supposed to be a "big problem". In solving what might be a legitimate problem by Chinese delivery persons downtown, it leave vast areas of the city with an ebike ban where ebikes would be a beneficial alternative transportation alternative for regular citizens. Do we not want people using low energy use, non-polluting forms of transportation that alleviate congestion and pollution? Apparently in some places, no.
Although youwant to crack down on delivery accidents or mishaps a city as large as New York should recommend this type of travel to lessen the traffic in and around the city.
I was under the impression that NY state laws which allow electric bikes under a specific power supersede or trump local city ordinances. I suspect if so the fines will be challenged in court if they are ever actually implemented.