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NYPD Brass Hates E-Bikes … Until They’re Delivering Their Lunch!

12:17 AM EST on February 1, 2019

The irony of the NYPD crackdown was that Police Department employees often order food for delivery. Photo: Ben Verde

Did that burger come with a side of hypocrisy?

The police war on e-bike delivery workers continues across the city's precincts, but at 1 Police Plaza on the coldest day of the year, the architects of the battle plan and their staff received their steaming hot lunches, thanks to the very workers they've been ordering cops to bust.

"It's so crazy," said one delivery worker who declined to give his name after he dropped off lunch for one of the NYPD employees at Police Headquarters. In all, Streetsblog witnessed 13 e-bike deliveries to the home of the e-bike crackdown in one hour.

Just a little montage. Photos: Ben Verde/Gersh Kuntzman
Just a little montage. Photos: Ben Verde/Gersh Kuntzman
Who is helping these guys? Photos: Ben Verde/Gersh Kuntzman

Several workers said they had received tickets of $500 and had their bikes confiscated in other precincts. A single $500 ticket nullifies roughly 10 days of work for a delivery rider.

Ironically (or not), one worker told Streetsblog that he never gets busted near 1 Police Plaza.

"Cops need to understand" how hard the job is," added another worker who delivered to 1 Police Plaza recently. The man, who gave Streetsblog the name Ronny, said the job is impossible without electric bicycles, which greatly expand the range for deliveries and make them faster so customers are satisfied.

But NYPD officials are also listening to residents of some communities, who complain of the supposedly reckless cyclists delivering food or goods that they or their neighbors have ordered and want promptly. Every few days, another precinct Twitter account boasts of a local crackdown — more than 820 bikes were seized last year and more than 1,200 summonses were issued, the NYPD said.

E-bikes whose speed is controlled via a throttle are indeed illegal, though Gov. Cuomo and the City Council are moving to legalize them. A City Council bill would also help delivery workers convert their throttle-controlled bikes into legal pedal-assist electric bikes.

Until the bikes are legal, cops will continue their crackdown — and continue getting orders delivered on the illegal devices they often seize.

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