Comments

Elizabeth Fischer Thu, 05/10/18 - 17:22 It has been illegal to use AND sell "Motorized scooters" (which includes class 2 e-bikes) since 2004. In spite of that, local bike shops have put thousands of illegal class 2 e-bikes on the streets --- and continue to do so. Regulations and fines banning their sale have NOT been effective. Delivery workers only use what they can purchase and get serviced locally. Why does NYC allow a handful of bike shops to openly flout the law, while cracking down on the "little guys"? As long as these shops are allowed to continue to sell illegal motorized scooters, delivery workers will continue to buy them --- if nothing else, because many of them do not speak English or understand our laws. They just assume that if they can buy it, it must be legal. In conjunction with this rule change, NYC also needs a coordinated, EFFECTIVE effort to either bring existing e-bike shops into compliance --- or put them out of business. If existing laws banning the sale of illegal e-bikes can be enforced, we will see a BIG increase in compliance on the street. We should not tolerate this continued type of lawlessness.

Adrian Horczak Wed, 05/16/18 - 13:16 This rule change is supposed to help delivery workers that make deliveries with a bike. However, most delivery workers use electric bikes that have throttles. Since these bicycles pose very little threat to public safety according to crash data, throttle powered electric bicycles should also be covered by this rule change. There is no reason to have throttle powered electric bicycles remain illegal. In fact, having them remain illegal is harmful to New York City because delivery workers are being punished for using them and they are encouraged to travel using more dangerous modes of transportation, such as motor vehicles. The additional benefit of throttle powered electric bikes is that they do not produce any air pollution because they are electric. More electric vehicles replacing gas guzzling motor vehicles would improve air quality our city.

DEJAN STOJKOVIC Wed, 05/16/18 - 14:11 Class 1 (Pedal assisted e-bikes) are, first of all, expensive and not affordable to the majority of the cyclist, so there comes a discrimination. People who are lobbing this option only are those who have their own business interest and don't really care about public! Pedal assisted e-bikes are heavy and bulky and thus not meant to be used by a regular cyclist. For a cyclist that's a whole new "machine" affordable to "elite". These Class 1 e-bikes also have disadvantages with a standard bike chains being snapped due to increased stress caused by sudden increased torque. NYC should adopt a rules from the other states or countries (like California or Netherlands..) who have much more experience in this matter since, shame to say, NYC is "inventing a wheel" on this topic. It's an absurd to insist on safety and allow Class 1, whereas Class 2 (throttle-assist e-bikes) have the same speed and power limits. Yes, traffic rule violators should be punished or those who have e-bikes that exceed 20mph or 750W, but keep in mind that regular bicycle can exceed this speed of 20mph. E-bike controller is the key element that limits the power - speed of e-bike. Pedal assisted e- bikes can go way faster than 20 mph if controller doesn't limit the power. Same applies to throttle assisted e-bikes. Word “Factory certified” speed limit in the future law cannot prevent users to put different controller and “upgrade” their pedal assisted e-bike (same for throttle-assist e-bikes). It would make it difficult for police to examine and test if e-bike was modified. That is why the regulations should be focused on speed limit and motor power only, not pedal or throttle assisted. From my perspective, I find it discriminatory that I cannot use my own regular bicycle with a small 250W front hub motor (Clean Republic) with throttle button and 15mph speed limit without pedaling where the guy next door can cruise around with a $5000 pedal assisted bike because law allows only Class1. For me to buy another expensive pedal assisted e-bike, that can’t perform as a regular bicycle because it’s heavy and bulky, is not an option. From the prospective of the delivery drivers issues, I would like to suggest to legalize those throttle assisted bikes as long as they comply with 20 mph speed limit and 750W or 500W motor power. From technical point of view it is simple, affordable and possible to limit the speed of those thousands throttle-assist delivery e-bikes by changing a controller unit. Solutions would on the market within a weeks. Proposing a conversion from throttle assisted to pedal assisted is technically challenging, complicated and to simply say impracticable. So, if lawmakers are trying to propose this as a solution for existing owners of the throttle-assist e-bikes I would call it “sweeping the problem under the carpet” or ignoring a majority opinion that this issue concerns.

