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In response to numerous fatalities, New York City launches e-bike safety education campaign

In response to numerous fatalities, NYC launches e-bike safety education campaign
In response to numerous fatalities, NYC launches e-bike safety education campaign 02:06

NEW YORK -- New York City is grappling with an increase in the use of electric bikes, and it says that's making roads more dangerous.

City numbers show last year was the deadliest year for cyclists since 1999.

Now, the Department of Transportation is trying to fight back.

The city is hoping information passed out the sidewalks will lead to changes on the streets.

"Get smart, before you start," DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said.

The agency spent Tuesday giving guides for electrical rides as part of it's latest multi-language and multi-platform campaign to address the growing number of e-bikes.

Commercials will appear all over. Rodriguez said the city is targeting new bike riders and tourists.

"Inform the user how to properly accelerate, break and operate an electrical bike," Rodriguez said. "We do the educational, NYPD does the enforcement."

And the NYPD will not be holding back.

"You must obey the rules of the road," Chief of Transportation Philip Rivera said. "Into 2024, we have issued over 1,600 bike summons so far this year."

According to recent DOT numbers, bicycle deaths are at a 24-year high. Last year, 30 people died while riding, including 23 on e-bikes, which is more than double the previous record for e-bike fatalities.

Some New Yorkers said they are concerned.

"They have been driven very unsafely," one Hell's Kitchen resident said.

"Sometimes, they're going a little too fast," added Zoe Schaap, also of Hell's Kitchen.

While the DOT is touting it new double-wide protected bike lanes, which are designed to accommodate the growth of e-mobility, some New Yorkers said they are only making matters worse.

"I have had a few of my tenants over here on 10th Avenue get hit," Anita Acevedo said. "I have had three of them, bruised arm, hospital."

Acevedo said the wider bike lane in front of the senior center she works at allows riders to go faster and the wrong way, causing dangerous situations.

"I am always looking both ways, even though it's a one-way street, yeah," Acevedo said.

Some e-bikes can accelerate up to 25 mph, which is the speed limit for vehicles on most city roads.

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