NYPD criticised for seizing e-bikes as part of road safety campaign

The motorised bikes are outlawed in New York despite calls for them to be legalised

Criticism has been aimed at police in New York over the seizure of e-bikes as part of a road safety campaign.

Motorised bikes and scooters are banned in the city as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s drive to reduce the number of traffic deaths in the city.

The NYPD has come under fire for enforcing the policy, most recently after the force posted pictures of seized bikes on Twitter, including one that had a child’s seat attached.

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New York’s crackdown on e-bikes is part of ‘Vision Zero,’ a project launched by the mayor in 2014 aimed at reducing the number of fatalities on the roads.

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De Blasio has been critical of the “unacceptable and dangerous” situation in the city, despite campaigners pointing at that e-bikes accounted for just 31 of New York’s 45,000 traffic incidents resulting in injury.

Earlier this month, De Blasio said: “We’ve seen them going the wrong way, weaving through traffic, going up on the sidewalks, all the things that many New Yorkers find dangerous and unsettling, and they can reach very high speeds.”

On Tuesday (May 21), the NYPD 13th Precinct posted pictures on Twitter of bikes seized during “another successful e-bike operation” with the hashtags #CommunityComplaint and #VisionZero.

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The tweet has come in for criticism, with some pointing out that confiscating e-bikes affects low-paid workers like delivery drivers who use the machines for work.

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One person said: “By a 'successful e-bike operation' you mean taking away someone’s livelihood, and removing a clean, quiet vehicle from the streets.

“The delivery people should all use gas-guzzling SUVs I guess.”

Another said: “E-bikes are the post child of Vision Zero. Your priorities are misplaced and embarrassing.”

The current laws in New York allow police to issue $500 (£394) to e-bike riders and confiscate the bike, but steps are being taken by lawmakers to legalise the transport.

Cycling Weekly has approached the NYPD for comment.

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