The Electric Bike Backlash

Monday, December 09, 2013

New York City councilwoman and Manhattan Borough President-elect Gale Brewer says more enforcement is needed for a new ban on electric-powered bikes.

E-bikes, or motorized bikes, are popular with delivery people, but Brewer says her constituents complain that the bikes are often used on sidewalks or bike lanes, and move at high speeds. She sent a letter to the Police Department and the Department of Transportation last week calling for clarification on how they plan to enforce the ban.


Gale Brewer

Comments [69]

Tom Teylor from Yorkville

There are plenty of laws that more than adequately cover all of the protests of the commenters without singling out a particular technology. Wrong way drivers, running stop lights, riding on the sidewalks...none of these limits have anything to do with specific technology and all of which can be used to control electric assist vehicles. This is a typical example of politicians kneejerk reaction to complaints of the few rather than developing pragmatic responses and, most importantly, enforce the rules that exist.

Obviously so many more injuries and deaths occur by automobiles and trucks...we need to crack down on circumstances that permit these to occur.

Bottom line...we don't need more laws, we need more enforcement. The laws are simply a joke.

Jan. 22 2014 02:44 PM
John P

I believe she is in the pockets of the Taxi lobby

Jan. 20 2014 01:13 PM
Bronxite from NYC

The anti-eBike stance the city council is displaying towards this popular technology is nonscensical at best, dangerous at worst.

•eBikes are utilized as an efficient form of transportation among commuters, errand runners and for delivery.

•Delivery personnel are the largest demographic utilizing this growing mode of transportation.

•eBikes are electric powered bicycles, minimal carbon footprint when compared to most other forms of transportation.

•Like human powered bicycles, eBikes do not add to the congestion on our roads (currently over capacity during rush hours).

•eBikes have led to more efficient deliveries, more jobs, more commerce.

Now have the alternatives been weighed?

•No eBikes = more automobiles and/or less business/services/jobs.

•More automobiles = more pollution, congestion, collisions, high cost infrastructure and expensive maintenance.

•More people utilizing mass transit. Our subways are typically at or over capacity during rush hour.

•You omit a large potential demographic of bicyclist who might have longer distances to travel or physically unable.

•Impoverished Latin American and Asian immigrants, which typically work delivery, will suffer the greatest.

•DMV registration would reduce the number of potential users.

No one has been killed by a bicycle of any type in several years while serious injuries are rare. Meanwhile, 155 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed by automobiles and over 15,000 seriously injured and 2012 alone.

Banning eBikes was a bad move in a city trying to move toward increased sustainability.

Dec. 10 2013 05:15 PM
Ron from Park Slope

ok, ok, "wayland"--if that's your real name. let's think about this. Gale Brewer said that the electric bike would be fine if only it could be registered with the DMV. I heard her say it. She said it a lot.
uuhhh, let's all google "vacuous".
Here we go---in our "new direction".

Dec. 10 2013 04:10 PM
wayland from queens

I am floored that people see bicycles as the enemy of the City. Are you kidding me? If we had less cars and trucks in NYC, and proper use of bicycles, my goodness the City would be a better place. besides having less polluting 3000+ lb machines on the streets, we might even have a fitter population.

yes, enforcement of electric bikes is a good idea, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. We should encourage bicycling, and make it safer for all by building proper infra structure.

Dec. 10 2013 12:08 PM
Ron from Park Slope

I agree with Richard. Ban all bicycles. They are a menace. When I walk thru Prospect Park, I see the anguish on the faces of people--especially women and minorities--who just want to take their children for a peaceful walk, but are terrorized by speeding road racing bikes, surely ridden by crass 20 per centers or even one per centers who have powerful tax lawyers getting them out of paying any taxes at all, so they can afford these carbon fiber menaces. Did you know that the very same bicycles used in professional racing can legally be bought and used on public streets without special training or permits? Just walk thru RA Cycles on 5th ave in Brooklyn and look at these $10,000 killers. You'll be shocked--horrified, even!
I can't wait for Bill to take over and take this city in a new direction!
I'm so upset.

