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

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

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.

  • Urbanely

    Why is it so hard for people to live their principles? If residents of some communities have problems with the bikes then they should stop ordering food for delivery. People only ride because of the demand for fast, cheap delivery. It’s too bad there can’t be some kind of delivery surcharge that would fight the tickets for these riders. The fact that cops freely distribute tickets but then benefit from the bike deliveries is another in the long list of hypocritical NYPD actions.

  • JohnBrownForPresident

    Fuck the NYPD so hard. Never a bigger bunch of the enemy of regular working New Yorkers.

  • Tooscrapps

    11 Mopeds* Seized.

  • qrt145

    It could well be that the residents who complain are not the same as the residents who order food for delivery. The loudest complainers are such a small minority that even if they “live by their principles”, there would be hardly a dent in demand for delivery.

  • Yeah all those in the photo are mopeds – which should be legal.

  • They don’t call them pigs for nothing.

  • Reader

    “Do as I say, not as I do” is the story of the NYPD and the de Blasio administration.

  • Tooscrapps

    Provided they are registered as such.

  • Rider

    Workers are still riding around on e-bikes all over the place even in the epicenter of the “crackdown” on the Upper East and Upper West sides. It’s just mindbogglingly ignorant public policy, much like the border fence or the war on drugs, and the council needs to knock some sense into the mayor.

  • Daphna

    If there was a delivery surcharge, evenly implemented by all restaurants, and branded with the names of the politicians who are keeping throttle e-bikes illegal, then maybe all the politicians blocking legalization of these e-bikes would get many calls from all the frustrated recipients of their food deliveries, and then those politicians would change their stance in a hurry.

  • Elizabeth F

    If they were serious about it, they’d ensure that e-bikes shops only sell legal e-bikes. But instead, they let the handful of shops get away with only a minor slap on the wrist, while going after 10,000 “little guys.”

  • Elizabeth F

    Mopeds have to be “type approved” by the manufacturer, ensuring they comply with all moped safety standards. Only vehicles that have been type approved can get a VIN, and therefore be registered (which is required for mopeds). E-bikes do not have to be type approved, and cannot be registered. That’s the difference.

    If you want a type approved electric moped, see URL below. In the meantime, I don’t think we should make regulations about mopeds, and then let people sell, buy and use unregulated mopeds without consequence. Otherwise, what’s the point of the regulations to begin with?


  • com63

    I guarantee this is probably true. People probably order food one night and tell their friends they were “almost killed” by a cyclist the next day!

  • Patsy

    these bikes are dangerous they are speeding, going the wrong way, going thru the lights on 5 avenue near 22nd street in Brooklyn ny, also they are riding on the sidewalk and nobody in the police dept give them a ticket!

  • Patsy

    these bikes are delivering in Brooklyn NY give them a ticket for riding on the sidewalk. on 5 avenue 23rd st.

  • Arrow Electric Bike

    How about stop running red lights on your car ?

  • BY

    NYC delivery guys should just do what the restaurant workers did a few years back (when restaurant workers were being targeted for immigration policies). Just don’t show up to work for a while.

    NYPD should just tag them for speeding and reckless riding, if that is the case. Just like they “should be” doing with regular bikes!

    How about NYPD simply add escooters to their beat routes. Leave them stationed throughout the city like the old call stations.

    People are blaming the tech, but it’s the riders who should be penalized for breaking rules of the road. Any and every vehicle or device on the street needs to follow the rules of the road, electric, combustion, or plain-old manual. Infraction? Summons, ticket, etc.