The fine for riding an electric bike in New York City has increased from $500 to $1,000, preventing New Yorkers from adopting these bike/scooter hybrids. The increased fee was announced by city council member Jessica Lappin, who called these bikes a “scourge.” Tell us how you really feel, Jess.
Electric bikes have been illegal in the entire state of New York since 2004. The reason that NYC is stepping up the fine is due to supposed numerous complaints of pedestrians nearly being hit on the congested NYC streets, and bike lanes, by delivery men using electric bikes which can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. David Pollack from the Committee for Taxi Safety went so far to say the bikes “a menace to little children” and a “menace to society”.
New York City is not the only major city to ban electric bikes. The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned electric bikes in downtown areas to reduce related traffic accidents. The problem is that these bikes utilize bike-only lanes, despite being more akin to scooters. While plenty of other cities have found ways to handle the problem, New York’s outright ban is short-sighted at least; electric bicycle sales are set to skyrocket in the next few years.
Electric bike riders in NYC are, as expected, not very pleased with this increased fee and plan to find ways around it. The easiest loop hole is to simply turn the electric engine off and ride the bike normally around law enforcement. Other options include buying certain electric bikes with “stealth” engines on the frame.
If any readers live in NYC we would love to hear if you have had any electric bike encounters and what you think of the current NYC situation. Sound off in the comments below!
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison