DiBlasio on ebikes

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I would have nothing against

I would have nothing against delivery guys on e-bikes as long as they followed the rules of the road. It's when they go the wrong way on 1-way streets and don't stop at red lights that I have a problem with them. But of course, it isn't just delivery guys on e-bikes who endanger others by going the wrong way and not stopping. 

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except they are inentivized

except they are inentivized by their employers to break the rules

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the end of Vision Zero
Every category of road user breaks the law a lot.  This crackdown is punching down in society in ways that have no relation to the impact of the target's behavior. And the penalties are, relative to the capacity to pay, massive.  
 
This is terrible public policy, both in terms of ethics and in terms of how to make our streets more safe and livable.
 
Brooklyn spoke has a good piece on this, with this in particular as a critique of our political leaders, called the "End of Vision Zero":
 
'Sometimes it’s the job of leaders to jump when citizens say “jump.” But sometimes it’s the job of leaders to focus people’s attention on real solutions to real problems, and to not even respond to the loaded question. Sometimes it helps to turn it around: “Let me ask you something. Do you honestly think e-bikes are a bigger threat to New Yorkers than cars and trucks?” Today’s press conference was not one of those times. No one will be made safer by the upcoming e-bike crackdown. In fact, New York is likely to be less safe, as the time and money the police spend confiscating e-bikes is time and money they can’t devote to stopping more urgent dangers, like off-route bus drivers and private sanitation haulers.'
 
And it's well worth reading the Village Voice piece linked to in the Slate article
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+1

well said

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the end is nigh

Excellent reading on those links, thanks for posting. 

I'm sure we've all had run-ins with delivery guys on e-bikes, but were they life-threatening, like getting hooked by an illegally-operated charter bus or garbage truck? DeBlasio's grasping for low-hanging fruit, so he can have a press conference. Shame on him.

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Exactly. Plus, so many people

Exactly. Plus, so many people are used to "near misses" with cars that it slides off us. Since I've had a little boy, I've become more aware of how close drivers buzz pedestrians all the time.  We're too often blind to this.

Here's some context on drivers and policing from the month of September in NYC:

"In September, "810 pedestrians and 461 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy that has not changed since the 2014 launch of the Vision Zero program, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers."
https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/10/24/nyc-motorists-injured-1271-pedestrians-and-cyclists-in-september-and-killed-13/

 

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'Reclaim' article

https://medium.com/reclaim-magazine/hear-who-delivers-your-food-45ba86649824

 "In the focus group of Chinese-fluent immigrants, one participant explained the incongruity of the enforcement. “E-bikes’ speed is fast, but so are cars and airplanes,” he said. “It depends on how you regulate, we just need reasonable rules. Not like how police officers immediately choose to detain us upon sight, or give us a ticket, or confiscate our bike.'

 What is reasonable regulation? Keeping in mind that the top speed of the typical e-bike used for delivery is over 25mph and they weigh in around 60lbs, do these belong in bike lanes, on the GWB bike/pedestrian path, the Westside greenway bike/pedestrian path, the North County, South County Trailway, Central Park? Or are these 'motorized' vehicles that belong in traffic lanes? Should they meet minimum requirements for "Audible warning devices, Braking, Electrical safety, Operator controls, Lighting and light signaling devices, Rearward visibility, Seating position, Steerability" (Euro regs). 

 And if properly 'regulated' will there be appropriate enforcement.

 It seems the City Council and Mayor have decided to avoid regulation and enforcement by simply confiscating. 

 At the end of the day it is the restaurant owners that have created this problem by expanding their delivery areas and failing to adequately pay and support their delivery staff   I have not ordered food for delivery in years because I consider this an unfair, unsafe and abusive situation. If the delivery staff were on salary, covered by insurance and required to obey traffic laws I would start ordering again, but I suppose we have all become so accustomed to the low cost of delivered food that the extra cost of dealing fairly with the delivery staff would reduce demand 'somewhat.'

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"At the end of the day it is
"At the end of the day it is the restaurant owners that have created this problem by expanding their delivery areas and failing to adequately pay and support their delivery staff  "
 
And not having safe streets. Our motor traffic lanes are sometimes nuts.
 
