Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Delivery workers

Police Brass Gets Booed During E-Vehicle Safety Alliance Meeting for Applauding Deliveristas

Attendees of the E-Vehicle Safety Alliance's latest meeting castigated a Transportation Bureau deputy inspector for saying that delivery workers are responsive to safety issues.

Photo: Josh Katz

A high-ranking member of the NYPD got booed on Wednesday night during a town hall held by a new anti-e-bike group when he commended delivery workers for their role in improving street safety, citing “years of hard work” that took place before the new group even formed.

Attendees of the E-Vehicle Safety Alliance's latest meeting, inside a Manhattan house of worship, castigated Transportation Bureau Deputy Inspector Erik Worobey after he offered modest praise to a workforce that’s long been exploited and harassed across the five boroughs. 

“A lot of people tell me how responsive they are,” said Worobey, of deliveristas’ efforts to operate safely on city streets — a change he said he’s noticed thanks to a coalition between the city and workers themselves that started “years before E-VSA existed.”

But the 60 or so attendees wanted little to do with that notion. The group cut off Worobey with boos and other snide remarks as he attempted to pacify the crowd by saying there was “a lot of passion in the room.”

But the backlash just kept getting louder, as many people who attended the meeting expressed fear of fast-moving electric bikes, which are legal, and mopeds, the majority of which are not. 

A majority of the riders about whom attendees complained are delivery workers, who toil for low wages delivering food to some of the richest quarters of the city, as Streetsblog reported. Yet because they are treated as "independent contractors" by the app-based delivery firms, they are encouraged to speed so they can make a living.

Meanwhile, delivery workers are injured and killed in stunning numbers. Between 2020 and 2022, 26 workers were killed on the job, according to the Worker’s Justice Project and Los Deliveristas Unidos.

The meeting started off with a standing ovation for Queens Council Member Bob Holden, who is pushing a bill to require "every bicycle with electric assist, electric scooter and other legal motorized vehicle" to be registered with the Department of Transportation and to be "provided a distinctive identification number and a license plate corresponding to that distinctive identification number." The bill, Intro. 758, now has support from a majority of Council members, though it does not provide financing for the new program. Nor does the bill address mopeds at all, illegal or otherwise.

Wednesday night was the group’s second town hall in as many months. During one meeting in July, Gerard Schriffen, who identified himself as a hearing officer at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, spoke of being run over by a truck driver in Manhattan in 2010 — a crash that required surgery to put a “bunch of rods and nuts and bolts” in his arms and legs, and several weeks in rehab. Yet a decade later, Schriffen raged against all electric- and gas-powered vehicles.

“I hate to say this, since Black Lives Matter two years ago, I have not seen a cop on the streets of New York City and I’m a native New Yorker,” said Schriffen, whose job is to adjudicate civil summonses. He said e-bikes and mopeds have caused “anarchy.”

A founding member of E-Vehicle Safety Alliance has said repeatedly that the group is “looking for solutions” and is “not looking to penalize anybody.”

“We're looking to change behavior and we're asking elected officials to please consider our goals,” said Andrew Fine during the July meeting.

But the group’s nine-point plan reveals some more punitive goals, such as reclassifying all legal e-bikes as mopeds, ending the pilot program that allows e-bike users to ride on safe routes through city parks, and calling on the NYPD to confiscate all e-vehicles, including e-bikes, if they are ridden on the sidewalk (such bikes could be reclaimed upon paying a $500 fine).

The E-Vehicle Safety Alliance bills itself as “victims and potential victims … of rogue e-vehicle riders.” So far this year, drivers of cars, trucks and other large vehicles have caused 67,050 reported crashes or roughly 254 per day. Those crashes injured 3,054 cyclists and 5,522 pedestrians, according to city statistics.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Congressional Watchdog Launches Probe Into Why Massive Cars Kill So Many Pedestrians and Cyclists

If the feds won't get to the bottom of the megacar crisis on their own, the investigative arm of congress will.

June 20, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Reveal Hochul’s Math: Drivers > Transit Users

Hey, transit users — we're invisible to Congestion Kathy.

June 20, 2024

Pols Let Suffolk Co. Red Light Cams Expire, Inviting Deadlier Streets

Long Islanders should be red hot mad that streets are about to become less safe.

June 19, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Juneteenth Edition

We're off for the holiday, but we still have a slate of news for you!

June 19, 2024

Elmhurst’s ‘Little Thailand’ Gets Open Street Redesign

An already popular open street will be converted to one-way — with the space used to bolster the many restaurants nearby.

June 19, 2024
See all posts