Many bikers are trying out and choosing electric bikes for the boost in power and speed. Commuters, especially, enjoy the ability to get to work without breaking a sweat while still speeding past those who are stuck in traffic. These bikes represent a significant cost and energy savings to driving, so why has New York banned them?
Electric Bicycles in New York City
New York State bans the use of electric bicycles on sidewalks, streets, and highways. By law, individuals riding electric bicyclists can be ticketed and fined up to $3,000 per infraction. New York City began cracking down on e-bike riders in earnest last year, issuing heaps of $500 fines and, in some cases, even seizing the bikes. Further, employers of individuals using e-bikes in the course of business also face hefty citations.
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As New York City streets are traditionally congested with heavy traffic, it seems a surprise that the use of e-bikes has been shunned. They are convenient, quiet, and do not emit pollution. So why the ban? On paper, it appears the problem stems for the inability to license and regulate such vehicles. New York City does not permit individuals to register scooters or mopeds, and puts electric bikes under the same heading.
Frustration continues to arise between bikers who insist it is their right to use e-bikes and residents of the city who believe the bikes will be hazardous to pedestrians. But even as the New York Bicycle Coalition works to promote legislation to end the ban, little impact has been made. In fact, recent years have seen the penalties and enforcement increase.
How do you feel on this issue? Do you believe that it should be legal to ride electric bikes in New York City? Or do you side with some pedestrians and police officials who fear the use of e-bikes will present a safety hazard?