Dec. 10 2013 10:56 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

"Go home" is horribly mistaken if he believes "You, if an owner of a bike or anything else, paid for NOTHING. NO gas taxes, no road taxes, no "I gotta look at your fat BUTT tax, no taxes."

Virtually all of the NYC DOT budget, which maintains nearly every stretch of pavement in New York City, comes from income and property taxes, which everyone pays. There are no "road taxes," and gas taxes are funneled almost entire to the state and feds - not the city.

It's amazing the sense of entitlement drivers have before they realize that their driving is heavily subsidized by non-drivers.

Dec. 10 2013 09:50 AM
Richard from Brooklyn Heights

so glad that we're seeing an improvement in thinking already, post Giuliani's supposed crime reduction (not true) and Bloomberg's business savvy (rich elitist) Ban electric bikes---unless they register them with the DMV. Then they'll be safer fer sher! We're on the ball now!

Dec. 10 2013 01:16 AM
Ron from Park Slope

I know this all sounds so stupid if one thinks beyond the tip of one's nose, but I think all bikes should be banned. Here's why:
Bikes are sneaky quiet; even quieter than electric bikes which make an electric motor whirring sound and bicycles don't.
Delivery guys ride regular bicycles on sidewalks--I've seen it.
Electric bikes are limited by their power to weight ratio of approx. 17 mph on level roads. Racing style bikes can go as fast as 30mph on level roads or more depending on the fitness of the rider and even if they have a bell, the rider must ring said bell for it to--ring a ding ding.
Racing style bikes should be banned because they are a menace. A woman,her child and her dog were knocked down by one in Prospect Park just recently.

Dec. 09 2013 09:39 PM
Allison from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I am a daily, all weather commuter on my bike and way too frequently I am almost hit by delivery guys using electric bikes. They bike the wrong way, or even the right way (but too close to me) in the bike lanes. They NEVER have lights, and it's also the case that they are totally silent. If they rode in the street with the cars, it might be ok, but they do not belong in the bike lanes. I'm glad they are illegal, but obviously no one is enforcing this because I see them everywhere in my neighborhood at night.

Dec. 09 2013 05:12 PM
Regiina from Upper East Side

Easy to hate on bikes instead of trucks and cars, bizarre...ashamed at Garodnick and Lappin,

Dec. 09 2013 05:05 PM
Phil from New Jersey

Please see attachment below for the actual text of the Federal regulation which applies to electrically assisted bicycles WITH working pedals.

Requirements for Low-Speed Electric Bicycles
AGENCY: Consumer Product Safety
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: Public Law 107–319, 116 Stat.
2776 (the Act), enacted December 4,
2002, subjects low-speed electric
bicycles to the Commission’s existing
regulations at 16 CFR part 1512 and 16
CFR 1500.18(a)(12) for bicycles that are
solely human powered. For purposes of
this requirement, the Act defines a lowspeed
electric bicycle as ‘‘a two-or threewheeled
vehicle with fully operable
pedals and an electric motor of less than
750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum
speed on a paved level surface, when
powered solely by such a motor while
ridden by an operator who weighs 170
pounds, is less than 20 mph.’’ Public
Law No. 107–319, section 1, 116 Stat.
2776 (2002). The Commission is issuing
this immediately effective amendment
to its requirements for bicycles at 16
CFR part 1512 to promptly inform the
public of the newly enacted statutory
requirement on low-speed electric
DATES: This amendment is effective
upon publication in the Federal
Register, that is, on February 12, 2003.

NJ regulates electrically assisted bicycles WITHOUT working pedals as mopeds.

NY is less clear about this as mopeds are legal and regulated but electrically assisted bicycles are not.

Federal law supercedes as previously noted by:
Natalie De Vito from Staten Island NY

None of this means that enforcement of traffic laws, sidewalk access or BICYCLE lane use shouldn't be stepped up to minimize hazards to all involved.

A bit of patience and understanding when placing orders for home delivery is also a worthwhile culture shift.

Dec. 09 2013 03:46 PM
Go home

JF from DY needs help. Please send medical attention. jf, car owners built these roads through all kinds of taxes.