You cite ebikes on the GWB. So what is a person who commutes on an ebike between NYC and NJ supposed to do: use the main roadway? That's an extreme version of the challenge some of these delivery people face, but if we have more wide lanes for bikes/ebikes thing would be a lot better for everyone. Instead the vast majority of street infrastruture is for cars - so cycliets, ebikeers, pedestrians fight it out amongst themselves, with poorer working immigrants on ebikes getting the worst of it. Ebikes as a substitute for some cards could be massively important in making our city more livable in general, and better for cyclists.
 
Instead, the mayor suggest, among other things, deliveries by car. JFC.
 
PS - I have to add that I applaud your stance on delivery food. And also find it deeply ironic and disturbing that the neighborhoods with, I think, a lot of food delivery and a lot of wealthy people (UWS and UES - I've lived in both) are where the bulk of complaints about ebike are. I hope that guy who has been pressuring the mayor, Matthew Shefler, is as principled as you. 
 
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E-bikes are motorcycles

and motorcycles don't belong on any bike path anywhere. They are motor vehicles, plain and simple.

And following your logic to a conclusion, one could say that murder occurs disproportionately among poor people so we should not prosecute murders.

There is a reason justice is blindfolded. And it's not so it's easier to ignore criminal behavior

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"And following your logic to
"And following your logic to a conclusion, one could say that murder occurs disproportionately among poor people so we should not prosecute murders."
 
You're conflating the core negative impact of the actions: people getting hit and hurt by ebikes or cars, with the law/policy in question: banning ebikes.
 
"There is a reason justice is blindfolded."
What are you talking about? If you think justice in this city (and the US in general) is blind, and unrelated to wealth and income, you're very misinformed. If you're poor you get worse outcomes. We know it's true. The justice system punches down.
 
And on this issue, I see cars breaking the law literally every few minutes I'm outside in this city, but this crackdown is some neutral application of law?
 
 
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They are motorcycles and should be treatred as such

My main issue with these bikes is they are silent, more often than not  unlighted after dark (which goes with the non-reflective coating of dirt on most of them and the dark clothing favored by the operators.

They should be licensed, taxed and insured just like motorcycles and cars

Confiscation doesn't have to mean they lose their illegal machine forever. I live in an apartment comples with its own security force. We don't allow bicycle riding on our sidewalks. When someone, almost always a delivery person, gets caught riding on the sidewalk we lock the bike up and tell the delivery person his manager has to come and retrieve it. The few hours not being able to use the bike was enough for them to know we were serious. Requiring a store manager to come get the bike also imposed a small but effective "penalty" on the co-culprit, the store.

Word got out to the local restaurants and pizza joints and we no longer have a problem with delivery guys riding on the sidewalk. 

And being hit at 10-25 miles an hour by a 60 pound bike with a 150-200 pound rider is not a trivial collision.

Just because the operators are working for low wages is not an excuse for violating the law.

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"Just because the operators
"Just because the operators are working for low wages is not an excuse for violating the law."
 
If a law falls mainly on poor people, I think we should question it. When we have policies that effectively target poor people, while wealthier people doing more dangerous stuff (drivers in general) get shrugs from NYPD, something is very wrong.
 
"And being hit at 10-25 miles an hour by a 60 pound bike with a 150-200 pound rider is not a trivial collision." Is this actually happening with any frequency? Again: over a thousand people are hit by cars every month in NYC, with NYPD and the mayor saying "whatever" unless the driver is drunk. 
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"Though technically illegal

"Though technically illegal to use in New York state,"

What exactly does that means?

I assume it's LEGAL to sell it. So where are they supposed to be used? Children's playground???

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On your own private test track on private land, obviously

nm

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FWIW

FWIW, the word "technically" seldom (and I'm saying "seldom," not "never") adds anything meaningful in any sentence. Think about it.