NYC-DSA Climate Justice Working Group Sun, 05/27/18 - 10:00 The NYC Democratic Socialists of America Climate Justice Working Group cannot stay quiet while the city ignores how its seemingly innocuous laws uphold a toxic, classist system. While Mayor de Blasio took a step toward justice after classifying Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes as bicycles, he should do the same thing with Class 2 throttle-assist e-bikes. Both pedal assist and throttle assist bicycles — as well as normal bicycles for that matter — can reach top speeds above twenty mph. Criminalizing one and not the other sustains an unjust hierarchy. In New York City, it also happens that this criminalization preys on some of our city’s most vulnerable. The majority of the people who use throttle assist e-bikes are immigrant workers delivering food. It is not just a bicycle for them, in this case it is their livelihood. Politicians insist that the authorities only target the restaurant employers, but this yet another example of elitist ignorance. Most workers own the e-bikes that are permanently confiscated; many of whom are afraid to seek remedy in court — fearing ICE despite our ostensible “Sanctuary City.” As long as throttle e-bikes are illegal, the city threatens immigrant workers’ livelihoods directly. Luckily, there is one clear and easy solution available: Since the city already deemed pedal assist e-bikes legal, then all e-bikes that meet safety standards should be legal and encouraged. By continuing to target throttle e-bikes, New York City encourages more cars at a time when congestion is reaching a tipping point toward asphyxiation. The Mayor is incentivizing congestion when it should be incentivizing a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner air. The primary argument against e-bikes — fed to city’s politicians by the donor class — is that they are unsafe for pedestrians. There is no evidence of this being true. In fact, cars killed over a hundred New Yorkers last year and e-bikes killed no one. At a time when congestion issues plague our city, and will only be exacerbated by the L-train shutdown, we should be encouraging all alternative forms of low-emissions transit. E-bikes need only ten percent of the energy required to power a car, and are six times more efficient than rail transit. If the Mayor wants to be a climate leader he must now walk the talk and follow other cities around the world like Paris and San Francisco in encouraging all forms of e-bikes. The city should allow all forms of e-bikes and regulate them to remain safely under twenty mph. Until all e-bikes are legalized, the city will be hindering its own chance at developing a low carbon energy efficient transit network we so desperately need. We hope that the Department of Transit rectifies this and brings all e-bikes into rightful legal standing in order to make a safe, energy efficient New York that works for us all.

Aaron Eisenberg Sun, 05/27/18 - 10:08 While Mayor de Blasio took a step toward justice after classifying Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes as bicycles, he should do the same thing with Class 2 throttle-assist e-bikes. Both pedal assist and throttle assist bicycles — as well as normal bicycles for that matter — can reach top speeds above twenty mph. Criminalizing one and not the other sustains an unjust hierarchy. In New York City, it also happens that this criminalization preys on some of our city’s most vulnerable. The majority of the people who use throttle assist e-bikes are immigrant workers delivering food. It is not just a bicycle for them, in this case it is their livelihood. Since the city already deemed pedal assist e-bikes legal, then all e-bikes that meet safety standards should be legal and encouraged. By continuing to target throttle e-bikes, New York City encourages more cars at a time when congestion is reaching a climate tipping point. The Mayor is incentivizing congestion when it should be incentivizing a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner air. At a time when congestion issues plague our city, and will only be exacerbated by the L-train shutdown, we should be encouraging all alternative forms of low-emissions transit. E-bikes need only ten percent of the energy required to power a car, and are six times more efficient than rail transit. If the Mayor wants to be a climate leader he must now walk the talk and follow other cities around the world like Paris and San Francisco in encouraging all forms of e-bikes. The city should allow all forms of e-bikes and regulate them to remain safely under twenty mph. Until all e-bikes are legalized, the city will be hindering its own chance at developing a low carbon energy efficient transit network we so desperately need. I hope that the Department of Transit rectifies this and brings all e-bikes into rightful legal standing in order to make a safe, energy efficient New York that works for us all.

Wesley Higgins Sun, 05/27/18 - 12:36 Politicians insist that the authorities only target the restaurant employers, but this yet another example of elitist ignorance. Most workers own the e-bikes that are permanently confiscated; many of whom are afraid to seek remedy in court — fearing ICE despite our ostensible “Sanctuary City.” As long as throttle e-bikes are illegal, the city threatens especially immigrant workers’ livelihoods directly. The primary argument against e-bikes — fed to city’s politicians by the donor class — is that they are unsafe for pedestrians. There is no evidence of this being true. At least regarding fatalities: cars killed over a hundred New Yorkers last year and e-bikes killed no one. By allowing throttle e-bikes to remain illegal, NYC listens to the self-interested vocal few who almost always get their way over the majority who feel civically disengaged partly because of policies like the ban.

