Today’s Headlines

  • Brooklynites: Let’s Get the Cars Out of Prospect Park (NewsPost)
  • The Times‘ Tappan Zee Commentary Fawns Over Cuomo’s Greenwashing
  • While the Post Lays Out Why a Transit-Free Bridge Is Unacceptable
  • Tri-State: What’s Going On With NY State’s Shifting Traffic Projections for the New Tappan Zee?
  • Lappin’s Fine for Riding an E-Bike: $1,000; Fine for Killing With a Car: $500 (GothamistDNA)
  • How Can the MTA Reverse the Trend of Declining Bus Ridership? (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Every Week, Two American Kids Are Killed By Drivers Backing Over Them (NYT)
  • Cop Crashes Patrol Car Into East New York Sidewalk, Arrested for Driving Drunk (NewsNYT)
  • Five Injured in Eastern Parkway Crash Yesterday Afternoon (DNA)
  • Gowanus Whole Foods: Read All About It (Bklyn Paper, Post, NYT)
  • Brooklyn Spoke Gives His Take on the Prospect Park Loop Plan

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • krstrois

    The “survey” that found that 72% of constituents were “almost” hit by an e-bike by their own estimation? Yes, that is definitely the kind of scientific study I would like my CC member to use to determine what legislation she should propose. 

    Seriously, these people cannot think they are not complicit in the e-bike problem when they want their Chinese food in ten minutes. 

    I do think e-bikes riders can be scary, but there has to be a more logical and effective way to deal with them. 

  • carma

    the problem with delivery bikes, regardless of ebike, bicycle is the salmoning.  so many times i encounter a salmon when im riding and we are both confused as who should move over to the traffic lane.  i try to hug over to the parking lane as much as possible without being doored.

    i disagree about the speed.  i can approach 30mph on my bike on nice downgrades or if i am going all out on a flat surface, and i have a regular gary fisher hybrid bike on skinny road tires.

  • Anonymous

    Strange picture of Eric in the Daily News piece-looking a little like Homer Simpson.

  • Pete

    @d8d46f16f380afef59ca318522397233:disqus – not just the salmoning, but the lack of lights.  If the NYPD wanted to do something effective regarding bicycle enforcement, they’d go after people for those two issues.

  • Joe R.

    What part of “NYC cannot legally ban ebikes” don’t these people understand? Federal law says that an ebike with a motor power of 750 watts or less, and a top speed of 20 mph or less, MUST be treated as a bicycle. States can make less restrictive laws, but not more restrictive laws.

    And like carma, I’ve approached and exceeded 30 mph many times on my regular pedal bikes (vintage 1980s Raleigh and titanium Airborne Torch). The Airborne is the faster of the two.  So far I’ve only had it up to 36 mph, but that’s wearing winter clothing and going through denser cold air. I’ve occasionally gotten past 50 mph on my Raleigh when conditions were perfect.

  • Joe R.

    Oh, and I agree about the salmoning and lack of lights, but this is a problem not just with e-bikes, but with regular bikes as well.  Nothing more disconcerting to be riding at night, and nearly collide with some bozo going the wrong way wearing dark clothing, at a closing speed sometimes up to 45 mph.

  • Mbft

    Still no excuse to break the law. E-bikes are not legal.

  • Joe R.

    @7cb3a1251c074a47f3f299075702df24:disqus No, e-bikes aren’t illegal.  Here’s the federal law governing them:

    The relevant part here is section d-namely that federal law supersedes any state law which is more stringent. Neither NYS nor NYC can legally ban e-bikes meeting the specifications in section b.

    LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC BICYCLES SEC. 38. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products within the meaning of section 3(a)(1) and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations.(b) For the purpose of this section, the term `low-speed electric bicycle’ means a 2- or 3-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 hp), 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.(c) To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.(d) This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a).’.

  • carma

    e-bikes are not illegal.  although i do tend to think some of those e-scooters maybe pushing it.  i mean they come with a freaking speedometer mounted in the middle just like a motorcycle.

    as other folks have noted, no lights are a big danger.  i dont need to see huge strobes, but at least something that i can identify that there is a bicyclist on the road.  reflectors simply dont cut it.

  • kevd

    Joe R – 
    Could some of the e-bikes I see on NYC streets be more powerful and have a top speed of well over 20mph?
    I’m not that slow, and sometimes they fly past me.

    I don’t really see that much of a problem with them being “e” bikes.
    Stay off the side walk, ride the correct direction, use lights, and stay under 20mph.
    Then there shouldn’t be many problems. 

    This really falls under the category of “upper east side problems” which is a very tiny subset of minor annoyances within the larger set of “first world problems.” 

