New E-Scooter Bills Seek to Stop NYPD Crackdown on E-Bikes

Councilman Rafael Espinal is crafting legislation that, he says, will bring throttle-controlled bikes favored by delivery workers out of the shadows.

NYPD's crackdown on electric-assist bikes could end under a proposed bill. Photo:  NYPD
NYPD's crackdown on electric-assist bikes could end under a proposed bill. Photo: NYPD

A Brooklyn lawmaker who hopes to legalize e-scooters in New York has another goal with his proposed legislation — he wants to stop the NYPD from cracking down on e-bikes popular with delivery workers.

Council Member Rafael Espinal told Streetsblog that his long-awaited e-scooter legislation will include some kind of wording to “have the NYPD back off going after the bike riders.”

rafael espinal

At issue for Espinal is the de Blasio administration’s ongoing crackdown against delivery workers who use electric bikes that are controlled with a hand throttle. Such bikes are considered illegal under state law, but earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio legalized e-bikes that get their batter boost through pedaling rather than flicking a switch on the handlebar.

Ever since that decision, cyclists and delivery worker advocates have blasted the mayor for a double standard that allows the owners of expensive pedal-assist e-bikes — and bike share companies such as Citi Bike and Jump — to ride fast and carefree while delivery workers are subject to $500 tickets and confiscation of their bikes.

Neither the mayor nor the police commissioner has ever provided evidence that e-bike users have caused more injuries or crashes.

Espinal (above) said his legislation would seek to “legalize throttle bikes in city code.”

“My main concern is that delivery bikes will not be penalized anymore,” he told Streetsblog. “We need to figure out a way to bring them out of the shadows and I am looking at a lot of little loopholes to do that.”

He added that he believes the state “will still have to act to create language to codify these bikes,” but believes his bill could force the NYPD to back off for now.

Streetsblog reached out to legal counsel for the NYPD, but did not hear back under tight deadline pressure on Tuesday. (We will update this story if either entity responds.)

This pedal-assist bike is legal, but most delivery workers' bikes are not. Photo: DOT
This pedal-assist bike is legal, but most delivery workers’ bikes are not. Photo: DOT

Espinal will introduce the legislation on Wednesdsay, the Times reports. Speaking to Streetsblog, he said he was motivated to help delivery workers partly because of the de Blasio double-standard, but also because popular e-scooters by Bird, Scoot, Lime and other companies are controlled with a hand-throttle.

“I felt we couldn’t move on an e-scooter bill without talking about bikes because they’re both throttle-control,” he said.

Espinal said his e-scooter bill, which he is co-authoring with Council Member Ydanis Rodriquez, would include a mandate to study how e-scooters affect pedestrian and cyclist flow. Other cities have had issues with scooter users riding on the sidewalk. And some cyclists are worried that e-scooters are faster than conventional bikes, potentially creating conflict in bike lanes.

The mayor’s office did not have a specific comment on the bill. Mayoral spokesman Seth Stein reminded Streetsblog that e-scooters remain illegal for now, but added, “the Mayor is committed to innovation as part of his all-of-the-above transportation strategy to get New Yorkers moving again.”

“We look forward to reviewing the proposals with an eye toward both transportation innovation and safety on our streets and sidewalks,” Stein added.

  • ortcutt

    “He added that he believes the state “will still have to act to create language to codify these bikes,” but believes his bill could force the NYPD to back off for now.”

    Why don’t they do things properly and actually pass appropriate e-bike legislation?

  • 8FH

    The city can’t preempt state law.

  • ortcutt

    Sorry. I don’t know why I thought he was an Assemblyman. The question applies to the Legislature now then. Now that Democrats will soon control both houses and the Governorship, when are they going to take up sensible e-bike legislation?

  • r

    The fact is the NYPD could back off right now. They don’t need the state and the city to figure things out. They just need leadership from City Hall and 1PP. There are plenty of laws the police enforce selectively. It was only the order and press conference from the mayor that brought the hammer down on these delivery cyclists. A mayor with courage who cared about immigrants and the poor would call it off.