You, if an owner of a bike or anything else, paid for NOTHING. NO gas taxes, no road taxes, no "I gotta look at your fat BUTT tax, no taxes.

When you pay the same amount of taxes as car owners do, then you may have a voice in this argument. Until then, keep drinking your beer and letting it drip down your face, until you fall to the floor and we all step over you.

Dec. 09 2013 02:18 PM
jf from dystopia

Cars cause 5000 deaths in New York city. How many deaths from electric bikes? could you scrape one together? 5000 deaths Ban cars!

Dec. 09 2013 02:04 PM
jf from dystopia

Cars should be illegal! They are the cause of cancer! Hurricanes, floods, drought, and mass extinction. They give cancer and asthma to children. They make electric bikes illegal? of course exercise is better than electric bikes but to ban it? BAN DIESEL NOW! UTOPIA NOW

Dec. 09 2013 02:01 PM
Natalie De Vito from Staten Island NY

The law itself is against FEDERAL law (as long as we're talking LOW SPEED electric bicycles). It falls into the Americans with Disabilities category. If an electrical assist allows a person - who would otherwise be unable - to negotiate the bicycle as a reasonably athletic person, then it is allowed. I was once exploring this because I considered biking to work, but the hills were too difficult for me.

If the high-speed electric bikes are causing problems, then the legislation must be specific to them. And it's always illegal to ride on the sidewalk and in opposition with traffic laws. No need for new regulations there, just enforcement.

For the low-speed (power-assist) bikes that exist, bicyclists will have to carry around a copy of the federal law in order to fight citations. And they'll still lose, and end up paying fines, until they have the wherewithal to sustain a court battle or full appeal.

Dec. 09 2013 01:33 PM
Sonali from Williamsburg

I am completely in support of electric bikes...if they obey traffic laws, which they don't. In Williamsburg they ride on the sidewalk, the wrong way on one way streets, run red lights and blow right through stop signs. With no sound and no lights, they create a serious hazard for pedestrians.

Dec. 09 2013 01:29 PM

The city wants to reduce air pollution and car traffic.
How is a ban on electric bikes or scooters consistent with those goals?

Dec. 09 2013 01:29 PM

When I rode a leg-powered bicycle in Manhattan, I was seldom slower than the cars.

Dec. 09 2013 01:28 PM
terry Reed from Manhattan

I was hit by an electric bike--going top speed (28-35mph for the EZ Bike) the wrong way, down 6th Avenue, in the dark. It smashed me into a parked car, knocked me unconscious, crushed my elbow, which required two surgeries to make the arm functional again. The guy who hit me was not a messenger--this was a $2,200 bike--and even though he had the decency to stop, he claimed the bike lanes on 6th avenue in Manhattan allowed him to ride both ways. Should this guy be riding a super-fast (and super heavy) electric bike in NYC?

I now often call out on the street at bikers going through red lights or the wrong way--which I think might be, in Brian's words, a "crowd-sourcing" solution. Be warned: when you yell Red Light! or Wrong Way!, nine times out of ten you will be told to go fuck yourself...but the police won't or can't enforce bike laws on every corner. Banning electric bikes will help, but enforcement is going to be left up to pedestrians who aren't afraid to tell an arrogant biker off, and to the law-abiding bikers willing to shame their fellow riders into following the rules.

Dec. 09 2013 12:09 PM
Lorrie from Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn

Delivery men riding on the sidewalk have always been a menace on Ocean Parkway.
Heavier electric bikes moving much faster are an exponentially greater menace.
There is 0 enforcement.

Dec. 09 2013 11:31 AM

I see an "equal protection" / "due process" issues in banning bicycles by virtue of motive power (mechanical pedal vs electric) as opposed to addressing safety behavior (speed and operating location). But my interests aren't likely to track Ms. Brewer's politically funded interests.

Dec. 09 2013 11:28 AM


Dec. 09 2013 11:25 AM

When you rank the important issues facing the city where does the electric bike issue fall?

