UPDATED: October 20, 2017: New York City’s war on e-bike use has escalated according to a DNAinfo article. Instead of adopting a comprehensive plan for sensible e-bike use, the mayor of New York City has taken the misguided approach of declaring all-out war on the very vehicles that could reduce traffic congestion, parking issues and polution in his city. Sad.
There are no small problems in America’s largest city (the eighth largest in the world). New York City’s mass of humanity crammed onto a 23-square-mile island magnifies everything, both the good and the bad. Recent reports of NYPD’s 1st Precinct e-bike confiscation program is hard to understand for those who live outside the Big Apple. It would seem that e-bike use could do nothing but benefit the quality of life for so many New Yorkers. Less traffic congestion. Less air pollution. Improved parking availability. Transportation cost savings. The problem is, e-bikes have been banned from use in NYC for some time.
The reason for the e-bike ban in New York stems from their use by delivery services who pay their riders based on the number of deliveries completed in an hour. What do you think is going to happen? You’re right. Riders go the wrong way on one-way streets, ignore traffic signals and get creative with sidewalks and parks to cut delivery times. This type of behavior scares people (voters) and they, in turn, make their displeasure known to elected officials who find it easier to ban e-bikes than to deal with the problem.
The simple solution would be to license and regulate e-bikes and then fine riders who break the rules. But just like there are no small problems in NYC, there doesn’t seem to be any easy answers. Recent progress by Nick Perry, who represents the 58th District in the New York State Assembly, addresses the issue with changes that would again allow E-bikes on the streets of NYC. E-bikes would benefit the quality of life in NYC if they were properly used and regulated. Not confiscated.