  • Elizabeth F

    I believe this is a political non-starter, and will only serve to continue to dysfunctional stalemate we currently have. It is also not necessary, because legal Class 1 (pedal assist) e-bikes also work well for food delivery, and existing e-bikes can be converted. I believe a bill more likely to pass would look something like this, it has something for everyone:

    a) Legalize motorized scooters without seats and top speed of 15mph (compare to top speed of 20mph for e-bikes).
    b) Effective penalties and system of enforcement against the sale of illegal motorized scooters. Shops selling illegal motorized scooters need to either get in compliance with the law, or go out of business. Otherwise, they will continue to sell illegal vehicles, no matter what the law is.
    c) Elimination of penalties / enforcement against users of illegal motorized scooters for a grace period (1 year).
    d) Official guidance on conversion of existing Class 2 (throttle) e-bikes to pedal assist (Class 1).

  • Elizabeth F

    > Why don’t they do things properly and actually pass appropriate e-bike legislation?

    Because of one grumpy state legislator in Rochester. He will probably have to die before we see progress. But that might be only a couple more years.

  • Elizabeth F

    City law does pre-empt state law. NYC Vehicle & Traffic law operates under a giant NYS “carve-out”; meaning, yes, they do get to make their own laws on e-bikes.

    Case in point… pedal-assist e-bikes are legal in NYC, but NO ebikes are legal in NYS. Of course, these laws are rarely enforced outside of NYC. Also, turn-on-red is legal in NYS but illegal in NYC.

  • Mariposa_3676

    What’s with the NYPD’s selective enforcement, especially when it comes to traffic?

  • Mariposa_3676

    I thought that about Silver. I was so wrong.

  • 8FH

    I’d like to hear more on this. My impression was that there were only specific things that are different, and those are all codified at the state level. Could you point me towards some sources I could use to educate myself?

    edit: The ebike thing is because there is no state law on ebikes, and they were in a grey area between motor vehicles and bicycles. Where there is no state law, the city can legislate. It might be the same thing for traffic lights. However, there are other NYC specific laws around bike lanes. I don’t know how that plays in with all this.

  • AMH

    Start by just skimming the NYS VTL. There are numerous sections that include an exception for “cities of one million or more” which is of course only NYC. So city law doesn’t pre-empt state law so much as it fills the gap created for it.

  • Elizabeth F
  • Elizabeth F

    See here, this was written by an actual lawyer:

    https://www.citylandnyc.org/scooters-hoverboards-bicycles-whats-legal/

  • Joe R.

    The fact they’re actually talking about it is encouraging. If we did something along the lines of what you suggest, the one year grace period might be long enough to get the holdouts on board for legalizing throttle-equipped e-bikes. Although pedal assist can work for food delivery, consider that a fair number of these workers are in their 50s or even 60s. Turning the pedals might not seem like much effort until you have to do it for 8 or 10 hours a day.

  • motorock

    Give some money to the mayor and he may just do anything you ask him. It’s clear he doesn’t really care about the people. His one mention of motorcycles in vision zero led to massive harassment of legal motorcyclists this summer without increasing safety for anyone because again that was based on zero facts and statistics. And again NYPD was the agency they asked. SMH.

  • Joseph R.

    Would your first idea also account for electric boards like the Onewheel, Boosted, Solowheel, etc..? It seems like so much focus seems to be getting put on very specific modes of transportation, but in reality there’s so many different and great personal transportation options that seem to be getting overlooked.

    With all the existing options, and newer devices coming out, it feels like we should be looking at smaller personal transport vehicles as a whole, not picking whatever specific device is most popular at the time and trying to regulate that alone.

  • AnoNYC

    Eh.

    Just legalize the damn throttles. All that other stuff is difficult to enforce and wouldn’t make a difference. If I want a 20+ MPH bike, skateboard or scooter or whatever I’m going online for example.