Thomas Niles Sun, 05/27/18 - 17:53 With climate catastrophe looming, the city of New York took a step in the right direction by legalizing e-bikes. Legalizing these bikes is a long over due part of the solution to get ourselves off fossil fuels. Unfortunately it was not a full step in the right direction, as it only legalizes Class 1 pedal assist bikes and not Class 2 throttle assists. This unneeded distinction hurts delivery workers, who are a majority of throttle assist e-bike users. This separation of e-bikes into these two categories, makes no sense and will only further our immigrant community's interaction with the courts. As news stories pop up daily to remind us, ICE roams our courts, putting some in our immigrant community in jeopardy. There has been no justification on behalf of our city, a “sanctuary city,” about why distinguishing e-bikes into two categories is worth putting an entire community at risk. It is ironic that just as the city paves the way for one class of e-bikes to take off that communities that have born the yolk of environmental injustices are now being singled out and punished for already having a climate solution to transportation. It is going to take all of us, as part of a cross class coalition, to break our addiction to fossil fuels and not legalizing ALL e-bikes is a potentially harmful step backwards.

haley rubinson Mon, 05/28/18 - 11:37 At a time where the city’s transportation network is under great strain, it is laudable the agency is thinking bigger about how to make alternative modes more accessible to more New Yorker. However, this rule should not be limited to pedal assist e-bikes. I am writing on behalf of Bird, a company that provides safe, low-cost, last-mile transit options to communities across the country through an electric scooter sharing network. Electric scooters, which are growing increasingly more popular in major cities, are a safe, zero-emission, viable transportation option. Riders maintain control of electric scooters by using a graduated throttle to increase or decrease speeds. As compared to pedal assist e-bikes, they typically travel at max speeds of 15mph (vs 20) and are a fraction of the size and less than half the weight. We see with vehicles that decreased speeds improve operators’ ability to avoid crashes, and along with the weight and size of vehicles involved in crashes, affects the severity of injuries when accidents do occur. Given the increasing need for sustainable, alternative transit choices and the fact they are not inherently less safe than the class of e-bikes covered in this rule, or frankly any of the other modes that currently share our roadways, please amend this rule to include electric scooters.

Adrian Saker Mon, 05/28/18 - 16:37 We fully support Mayor Bill de Blasio in his recent announcement that the Department of Transportation will begin the rule-making process to clarify that pedal-assist bicycles are now legal to operate in New York City. This law change is of course response to the 'L' train shutdown in April 2019, and the 225,000 people who each day must now find alternative transportation in to Manhattan. Electric bikes in NYC are a huge opportunity for safe, sustainable, healthy transportation. In this we'd like to help support the city in its goals: We propose to supply 10,000+ electric bikes to commuter riders in New York City. We would like to clearly understand the channels through Department of Transportation to secure "Approved E-Bike Certification" for our pedal-assisted bike. We will then reach out to sponsors to subsidize these bikes, who will add their logo. We anticipate requesting incentive grants for personal e-bike ownership from the city. Clearly, bike-sharing programs in NYC will be unsustainable––there simply aren't enough lampposts to chain them to! We submit the time for commuters to become accustomed to pedal-assisted bikes is this summer...not April 2019. Thank you. Household Name® | Brooklyn NYC

