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‘The Moped Crisis’: Bill Doubling Fines For Unauthorized Dealers Passes Senate

"[The bill] will help alleviate some of the challenges we see around mopeds,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, who is co-sponsoring the bill in her chamber.

Delivery workers on gas-powered mopeds
File photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

Delivery workers in Brooklyn will get better wages, thanks to a judge’s order.

Fines against unauthorized moped dealers would be doubled under a just-passed state Senate bill that is expected to also pass the Assembly and make its way to the Governor's desk before the end of the legislative session at the end of the month.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Liz Kruger (D-Manhattan), would raise fines for stores and dealers selling illegal mopeds from $1,000 to $2,000. The bill also requires dealers to obtain a specific registration or face the fine. The bill passed on Thursday and is headed to the lower house, where it is also expected to pass.

"[The bill] will help alleviate some of the challenges we see around mopeds,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, who is co-sponsoring the bill in her chamber.

Another bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D- Manhattan) would complement Kruger's bill by requiring moped dealers to register the vehicles at the point of sale rather than allowing customers to leave the site with the unregistered moped. Customers often don't know they are required to register mopeds because e-bikes are not required to be registered under state law.

“My bill makes sure we know who is selling mopeds, and Brad’s bill makes sure every moped leaving a dealer is registered,” Kruger told Streetsblog in a statement. "Right now, buyers may not know that they are supposed to register their mopeds, particularly if dealers are incorrectly describing them as e-bikes."

Moped users are often vulnerable working immigrants trying to make a living delivering food under challenging circumstances and often with language barriers. This bills are part of a push to put the onus onto the vendors instead of relying on enforcement alone to solve the problem.

Gonzalez-Rojas was on hand at packed town hall meeting to discuss the "Moped Crisis" held last week in Jackson Heights, where the focus was mainly on mopeds scaring pedestrians because of their speeds and how frequently users operate them in bike lanes and on open streets such as 34th Avenue's Paseo Park — whose name itself suggests a quiet place for relaxation.

A full auditorium in Jackson Heights at the Moped Crisis Town Hall.Photo: Sophia Lebowitz

Advocates for delivery workers support the bills because they would hold disreputable dealers accountable. Currently, many shops sell mopeds without the required vehicle identification number, and many users don’t obtain a license. 

“We strongly support that enforcement needs to happen at the point of sale. Some of the retail stores selling mopeds aren’t even licensed, that is one of the biggest issues in the street,” Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Workers Justice Project, who attended the packed town hall.

Ligia Guallpa speaks at the Moped Crisis Town Hall on Thursday. Photo: Sophia Lebowitz

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