E- Bike Fines May Double

Pols Announce New Legislation In Sunnyside

Legislation that would double the fines for violating the law while driving an electric bicycle is being pushed by City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Dan Garodnick, the two lawmakers stated at a Thursday, July 12 press conference under the Sunnyside Arch.

City Council Members Dan Garodnick (left) and Jimmy Van Bramer flank Community Board 2 Chairperson Joseph Conley during a July 12 press conference in Sunnyside announcing legislation that would double the fines for violating the law while driving an electric bike.

Van Bramer, speaking at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 46th Street, stated that there has been “an epidemic or reckless driving in my district and all over the city,” with the electric bikes-many being used for food deliveries-riding on sidewalks and running traffic lights.

“There is nothing more dangerous for a child or a senior citizen,” he stated.

While the modified bikes are illegal under state law, the city only increase the fines, according to Garodnick, who chairs the Consumer Affairs Committee.

“A police officer has the ability [under state law] to confiscate a bicycle that has been formulated as a ebike. They also have the ability to issue that ticket at the same time,” said Garodnick. “We are taking the action that is within our jurisdiction.”

“Navigating our city streets is dangerous and difficult enough without the reckless actions of many cyclists who are riding illegal electric bikes today,” said the Manhattan lawmaker, who added that “this is truly a citywide issue.”

The bill, Intro. 596 of 2011, would double fines for driving on the sidewalk from $100 and $200 and the initial fine for running a red light from $100 to $300. Garodnick added that subsequent fines would increase in size; the maximum fine for running a red light would be $900 if the bill passes.

“If there’s one place you should feel safe, it’s on the sidewalk,” said Community Board 2 Chairperson Joseph Conley, who told the Times Newsweekly that Board 2 is beginning to factor the actions of delivery persons on electric bikes into whether to grant a State Liquor Authority license renewal to the eatery employing the bikes.

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