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Controversial Plan To Legalize Motorized Bikes, Scooters In NYC Raises Safety Concerns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A battle over e-bikes is set to start Wednesday, as the city council considers legalizing electric bicycles and scooters.

The idea is to ease traffic on the roads, but some say it's coming at the cost of public safety.

Just last year, Mayor de Blasio vowed to crack down on electric bikes which - along with motorized scooters - are currently illegal to operate in New York City.

Now, advocates of this new proposal argue e-bikes and e-scooters would help traffic.

Many New Yorkers worry legalizing them will just make the streets even more dangerous.

"It's like the driving isn't safe to begin with… why add anything else to trouble it up?" Melissa Sorger told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

MORE: NYPD: Already Around 5,000 Bicyclists Busted For Running Red Lights In 2018

City councilman Ydanis Rodriguez is co-sponsoring the four-part bill that would legalize e-bikes and e-scooters. It would also establish an e-bike conversion program and create an e-scooter pilot program in the city.

"We have to have a plan in New York City to reduce the numbers of car owners from 1.4 million we have today to one million by 2030," Rodriguez argued.

"I feel that by adding a new mode of transportation not only with ferry, bike, Citi bike, and others, but also adding e-scooters, e-bikes we will be able to see more New Yorkers using different modes of transportation and not relying on cars."

Rodriguez says e-bikes and e-scooters would have to obey speed limits and traffic laws, while potentially sharing bike lanes with peddle bikes.

(Credit: TV 10/55)

"They go too fast, but more importantly, you don't hear them," Michael Norton argued.

"As we work to make them legal there's gonna be law and enforcement," Rep. Rodriguez claims.

On Tuesday, a City Hall spokesperson told CBS2 "the mayor will review the proposals with an eye toward both transportation innovation and safety on our streets and sidewalks."

The sponsors plan to present the bill to the city council Wednesday and then work with the speaker to plan a hearing.

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