2017-12-06 / Features

Cops Seize 14 Illegal e-Bikes In 114 Pct. Crackdown

BY LIZ GOFF


Photo shows a portion of illegal e-bikes seized by police at the 114 Precinct during November 29 crackdown. Photo shows a portion of illegal e-bikes seized by police at the 114 Precinct during November 29 crackdown. Police at the 114th Precinct last week put the brakes on owners and operators of illegal electric “e-bikes” within the command.

Cops seized 14 of the electric bikes during a November 29 enforcement initiative on the Steinway Street commercial strip, according to 114th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Carlos Chacon.

Chacon said the command has received numerous complaints from the public regarding the illegal e-bikes, many of which are driven with little regard for public safety.

Many e-bike drivers race the wrong way on local streets and sidewalks, ignoring stop signs and traffic signals – sending pedestrians running for their lives.

The enforcement included seizure of an e-bike from a man who was riding with his 8½-month pregnant girlfriend in tow, a law enforcement source said.

NYPD officials said police officers throughout the city have been instructed on how to summons and seize the illegal motorized bikes and scooters that zoom along local streets, causing pedestrians to run for their lives.

Cops have been instructed to issue Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations to anyone driving one of the e-bikes or scooters on city streets. The ECB violations carry a $500 fine, an agency spokesperson said. Owners must provide proof that the fine has been paid, a bill of sale (documenting purchase of the e-bike), and proper identification to reclaim the seized vehicles, the spokesperson said.

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, co-sponsored legislation in 2014 that toughened laws regulating the use of ebikes on local streets. The measure required owners to register the motorized e-bikes with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, to purchase minimum liability insurance for the vehicles and mandated that only licensed drivers can operate the e-bikes.

Current laws do not regulate the use of vehicles “propelled by human power,” even those with auxiliary motors. Laws only apply to the use of e-bikes on public streets, and do not regulate recreational use of the vehicles on private property in upstate New York.

Community Board 1 District Manager, Florence Koulouris, applauded the beefed-up enforcement. Koulouris said the board is “very pleased” that officers at the 114th Precinct cracked down on operators of the illegal e-bikes who “endanger the lives of people living and working” within the board area.

Koulouris said the board is thrilled that 114th Precinct officials will be maintaining enforcement of the illegal ebikes that, “pose a threat to pedestrians throughout our neighborhoods.”

The 114th Precinct’s top cop assured the community that his officers would continue the increased enforcement.

“The 114th Precinct will continue to conduct e-bike seizure operations periodically to ensure the number and reckless use of these vehicles does not grow unchecked, jeopardizing the safety of pedestrians and motorists,” Capt. Osvaldo Nunez, commanding officer of the 114th Precinct said.

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