They're flying through your backstreets, they're mowing your people down: the dreaded electric bikes have come under attack by lawmakers again. Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) is spearheading a bill that would raise the fine for e-biking on the sidewalk from $100 to $200. The fine for running a red light would also increase from a maximum of $450 to $900, Garodnick said. Why the constant increases in fines when these bikes already cost customers in the range of $1500? It's to make up for the fact that the City Council can't seem to get the NYPD to step up enforcement.
Many problems with the bikes seem to be caused by the fact that they are difficult to distinguish from manual bikes. According to the Daily News, Garodnick worries that these bikes are "deceptively fast." A pedestrian might see a bike coming, and, not realizing that it's an electric bike, get mowed down before they realize that it's going faster than usual. Also, it's difficult to tell how big the e-bike problem even is: complaints from pedestrians mainly came from Sunnyside, where a gathering in support of the bill took place, and as we reported back in February, the NYPD doesn't distinguish e-bike tickets from ones given to standard bikes.
It's no doubt that reckless bike riding poses a risk to many, especially children and the elderly, but are e-bikes, some of which top out at speeds slower than manual bikes, actually adding to the problem? A spokeswoman for Transportation Alternatives says Garodnick's bill is misguided, because power-assisted bicycles make biking "a realistic option for lots of people."
At any rate, you still have at least a couple more months of non-sweaty deliverymen, though: The Sunnyside Post reports that the earliest the bill could be voted on is September.