Jeremiah Bornemann Mon, 05/28/18 - 22:33 Class 2 throttle-assist e-bikes should be legal. Both pedal assist and throttle assist bicycles — as well as normal bicycles for that matter — can reach top speeds above twenty mph. Criminalizing one and not the other sustains an unjust hierarchy. In New York City, it also happens that this criminalization preys on some of our city’s most vulnerable. The majority of the people who use throttle assist e-bikes are immigrant workers delivering food. It is not just a bicycle for them, in this case it is their livelihood. Politicians insist that the authorities only target the restaurant employers, but this yet another example of elitist ignorance. Most workers own the e-bikes that are permanently confiscated; many of whom are afraid to seek remedy in court — fearing ICE despite our ostensible “Sanctuary City.” As long as throttle e-bikes are illegal, the city threatens immigrant workers’ livelihoods directly. Luckily, there is one clear and easy solution available: Since the city already deemed pedal assist e-bikes legal, then all e-bikes that meet safety standards should be legal and encouraged. By continuing to target throttle e-bikes, New York City encourages more cars at a time when congestion is reaching a tipping point toward asphyxiation. The Mayor is incentivizing congestion when it should be incentivizing a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner air. The primary argument against e-bikes — fed to city’s politicians by the donor class — is that they are unsafe for pedestrians. There is no evidence of this being true. In fact, cars killed over a hundred New Yorkers last year and e-bikes killed no one. At a time when congestion issues plague our city, and will only be exacerbated by the L-train shutdown, we should be encouraging all alternative forms of low-emissions transit. E-bikes need only ten percent of the energy required to power a car, and are six times more efficient than rail transit. If the Mayor wants to be a climate leader he must now walk the talk and follow other cities around the world like Paris and San Francisco in encouraging all forms of e-bikes. The city should allow all forms of e-bikes and regulate them to remain safely under twenty mph. Until all e-bikes are legalized, the city will be hindering its own chance at developing a low carbon energy efficient transit network we so desperately need. Until you make this a reality bikers and immigrants alike risk every day interactions.

Jacob Mason Tue, 05/29/18 - 9:32 The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1985, to promote sustainable transportation around the world. We are headquartered in NYC and have offices in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Jakarta, Chennai, Guanghou, and Pune. Electric bicycles are a key part of a more sustainable city, reducing local air pollution and using limited public space much more efficiently than private cars. Best practice for e-bike regulation comes from the Netherlands, where pedal-assist bicycles, limited at 25kph (15mph) are permitted to operate on streets as well as bicycle paths & lanes with no helmet or license requirement. The proposed rules are very much in line with this best practice, and we support them. Amsterdam has also experienced a boom in throttle scooter use, which have increased mobility for many people, and are required to have helmet, insurance, and a drivers license (see link below). Until recently these were also permitted on bicycle paths, but this has caused safety issues due to their ability to operate at higher speeds than bicycles. In NYC, there are many existing higher-speed throttle scooters. These faster vehicles should be legalized and licensed for use on city streets but not bicycle lanes and paths in their current form. Also, the city should provide a pathway for them to be modified to fit the proposed pedal-assist bicycle regulations for proper use on bicycle lanes. Best Regards, Jacob Mason Global Research Manager ITDP 202-552-3216 https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/why-are-all-these-scooters-here/ https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/the-moped-menace-in-the-netherlands/

Joseph Shraibman Tue, 05/29/18 - 12:01 I'm seeing a lot of ridiculous comments on this rule. Because the majority of "ebike" users are poor immigrants delivering food we should weaken our laws? If it turns out the majority of other professional criminals like drug dealers or bank robbers were poor immigrants would we throw up our hands and say we should just get rid of these laws? No! The laws of New York are that motorcycles require registration and insurance and a valid motor vehicle license to operate, and that they operate only where motor vehicles are allowed (i.e. NOT in the bike lane). Enforcement by NYPD has been so sporadic that these professional criminals (and that is what they are) have gotten arrogant and are now complaining that their livelihood is be hurt on the rare occasions when the law is enforced. I find the whole notion ridiculous. We should not be coddling them. The motor vehicle laws should be efficiently enforced. If there are loopholes in the law that don't explicitly classify “pedal assist” motorcycles as motorcycles then the loophole should be closed. If there is a loophole that allows illegal motorcycles to be sold even though they can't be legally used that loophole should be closed. If there is a loophole that doesn't let illegal motorcycles be seized when they are parked (when they are much easier to seize) that loophole should be closed. I have heard that one reason NYPD doesn't try to seize illegal motorcycles is that the average NYPD officer can't tell the different between a “pedal assist” motorcycle and one with a throttle. If so this rule change will just make the matter worse. Motorcycles are not bicycles, even if they are given a name that sounds like “bike”. This rule change would further normalize this activity, and I oppose it. Postscript: I realize that the DOT itself only has so much power, and that it doesn't have the power to close loopholes in laws. What it does have the power to do is enforce it's own rules. I took my actual human powered bicycle on the DOT operated Staten Island Ferry yesterday. In order to bring my bike on I had to pass through security where a bomb sniffing dog checked my bike and the security guard then waved me though. In addition to actual bicycles they were also letting motor scooters through, despite the fact that they are explicitly forbidden by the rules of the Staten Island Ferry. This lazy rule enforcement is part of the problem. When the rules aren't enforced “ebike” users think they are entitled to do whatever they want and that when rules are enforced they are somehow being oppressed . Why are the SIF security guards letting motor scooters through security? When even have them?

