Rule status: Proposed
Comment by date: October 19, 2021
Rule Full Text
This proposed rule would amend the New York City Department of Transportation’s Traffic Rules to:
- authorize the removal of certain unattended bicycles,
- require vehicles and bicycles to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks when traffic controls are not in place or in operation,
- add an exception to the prohibition on the obstruction of New York State license plates for certain receiver-transmitters issued by a publicly owned tolling facility, and
- repeal Chapter 8 of Title 34 of the RCNY, which contains obsolete provisions regulating the operation of the Employee Commute Options Program.
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October 19, 2021
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Online comments: 8
THE E-BIKES AND SCOOTERS…
The proposed rule does not go anywhere near far enough to deal with the scourge of motorized e-bikes in our city. We are being terrorized by thousands of unregulated, unregistered, speeding e-bikes, driven by hordes of anonymous and unaccountable people who should be duly licensed to operate a motor vehicle, but aren’t.
New Yorkers now experience all of the following terrifying experiences, multiple times every day:
– E-bikes and scooters routinely ignoring red and yellow traffic signals, blithely running red lights as a rule;
– E-bikes and scooters traveling at speeds greater than 20 mph;
– E-bikes and scooters riding on city sidewalks;
– E-bikes and scooters traveling in the wrong direction on city streets and avenues, as well as in city-constructed bike lanes;
– E-bikes and scooters riding with general traffic (or on sidewalks) on streets and avenues that already contain bike lanes for their use;
– E-bikes and scooters deliberately winding their way past pedestrians with little more than 6 inches to spare, without stopping or even slowing down; and
– E-bikes and scooters whose operators are riding while texting on their smartphones.
In short, E-bicycles and scooters are a menace to our city. Their owners and operators must be brought under control so that they can stop posing a grevous threat of bodily harm to our people.
1. Require that every single e-bike ridden in NYC be registered with the New York State DMV.
2. Require that every single e-bike operator be duly licensed to operate a motor vehicle.
3. This should go without saying, but enforce traffic laws that require vehicles to stop at red signals and yield to pedestrians.
…AND THE PEOPLE WHO DRIVE THEM
Bike Lanes were built with millions of NYC taxpayer dollars. The people who drive the e-bikes and scooters in these lanes are economically disadvantaged, and subject to dangerous working conditions, as well as callous and shameful employment practices by those to employ them.
The lanes have been taken over by delivery app organizations: Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub/Seamless. If you don’t think so, sit outside on Amsterdam Avenue during the 7 pm to 9 pm rush and count how many non food-delivery bikes go by. The bikers are going too fast, are frequently not wearing helmets, are frequently texting, and occasionally traveling in the wrong direction. Sometimes they’re on the sidewalk. The delivery personnel are rarely employed as W-2 employees by these delivery app organizations; they are considered independent contractors. Doing this allows the app companies to:
– Avoid paying employment taxes, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance;
– Fire these people at will, with very little recourse on the part of the employees; and
– Avoid liability if and when these delivery e-bikers have collisions and cause bodily injury or property damage – because the e-bikers are considered “independent contractors.”
Our city has spent millions of dollars to build bike lanes. This ends up supporting an industry that exploits people at the bottom rung of society by denying them the protections that come with W-2 employment status and subjecting them to sweatshop-type working conditions. That same industry extorts business owners by overcharging them on service fees for app-based food delivery orders. Then, after turning these e-bike drivers loose on the city – and creating slave-driving work conditions that lead the workers to be hurried, harried, and reckless in their biking habits – the food delivery app companies deny that they actually do employ these delivery people, and they absolve themselves of any responsibility for the carnage wrought by these crazed overworked bikers.
So, to sum up:
– Exploitative work conditions
– Fraudulent employment practices
– Creating dangerous conditions for the public
– Circumventing the tort liability system and leaving injured parties without recourse
– Bilking the public, by spending millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the construction of bike lanes that are used by nearly nobody else but the food delivery app companies.
And the city is an accomplice to each and every one of these awful things.
The city needs to investigate the exploitive and fraudulent employment practices of the food delivery app companies, shutting down organizations that do not comply with basic rules on workplace safety and fair employment practices.
Steven G Zirinsky
I am the president of the West 104 Street Block association and I can tell you that we are all fed up with the amount of two wheeled vehicles going the wrong way down the streets, sidewalks and bike. Travelling on the sidewalks, going excessively fast and with no concern for any consequences because there aren’t any.
We can make all the rules we want but if there is no enforcement then there are no rules.
So, please advise how it will get enforced?
This really is a MAJOR quality of life issue that must be addressed and resolved.
This is a good start, but does not go far enough. What should also be added are all the bikes, scooters, dirt bikes, three wheelers, skate boards, etc. There are so many new flavors of these things that it’s hard to know how to categorize them. Let’s not forget the Revels which were sanctioned by the City.
Parks should also be included in the regulations. Walkways intended for recreation in Riverside Park, for example, have become speedways for motorized vehicles as if the paths along the Hudson were a supplemental lane of the West Side Highway. Children are especially at risk of being injured by riders whose purpose is not exercise but delivering food or showing off.
I am in complete agreement with Messrs Koral and Zirinsky about the nature and severity of the problem. It is only a matter of time until (another) pedestrian is killed. Bicycles, motorized or not, and scooters, motorized or not, must be compelled to obey traffic laws, and must never be allowed to be operated on sidewalks (children under 10 on unmotorized scooters and bikes excepted). Enforcement is the key, and the only effective enforcement will be widespread issuance of fines of $100 or more for every violation, fines as well to the restaurant or other employer who employs the offender and, where necessary, seizure of the vehicle.
Ebikes, escooters and bikes are speeding at the speed of cars, not obeying traffic lights, going the wrong way in the street and in bike lanes, as well as riding on sidewalks. There is no regulation or accountability. In the last year it has become dangerous and frightening to walk in NYC. The bike lanes were supposed to make the city more livable and inviting and easier to navigate. I am not only afraid to bike in bike lanes because of this behavior, but find walking across the street a stressful experience. I am in my 50s and I cannot imagine what it is like for older people.
I recently learned that a colleague was struck by a bicyclist and suffered a concussion.
How about actually enforcing existing traffic laws for all vehicles and requiring licensing and registration for eVehicles?
Leaving the house now you take your life in your hands with all the bikes and scooters zooming both ways down the streets and sidewalks, rarely obeying traffic laws.
E-bikes should be licensed and there should be fines for violating traffic laws.
I am a regular cyclist, both around the City and on the West Side Bike Path (Hudson River Greenway). I am alarmed by the unregulated C-2 & C-3 vehicles that are frequently seen on the bike paths. It seems that if we can keep them, and motorcycle/motorscooters, out of Central Park, we can do the same on all the bike lanes/paths, especially the West Side Bike Path. And for the rest of the City, the C-2’s & C-3’s need to be licensed–and the Police NEED TO ENFORCE the laws they already have. There is currently no accountability, and that is a recipe for disasters, as we have seen. Anything that can travel over 20 mph with anything other than leg power needs to regulated. Thank you.