E-Bikes Are Banned in NYC, But Crush a Man With an Illegal Big Rig and de Blasio Won’t Care

That a trucker can pilot an oversized rig through the Upper West Side and maim someone without a word from Bill de Blasio is the epitome of e-bike hysteria hypocrisy.

The block of Amsterdam Avenue where the driver of an illegal, oversized tractor-trailer critically injured a man yesterday. Photo via Google Street View
The block of Amsterdam Avenue where the driver of an illegal, oversized tractor-trailer critically injured a man yesterday. Photo via Google Street View

While Mayor de Blasio and NYPD punish delivery workers for riding electric bicycles, drivers who run people over with semi trucks are not being penalized in any way, even when the truck is too large to be operated legally on city streets.

The driver of a 2016 Freightliner critically injured a man on Amsterdam Avenue near 106th Street shortly before 1 a.m. Monday. In the implausible victim-blaming account relayed by NYPD to Streetsblog, the victim was jogging north on Amsterdam’s west sidewalk, in the same direction as the trucker, when he entered the roadway, “striking the side” of the trailer.

The victim was dragged by the trailer’s rear wheels “for some distance” as the driver attempted to stop, an NYPD spokesperson said. He was transported to Mt. Sinai/St. Luke’s Hospital with injuries to his legs, torso, and internal organs. The victim’s injuries were serious enough that the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad, which works only the most serious crashes, was dispatched to the scene.

A Daily News photo indicates that the truck exceeds the 55-foot limit for legal operation on NYC surface streets. Trucks over 55 feet long are allowed only when carrying non-divisible loads, like construction beams, and have a DOT permit. There is no permit for a truck carrying boxes or other divisible cargo in an enclosed 53-foot trailer, such as the one involved in Monday’s crash.

Yet NYPD did not charge the driver, and issued no summonses. Instead, as it has done in other instances when a trucker harmed someone who could not give his side of the story, police blamed the victim for the collision.

That’s what happened last October when a tractor-trailer driver sideswiped and killed 24-year-old Abu Rifat as he rode his bike on Amsterdam near W. 72nd Street, the intersection where de Blasio soon after announced his e-bike crackdown.

The mayor’s e-bike crusade was prompted by Upper West Side resident Matthew Shefler, whose complaints about e-bike riders got a boost from WNYC. Due to a flaw in state code, e-bikes are legal to own but illegal to ride.

There is no record of an e-bike rider killing anyone in NYC. Nevertheless, de Blasio and NYPD have ramped up enforcement and are confiscating e-bikes from delivery workers at an accelerated pace.

Semi truck drivers, meanwhile, have killed at least 13 people walking and biking on surface streets since the 2014 launch of the city’s Vision Zero program, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

Though trucks with 53-foot trailers are illegal, you can stand on a typical NYC street corner and it won’t be long before one rumbles by. Truck route enforcement varies widely from precinct to precinct. In the 20th — which covers the area where Rifat was struck — officers ticketed 111 off-route truckers last year, or an average of one every three days. To the immediate north in the 24th Precinct, where Monday’s crash occurred, officers issued just three tickets for truck route violations in all of 2017.

That a trucker can pilot an illegal rig through the Upper West Side and maim someone without a word from de Blasio is the epitome of e-bike hysteria hypocrisy.

  • J

    DeBlasio style of governing is to do whatevert the people yelling the loudest say, be they police unions, teacher unions or people whining about e-bikes. Just an awful way to run a city.

  • Joe R.

    More and more I miss Bloomberg’s style of data-driven governing. Bloomberg may have had all the charisma of an accountant, but at least he didn’t let whiners dictate policy.

  • JarekFA

    I’ve tried asking my local precincts about oversized truck and even noted how one recently killed someone. Crickets. And I know they read my tweets since they “like” the ones where I thank them when they tweet out a bunch of guns they’ve removed from the street.


  • r

    And that’s not even 100% correct since people yell pretty loud about oversized tractor trailers. The better explanation is that everything for him is filtered not through what’s morally right, but what’s politically advantageous. A wealthy investment banker is more important to him than immigrant delivery workers or “those” bike advocates.

    He’s bad, bad, bad.

  • crazytrainmatt

    I didn’t see this spelled out anywhere and I’ve been curious how many of the trailers I see around town are illegal. Is that number “53” on the front side of the trailer its length in feet? I suppose a typical cab is at least 10′, so any trailers over 40′ or so are likely illegal?

  • JarekFA
  • Joe R.

    Unless they’re autonomous, in which case a 53′ trailer is still within the 55′ limit:


  • Vooch

    all illegal

  • MasonEagle

    DeBlazero is a LAZY ASSED COWARD.

  • BortLicensePlatez

    Why do you thank them? They are the enemy of everything good in this city.

  • Is there going to be an investigation?

  • joyauto

    It’s all about money, not safety. Trucks are the life-line for commerce. The city can’t discourage them from coming to NYC by holding drivers accountable for their irresponsibility. They claim to be professionals. Ha!

  • GIOP


  • CurmudgeonNYC

    Driving a massive truck in NYC is just asking for trouble. Plus many of the drivers are fucking retards.



  • neroden

    He was testing to see whether they read his tweets, obviously!

  • neroden

    Yeah, government by those yelling the loudest… there are worse ways to govern.

    What’s happening right now, where people are yelling loudly about the carnage and mass manslaughter on city streets, and the city government’s response is “no criminality”… that’s the worst way to govern. It’s corrupt and murderous.

  • There are a limited number of entry points to the islands that make up the city. Shouldn’t there be checkpoints stopping trucks that are too big and checking for correct paperwork?


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