Joanna Jacob Tue, 05/29/18 - 12:46 Through this proposed rule, Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York have taken an important first step toward creating a city with more equitable transportation options. My company, JUMP Bikes, is the Brooklyn-based inventor of the smartbike for bike share systems and launched the nation's first dockless bike share program in Buffalo back in 2013. In the last year, we have transitioned to launching systems of Class 1 pedal assist bikes and we are thrilled to see our hometown clarify the legality of pedal-assist bikes. In cities like San Francisco and Washington, DC, JUMP has already seen the benefits of pedal-assist in our bike share systems. Our Class 1 pedal-assist bikes help connect people to stronger transportation options and work centers, they allow individuals with a wide array of physical abilities to get a motorized boost (our assist is capped at 20 mph), and they provide a viable car alternative on crowded city streets. The average ride length for a JUMP pedal-assist bike in San Francisco is 2.6 miles, which is almost three times longer than in our non-pedal assist bike share systems. There’s still more work to be done to expand electric bike options for as many New Yorkers as possible, but JUMP Bikes is excited for what this first step achieves for New York City.

Brian Hedden Tue, 05/29/18 - 13:01 I would like to report on the conditions I have observed in my neighborhood in southwest Brooklyn. I frequently see delivery workers on electric bicycle. Most appear to be throttle bikes, as opposed to pedal-assist bikes. I have found them to be least obtrusive delivery vehicles seen in Bay Ridge. Relative to cars, which frequently double-park outside of the businesses for which they deliver, and box trucks, which double-park in front of their delivery address, block sightlines down the street, and are noisy, I have observed ebike delivery to quietly transit through the neighborhood without adverse interaction with other street users. I very rarely see ebikes ridden on the sidewalk, even less than normal human-powered bikes. I have seen almost all ebike users stop at red lights, and usually wait until the light turns green before proceeding - again, compliance appears higher amongst ebike users than standard bike users, in my judgement. I have no concerns with their use of the streets, and I do not see the need to force current users of throttle bikes to convert to standard or pedal-assist bikes.

Nina Riddel Tue, 05/29/18 - 13:21 I believe all e-bikes that meet safety standards should be fully legalized. By continuing to target throttle e-bikes, New York City encourages more cars at a time when congestion is reaching a tipping point toward asphyxiation. The Mayor is incentivizing congestion when it should be incentivizing a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner air. The primary argument against e-bikes is that they are unsafe for pedestrians. There is no evidence of this being true. In fact, cars killed over a hundred New Yorkers last year and e-bikes killed no one.

Vicky Mao Tue, 05/29/18 - 15:18 Street Vendor Project, on behalf of our more than 2,300 street vendor members, submit this testimony to support e-bike deliver workers. Please refer to the supporting document for our comments. Thank you

XIAODENG CHEN Tue, 05/29/18 - 15:31 A rule change to legalize E-bike should not exclude working bike-delivery workers who would be further marginalized with the type of the e-bike they use still being banned. The fact the e-bike is still banned, has arguably to do with the fact that the users of e-bikes are largely immigrant workers with limited social resource and linguistic barrier. I propose a standardization and conversion process to regulate the type of bike that is legal to be used, and to allow the existing bikes to be converted. -Xiaodeng

Emily Hoffman Tue, 05/29/18 - 15:47 Please see attached.

