2017-10-25 / Front Page

DeBlasio Crackdown Targets Delivery Business Owners

By Liz Goff
Mayor Bill deBlasio on October 19 announced a new crackdown on illegal e-bikes, giving cops the go-ahead to fine businesses that use the bikes for deliveries, not just the workers who drive them.

Beginning in January, cops will be issuing summonses to business owners when their workers are caught making deliveries on the illegal bikes. Workers caught riding the bikes would still be fined and police will confiscate the bikes.

“We can’t have a situation where people feel unsafe crossing the street or even walking down the sidewalk,” deBlasio said. “We can’t have a situation where someone is suddenly facing an electric bicycle coming the wrong way, it’s just too dangerous.”

Bike owners are currently subject to fines up to $500 and confiscation of their bikes. Under the new law, businesses that employ e-bike delivery workers will be fined $100 for a first offense, and $200 for each subsequent offense.

Police have confiscated 923 e-bikes this year, compared with 344 bikes that were confiscated in the same time period last year, an NYPD spokesperson said.

Under the mayor’s crackdown, drivers who speed along city sidewalks on the e-bikes and those who ignore traffic signs and signals will face stiffer penalties for illegally operating a motor vehicle, officials said.

A law passed by the City Council in 2014 prohibits the use of electric bikes in the five boroughs. Under the law, it is also illegal to sell, lease or rent the vehicles in New York City.

Restaurant owners in Astoria and Long Island City said they would have to stop making deliveries if the NYPD crackdown takes place early next year. “Our employees will only make deliveries to people who live or work five or six blocks away,” a Broadway restaurant owner said. “Our guys can’t walk too far to deliver food, and they can’t juggle bags if they make deliveries on regular bicycles. So I guess we would have to stop making deliveries to many of our regular customers who live too far away,” the owner said. “The whole thing, the crackdown and the laws are bad for business, but I guess that’s what deBlasio wants.”

“We have to go after the businesses,” deBlasio said. “They are profiting by violating the law. It’s not acceptable.”

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