The Commanding Officer of the 78th precinct, Captain Michael Ameri, said that after “numerous complaints” from the community about how the electric bicycles “disturb the quality of life throughout the neighborhood” he started a two-day campaign to enforce the law.
scotticeberg wrote: Federal law allows for e-bikes. It should not be a terribly hard win when local and/or state laws are disharmonious with the federal provision. Create favorable case-law for your fellow e-bikers.
E-bikers may face future restrictions
But hearing dates on bills are vague
Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:30 am
by Kori Tuitt, Chronicle Contributor
If City Council members’ bills get passed, electric bicycle riders will have to abide by several regulations, which include completing a “bicycle safety course.”
Andrea Bender, a spokeswoman for Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), who is also the chairman of the Committee on Transportation, said the council members were planning a June hearing on the issue, but it is likely to be pushed back to the fall.
Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) drafted a bill that would double the fines for committing a traffic infraction on an electric bicycle.
“These bikes have proliferated all over New York City,” Garodnick said, “and they are presenting new challenges for people who are on the street.”
He said he drafted the bill about a year ago in response to the problem, which he said is significant in the area he represents. He said he would like to have a hearing as soon as possible, but it is still not scheduled.
Garodnick added that those on electric bicycles often run through stop lights and ride on sidewalks. Part of the problem, he added, is the lack of enforcement.
“These bikes are illegal to begin with, so fines regarding their operation should be greater than normal,” he said.
Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill to double the fine for operating illegal electric bicycles, her spokeswoman, Michelle Feldman, said. The fine would go from $500 to $1,000.
Because of a City Council law passed in 2004, electric bicycles are considered illegal if they can exceed a speed of 15 miles per hour. Feldman added that there has been no date set for a hearing on that bill either.
Another possible regulation is the requirement for commercial cyclists — including those on electric bicycles — to complete a “bicycle safety course.” Cyclists would have to carry proof of completion of the course at all times while riding.
Bender said the content of the course will not be up to the council members, but left to the discretion of the City Department of Transportation, which has already administered bicycle safety courses.
Putting the brakes on e-bikes
Council members push to increase fines for reckless electric bikers
By Joe Stepansky / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, July 12, 2012, 6:26 PM.
Christie M. Farriella for New York Daily News
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (c.) and Councilman Dan Garodnick (l.) unveiled a proposal at a news conference in Sunnyside on Thursday to double the fines for using electric bikes recklessly.
The City Council is trying to put the brakes on electric bikes.
After receiving complaints about the power-assisted bicycles running red lights and speeding on sidewalks, lawmakers are set to introduce a bill to hike fines for individuals using e-bikes recklessly, lawmakers said Thursday.
“These bikes are illegal to begin with. Fines for violations should be greater,” Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), the main sponsor of the bill, said as he unveiled the proposal at a news conference in Sunnyside.
“There are not enough fines being issued,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), a co-sponsor of the bill. “And they’re not steep enough to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Van Bramer called the careless e-bikers an “epidemic.”
But some e-bike advocates said the legislation stigmatizes a promising transportation option.
“They’re criminalizing e-bikes,” said Caroline Samponaro of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
The bill is “misguided,” she said, noting that power-assisted bicycles make “biking a realistic option for lots of people.”
City and state laws prohibit the use of electric bikes in the city. The Council cannot make the Police Department to increase enforcement, Garodnick said, but it can increase penalties for offenses.
The bill would increase the fine for riding on the sidewalk from $100 to $200 and the fine for running a red light from a maximum of $450 to $900, Garodnick said.
Many pedestrians welcomed the proposal.
“I’ve seen people get hit, but the guy just jumps back on his bike and drives off into the sunset,” said retired concierge John Carroll, 79, of Sunnyside.
The bikes make sidewalks unsafe for pedestrians, said Sunnyside resident Patty Elston, 63.
“Elderly people can’t get out of the way fast enough,” she said. “There’s a huge potential for accidents.”
E-bike advocates argue the zippy bikes offer a gas-free mode of transport popular with commuters and food delivery workers.
Francisco Duran, 34, of Long Island City, said he rides his e-bike to work every day.
“If people follow bike laws it’s not dangerous,” said Duran, who noted his bike tops out at 18 mph.
The manager of a soon-to-open e-bike shop in Sunnyside shook his head when told of the proposed bill.
“The riders don’t have the money to pay the fines,” said the manager, who only gave his last name Chen. “They won’t buy the bikes.”
Pols and Residents Rally for Crackdown on Illegal Electric Bikes
July 12, 2012 6:15pm
By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
Donald McCallian (right) said he had witnessed two incidents which involved e-bike users and seniors on wheelchair (DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska)
SUNNYSIDE — Donald McCallian, 75, says he has to be very careful walking around his neighborhood because the riders of speeding, electric bikes seem intent on terrorizing pedestrians.
In fact, he said that he witnessed two incidents recently in which e-bike users collided with seniors in wheelchairs.
“There are a lot of seniors in this neighborhood," said McCallian, a Community Board 2 member. “In one case a senior was knocked out of her wheelchair."
The electric bikes, which use an electric motor used to power the vehicle and can accelerate much faster than regular bikes, are illegal in New York City, but many restaurants and businesses that rely on deliveries use them, officials said.
They have drawn complaints in neighborhoods around the city, including the Upper East Side, where local pols say they have created a nightmare for pedestrians. Residents said e-bike riders also often run red lights and ride against traffic.
At a rally Thursday in Queens, Sunnyside residents and elected officials said that they had seen a significant increase in the number of those bikes in the neighborhood in the past few months.
“They just zoom by,” said another resident Leonore Lanzillotti. “And no one expects that on the sidewalk.”
Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill that will double the fines issued to the e-bike operators.
“Navigating our city streets is difficult enough without many cyclists who are riding illegal bikes,” he said.
Under the legislation, the maximum fine for riding an e-bike on a sidewalk would increase from $100 to $200. A fine for running a red light for the first time would increase from the range of $150-450 to $300-900, according to Garodnick.
“These bikes are illegal to begin with”, Garodnick said, adding the police have the authority to confiscate e-bikes and can issue fines to their users.
He said he hoped that doubling the fines would be a deterrent. “Fines related to their operation should be greater than [those related to] other traffic violations,” he said.
Garodnick, who represents the Upper East Side, said the problem is citywide. He also said he hoped the bill would be discussed in the City Council this fall.
Local councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is one of the bill’s sponsors, said that the e-bikes “have become an epidemic of reckless driving” in his district, which includes Sunnyside, Long Island City and Woodside.
He added he has seen the bikes throughout his district, including on Queens Boulevard, Skillman Avenue, 46 Street and Greenpoint Avenue.
veloman wrote:But it sounds like the police don't care about enforcing the actual use of ebikes, which is how it should be. The law needs to be changed to allow the legal use of them.