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Bill pushes increased fines on ebike riders

Several city council members want to put the brakes on illegal electric-powered bicycles rolling along New York City's streets.

Councilman Daniel Garodnick (D-Manhattan) introduced legislation that would double the fines for anyone caught using the illegal "ebikes" in the city.

Garodnick said his office has received many complaints from pedestrians who said they were injured and jostled by the bikes, especially when the riders use them on the sidewalk.

"It's scary enough when you have a regular bike breaking laws, but it is scarier when you have an ebike coming at you," he said at a news conference Thursday in Sunnyside, Queens.

Police can confiscate the bikes and issue summonses to the riders.

Under Garodnick's bill, which has eight co-sponsors, a maximum penalty for riding an ebike on the sidewalk would increase from $100 to $200. The bill also would double the first-time penalties for ebike riders who go through red lights to $900.

Garodnick was joined by co-sponsor Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) who said he has seen many ebike riders, particularly deliverymen, disrupt the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Many of Van Bramer's constituents said they have had some close calls.

"It was coming from behind me and I didn't see it coming," said May Kong, 60, who nearly was clipped by a deliveryman riding an ebike.

Van Bramer said he and Garodnick are working with city transportation officials to find ways to educate restaurant owners about the illegal bikes.

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