Kudos to the de Blasio administration for making it slightly easier. Last month, the Department of Transportation clarified that pedal-assist e-bikes, which limits speed up to only 20 miles per hour, are legal to operate in the city.
But about 80 percent of delivery workers use e-bikes with throttles, which allow them to go faster. Those types of e-bikes are illegal to operate.
It’s incumbent upon the city to help businesses and delivery workers adjust to the pedal-assist e-bikes. Transportation and city officials should carefully consider the five-point plan that advocacy groups like Transportation Alternatives, Make the Road New York, Asian American Federation and the Biking Public Project have unveiled.
Start with a moratorium on e-bike enforcement. As advocates have clearly stated, there isn’t enough data to prove they are a menace on the road.
Throw in the fact that most delivery workers using e-bikes are immigrants, many of whom are afraid of interacting with law enforcement. As Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca said at the steps of City Hall, a moratorium means pushing “the pause button” and getting it right.
Public outreach is important. The city should spend more time training both employers and delivery workers on best practices to stay safe on the job. That may include uploading software to limit the speed or disabling the throttle altogether.
Rather than punishing, the de Blasio administration should work with all parties involved to find the best solution.
It’s a win-win-win for everybody. Delivery workers will be safer, customers ordering food will get their meal on time and the NYPD can focus on the true dangers to public safety.