Malika Conner Tue, 05/29/18 - 16:17 ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York is writing to submit comments on the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed rule amendment to Chapter 4 of Title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York, relating to its Traffic Rules, regarding the use of electric bicycles (e-bikes). As written, the proposed rule would unnecessarily burden the primary users of electric bicycles in New York City: immigrant delivery workers. Delivery workers have been integral to the growth of New York City’s food industry, and for over a decade, their use of electric bicycles facilitated this growth. Delivery workers now provide over 100,000 deliveries of food daily in New York City. Consumers and businesses alike therefore depend on delivery workers using e-bikes; in fact, many delivery workers report they can no longer get their jobs without owning an electric bike. Although businesses, customers and workers have benefitted from this evolution to using e-bikes, delivery workers have all the while been criminalized for using them. Just since last year, delivery workers have had almost 2 million dollars’ worth of their bike property confiscated and been ticketed more than a million dollars in fines simply for using e-bikes to do their job and provide a service on which so many in the City depend. Through this proposed rule amendment, New York City will legalize one form of electric bicycle that explicitly leaves out the kinds of e-bikes most workers use. While the amendment would permit pedal-assist bicycles, most workers own e-bikes that have a combination of pedal-assist and throttle capacity. As written, the proposed amendment would not even permit workers’ e-bikes where the throttle has been made inoperable. As a consequence, in order for workers to comply with this new rule, workers would have to abandon significant financial investments in their e-bikes in order to buy new pedal-assist only bicycles which are generally more expensive and not well-designed for delivery work. The distinction between the bicycles workers actually use and the pedal-assist bicycles this amendment would permit is minor; workers’ bicycles are equipped with a throttle that can additionally engage the motor. Therefore, we strongly urge DOT to revise the rules in such a way that would allow workers to bring their electric bicycles into compliance by making the throttles inoperable. The proposed rule should be modified to allow for workers to easily and cost-effectively convert the bikes they already own to comply with the pedal-assist requirements this rule is designed to legalize. We ask that DOT consider the following revisions (in capital letters) to the proposed rule. Without such changes, the DOT’s proposed rule amendment leaves workers behind.

Ryan Smith Tue, 05/29/18 - 16:39 The rule as proposed will impose an undue hardship on working cyclists who operate as independent contractors and own throttle-assist e-bikes. I therefore believe that the following changes should be made to the proposed rule: 1. As the current language prohibits all throttle bikes, change language to prohibit bikes “equipped with an operable throttle” Thus, bikes with disabled throttle would be allowed. Also, because current language only allows pedal-assist e-bikes that are made by the manufacturer, change language to allow e-bike with a DOT-approved label for conversion. Together, these changes will enable conversion of existing throttle bikes when the owner cannot afford a costly new, compliant bike. 2. As current language specifies speed for required label for e-bike to read “maximum speed," change to “maximum motor-assisted speed,” for label specification. This is important because e-bikes are no more dangerous than other forms of bicycles*, so the maximum speed with the motor disabled is irrelevant (as it is the same as for any bicycle). I believe that it also bears pointing out that facilitating maximal use of e-bikes by delivery workers makes sense for the business community, as e-bikes allow workers to make more deliveries. Indeed, when using e-bikes, workers are 17 times more likely to make more than 20 deliveries a day*. It is also a question of social justice: controlling for other factors, workers who do not speak English well are more than 11 times more likely to have paid more than $250 in fines than workers who do speak English well.* In a city that thrives on the implementation of progressive policies for the well-being of its residents, the above changes will enable the proposed rule to realize its full potential.

Steve Scofield Tue, 05/29/18 - 20:12 Pedal-assist bikes (Eg, those that do not have a throttle and go no more than 20 mph) should be legal since they are no more of a threat to pedestrians, vehicles, and cyclists, than ordinary bicycles. Anything larger/faster than that should be legalized too, but with a VIN number and license plate as if it were a motorcyclre.

Steven Bodzin Tue, 05/29/18 - 20:37 No matter what rule the city ends up adopting, it should forbid the NYPD from ever seizing bikes. Police don't even seize many cars and trucks involved in fatal collisions. It is cruel and unusual punishment, as well as a violation of due process, to seize people's means of livelihood out from under them.

Brian Van Nieuwenhoven Tue, 05/29/18 - 20:37 At a time when congestion issues plague our city, and will only be exacerbated by the L-train shutdown, we should be encouraging all alternative forms of low-emissions transit. E-bikes need only ten percent of the energy required to power a car, and are six times more efficient than rail transit. The city should allow all forms of e-bikes and regulate them to remain safely under twenty mph. I hope this rule change brings all e-bikes into rightful legal standing in order to make a safe, energy efficient New York that works for us all.

