Councilman calls for motorized bike crackdown

June 14, 2011 3:16:51 PM PDT
There's a call to crackdown on food deliverymen who are increasing using motorized bicycles.

A city councilman says the bicycles are dangerous and wants to double the fines.

"I try to avoid bikes at all costs, it can be a little scary even if it's a motor of non-motor," one New York City resident said.

For many restaurants that make deliveries, the scooter hybrids are quickly replacing traditional methods.

"It creates a dangerous situation for a lot of pedestrians, kids, elderly people, anybody who's walking down the street and doesn't realize what looks like a bicycle actually has a motor," said New York City Councilman Dan Garodnick.

Councilman Dan Garodnick wants to pull the plug on electric bikes, which though they're sold at many shops in the New York area, it's against the law to operate them on public streets.

Garodnick is proposing legislation that would double existing fines for those caught breaking traffic rules while riding these two wheelers.

Running a red light would suddenly cost offenders, $540, and riding the wrong way would be $300.

Only state lawmakers can raise the $65 fine for operating the bikes.

"People perceive them as bicycles, and so they frequently don't allow enough time to make sure they can get past them or assume they will take longer to get to them, while they're moving much faster," Garodnick said.

But workers in one shop tell Eyewitness News they fear this proposed legislation will hurt sales, that at a time when the city wants greener products, they've got one but ultimately will be penalized.

John Vincent lives in Miami, owns an electric bike and points out regular bikes can go just as fast as their electric counterparts.

"I do agree you should have ordinances and such protection for pedestrians walking and anyone on those bikes should follow the same rules that you have on regular bicycles or with traffic," Vincent said.