    The NYPD should just crackdown on ebikers/ekick scooters/eboarders/emonowheelers, or bicyclists in general, that are behaving in a way that can cause a collision. That means cops on electric bikes too.

    And why all this madness about ekick scooters when they are already popular here, along with eskateboards with even smaller wheels and 20-25 MPH top speed. The dangers are HIGHLY exaggerated.

  • AnoNYC

    Yeah this craziness about electric kick scooters is ridiculous. People already have been riding these things in NYC. The national media just caught on to the negative press about them because in most of the country people don’t bike, let alone walk, and the electric kick scooters are attracting people (which means more crashes).

  • AnoNYC

    It also sucks in the summer when you’re drenched in sweat. Even turning the pedals at the highest level of assist will generate a ton of body heat. Just sitting on the bike reduces it.

    Then there are those who have limited physical mobility.

    How about when people have a contagious illness, too sick to want to pedal but still get to get to where they are going.

    Think beyond delivery personnel. If we can get more commuters out of cars and onto bikes or scooters they just sit on to get where they have to go. Major win.

    Failing to authorize throttle control is ridiculous. A lot of people DO NOT want to pedal for the length of their commutes.

  • Joe R.
  • Arrow 26A

    About time ! I commute everyday on my ebike and the ticket blitz was getting out of hand not even the NYPD know the law and weather we pass red lights or not ? . But ebikes should be registered and inspected to top speed of 20MPH and make (Mopeds Fake Motorcycles) electric boards and scooters illegal.

  • Arrow 26A

    Instant death getting hit by a car Is exaggerated? Not wearing helmet ? Yes sureee there

  • AnoNYC

    Getting hit by a car is not limited to those using an electric kick scooter. People already ride these things here in NYC, and have been for a long time now. How many people have been killed or seriously injured?

    And wearing a helmet is a personal choice.

  • inline_four

    I agree that we should consider people of all physical abilities with respect to our transit policies. However, I feel this conversation around treating electric bikes like bicycles a little disingenuous. We do need to fight congestion and motorized 2-wheeled transport can help in a major way. I ride bicycles, gas scooters, and motorcycles. I think it makes all the sense in the world to consider and promote all of these for the city. But look at the state of electric technology, which is rapidly evolving. I don’t think it’s wise to have fast and heavy vehicles mixed in with regular bicycles in bike lanes and with pedestrians in multiuse paths. My feeling is we have to figure out how to properly classify electric bikes and require appropriate endorsement from operators and expect them to be on city streets with other motorized traffic.

  • JohnBrownForPresident

    nah, BdB needs to only pretend he’s progressive by making great tweets. Other than that he’s a Bloombergian centrist little shithead.

  • Maggie

    But why?

    The hand-throttle bikes that facilitate delivery of tens of thousands of meals a day obviously work well for millions of customers and the delivery cyclists. Hand throttle electric bikes aren’t in fact hurting anybody – if they were, it would be evident in the data. Why do you insist that delivery cyclists jump through additional, expensive hoops for no benefit to them and at the cost of further indulging groundless snobbishness that emanates from the UWS? Against the cost of further indulging a misguided, scapegoating crackdown on the backs of hardworking delivery cyclists, what specifically do you think would be gained? Who gives an F whether they keep a hand throttle or a pedal assist, when the hand throttle works well in practice.

  • Elizabeth F

    Why? Because:

    1. Political realism. Politics is the art of compromise, finding a middle ground, and building consensus. Based on experience over the past 5 years, I believe a bill like the one I outlined would be FAR more likely to pass than one that simply legalizes Class 2. Go ahead, prove me wrong. But in the meantime, we’re in a stalemate in which delivery workers continue to be unfairly targeted.

    2. Disabling a throttle is cheap and easy (<$5). I did it to my delivery-type e-bike with a bit of tape and glue; or cut the wires. So please don't go on about "additional, expensive hoops." It's a gesture of goodwill to e-bike haters that only marginally affects the utility of the bike.