Electric bikes
Failing schools
Homeless families
Children going hungry
Political Corruption

Dec. 09 2013 11:22 AM
Jeff from Brooklyn

Glad the topic was brought up. I've been riding a bike in the city for 10 years, and the 3 things I can't stand (other than almost getting killed by automobiles) are bikes on the sidewalk, going the wrong way, and the electric/motorized "bicycles."

As you pointed out, they are going very fast, almost silent, and much heavier than most bikes. They can easily top 30 mph. I hope the ban is enforced meticulously.

Also, how lazy are we than we avoid all physical activity? If you are disabled or need assistance, you can get a scooter or a rascal. Those are legal.

Dec. 09 2013 11:19 AM
Ed from Brooklyn

A few key difference with ebikes
1) they are much lower than a bike - a regular bike has the rider much higher, almost always visible over the tops of cars, or people. An ebike is never visible over a car or person walking.
2) they go much faster at odd times - people expect a bike to come at them fast down a hill, but an ebike can be doing that speed uphill and certainly on the flat. The average speed of the average bike is much less than an ebike. That's why the places that buy them for for delivery spend that much extra money.
3) they are heavier on average than regular bikes so will cause more damage when they hit. That is the least of the issues since it's not that much different and there's a huge range of bike weights.

Dec. 09 2013 11:19 AM
Publius from NYC

To revise an old Russian saying: "In America, everything is permitted except that which is prohibited. In the Soviet Union/NYC, everything is prohibited except that which is permitted. If the electric bikes don't need to be registered with DMV it is legal to use them in New York (just like bicycles). If they shouldn't be legal without registration, talk to DMV.

Dec. 09 2013 11:16 AM

From my perspective out in NJ - the misuse of the sidewalks by cyclists - motorized or otherwise - is the issue. Many of our 'visitors' think that the ADA-required curb cuts were put there to permit easy access to the sidewalks. Bikes (and anything else faster than say 6 mph) belong in the street. The sidewalks are for pedestrians and wheelchairs. Tickets. Tickets. Tickets.

Dec. 09 2013 11:15 AM

We need to understand why these e-bikes became highly utilized - increased demand for delivery services. As the affluent population increased, stores and restaurants responded with delivery services of their goods. And sorry folks, but the manual bikes just don't cut it when 20 callers all at once want your beef w/ broccoli & pepperoni pizzas delivered within 1/2 an hour.

Dec. 09 2013 11:14 AM
Lamar from Harlem

Why don't you discuss the cover story of today's NY Times about the horrible conditions in the city shelter system. Bikes are problematic but it has nothing to do with how callous the former Mayor has been to develop housing for the poor. enough about these whiners and safety.

Dec. 09 2013 11:14 AM
thomas from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Alan (from Midwood, I think?) called into your show and said there is nothing ingerently dangerous about these electric bikes. That's not quite right. I beleive it was a rep from AAA (I'm fairly sure that it was AAA) that said that the condition on the road that is most likely to cause an accident is when there is one individual moving at a much slower speed than the rest of the ones using that stretch of road. And as a casual observer of traffic over the years I would say that my research bears this out.
Thank you.

Dec. 09 2013 11:14 AM
AL from Kensington

I have lived on Ocean Parkway in Kensington, Brooklyn for 12 years.
Delivery guys heedlessly riding bikes on Ocean Parkway sidewalks have always been a problem, and it has intensified as the neighborhood has gentrified. These guys almost never have lights at night, and most certainly never wear vest w the name of their employers. Also they ride the wrong way on one way streets,day and night. I have been struck by a wrong way riding delivery guy at night crossing E 5th St,
my wife has been sideswiped on the OP sidewalk, and my little dog has had near misses.
There is absolutely no enforcement in this neighborhood. You don't see these jerks getting away w this in Park Slope.
How can I get some enforcement here in Kensington?

