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Hitting the brakes on e-bikes: New York needs legislation to regulate motorized two-wheelers

Hitting the brakes on e-bikes: New York needs legislation to regulate motorized two-wheelers

Bike riders on the sidewalk.Lafayette Street near Canal Street in downtown Manhattan. If you’ve stepped foot on a New York sidewalk or crosswalk, you’ve had…

Sunday, Nov 12

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Bike riders on the sidewalk.Lafayette Street near Canal Street in downtown Manhattan. If you’ve stepped foot on a New York sidewalk or crosswalk, you’ve had a close encounter with an e-bike or sit-down scooter zipping this way or that, usually driven by a deliverista under intense pressure to get food to its destination. Complaints about the micromobility devices breaking the rules are way up, and so are injury reports . (No, that doesn’t mean cars, much heavier and far more numerous, aren’t a far bigger safety problem. They are.)

State and city legislators have ideas for slowing the stampede, which is bad not just for pedestrians but for regular bike riders suddenly swarmed by the zippy devices. We’re listening carefully and hoping for action.

Among three bills proposed by Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal , the most significant would require every two-wheeled motorized vehicle doing commercial deliveries be licensed and registered as a condition of doing business through Seamless, GrubHub, UberEats, Doordash and so on. That makes sense — and enforcement would largely take care of itself, as those without the proper up-front paperwork wouldn’t be permitted to get paid by the companies.

Hoylman-Sigal’s also written bills beefing up insurance and increasing penalties for e-vehicle hit-and-runs. Pass them all, while acknowledging that we, demanding consumers too lazy to walk a few blocks to pick up our food, are a demand-side part of the problem too.

There are bigger questions about a City Council proposal by Queens’ Bob Holden, which 33 members in the […]

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