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Shameful Scenes From de Blasio’s Crackdown on Delivery Workers Who Use Electric Bikes

2:28 PM EST on January 16, 2018

NYPD collects e-bikes on First Avenue in Manhattan. Photo: @belleoflonglake/Twitter

As promised, Mayor de Blasio's crackdown on electric bikes is in effect. NYPD precincts are boasting about confiscating bikes from delivery workers in the name of Vision Zero, though there is no evidence that e-bike riders pose a significant public safety threat.

Over the weekend, the 19th Precinct, on the Upper East Side, tweeted a photo of seized e-bikes:

At a recent Community Board 7 meeting, the 20th Precinct, which covers the Upper West Side, said that out of 58 bike crashes in 2017, only one involved an e-bike rider, according to Village Voice reporter Christopher Robbins.

E-bikes are legal to own, but due to a quirk in state law are illegal to ride. Rather than ignore the law, as the city mostly did before, or work to get it changed, de Blasio has chosen to make an example of people who rely on e-bikes to support themselves and their families, hitting them with hefty fines, loss of personal property, and in some cases the possibility of deportation.

De Blasio insists he's targeting business owners rather than delivery workers themselves, but that's a fiction, since most workers are employed as independent contractors and use their own bikes.

Says Lee:

Jiang, a Chinese delivery worker, told us that delivery workers used to be primarily scared of being robbed. Now he says, “We get scared when we see the police -- fear in the heart. Every ticket is $500. Receiving two tickets, one month’s work goes down the drain.”

While NYPD terrorizes working cyclists, people on bikes continue to face the real mortal threat on NYC streets. More city cyclists were killed by motorists in 2017 than in any year since 2007.

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