Dec. 09 2013 11:14 AM
hicoachrich from Murray Hill

i own 6 bikes and i am a charter Citibike member. i am completely FOR allowing electric bikes. look at European cities full of scooters and motorcycles as a primary means of transport. we should have promoted that but didnt. now we have a chance to get away from the even the emissions from scooters and motorcycles running on gas. what needs to happen is registration, AND proper lighting, AND a sound being added to them by manufacturers for safety---like adding scent to propane gas. and then tickets should be issued to those riding on sidewalks etc. electric cars could have sound added too.
citibike on a hot humid day in a suit going to a client meeting does not work. too often a cab is the only alternative. we can lower emissions---a desperate need here--with e bikes. we need to take steps needed to make them workable.

Dec. 09 2013 11:13 AM

RE: Below:

"…Chinese 'DELIVERY' guys to smoke more comfortably."

Dec. 09 2013 11:13 AM
Tony from Brooklyn

I have a folding Xootr with a Currie Electric Assist motor. I use it as my commuting vehicle - the electric assist negates my argument that I'm too tired to ride in the AM. The system has a top speed if 20 mph with an electric cut off but it an be hacked and have a top speed of 25 mph with a huge decrease in battery life. I'm disappointed to hear of the ban as I ride safely and frequently stop at lights. What ever happened to "looking left, right, and left again"?

Dec. 09 2013 11:13 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

It may be a good idea to register electric bicycles so that if they violate any laws, there is some kind of identification number for summonses, but they should not be outlawed. They should follow the same guidelines as regular bicycles, including NOT driving on the sidewalk. Perhaps once people register electric bicycles, they should be required to take a 3 hour class every other year in order to maintain their registration. That way, they'd know the law, use their electric bicycles in accordance, and NOT be able to own or register one if they've had a certain number of summonses over the course of whatever period of time.

@ Nick from UWS: No cussing on the site, please. Some of us prefer literate conversation.

@ Site Moderator: Why didn't you censor out Nick's obscene language?

Dec. 09 2013 11:11 AM
Pam from ny

NY has had for forty yrs. laws on mopeds: license for high-speed ones; none on low-speed ones. What's the problem???

Dec. 09 2013 11:11 AM
paulb from Prospect Heights

Callers may declare these things are dangerous, but are they really? I doubt there have been many injuries.

Dec. 09 2013 11:10 AM

Impound them!!!

Dec. 09 2013 11:10 AM

A spokeswoman for the ACLU speaking on WNYC about the appointment of Bill Bratton as police commissioner said that among other things she wanted a "precipitous decline in the number of summonses issued for bicycles on the sidewalk." What do you make of that?

Dec. 09 2013 11:09 AM

Just ride a good old fashioned PEDAL bicycle!!!

All that these motorcycles do is allow the Chinese to smoke more comfortably.

Yes, to electric motorcycles!!! NO, TO TREATING LIKE "BICYCLES"!!!


Dec. 09 2013 11:09 AM
steve from Manhattan

It's not the technology that's a problem -- it's the use, or abuse... Electric bikes are NOT bicycles, have NO place riding fast in bike lanes where bikes go a certain speed and these things overwhelm us, and MUST be regulated as motorcycles or motorbikes. Part of the problem is that most who currently use these are food delivery people who are reckless, ignore the laws, and yet ride them as if bikes.... Support the technology, but change the law to reflect the basic reality --- these are NOT bicycles, and MUST be regulated as motor vehicles!!!

Dec. 09 2013 11:09 AM
Chuck from Lower Manhattan

Agree with John, but the problem is all restaurant delivery operations that ignore the laws, whether the bikes are electric or pedal-powered. No lights, no ID, no respect for traffic laws. The businesses need to control the people they use. Papa John's on Maiden Lane major offender.

Dec. 09 2013 11:07 AM


It so happens that the motor is electric - MOTORCYCLE!!!

Get them OUT OF THE bike lanes, off the side walks, put lights on them, put helmets on the idiots that ride them, license them and TICKET THE SH*T OUT OF THEM!!!


PS: I'm a 25year bicyclists.

