“Manhattan’s Community Board 7 Calls for Increased Law Enforcement on E-Bikes in Bike Lanes in New York City.” Robin Herman – New York Injury News Subject Matter Expert
Manhattan’s Community Board 7, which encompasses the Upper West Side, Manhattan Valley, and Lincoln Square, recently made a call for increased law enforcement on e-bikes in bike lanes. Specifically, CB7 wants to see increased law enforcement on delivery workers riding e-bikes in bike lanes.
Electric bikes have pedals, but also have an electric motor and a throttle for increased speed. Most e-bikes have a top speed of 25 miles per hour or more, which is certainly faster than most regular bicycles can travel, in addition to being faster than even some mopeds can travel. While the state of New York requires moped drivers to be licensed, the same regulations do not apply to e-bikes.
Attorney Robin Herman, who represents pedestrians, cyclists, e-scooter riders and other injury victims for over 25 years noted that:
“The problem, and the danger here, is really the electric bikes with a throttle that can go 25 MPH and faster. Most of the food delivery workers are using these types of bikes. Sometimes they do stop for red lights, other times they don’t. But all of them, it seems, move fast.
The delivery people are mostly gig workers, not employed by the food vendors. GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, ChowNow, Uber Easts, to name a few.
Since the start of the pandemic there has been a dramatic increase in deliveries, not only to homes, but to offices as well.
Also, the culture has changed. It’s not just dinner being delivered. Pizza and Chinese food, New York City staples, have been overtaken. Anything and everything is available, large and small. Last week, I saw an e-bike delivery for a single pint of Pinkberry frozen yogurt. The point is that with so many options, there are more and more e-bikes on the streets. More deliveries leads to higher wages for the gig workers but also leads to more bikes on the streets and more danger for cyclists and pedestrians.
So, what can we do? The police, as of now, are not really cracking down. If you see someone riding recklessly, take their photo and report it to the delivery company and call 311. Also, you can out the reckless biker. But this is New York and that only has a marginal effect in most cases.
To protect yourself, as a cyclist, even in a bike lane, always ride with front and back flashing lights, a helmet of course, and use hand signals when you want to move or turn left or right or when you want to stop. The e-bikes can come up from behind you very, very fast, so maintain your line, i.e., ride straight forward and let them pass you.
To protect yourself as a pedestrian, you might have to change some habits. Look both ways before stepping into any bike lane, even a green painted dedicated bike lane, and even on a one way street. In addition to the delivery people using e-bikes, there are electric skateboards, electric hoverboards, and just recently I saw a gentleman standing on nothing but a wheel with two foothoods going at a good clip.
E-bikes and e-scooters are here to stay. We can expect to see more and more of them on the streets, roads and in the parks. Hopefully safety features will be added to them, such as turning signals and loud bells and horns and lights. In the meantime, the best thing we can do as cyclists and pedestrians is not be distracted ourselves while biking or crossing streets. Never have your phone in your hand when you’re cycling, ever. When you’re walking across the street, you can always finish your text after you’ve safely made it past the bike lane and across the street. Stay safe.
E-bikes and e-scooters are legally allowed to ride in bike lanes, thus putting other cyclists on the road at risk for potential injury. But there has been a lack of enforcement around existing regulations for e-bike and e-scooter riders, leading to accidents involving pedestrians in areas where e-scooters and e-bikes are not allowed to enter, such as Riverside Park.
Similarly, mopeds and other high-powered micro-mobility vehicles that are not legal to operate in bike lanes and require a license to drive are being ridden in bike lanes. With laws that are designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians unenforced, serious accidents and injuries are on the rise.
New York Injury News Subject Matter Expert: NYC Injury Lawyer Robin Herman
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A reputable NYC based personal injury lawyer and partner of Manhattan based law firm – Herman & Herman, PC, Robin Herman writes for New York Injury News as a subject matter expert.