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Safety advocates want e-bikes registered, banned from parks in NYC

N.Y. lawmakers want to hold e-vehicle users accountable. Here's how.
N.Y. lawmakers want to hold e-vehicle users accountable. Here's how. 02:51

NEW YORK -- People who have been injured by e-bikes or lost their loved ones are calling on New York City to enact tougher regulations

A group rallied Thursday morning to demand all e-bikes, scooters and mopeds have license plates and liability insurance and be regularly inspected.

"We want our quality of life back, which is so greatly diminished by this utter and completely unacceptable madness. We want accountability now," said Janet Schroeder, of the E-Bicycle Safety Alliance. "So that no New Yorker has to be fearful to walk outside on our crosswalks and sidewalks or in the parks."

"NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell calls e-bikes and scooters the getaway vehicle of choice for criminals," said Andrew Fine, with the Safety Alliance.

The New York E-Vehicle Safety Alliance, which includes more than 70 victims of collisions as well as family and friends of those killed by the vehicles, held the rally alongside the New York City Council's Common Sense Caucus and state legislators.

Queens Assemblymember Jennifer Rajkumar has introduced a number of bills to make it easier to catch people who ignore the rules of the road.

The bills are especially important to Pamela Manasse, a cellist who has to use a cane to get around since a moped slammed into her just outside Lincoln Center, causing traumatic injuries.

"I lost my career. I have trouble tying my shoes. It takes me twice as long to cook dinner," Manasse said.

With the proliferation of New Yorkers ordering food deliveries, e-bikes are everywhere. Manasse says drivers often ignore the rules of the road, going through red lights and the wrong way on one-way streets.

"My husband keeps saying that if they would just give out $500 tickets, this would stop, wouldn't it?" Manasse said.

CBS New York's cameras caught the moment when an e-bike rider nearly hit Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Keith Pavia on Ninth Avenue and 48th Street and, later, a man on a scooter going the wrong way on Ninth Avenue, weaving in and out between cars and trucks.

The Safety Alliance also wants the city to stop a pilot program that allows e-bikes and scooters in city parks.

It's hard to tell if the measures will pass; they are common sense measures, but the bike lobby is very strong in New York, and Thursday, Councilman Kalman Yeager even said, "City Hall is where common sense goes to die."

E-bike safety efforts

New York City says last year was the deadliest year for cyclists since 1999, and the increased use of e-bikes is making roads more dangerous. 

According to recent Department of Transportation 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.

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

The DOT handed out guides for electric rides last month, as part of a multi-language, multi-platform educational campaign, targeting new riders and tourists. The department also touted new double-wide protected bike lanes, which are designed to accommodate more e-bikes and scooters.

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