Last week, NYPD officers seized 247 electric bicycles in a 24-hour period as part of a sting to seize illegal ATVs, motorcycles and ebikes. It’s part of New York City’s implementation of Vision Zero, the multi-national road traffic safety project. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced adoption of their own Vision Zero plan with initiatives to allow more control in the administration of traffic safety measures. This oversight seems to currently be targeting cyclists, especially those on electric bicycles, which are illegal in New York (but legal on a National level).
LAPD Chief of Transit Bureau Joseph Fox tweeted this:
The response was rapid and showed that many in the Twittersphere don’t care for the ban, discussing the fact that many rely on the bikes for their livelihood and that electric bikes aren’t statistically responsible for deaths or injuries. A sampling of the responses:
There was a similar response to the NYPD 9th precinct when they posted this:
According to nyc.streetsblog.org, “People riding bicycles — both conventional and electric — are responsible for a vanishing trace of pedestrian fatalities in NYC. Drivers who speed and fail to yield remain the biggest causes of death. Yet the Midtown North precinct, which only issued 37 speeding tickets in the month of February [PDF], confiscated 38 bikes on Wednesday.”
It seems there are far more egregious threats to pedestrians on the streets of New York than electric bicycles, with trucks operating illegally killing many pedestrians and cyclists. The crackdown on bikes may have stemmed from citizen complaints against delivery cyclists, which haven’t statistically caused the same damage as trucks or other vehicles.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is fine with the mass-ticketing campaigns by NYPD. “The bottom line here, first and foremost, cars, vehicles, are the number one challenge because their size and their speed make them the single greatest danger, but bicyclists have to get the message,” de Blasio said at a press conference in November. “They need to follow traffic laws too, and we have had targeted enforcement of bicyclists and we will continue to deepen that.”