When Seconds Count, NYPD Is Busy Harassing E-Bike Owners

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A recent social media post from e-bike owners in New York City shows us that sometimes police priorities are pretty far out of whack. During a time when many Americans are concerned that the police might not be there when they’re needed the most, we’re seeing cops wasting time on something completely useless: E-bike “checkpoints.”

A man was out riding an e-bike with his daughter, enjoying what appears to be great weather on Memorial Day Weekend. But the little kid’s fun time with dad was suddenly completely ruined when they ran into New York’s…finest? Instead of being able to take a leisurely ride around Prospect Park, the pair of “criminals” found themselves being detained. Why? Because the guy dared to go down the wrong street on an e-bike and ran into some sort of checkpoint.

An NYPD officer and a Park Ranger stopped them and told them that they were violating the law. But, instead of providing guidance to correct an honest mistake, they were threatened with a $150 fine and destruction of the bike (which would be a lot more costly than $150).

In a video, you could see that the man’s daughter was visibly upset by this unnecessary and harsh police interaction:

Instead of being able to continue on to the park, she had to watch her father get lectured by police, and learned that cops aren’t always our friends. Worse, she probably overheard them threaten to destroy the bike she was riding on, which leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and fear in a young mind.

What’s even worse is that what these officers are doing might not even be legal. According to a post on StreetsBlog NYC, the anti-e-bike policy these cops are enforcing isn’t in keeping with New York state law.

“The conflict, of course, is that state law that legalized e-bikes in 2020 does not consider pedal-assist electric bikes to be motor vehicles. It’s right there in section 125 of the vehicle and traffic law; the definition of a motor vehicle in New York State is a “vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power, except … bicycles with electric assist as defined in section 102-c of this article.”

An Unwise Use Of Police Resources

As a parent, it’s extremely difficult to see police wasting time making a kid cry over something as trivial as an e-bike, especially when the law seems to be pretty clear that the park’s prohibition on e-bikes isn’t legal. Even worse, we’re seeing this after police in Uvalde, Texas sat around and did nothing for over an hour while children died.

We’re already questioning what the point of police even is when we see such dereliction of duty, but we quickly find out that police have no qualms about doing things like enforcing illegal policies and going as far as to threaten a man and his child while doing so. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I used to be in law enforcement when I see things like this.

When we really, really need the police, they’re not there for us. But when nobody wants them, they’re ready to spring into action to do stupid and mildly evil things like this. Shame on NYPD.

Featured image: A screenshot from the Twitter post embedded above.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1953 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba