The NYPD plans to start fining the employers of riders caught operating electronic bicycles, the illegal mode of transportation used by some food deliverers to rush orders to customers, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
Starting Jan. 1, fines won’t be levied just against operators of the e-bikes, the NYPD’s current practice that imposes a fine of up to $500 and the risk of bike confiscation.
Fines against the drivers will remain on the books under de Blasio’s plan, but there will be additional civil summonses, which the NYPD will send by mail after catching a person riding an e-bike: $100 for a first offense and $200 for each additional one, he said.
“Once we see a bike, the NYPD will confiscate that bike,” de Blasio said. He added: “To get it back you’re going to have to pay more and more fines. My hope is, this will cause business owners to stop using e-bikes.”
Possessing e-bikes, which employ a motor and ease pedaling, is legal in New York state, but operating them in the city jurisdiction is illegal.
Asked about concerns, voiced by advocates for the mostly immigrant delivery workers who need the bikes to help make a living, de Blasio said he needs to put public safety first.
De Blasio, speaking at a news conference on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, referred questions about how many people have been struck or injured by e-bikes to the NYPD, which said in an email: “We do not track to this level of specificity.”