Are you about to cross the street? Look both ways – and pray.
The e-bike swarm makes a stroll to the other side so risky, it’s a wonder that pedestrians aren’t required to sign a liability release before stepping off the curb.
The menace that sets New Yorkers scrambling for their lives at every corner calls for only one solution:
Ban e-bikes completely, no matter how much car-hating bike advocates scream and impatient New Yorkers gripe about their General Tso’s chicken taking a few minutes longer to arrive.
New Yorkers must watch out for muggers and crazies lurking under scaffolds and on subway platforms. Now, since the state legalized e-bikes in 2020, we put our lives on the line every time we step out of our homes in broad daylight. It will be even worse as spring turns to summer. Citi Bikes just started rolling out 1,500 more, fancier e-bikes to its 5,000-strong fleet.
The new e-bikes have handlebar LED screens to show speed and directions. Imagine, riders who rarely bother to look left or right can now focus all their attention on a tiny, handlebars-mounted screen with sound!
Incredibly, e-bike riders don’t need licenses. But the two-wheel terrors are a license to kill and maim.
The city that closes restaurants over a dead fly winks at the electric-powered “pedal-boosting” bikes that bear down on hapless pedestrians at 25 mph – silently, often from the wrong direction, and frequently on sidewalks (where not even regular bikes are allowed).
Cycling proponents cite the pandemic for helping to popularize e-bikes. The logic of that isn’t clear, unless it’s that the lockdowns of 2020 and lingering, needless restrictions caused everyone to lose their minds.
Politicians and biking “advocates” forever propose brainstorms to wish away the e-bike carnage. Require licenses! Register the bikes! Install more bike lanes! Tougher enforcement!
But it would be easier to hold back a killer-bees invasion with a single can of Raid. Our streets and sidewalks are overrun. With the number of e-bike rides in the city more than doubling from 2.7 million in 2020 to 6.7 million last year, no Mickey Mouse-level tinkering could make a difference.
The Department of Transportation says there has been one death by e-bike this year, and three in 2021. But the statistics, or lack thereof – the agency does not break out non-fatal collisions – believing the disorder they add to already near- lawless streets, and the dread they bring to millions of New Yorkers every day.
E-bikes scare the bejeezus out of everyone except the people riding them. Elderly and less-mobile people rightly cower at their approach.
Uptown and downtown, food deliverers zoom between restaurant sidewalk seats and dining tents in the street heedless of traffic lights – or of waiters who risk their lives bringing dishes to tables.
E-bikers in my Upper East Side neighborhood play a game of chicken. Ha, ha! Let’s see how close I can come to crippling you without hitting you!
But there’s nothing funny about it.
My friend, former New York Post writer Doree Lewak, was nearly killed by a wrong-way e-bike four years ago. The hit-and-run strike on Sixth Avenue at West 37th Street knocked out a half-dozen of her teeth, damaged ten more, and left her with permanent injuries.
“Gone Girl” actress Lisa Banes died of brain injuries last June after an electric scooter, the e-bikes’ close cousin, ran her down on the Upper West Side. An Upper West Side restaurant manager perished last summer after being struck by an e-bike on Amsterdam Avenue.
This year, the highest body count is so far among e-bikers themselves. Among them: an off-duty NYPD cop who lost control in Flatbush; another Brooklyn man run over by a car after his e-bike brakes locked, causing him to be ejected; and one man killed and a second hurt when they drove their e-bike into a parked truck in Gravesend.
The damn things are a menace even when they aren’t even moving. Lithium ion batteries were responsible for more than 40 fires, one of them fatal, in the Big Apple so far this year.
It won’t be easy for Mayor Adams, the City Council or the auto-hating DOT to pull the e-bikes’ plug. Many “progressives” would like to see them replace cars altogether.
True leadership calls for guts. But I wouldn’t count on the pols and bureaucrats finding their spines before the next tragedies that are waiting to happen.