    3. Respect for the rule of law. E-bikes are popular in both Europe and China. In Europe, e-bikes available to consumers are largely only those that are legal to use in Europe; and they have become a valued and well-accepted part of the urban landscape. China has e-bike regulations too, but e-bikes sold widely flout those regulations. The result has been rising tensions and e-bike bans in a number of Chinese cities. We will all be better off if we can go down a path that looks more like Europe than China.

    Currently, a small handful of NYC e-bike shops (that provide the majority of delivery e-bikes) are actively flouting the law against selling Class 2 e-bikes. The consequences of this lawlessness fall on the delivery workers, not the shops profiting from selling them the bikes. The e-bikes sold by these shops are also non-compliant in other ways; in particular, the top speed of the current model (28mph) is too high for Federal e-bike standards. Even if throttles are legalized, these e-bikes will still subject delivery workers to NYPD harassment. If motivated, these shops could modify their e-bike designs to a legal pedal assist 20mph at minimal cost. But they don't. Delivery workers deserve to know that if they buy an e-bike from the shop, that it is legal to use. Just like you assume that a car you buy from the Chevy dealer is legal to use.

  • Maggie

    Okay. So your belief is that because you disabled a throttle and it cost you less than $5, there is no need to legalize the electric throttles that are widely used, benefit many, and cause no harm.

    I disagree, but it’s helpful to understand your position. I can tell you feel strongly about keeping the current law in place.

  • Elizabeth F

    No, you missed the point. Let me be more clear and short:

    1. I don’t feel strongly about keeping the current law in place. I’d be happy if throttles are legalized, and I would re-enable mine. But I don’t believe legalizing throttles is politically realistic this year.

    2. I do believe strongly in a society based on the rule of law. The core failure here is that bike shops are flouting the law by selling illegal products; and yet delivery workers, not the bike shops, bear the brunt of that lawlessness. This is unjust; and it needs to be addressed by getting bike shops to comply with the law, rather than changing the law to comply with whatever the bike shops want to sell. Even if throttles are legalized, delivery workers will still be at risk of harassment because the bikes currently being sold are too fast as well (even though delivery workers are rarely / never able to use that extra speed in crowded NYC streets).

  • Maggie

    from the article: “earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio legalized e-bikes that get their batter boost through pedaling rather than flicking a switch on the handlebar.”

    Still, you call legalizing the ebikes that NYC’s delivery cyclists actually ride a ‘political nonstarter’. That smells odd to me. I do agree with you that de Blasio is defending a dysfunctional status quo. I’ll agree to disagree with you and hope that de Blasio finishes legalizing ebikes by including the ones delivery cyclists actually use.

  • Elizabeth F

    It is widely mis-understood what DeBlasio did earlier this year. NYC is a democracy: the Council makes laws, and the mayor signs them. Clearly, DeBlasio is not able to unilaterally change the law without the Council’s involvement; and the City Council was not involved earlier this year. What DeBlasio actually did was issue an executive order directing City agencies to comply with the existing law, which did not ban pedal-assist e-bikes. That was widely mis-reported as “DeBlasio legalized pedal-assisted e-bikes.” Before DeBlasio made that executive order, pedal-assist e-bikes were already legal, there were already bike shops selling them (and successfully fighting off bogus fines form City inspectors because their wares were legal), and ZERO reports of their customers ever being cited for riding an e-bike.

    Therefore, DeBlasio did nothing other than tell city agencies to follow existing law. Without the executive order, there’s a chance that someone riding a legal e-bike would have been cited, taken it to court, and won against the City. DeBlasio’s executive order is good because (a) it’s better if everyone just follows the law without getting the courts involved, and (b) it showed leadership in changing peoples’ minds and attitudes.

    > hope that de Blasio finishes legalizing ebikes by including the ones delivery cyclists actually use.