Dec. 09 2013 11:06 AM
John from Washington Heights

As long as they follow the rules we should promote electric bikes over the gas powered and smelly Vespas. A single Vespa spews way more noxious fumes than a new car. I'd hate to see all the delivery guys start using Vespas and Honda Sprees. To make Vespas legal while making clean, quiet electric bikes illegal is totally insane! Make them follow the rules of the road. They're no more dangerous than a regular biker ignoring the safety rules.

Dec. 09 2013 11:06 AM
Nick from UWS

"We need to have a full compliment of enforcement as we proceed into these environmental opportunities." Spoken like a true Newspeak robot.

Dec. 09 2013 11:06 AM
John from New York

What's your interest in this?? Woah, Brian what is your problem with bicycles? I thought you were a biker. Going on the sidewalk?? When was the last time you asked this to one of your fellow bikers?

This is just unreasonable panic. Why on earth would an electric bike register when motorized skateboards aren't?

And stop saying that they go to fast. They go as fast as bicycles. These are just bicycles for people who can't bike all day long.

Dec. 09 2013 11:06 AM
oscsr from ny

The city could care less about the safety of the ppl they just want money

Dec. 09 2013 11:05 AM
linda Griggs from LES

Why not just put bicycle speed bumps on the west side in the mixed use areas.
Speed is the issue, right?

Dec. 09 2013 11:04 AM
keith from Manhattan

The crackdown on electric assisted vehicles is a huge mistake. There should be uniform enforcement on safety for all vehicles, to curb excessive speed, riding on sidewalks, etc... but this is an environmentally friendly alternative to gas cars, etc. We should encourage, NOT ban, their use.

Dec. 09 2013 11:04 AM

Aren't electric bikes just another form of moped? NY must have laws dealing with mopeds already? I've seen Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) on a moped

Dec. 09 2013 11:04 AM

Whether its manual or motorized cycling, pedestrians won't be safe unless these folks follow traffic laws. This entire discussion is nitpicking equipment and enforcement. The priority should be safety.

I don't care what you use - just stay off the sidewalk.

By the way Brian - bicycles can go much faster than 15 mph. It depends on how fast the cyclist is pedaling. I've personally seen many of these deliverymen and bike messengers bike faster than 15mph.

Dec. 09 2013 11:04 AM
stephen from manhattan

The NYPD enforcement of bicyclist — electric or otherwise — is a complete joke. Period.

Dec. 09 2013 11:03 AM

Whether its manual or motorized cycling, pedestrians won't be safe unless these folks follow traffic laws. This entire discussion is nitpicking equipment and enforcement. The priority should be safety.

I don't care what you use - just stay off the sidewalk.

By the way Brian - bicycles can go much faster than 15 mph. It depends on how fast the cyclist is pedaling. I've personally seen many of these deliverymen and bike messengers bike faster than 15mph.

Dec. 09 2013 11:03 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

This is another example of absurd law making. Instead of creating laws to regulate the electric bike, the pols move blindly to outlaw them. Regulate the damn things and let these delivery people use them. Clearly, they see a benefit (faster, less fatigue) in using the electric bikes.

Dec. 09 2013 11:02 AM
Nick from UWS

Jesus Christ...illegal this, illegal that, illegal to smoke, illegal to bike, illegal to walk clockwise around the reservoir, illegal to live like a fucking adult...I am so sick of tin-pot dictator Bloomberg and his drive to turn this city into a sterile pile of robot junk with little robots walking in prescribed directions. Fuck him and all his rules.

Dec. 09 2013 11:01 AM
John from NYC

This law is necessary. You should invite Nancy Gruskin on your show about her foundation. The Financial District in Downtown Manhattan is
really bad for pedestrians especially during the lunch hour with all these bicycle delivery people on electric bicycles.

From NYTimes - Wife of Man Killed by Cyclist Seeks Safer Streets

Dec. 09 2013 11:01 AM
Jose I from Brooklyn

Electric bike are quiet and clean. They also don't go that fast - not more than swift cyclist. Why on earth would you want to outlaw them? Why couldn't the city council create a mechanism to register them.
This city needs clean transport.

Dec. 09 2013 11:00 AM

Its about time that the city started clamping down on those pesky food delivery guys trying to make a living! Nice work Nanny Brewer.

