May 2, 2013 By Christian Murray
Those e-bikes and scooters that go screeching down the sidewalks and streets are most likely going to be banned.
The city council passed a bill last Thursday that would take all of them off the streets.
The bill would also impose penalties on businesses—such as Chinese take-out restaurants–that have e-bikes on their premises. The bill, which awaits the mayor’s signature, would fine businesses $100 for a first offense and $250 thereafter. Mayor Bloomberg is likely expected to sign it.
In addition, the legislation would hold business owners responsible for any penalties incurred by employees caught using e-bikes while making deliveries.
The so-called “e-bikes” have long been outlawed on city streets but cops couldn’t issue a citation unless they could prove the rider was exceeding 15 mph.
The bill prohibits all e-bikes regardless of their speed, as well as motorized scooters that are not able to be registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
Local residents have often complained about e-bike riders at police precinct meetings, noting their high speeds.
“They are a danger to New Yorkers because they are significantly faster and heavier than regular bikes,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in a statement.
Under the new rules, business owners must provide their delivery people with helmets, lights and retro-reflective vests; proper identification showing their business names; and post signs on their premises explaining their legal obligations.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer sponsored the bill after hearing from residents that delivery people had almost run them over at night.
Don McCallian, president of the United 40s Civic Association, said in a statement: “Over time this law will save lives and help deter injuries not only to delivery bikers but also to pedestrians, automobile drivers and their occupants. “
The Department of Transportation said that the city will begin monitoring and enforcing the new bicycle delivery rules, which include fines ranging from $100 to $250 for businesses found to be in non-compliance.