    DeBlasio does not have the power to do this because NYC is a democracy. Class 2 ebikes are currently illegal under twin laws from 2004 (supported by Transportation Alternatives at the time, and passed over Bloomberg’s veto) that define the term “motorized scooter” and ban both their sale and use in NYC. (It just so happens that pedal assist e-bikes don’t fit the definition of “motorized scooter”, therefore they were never illegal). Changing this law requires an act of the City Council. For example, Mr. Espinal might introduce a bill to change the law. And if that bill can gain the right majority votes and not be vetoed by DeBlasio, then it becomes law.

    > Still, you call legalizing the ebikes that NYC’s delivery cyclists actually ride a ‘political nonstarter’. That smells odd to me.

    Why does it smell odd? Changing the law would require a majority of City Council members to vote for the change. It’s one thing for Espinal to introduce this bill; but there are plenty of City Council members whose constituents would be furious at them for voting for such a bill. And then there’s the issue of political horse-trading: how much political capital will the various council members be willing to spend to legalize throttles?

    I just don’t see the votes.

  • Elizabeth F

    Sometimes politicians introduce bills they know will go nowhere for political reasons — to raise awareness, or force a vote, or please their base. Witness the numerous times the Republican Congress voted to repeal Obamacare (and Obama promptly vetoed every one).

  • Elizabeth F

    Yes… Mr. Do has done a lot to raise awareness of the reality of delivery workers in NYC.

  • Joe R.

    Anything gas-powered shouldn’t be promoted in the city. That’s especially true of small vehicles like motorcycles and scooters which are easily made electric these days. That aside, the reason to treat some types of electric personal transportation appliances like bikes is because they perform similarly to bikes. Nobody is suggesting something with 5 or 10 HP, and capable of highway speeds, should be allowed on sidewalks or bike lanes. However, small vehicles weighing not much more than a bike, with top speeds of 30 mph or less (about the peak speed a fit human rider can achieve) should be treated like a bicycle. For most electric bikes with a top speed of 20 mph or less, bike infrastructure may be the only thing they can use as they lack the speed to keep up with cars in a general traffic lane. Maybe you can not allow 30 mph e-bikes in some of the more narrow bike lanes but they would need a visible sticker or something else to indicate they must use general traffic lanes in those cases.

    My feeling is we have to figure out how to properly classify electric bikes and require appropriate endorsement from operators and expect them to be on city streets with other motorized traffic.

    The entire point of these “performs similarly to a bicycle” vehicles is that they’re legally treated just like bicycles (i.e. no license, registration, insurance, or helmet requirements). This is done intentionally to encourage their use. If you have to bother getting a license, registration, etc., a lot of people will just get a car. If we want people to use more sensible vehicles in cities, then the barriers to entry have to be as low as feasible, basically just the purchase price of the vehicle plus maintenance. The primary reason for licensing, insurance, etc. is to do something considered by the state potentially somewhat dangerous and likely to result in a lot of damage if done wrong. Motor vehicles weighing a few thousand pounds, capable of triple-digit speeds, definitely fall into that category. A vehicle which weighs about as much as a cyclist carrying a little cargo, and can go no faster than a strong cyclist can, should be regulated exactly the same way a regular bicycle would be.

  • Joe R.

    Actually, I read that the 28 mph top speed is only illegal if there is a throttle. If the bike is pedal assist, there is no legal requirement to limit the top assist speed to only 20 mph. And the only reason these bikes stop the assist at 28 mph is to comply with the European limit of 45 km/hr for a “fast pedelec”. Not that it matters much because the federal power limit of 750 watts still applies. That effectively limits you to about 30 mph, give or take, even with no governer.

    In the outer boroughs especially where it’s sometimes necessary to ride in general traffic lanes for longer trips, 28 mph is very useful.

  • Elizabeth F

    Thanks, I was wrong. Federal law does not define a top speed if the bike is powered by pedal + throttle:

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/state-electric-bicycle-laws-a-legislative-primer.aspx

    I don’t know if the the current Arrow bikes can go faster than 20mph on throttle alone. I would not be surprised if they can. Either way, e-bikes faster than 20mph have no place on the bike lanes or paths of NYC. If such speeds become widespread in bike infrastructure, they would do widespread damage to our cause.

