Illegal e-bikes OK’d in NYC as food delivery lifeline amid coronavirus crisis


New York City’s ban of electric bicycles has been shelved to help support food delivery during the coronavirus crisis.

 Despite the growing popularity of electric bicycles, they have been outlawed in New York City.

The issue has largely been centered around throttle e-bikes, which use a hand throttle similar to a motorbike and don’t require the user to pedal to engage the electric motor.

These types of electric bicycles were the go-to method of transportation for NYC’s approximately 40,000 food delivery workers, according to the New York Post. The crackdown on these workers, who are mostly from foreign and minority backgrounds, has long been considered discriminatory by many activist groups.

Efforts have been made to legalize e-bikes in NYC, including the popular throttle-powered e-bikes. But after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed the latest bill seeking their legalization in December 2019, such e-bikes have remained banned.

Many restaurants have now shifted to take-away and delivery-only options, temporarily ceasing in-restaurant dining.

In response, New York City has decided to temporarily suspend its crackdown on electric bicycles like those used by food delivery workers. The suspension in enforcement means that the NYPD will no longer issue tickets or confiscate electric bikes during the crisis.

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