NYC Mayor Backs E-Bike Safety Bill Targeting Delivery Apps

Key Takeaways:
– Mayor Adams’ administration supports a New York City Council bill targeting e-bike fires.
– The legislation requires delivery apps to provide their workers with safer, approved e-bikes.
– Rising concerns are due to fires caused by the devices’ lithium-ion batteries, causing fatalities in the city.
– The bill’s sponsor, Oswald Feliz, is hopeful it will pass in two months.
– Delivery apps UberEats and DoorDash expressed concerns about the proposal.

City Administration Supports New Legislation for E-Bike Safety

The administration of Mayor Adams showed its support for a New York City Council bill aimed at combatting e-bike fires on Wednesday. The bill seeks to mandate that delivery apps bear the cost of providing safe, certified e-bikes or similar electric-powered apparatus for their workers.

Giving evidence at a Council hearing, Margaret Forgione, the first deputy commissioner of the Transportation Department, expressed the administration’s endorsement. “The administration supports this legislation,” she stated. In addition, Forgione mentioned the administration’s keenness to collaborate with the Council on creating an e-bike trade-in program.

Rising Concern over E-bike Fires

A surge of legislative proposals has grown out of the need to address the increasing number of swift e-bike fires. These fires can erupt when the device’s highly-flammable lithium-ion batteries overheat. As per Fire Department data, last year saw 268 fires, 150 injuries, and 18 deaths linked to these batteries in NYC alone.

Instances of raging e-bike fires have claimed lives, such as a fire in a Chinatown repair shop in Manhattan that killed four people in June and an e-bike fire that caused deaths of three in a Brooklyn brownstone last November.

Delivery Apps Express Concerns

The passage of this bill could influence the delivery landscape of the city by alleviating costs for delivery workers currently using potentially dangerous e-bikes. However, the reaction of major delivery apps such as UberEats and DoorDash to this potential law remains unclear.

Uber expressed its concerns about the proposal during the hearing. Hayley Prim, senior policy manager at Uber, stated that the city should focus on enforcing e-bike sellers rather than placing the burden on the apps to fund devices.

DoorDash also voiced its resistance, warning that the bill’s passage could force it to stop e-bike deliveries, putting workers at a disadvantage.

Enforcing Safe E-Bikes Usage

The new legislation would impose civil penalties on delivery apps failing to arrange certified e-bikes for workers. Feliz insists the safety risk of uncertified e-bikes necessitates this legislation. He remains optimistic that the apps will support the plan in the end.

Ultimately, addressing this issue requires participation from all parties involved according to Feliz. “Everyone must do their part,” he concluded. As the city waits for the bill’s next technical adjustments and its potential passage, all eyes are on the future of safe e-bike usage in New York.