Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal comes out in favor of electric bikes - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Feb. 15, 2018 12:33 pm

Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal comes out in favor of electric bikes

The young councilman who represents Bed-Stuy and Brownsville says #legalize e-bikes.

Citi Bikes by McCarren Park, Aug. 20, 2015.

(Photo by Tyler Woods)

We’re now a year and two months away from the L train transportation-mageddon that will force the line’s more than 400,000 daily users to find another way of getting around the city, and some ideas for how to deal with that are much needed. So far, there’s… not a lot on that front.

But now Councilman Rafael Espinal has come up with something: legalize electric bicycles.

In an op-ed in the Daily News yesterday, the 33-year-old councilman who represents Bedford-Stuyvesant, Flatbush, Crown Heights and East New York, argues the de Blasio administration’s crackdown on electric bikes is counterproductive.

“Imagine if Citi Bike had the right to incorporate e-bikes into their bike-share model,” Espinal wrote in the piece. “The possibility of crossing one of the East River’s many bridges without breaking a sweat would attract more New Yorkers to use that mode of transportation to get in or out of Manhattan, especially during the L train shutdown. This would reduce vehicular congestion and the strain on our already overburdened transit system.”

E-bikes are currently used most by deliverymen who shuttle food around the city. But they face the possibility of traffic fines and the impoundment of their bikes for riding the electric bikes, which are officially banned. That’s wrong, says Espinal.

“If e-bike riders follow the same laws of the road as do nonelectric-bike riders, which they typically do, they should have the exact same access to our streets,” he wrote.

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