Brian Howald Tue, 05/29/18 - 22:01 While I welcome the city's efforts to remove restrictions on use for electric bicycles ('e-bikes'), the proposed rule changes only legalize a subset of e-bikes currently in use on our streets. To create a distinction between pedal-assist and throttle e-bikes not based on any particular difference in operation of these vehicles, especially when no data has been presented to justify this distinction, is arbitrary. The City's recent targeted enforcement of the current rules regarding e-bikes and the origins of this enforcement strategy suggest that it and the distinction in the proposed rules are motivated by animus towards those riders who use e-bikes with throttles that does not exist towards those who use pedal-assist e-bikes. The mayor, at the press conference to announce this strategy, claimed that fines for violating the current rules would go to restaurants who employ riders who use e-bikes with throttles, but no evidence that the fines have gone to businesses and not to the riders themselves has been seen. That the enforcement has focused on low-wage workers rather than their employers should make it clear that these rules are intended to allow those fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive pedal-assist e-bikes to do so, while continuing to penalize those who are not. Any proposed rule changes and distinctions therein should be based on data, and the city has made no case, let alone a convincing one, why e-bikes with throttles should be treated any differently than pedal assist e-bikes.

Nathaniel Bachelis Tue, 05/29/18 - 22:09 As a father, husband, daily bike commuter from Brooklyn to Manhattan and son of Chinese immigrants who when they first came to the United States ran Chinese restaurants so they could provide a better life for me and my brother-- I feel a special connection to many of the hard working ebike deliverymen trying to make a better life for themselves and their families -- in many ways, they truly are the embodiment of the American dream. Which is why it is imperative in the Age of Trump that we end this class based and xenophobic persecution as this ebike crackdown is not supported by facts, reason or the objectives of public policy. At at time when truly progressive cities that are far more advanced on Vision Zero goals, such as London, Paris, Stockholm and Copenhagen, are actually subsidizing ebike ownership (including for business deliveries [see photo attached of non-ebike from downtown Brooklyn]) as a congestion disrupter and car substitute (not just a bike substitute) we must not allow the kvetching of NIMBYs drive policy. We must follow the data which is precisely why embracing ebike ownership (not just pedal assist) is imperative for achieving so many of the Council's shared goals. You name it: Climate Change, Vision Zero, Congestion, Fossil Fuel dependency, enhanced mobility in transit desert and yes, even the L-train shutdown; can be ameliorated by ebike promotion. And as a daily bike commuter I promise you, the occasional "buzzing" from an ebike deliveryman is nothing compared to the near misses from cars and trucks on a near daily basis. I certainly understand how ebikes "feel" unsafe to many people -- but the realty is and statistics clearly show -- they are not unsafe as it is cars and trucks that kill people in NYC on a regular basis, including but not limited to Edwin Ajacolon less than 50 feet from my house last November. 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and one-year-old Joshua Lew were killed by a car driver less than 15 blocks from my house this March, and it was a garbage truck driver who killed my immigrant grandparents approximately 40 years ago. Please let sensible policy carry the day and legalize what is a safe, green, efficient, space minimizing, cheap form of transportation. Thank you.

HoYing Fan Tue, 05/29/18 - 22:40 This rule change is long overdue--pedal-assist e-bikes will, as stated above, greatly improve mobility for New Yorkers (those who can afford them, at least). It is, however, unjust to sanction only pedal-assisted ebikes, which cost far more than the throttle models used by the folks who deliver our food. It has been heartbreaking these past months to see and hear about the NYPD's seizure of their means of making a living. I don't deny that many pedestrians are afraid of speeding delivery workers, but it makes no sense that simply owning an ebike, a necessity for their jobs, can cost a delivery worker over $500. As a comparison, a ticket for speeding in a school zone costs $50. I work in physics, but I don't think one has to be a physicist to figure out that a 2-ton SUV traveling over 25mph is far more dangerous than a 300lb ebike at 20mph. In addition to the proposed rule change, please also allow an exemption for throttle ebikes that have a governor to cap speeds at 18mph, as shown at today's meeting. Regardless of their immigration status, delivery workers are fellow New Yorkers who deserve our respect.

