In a story about food delivery guys in New York on the Times (worth a read for its description of the challenges of the job alone), there’s mention of increased fines for riding an electric bicycle in the city:
The police said they had also recently begun confiscating electric bicycles, which are increasingly prevalent despite being banned from the streets by state law. A bill introduced on Wednesday in the City Council would double the fines for those caught riding electric bikes, to $1,000.
More people are riding electric bikes, so instead of trying to figure out how to integrate the relatively green transportation into the city infrastructure they’re going to try to make them more financially perilous to ride.
Admittedly, electric bikes don’t travel safely in bike lanes (they’re faster than most bicycles) or in the street (they still only do about 20MPH and don’t have good acceleration). But just like we allow people to drive cars that are capable of driving three-to-four-times faster than we typically allow in the city, why not simply ticket electric bike riders who break the speed limit? Or create a speed limit for bike lanes?
I’ve been riding my motorcycle from Brooklyn to Midtown for the last couple of weeks. I had been looking into buying an electric-assist bicycle for when the weather warms, but rather than risk a fine and increasingly aggressive seizure by the NYPD, I’m going to keep burning gas to get across town. I wish I had more options.