(photo from: getoffmybikelane.com )
Alright you finally decided to ride in the bike lane and help be another person that is actually using the infrastructure that the city has provided to make biking easier in NYC. After dodging the confused cars turning into them, the pedestrians thinking it’s an extension of their cell phone communication zone sidewalks, or the joggers, or the baby strollers, or the delivery trucks parked in them, or your supposed allies (fellow biker) going the wrong way in them, or the cops parked in them giving tickets for not using the bike lanes, or that scrapper with the stolen shopping cart packed high with metal treasure…finally a little clear space. Then all of a sudden your passed by something that looks like a cross between a Vespa scooter and a bicycle with pedals that are never used on a sort of taxi looking thing straight out of Thailand or Vietnam. That’s no bicycle, it’s electric…boogie woogie woggie.
E-bikes seem to be preferred vehicle choice for food delivery but they have also ruffled more feathers of pedestrians then even us pesky cyclists. Now there are much more heat seeking missiles on the side walk, strapped with plastic bags of take out food only faster and more silent. Giving us annoying bikers even more of a bad name.
But here’s something even I just found out…they’re illegal.
Brian Lehrer on WNYC had a whole show on today (12/9/13) which takes a look at illegal E bikes with bike friendly soon to be-Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer.
Here is the show:
One of the guests who called in was a “Steve” who no doubt was alternative transportation advocate Steve Stollman.
Steve made some really excellent points that from an environmental aspect we should be encouraging low horse power electric assisted vehicles as ways to get more people to use them and reduce carbon polluting motor vehicles.
Borough President Gale Brewer seemed to agree, only they would have to be registered with the State. This could be a slippery slope as a gateway to getting all cyclists to be registered.
I honestly don’t have a problem with them. If anything, their popularity in the food delivery world helps reduce bike theft since stolen bikes are most often turned around to the restaurants. Many of these workers have low-income and are minorities, who should be encouraged to make more money and not have to work on strengthening their quads ore practicing for alleycat races. However, with faster e-bikes, it should motivate them to ride more careful and not freak out pedestrians. No one should have to get injured because lazy New Yorkers want their General Tso’s chicken in a hurry.
Now their seems to be a crackdown on E-bikes, so it may be a good time to lay low for a while, at least till they aren’t the token quota of the moment. I mean anything to keep the NYPD busy ticketing these “broken window” offenses of rampant bad cycling behavior instead of those silly automobiles killing 9 and 12 year old pedestrians.