Jehiah Czebotar Tue, 05/29/18 - 22:45 Is an all-electric car legal? (yes; Tesla's are obviously legal, and many policies exist to promote and accelerate adoption of all-electric vehicles) Surely then an all-electric bike which is speed capped at twenty miles per hour on a road with a twenty five mile an hour limit should also be legal.

Jake Moritz Tue, 05/29/18 - 23:32 An alliance of cycling advocates have proposed changes to the e-bike law that would enable the conversion of existing e-bikes to Class 1 legal status. Implement the changes proposed by cycling advocates to ensure there is room to convert the majority of existing e-bikes that delivery workers already own and use, then let's partner to fund and distribute affordable, simple conversion kits.

Xian Zhang Tue, 05/29/18 - 23:38 Dear DOT, I would like to commend the mayor and the DOT for working to legalize the usage of electric bikes in NYC and to clarify the rule regulating their use. We should focus our sight on what we strive to do, which is to make NYC a safer place for all and to do so at the minimal cost to individuals and businesses. E-bikes can be part of an ecologically sound solution to the traffic issues in New York City, and they can be used safely if we regulate it effectively and without bias. At the end of the day, what really cause traffic accidents and injuries are speeding and disobedience of traffic rules, not throttle or pedal assisted electric bike. I believe it is much more feasible and effective to treat bikes (electric or not) as just a fast moving, human driven vehicles that need to be handled with care, and regulate them as such. This will save all the confusion surrounding implementation and enforcement of these rules. The clarification of the regulation will undoubtedly help all users in the biking community, recreational or commercial, but the detail in implementation and enforcement could make the new rule ineffective. So I would recommend modifying the rule and focus not on the technical detail of the vehicles, but the effect of that technology have on the commuting environment. Furthermore, I think it makes sense to have a moratorium on issuing traffic summons based on electric bike ban until the new rule is adopted so that communities that rely on the electric bike for their livelihood can get a fair chance to be compliant with the law. I believe that is a win-win for everyone.

Nikhil Shimpi Tue, 05/29/18 - 23:55 There have been positive initiatives in NYC toward e-bike safety and legalization. But while Mayor de Blasio took a step toward justice after classifying Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes as bicycles, he must expand his efforts to include Class 2 throttle-assist e-bikes. The bikes are substantively similar: both pedal assist and throttle assist bicycles — as well as normal bicycles for that matter — can reach top speeds above twenty mph. Criminalizing one and not the other sustains an unjust hierarchy of bike ownership and usage without rational basis. In New York City, it also happens that this criminalization preys on some of our city’s most vulnerable workers. The majority of the people who use throttle assist e-bikes are immigrant workers delivering food. Because the vehicle is not just a bicycle but a source of their livelihood, it is especially important to safeguard them against onerous regulation. Such measures are predicated on little other than their protected class and opprobrium directed at work that members of the community disfavor despite its essential role in the economy of the city. Since the city already deemed pedal assist e-bikes legal, then all e-bikes that meet safety standards should be legal and encouraged. Concerns with the safety of these bikes cannot be distinguished adequately and again it is concerning that a disfavored class of riders continue to be stigmatized. A simple measure such as ensuring that e-bikes travel under 20 miles per hour will ensure that they cause problems commensurate with those involving non-electronic and pedal assist bikes. Legitimizing e-bikes offers benefits beyond those involving e-bike riders. By continuing to target throttle e-bikes, New York City encourages more cars at a time when congestion is reaching a climate tipping point. The Mayor is incentivizing congestion when it should be incentivizing a smaller carbon footprint and cleaner air. At a time when congestion issues plague our city, and will only be exacerbated by the L-train shutdown, we should be encouraging all alternative forms of low-emissions transit. E-bikes need only ten percent of the energy required to power a car, and are six times more efficient than rail transit. Until all e-bikes are legalized, the city will be hindering its own chance at developing a low carbon energy efficient transit network we so desperately need. If NYC wants to be a climate leader, it must now follow the example of global cities such as Paris and San Francisco that have acknowledged the benefits and encouraged the adoption of all types of e-bikes that offer benefits to public health while delivering few or no additional risks to public safety. I call on the Department of Transit to rectify this dichotomy and bring all e-bikes into rightful legal standing so that they can be part of a safe, energy efficient New York that works for all.