Pols call for crackdown on electric bikes
A group of City Council members want to put the brakes on electric bikes.
Councilman Daniel Garodnick (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation Thursday that would double the fines for anyone caught using the illegal bikes in the city.
Garodnick said his office has received many complaints from pedestrians who have been injured and jostled by the bikes, especially when the riders use them on the sidewalk.
"It's scary enough when you have a regular bike breaking laws, but it is scarier when you have an ebike coming at you," he said at a news conference in Sunnyside on Thursday.
Police can confiscate the bikes and issue summons to the riders.
Under Garodnick's bill, which has eight co-sponsors, a maximum penalty for riding an ebike on the sidewalk would increase from $100 to $200. The bill would also double the first-time penalties for ebike riders who cross red lights to $900. Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), one of the bill's eight co-sponsers, said he has seen many ebike riders, particularly delivery men, disrupt traffic in his district.
Many of Van Bramer's constituents said they have had some close calls.
May Kong, 60, said she nearly got clipped by a delivery man.
"It was coming from behind me and I didn't see it coming," she said.
Van Bramer said he and Gardodnick are working with the DOT to find ways to educate restaurant owners about the illegal bikes.