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i went to law school too

so here's my two cents smiley-- "technically", may not technically add any meaning but in practice it does.  It implies that what may be literally (another perhaps overused word) true is often not true as experienced.  something like "de jure" and "de facto"

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It's an advertising word in my opinion

Iran is "technically" in compliance with the agreement -- means it is in compliance

Running red lights is "technically" illegal -- means it is illegal

and so on.

my other favorite meaningless word is "virtual". "Virtual" reality is not real

A "virtually" waterproof raincoat leaks.

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I have had several close calls with rogue e-bikes

I have had several close calls with e-bikes going the wrong way, close to the curb. You can't see them because so few use lights and you can't hear them. I read that NYPD has confiscated over 900 last year which is a step in the right direction. Also, the places that hire the delivery guys should be penalized each time one of their delivery folks breaks the traffic laws.

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EU regulations for • e-bikes • pedelecs • speed pedelecs

For reference, ebikes have become very popular in Europe and this apparently has lead to definition and regulation. Below is from the following website 'http://www.raivereniging.nl/ecm/?id=workspace://SpacesStore/4ee4a9c0-3b5a-48f7-9346-ce670f4a0e43' where much more detail is avialable. Note that the 'pedelecs' (motor that only functions on condition the cyclist pedals) are limited to 25kl/m (about 16mph) maximum speed and 250W continuous power output.

"Part 1: Technical rules The new type-approval procedure 

For clarity, in the following article pedelec means a bicycle with a motor that only functions on condition the cyclist pedals, whilst e-bike means a bicycle with a motor that functions by turning the throttle, so irrespective of the cyclist pedalling. The term electric bicycle is generic and includes pedelecs, e-bikes and combinations of these types. All electric bicycles, except pedelecs up to 25 km/h and a maximum continuous rated motor output of 250W, are subject to type-approval. The type-approval rules have been laid down in Regulation 168/2013. Electric bikes are classified in vehicle category L1e, which is subdivided in L1e-A for “powered cycles” and L1e-B for “mopeds”. The type approval rules come into force on January 1, 2017.

L1e-A “powered cycles” are defined as cycles designed to pedal, equipped with an auxiliary propulsion with the primary aim to aid pedalling. The propulsion should be limited at a speed of 25 km/h and its maximum continuous rated power should not exceed 1000 W. L1e-A includes two-, three- and four-wheel vehicles, i.e. also electric cargo bikes with more than two wheels.

L1e-B “mopeds” are defined as vehicles with a maximum design speed of more than 25 km/h and up to 45 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of in between 1000 W and 4000 W. As a result of this categorisation, a pedelec 25 km/h with 750 W for instance will come under L1e-A, an e-bike 25 km/h with 500W as well, whilst a pedelec 45 km/h with 1000 W will come under L1e-B. A vehicle that combines pedal assistance with open throttle will come under L1e-A. Technically, this legislation, does not allow for e-bikes above 25 km/h. As for pedelecs 45 km/h, the regulations contain further technical specifications: “(…) mass in running order ≤ 35 kg and shall be fitted with pedals enabling the vehicle to be propelled solely by the rider’s muscular leg power. The vehicle shall feature adjustable rider positioning in order to enhance the ergonomic posture of the rider for pedalling. The auxiliary propulsion power shall be added to the driver’s pedal power and shall be less than or equal to four times the actual pedal power.” Furthermore, “the maximum peak power shall be < 1,6 X maximum X maximum continuous rated power, measured as mechanical power at the shaft of the motor unit."

The regulation of non-Pedalec categories include: Audible warning devices, Braking, Electrical safety, Operater controls, Lighting and light signaling devices, Rearward visibility, Seating position, Steerability, Maximum continuous rated and/or vehicle speed limitation, Devices to prevent unauthorized use, Electromagnetic compatibility, Passenger handholds and footrests, Registration plate mounting.

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Two Issues

It seems to me that there are two issues here, at least.

One is the legality of the electric bicycles and to what extent and how they should be regulated.

The other is the illegal and dangerous behavior of the delivery persons whom we are mostly discussing. It is important to realize that most of these delivery people are immigrants, many probably undocumented, and that they work under sweat shop conditions for owners with the "if you don't come in Sunday don't come in Monday" management style common in New York in the days of Jacob Reis and such -- and probably all too common still. 