    Even if an e-bike is Class 3, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically legal to ride everywhere. In Europe, Class 3 e-bikes are restricted from most bicycle infrastructure.

    > In the outer boroughs especially where it’s sometimes necessary to ride in general traffic lanes for longer trips, 45 km/h is very useful.

    Then just buy an electric Class B moped, with a design speed of 30mph.

  • Joe R.

    Even if throttles are legalized, delivery workers will still be at risk of harassment because the bikes currently being sold are too fast as well (even though delivery workers are rarely / never able to use that extra speed in crowded NYC streets).

    Do you really think the cops would be able to tell the difference between the fast and slow bikes if the workers rarely or never use the extra speeds?

    We don’t even need new laws in place. To end the harassment all the mayor has to do is tell the NYPD to stop bothering delivery workers. In fact, that’s more or less exactly what they were doing until the mayor told them to start going after them.

  • Elizabeth F

    > Do you really think the cops would be able to tell the difference between the fast and slow bikes if the workers rarely or never use the extra speeds?

    Why are we letting shops sell this stuff and then talking about what NYPD might do? Wouldn’t it be easier to regulate the shops, than to “catch” people using stuff that doesn’t comply with the standards?

    There’s a widespread belief that e-bikes are “too fast.” “Too fast” usually means “I walked out into the street without looking and was surprised by your presence.” But no matter… as long as we can say e-bikes are going only 20mph, and manual bikes go just as fast, people will grudgingly accept our argument. If e-bikes go 28mph, we WILL see e-bikelash.

  • Joe R.

    Then just buy an electric Class B moped, with a design speed of 30mph.

    Licensing, registration, insurance, and helmet requirements for such a vehicle are why I would prefer a 28 mph e-bike. The e-bike is also lighter, and hence poses less danger to pedestrians.

    Specialized makes a nice line of e-bikes ( https://www.specialized.com/us/en/shop/bikes/turbo-e-bikes-its-you-only-faster/c/ebikes ), some of which can go 28 mph on pedal assist. This is exactly what I want. If the time comes I can’t ride as fast or as far under my own power, I want some help, but I don’t want the bike to do all the work.

    I agree 28 mph e-bikes don’t belong in most bike lanes, or at least if they do use those lanes, they should ride no faster than the lane can safely accommodate.

  • Elizabeth F

    E-bikes are only marginally heavier and marginally faster than manual bikes; and sometimes slower. The weight of the rider makes more of a difference to the overall package than the weight of the bike.

    E-bikes go only 20mph but cars go 50mph+; which makes e-bike riders vulnerable road users just like anyone else on a bike. Forcing e-bikes to ride with the rest of traffic — but of course not allowing them to use the parkways — is a death sentence, and makes them almost completely useless.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, we should make sure the bike shops only sell legal stuff. That means 20 mph max on the throttle only. And perhaps we should require a visible sticker on 28 mph pedelecs in case we decide to prohibit them from using certain bike lanes. In a general traffic lane, a 28 mph pedelec poses far less risk than a car. In a bike lane, particularly a parking-protected lane where pedestrians may intrude into the bike lane, it can cause issues.

  • Elizabeth F

    > Yes, we should make sure the bike shops only sell legal stuff. That means 20 mph max on the throttle only.

    No. Right now, it means Class 1 only. Change the law, and then the shops can sell something else.

    > And perhaps we should require a visible sticker on 28 mph pedelecs in case we decide to prohibit them from using certain bike lanes.

    Any vehicle that can’t use bike lanes but also cannot comfortably ride with traffic across the Queensboro, Triboro, GW, Brooklyn, etc. bridge is little more than a toy in NYC.

  • Elizabeth F

    > Licensing, registration, insurance, and helmet requirements for such a vehicle are why I would prefer a 28 mph e-bike.