  • kevd

    I think part of this anti e bike thing is because they are used almost exclusively by immigrant delivery people. Many of whom have very limited English. A pretty easy group to pick on and make up absurd fines for. I wouldn’t say that Lapin is a crazy anti-asian racist. But this policy is clearly directed at a vulnerable and powerless group.

  • kevd

    Also, I don’t actually care if e-bikees are going 30mph. I just think they should have to do it in traffic lanes. In bike lanes and paths, keep it under 20, since some riders a puttering around in them at 6mph.

  • Eric McClure

    Doh! Thanks, Geck. They wanted to shoot me against the backdrop of the screen — indeed, not very flattering — but I’ll happily trade my vanity for the News getting the story straight.

  • dporpentine

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus That’s a Consumer Product Safety Commission regulation. It governs how e-bikes are sold. The Consumer Product Safety Commission cannot tell you what can or cannot go on your roads. 

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Also, I don’t actually care if e-bikees are going 30mph. I just think they should have to do it in traffic lanes. In bike lanes and paths, keep it under 20, since some riders a puttering around in them at 6mph.”I agree.  Moreover, while some might consider it a cost-inflating nanny-state rule, shouldn’t all adult bikes in NYC be sold with lights and bells attached?

  • Joe R.

    @kevdflb:disqus It’s entirely possible that some e-bikes are indeed faster and more powerful. So far though, all the ones I’ve encountered I’ve had no trouble keeping up with. I really could even make a good argument that NYC should have a less stringent restriction and allow e-bike speeds up to 30 mph because: a) that’s the local speed limit b) they would have the potential to replace more car trips c) many cyclists on regular bikes can approach or exceed 30 mph.

    Whether or not to allow e-bikes in bike lanes is another argument entirely. I say let them in if they keep to 20 mph or less.  Any faster, then just ride in the traffic lanes. And keep to 10 mph or less on sidewalks (I realize sidewalk riding is illegal but this compromise lets deliverymen complete their rounds quickly without unduly endangering pedestrians).

    @c661ddb94bcffdc2c6124e349eafdc77:disqus I’ve heard that interpretation before but I’m pretty sure the intent of the law was to encourage e-bike use by specifically prohibiting states from treating them any differently than regular bicycles on the roads. In any case, I’m still not understanding all the fuss here. If e-bikes are dangerous, then it’s because they’re operated improperly, not because they’re e-bikes. Fix that first before banning e-bikes.

  • carma

    no, of course bikes shouldnt be mandated to be sold with bells and lights.
    pretty self explanatory that not all bicycles will be used exclusively on roads and in the dark.  however, i do agree on fines AND enforce it rigorously for not having lights.

    with regard for bells, my loud voice is louder than ANY bell.

  • dporpentine

    The most recent article I could find on the legality of e-bikes: 
    So, as of May 17, 2011, e-bikes were still illegal in this state.

  • Joe R.

    NYS remains the only state not to have changed its laws to match federal law, which is the purpose of pending Senate Bill 1357A (the Assembly already passed legislation to legalize use of e-bikes). The pending bill hasn’t been passed yet mostly because of the glacial pace of things in Albany. Once 1357A passes, there’s no gray area.  E-bikes would be legal in NYS and NYC.

  • moocow

    No Larry, I don’t think that is nanny state thinking to have lights sold with bikes.  I think the last reason you should have lights on your bike is because it is illegal to not have them after dark.  They are a safety device that makes life safer for other cyclists, I don’t care if you don’t want that distracted driver to notice you, I want to be able to pick YOU out of background lights. You hear me unlit salmon? 
    I started using them when I realized I couldn’t see unlit bikes coming at me on the bridges. There is no excuse not to have them, simply put.  (even crap ones work and are not expensive. A few subway fares saved, can buy them)
    Obviously enforcement is not working. If people had them from the start, were forced to buy them, they may then see the importance from the beginning of their cycling career.

  • Anonymous

    From the “politics makes strange bedfellows” file, it’s amusing to see the car-crazy Post speaking out in favor of transit on the Tappan Zee (because any excuse to criticize Cuomo is good enough for them) while the (you would assume, anyway) more pro-transit Times speaks out in favor of a plan that wouldn’t seem to fit with their viewpoints (because they’re all about Cuomo).

  • fj

    If we are lucky we will wise up immediately and rapidly transition to low-greenhouse-gas-emission energy technologies.

    Wasting fossil fuels and or electrical energy on cars makes absolutely no sense.

    Important paper:

    Greenhouse gases, climate change and the transition from coal to low-carbon electricity

    N P Myhrovold and K Caldeira