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Restaurant Owners Find De Blasio's Electric Bike Crackdown Far From Appetizing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The  mayor's new initiative -- taking aim at bikers who break the law -- may mean you have to wait a little longer for your takeout.

Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed a crackdown on business owners who used electric bikes to speed food to your doorstep.

He's seeking to slap owners with substantial fines since e-bikes are illegal.

You could call it 'delivery men on electric bikes behaving badly.' CBS2's cameras caught them going through red light after red light, speeding, weaving in traffic, and going the wrong way.

"They don't obey the laws, they definitely run all the lights, I've seen them almost hit people, they are completely reckless," Chayann Sapp told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer.

A complaint like that one from activist Matthew Shefler during the mayor's weekly radio show convinced the city's top dog to take action.

"I want tougher legislation. I want a law that makes enforcement easier, and directs the enforcement at the businesses that employ the delivery bicyclists," he said.

Tenzan restaurant on Columbus Avenue has a huge fleet of electric bikes outside that it uses to deliver. They're upset.

"It's really bad, it's really bad," Anthony Siswasto said.

He said it will 'absolutely' hurt business.

Empire Szechuan didn't like the crackdown either.

"No," Mary Chin said when asked if it's a good idea.

Francesco's Pizza on Columbus also has a huge fleet, and an active delivery service.

"Man, if it's put on the law that nobody can drive electric bikes, then I'm not against it," Adrian Kastrati said, "I mean it's gonna effect. Helps make delivery faster, but whatever it takes, you know."

Even before the new law de Blasio is seeking, the NYPD said it's confiscated 779 bikes as of last Sunday, that's up from 277 in 2016.

NYPD Inspector Dennis Fulton of the Transportation Division said electric bikes are illegal in New York, and since they can't be registered they can't be insured.

"The bikes are illegal, and anything that makes it easier to enforce the law makes it more efficient for us," Fulton said.

Not everyone is on board.

"I think it's a bad idea. Those guys don't make any money. They practically live on their tips, so why would you make it harder for them to do the delivery," Ingrid Goodman said. "Another bad idea from the mayor."

But some were.

"They're moving along too quickly. They can't stop, so good for him," Warren Kopler said.

A spokesman for the mayor said the exact amount of the fine still needs to be worked out, and will include input from the city council and other stakeholders.

The current fine for having an illegal electric bike is $500.


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