Expand Commercial E-Bike Enforcement in NYC to Target Business Owners

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Commercial use of electric-powered, high-torque, motorized bicycles for delivering meals and groceries represent a growing safety risk to pedestrians and bicyclists on the Upper West Side. 

These vehicles are illegal in NYC NYC Commercial Bicycle RulesNYC Adm Code 19-176.2 p643,NYC Local Law 41 10-157 enacted 2013

Electric-powered, high-torque, motorized bikes when used for commercial deliveries in our neighborhood:

  • often travel in bike lanes at over twice the speed of human-powered bikes (per our radar tests)
  • create a hazardous condition when passing at high speeds given NYC's narrow bike lanes are not designed for high-speed passing
  • accelerate quickly given their high-torque electric motors making their speeds difficult to judge
  • are silent, even at high speeds 
  • often travel in the wrong direction in bike lanes to cut travel time

It can be very difficult for pedestrians and regular cyclists to anticipate the movement of commercial E-bikes, particularly at dusk and during the evening as many are not properly lit and their operators typically don't use bells to announce themselves.

These vehicles are a safety risk to pedestrians.

These vehicles put regular cyclists at greater risk of both high-speed and head-on crashes. 

Current NYPD and DOT Enforcement efforts target only the riders of these vehicles. While these efforts are well-intended, they have proven ineffective. The use of the electric-powered motorized bicycles continues to grow: 14 businesses operating on Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues (between 68th and 95th streets) operate a combined fleet of roughly 100 electric delivery bikes (Feb 2017). 

We believe Enforcement would be more effective were City Officials to directly target the Business Owners that fund or contract with electric bike delivery operators. Commercial e-bikes are typically parked outside their respective restaurants, delis, and other businesses and their operators can be easily observed coming and going with deliveries. We believe that enforcement provisions enacted in to NYC's Administrative Code in 2013 under NYC Local Law 41 10-157 allow for NYPD and other enforcement agencies to target business owners - first with clear warnings and then with summons and fines.

Please sign our petition if you agree. We welcome suggestions on ways to improve our effort. Should you disagree, please share your views. Thank you -- and don't forget to look both ways when you step off the curb : )

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