    Then you need to explain why electric 30mph mopeds require type-approval and regulation; whereas 28mph e-bikes do not. That’s going to be a hard case to make. If I’m going 30mph, I would prefer to know I’m riding a vehicle meant for those speeds.

    > This is exactly what I want.

    Then buy an e-bike with a certain brand drivetrain, look up videos on how to disable the speed governor, and use it discreetly.

  • Joe R.

    Any vehicle that can’t use bike lanes but also cannot comfortably ride with traffic across the Queensboro, Triboro, GW, Brooklyn, etc. bridge is little more than a toy in NYC.

    Note I said prohibited from certain bike lanes. In practice that would mean mostly parking-protected lanes which are too narrow for higher speeds.

    You can allow the speed pedelecs to cross the bridges in the bike lane. On the upgrade the 750 watt power limit will keep their speed in check, probably to roughly 20 mph. On the downgrade the assist cuts out at 28 mph. A lot of regular bikes exceed that on the descent. Overall, I’m not seeing a big problem allowing them to use the bike lanes on bridges.

  • Joe R.

    Then you need to explain why electric 30mph mopeds require type-approval and regulation; whereas 28mph e-bikes do not. That’s going to be a hard case to make.

    Actually, that’s a great question and one I can only guess the answer to. Back when the moped laws were crafted, all we had were relatively heavy, gas-powered mopeds. The extra weight, plus the fact they carried a tank of flammable substance, may have been the impetus for regulating them more than regular bikes. Also, as a society, we had far less experience back then with small 2-wheeled vehicles. And bikes then were generally slower than now, often heavy 3-speeds which were a chore to get much over 15 mph.

    There is also the fact we really weren’t trying to actively encourage the use of automobile alternatives. The regulations are why mopeds never really caught on. If you had to go through all those hoops, might as well get a car, or at least a motorcycle which you can take on the highway. Now we have alternatives which weigh no more than regular bikes. And we want people to use them. This means lowering the barriers to entry.

    If I’m going 30mph, I would prefer to know I’m riding a vehicle meant for those speeds.

    Everything I know about regular pedal bikes suggests decent road bikes are already designed to be safe at 30 mph speeds. In fact, 60 km/hr is a typical number bought up when one talks about the speed range of regular pedal bikes. Even the gearing suggests this. My top gear of 53-11 allows for a comfortable cadence at that speed. And on occasion I’ve cruised in that range when I have a strong tailwind. Putting assist on a regular bike simply allows you to reach its potential more often than you would under your own power.

  • brainguynyc

    The issue is not the bikes but adherence to the rules of the roads. Just today while walking east on 86 Street I encountered two bikes going the wrong way, three not stopping at a red light and one on the sidewalk. Ride what you want but don’t hurt me -literally!

  • Rex Rocket

    Were you walking in the street? There’s a sidewalk on either side of the street reserved for pedestrians and cars backing up to drop off food trucks.

  • brainguynyc

    Mr. Rocket, are you being funny? Are you saying that you have never witnessed delivery bikes and “civilian” bikes going whichever way they feel like going, ignoring red lights, ignoring stop signs, riding on sidewalks?! OH PLEASE. By the way, whatever happened to the city rule of delivery people wearing an identifying vest?

  • Joe R.

    I get the complaint about the bike on the sidewalk. As for the wrong-way cyclists, you should always look both ways before crossing regardless of whether or not cyclists are present. A car backing into a parking spot can be going the wrong way, also.

    Cyclists going through red lights only matters if they fail to yield to you while you’re trying to cross. If that’s what happened, you have a legitimate complaint. If you weren’t trying to cross in front of them, then it shouldn’t concern you any more than a person walking against the light should.

  • brainguynyc

    Joe R, are you saying that the onus is on me to look out for bikes going in the wrong direction? Are you saying that a bike going through a red light is ok if nobody gets hurt? By logical extension, a car going through a red light, or not stopping at a stop sign is ok as long as an accident doesn’t happen? REALLY?! The law is clear.

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