Dec. 09 2013 10:58 AM
Ian from Brooklyn

Now there are two catagories of electric bikes. There are the bicycles with electric motor on the frame and there are the electric bikes that have morphed into mini mopeds. These guys are out of control. I drive a city bus and I see them dart in and out of traffic with no lights at night.
This is not really new in NYC, a few years ago it was the mini motorcycles that kids used to ride years ago.

This is a double edge sword though, cause at the same time these bikes are eco-friendly and push the electric motor innovations....
Can't have it both ways I guess.

Dec. 09 2013 10:56 AM

Despite the City Council action, I see motorbikes whenever I bike in midtown and lower Manhattan, usually see several every minute, and have never seen NYPD stop any of them.

Why is there still no enforcement against them?

Dec. 09 2013 10:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Mopeds" or bikes with electric motors have been used around the world since WWII. But they should be used and registered like motorcycles. They shouldn't be allowed to operate unregulated. They are motorized vehicles.

Dec. 09 2013 10:53 AM

Electric bikes are motorcycles and should be regulated as such, required to be licensed, and permitted to ride only where other motorcycles are permitted.

Electric motorbikes are especially dangerous to regular cyclists and pedestrians, because the electric bikes travel unexpectedly fast, weigh more, and are usually smaller wheelbase--all of which combines to make them harder to see, to come up on people much faster and sooner than anticipated, and to cause worse harm on contact.

The dangers of the motorbikes are compounded by the lawlessness of so many of their drivers going against traffic and, even when driving in right direction, zipping past regular bike riders very close and with no warning.

Dec. 09 2013 10:53 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I know that it is a godsend for delivery men but I always thought those bikes were illegal.

Delivery men don't do themselves any favors by abusing basic traffic laws.

Dec. 09 2013 10:52 AM
Joseph from Brooklyn

These unregistered motor vehicles were always illegal. All motor vehicles in New York State require registration. Of course making them illegal doesn't matter a damn since the NYPD can't be bothered to enforce the law. If this plague is to be removed from the city we don't need fines, WE NEED THE SCOOTERS TO BE TAKEN AWAY. When a rider is stopped: take it away. One is parked on the street? Take it away.

Dec. 09 2013 10:52 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

As annoying as they may be, e-bikes have killed zero people since they first appeared in NYC. Meanwhile, delivery cars, vans, and trucks, kill and injure countless New Yorkers. Banning e-bikes may result in more deliveries being made my car, which would be more dangerous in the long run to people who walk in New York.

Dec. 09 2013 10:52 AM
steve from queens

As someone who must drive a work vehicle - a full size van for my self employment, I am glad to hear these electric bikes are now illegal. We have enough with cyclists driving the wrong way down streets and cutting in and out - and the worry that we will hit one of them and be at fault (I am not sure a motorist has a defense when they hit a bicycle) - and that is greatly compounded by these electric bikes which are often driven recklessly and are somewhere between motor vehicle and bicycle. It was time to either make them motor vehicles and require them to be registered and insured - and therefor responsible and subject to the same rules of the road motorists must follow - or outlaw them. The city chose to outlaw them which may be unfair to many. But something had to be done and the city had the guts to do it. At some point maybe people will realize that they are the victims of their own actions - I would not be on here writing this and defending the city for what they did - if it were not for the sloppy and reckless driving habits of the people who ride these stupid things. if they had behaved better, maybe they would have slipped under the radar.

now, if one of these gets involved in a MVA, are they cited for unregistered and uninsured operation of a motor vehicle and possibly unlicensed operation, or are they treated as a victim?

Dec. 09 2013 10:13 AM
John A

Why don't they just create a class of motor vehicles to have them registered and controlled under?
In the future, motorcycles will go electric anyway, no pollution.

Dec. 09 2013 10:05 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

"Electronic" bikes? Are there electronics -- transistors, circuit boards, etc in these vehicles? Not everything electric is electronic, despite what the smart phone industry would have us believe.

Or do you really mean "electric" bikes -- bikes with electric motors?

Dec. 09 2013 10:04 AM

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