While the City promotes e-bikes as a way for commuters to ease the pain of the L train shutdown, the NYPD continues to target immigrant delivery cyclists for using what is essentially the same technology. But a new package of bills to be introduced in the City Council on Wednesday aims to eliminate this distinction by legalizing an entire class of e-bikes.

One of the four bills would codify the two classes of e-bikes, pedal-assisted and throttle-based, and cap their maximum legal speed at 20 mph. Another bill would create a year-long DOT-funded program to help workers convert their e-bikes to conform to the law.

The other two bills would legalize the kind of dockless e-scooters popular in cities like Los Angeles, with a max speed of 15 mph, and create a pilot program for their use in neighborhoods that are underserved by Citi Bike or are severely affected by the L train shutdown.

When immigrant delivery cyclists are stopped for riding their throttle-assisted e-bikes, the NYPD frequently confiscates them, and the fine for retrieving them is $500. The delivery workers continue to be stopped and fined despite the law being clear that businesses, not their workers, are supposed to be responsible for e-bike fines.

As of September 23rd, the NYPD issued 521 citations to e-bike riders this year, compared with 189 to businesses, according to the department.

The new legislation would lower the penalty for using an illegal e-bike to $100, and states that an e-bike could only be confiscated if it is endangering people or property.

"What we're trying to accomplish here is to bring New York City to 2018. There are a lot of cities that have embraced e-bikes, and New York City keeps these archaic and punitive laws," the bills' main sponsor, Brooklyn Councilmember Rafael Espinal, told Gothamist.

"I think New Yorkers are hungry for alternative modes to get around, especially when we have an MTA that's crumbling, and lots of congestion in the streets."

Transportation Alternatives supports all four bills, and a spokesperson added that it would be a mistake for councilmembers to legalize e-scooters and not e-bikes.

Espinal, who recently announced his campaign to replace Letitia James as the City's Public Advocate, acknowledged that some of his colleagues on the Council may oppose the legislation because their constituents are vocal opponents of e-bikes.

"I think that the issues those constituents have is more targeted towards behavior. I think that a pedestrian is in just as much danger by a regular bike with the same velocity as an electric-assisted bike," Espinal says. "We should be focusing our efforts on educating cyclists on what are the rules of the road."

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has long insisted that "the little guy" would not be penalized for his e-bike crackdown, has never presented any hard evidence that e-bikes are more dangerous than any other bicycle.

“While e-scooters are illegal under State and City law, the Mayor is committed to innovation as part of his all-of-the-above transportation strategy to get New Yorkers moving again," mayoral spokesman Seth Stein said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to reviewing the proposals with an eye toward both transportation innovation and safety on our streets and sidewalks.”

Espinal's legislation, which will be co-sponsored by Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez, Fernando Cabrera, and Margaret Chin, would classify e-scooters and e-bikes as "devices" not vehicles, so they wouldn't be subject to state DMV regulations, which currently do not allow for e-bikes to be registered.

“I’m going to follow this legislation closely as it moves through the legislative process," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement. "I have sympathy for these delivery drivers who are being hit with tickets while they are trying to do their jobs, and I am open to alternative means of transportation that will help us get through the L train shutdown. We are in a transportation crisis in this city and I am always looking for potential solutions.”

On Wednesday at noon, councilmembers will join immigration advocates outside City Hall to announce the introduction of the legislation.