Council cracks down on bike enforcement - Metro US

Council cracks down on bike enforcement

Motorized delivery bikes are a scourge zipping around the streets of Manhattan, and the fines for riding them should be much steeper, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin said yesterday.

The Upper East Side councilwoman will introduce a bill at today’s City Council meeting that would double the fine for anyone caught riding a motorized bike, from $500 to $1,000.

Although motorized bikes are illegal, the NYPD does not stringently enforce the law against operating them.

Many restaurant workers say the bikes are vital to doing their job: Getting hot, fresh food delivered to people on time.

But Lappin is joining a chorus of pedestrian New Yorkers who say the bikes are a danger as they zoom past at up to 30 miles per hour.

In a survey Lappin e-mailed to her constituents, to which 1,300 people responded, 72 percent of New Yorkers reported they had been hit or almost hit by a delivery bike, Lappin said.

“My office constantly receives complaints about electric delivery bikes speeding down our crowded streets and sidewalks,” Lappin said.

“They travel at high speeds and are incredibly dangerous,” she added.

Upper East Side resident Arlene Blatt told Lappin’s office the bikes — both motorized and not — surprise and scare her as they come from varying directions.

“While walking in Manhattan, I’ve felt threatened by reckless electric and standard bicycles that often converge on me from multiple directions,” she said.

Nicholas Viest, who is chair of the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8, said the majority of the quality-of-life complaints the board receives are about delivery bikes.

Making scooters legal

Motorized bikes were made illegal by the city in 2004. But now, some legislators are considering legalizing some of them. Bushwick state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan proposed a bill that would allow certain electric bikes, such as those that can only go 20 mph at their peak speed. But community boards have asked city and state politicians to create stricter restrictions for the bikes, including a proposal that bike operators have licenses and be registered.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro

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