I suspect that the delivery people are just told to deliver the food and get back within x minutes, or don't come back at all, and that this overrides any inclination they would otherwise have to ride safely. Jerry has really hit the nail on the head in that they are dangerous, without lights, salmoning up one-way streets, etc. (Obviously, other cyclists, ourselves included, run lights and otherwise break traffic laws, but it is the delivery people who are the most frequent, habitual offenders -- rarely do I see a non-delivery person salmoning up a one-way street.)

As to this issue, what is really needed here is a statute that meaningfully -- i.e., strictly -- punishes the restaurant owner, recornizing that it is he who has forced his delivery people to ride unsafely, not demanded lights at night, etc. Were there such a statute in place, remaining violations could be enforced by the Police to the same extent as any other bicycle violations. And the people who would have to wait an extra five minutes for their Chinese food would just have to deal with it, as New Yorkers deal with many other inconveniences.

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E-bikes absolutely do not

E-bikes absolutely do not belond on our bike lanes. They are heavy, fast-moving and almost completely silent. In many instances, they're riding the wrong way. Of course, any bike riding the wrong way is a menace (as pedestrians on one-way streets have rightfully learned to "not look" in the wrong direction, just as pedestrians crossing an avenue don't look for cars driving the wrong way), but e-bikes are a far worse problem as they are easily capable of causing serious injury or death.

What's more, in street traffic, we're all aware of the fact that there are dangerous cars and trucks around us; they are in our consciousness. But our bike lanes are meant to be low-speed routes for light, relatively slow moving bicycles. People crossing them are not expecting heavy e-bikes to appear in their path out of nowhere.

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I agree 100%

E-bikes should be regulated, licensed, taxed and insured just like all other motorcycles. Not only are they all the things R. Kaufman pointed out, more often than not they have no lights and their operators are wearing dark clothing so they are almost totally invisible during twilight and dark hours. I constantly see them riding the wrong way in midtown, as often as not when the more direct route in on the streets going whichever way they go. 

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I don't understand the

I don't understand the concern about the silence of ebikes.  Our bicycles are silent too.

Or the concern about their speed.  A bicyclist can go pretty fast down the street too.

I think the problem really is one of riding etiquette.  Riders of ebikes and bikes should not be buzzing too close to pedestrians.

As for bike lanes, I have no problems with ebikes in them if they are speed governed to something like 15 mph.  If they can manage 25 mph, they need to be in traffic where they can hit the speed limit.

 

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Can people with eBikes go on New York Cycle Club rides?

By eBikes, it’s bicycles with electric/battery motors, pedal assist, etc. Didn’t see any mention in the club’s policy and the by-laws sections. 

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I am very concerned about

I am very concerned about e-bikes, especially when they are traveling on greenways meant only for cyclists and pedestrians - an increasingly common site these days.  Often these E-bikers are restaurant delivery folks traveling at rates of speed unsafe for greenways.  They pose significant dangers to pedestrians and cyclists.  Some pedestrian or cyclist on a greenway is going to get killed or maimed by an e-biker one day, and then more people will pay attention.  

 

 

 

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"significant dangers to pedestrians and cyclists"
If you're going to use a word like "significant" I have to ask if you have any evidence?
 
People keep saying ebikes are dangerous, and explaining why they are dangerous (fast, silent, heavy, go wrong way, ridden on sidewalks, used by people who don't seem like us).  But if ebikes are so common to be a noticeable problem, and they pose "significant dangers", where is the evidence? In a city this size, we should be seeing some number of serious accients and even deaths if they are such a problem.
 
Meanwhile, drivers in cars kill about ten people a month in this city and hit hundreds, police can't do enough, and the mayor wants police to add focus on ebikes. That's the context of this discussion.
 
If you want to actually be safer outside, you should oppose the government putting any focus on this and instead ask them to get cars under more control. Bad drivers (allowed by poor enforcement) and poor street design are literally killing pedestrians and cyclists every month.
 
 
 
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