Electric bikes can help immigrant workers. But in New York, they’re banned

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration said that the electric bikes are not good for the crowded streets of New York City. Security of the people who walk on their feet is the one thing administration is keeping in mind before lifting the ban from the electric bikes.

Liu Li Qiang, a 45-year-old immigrant from China
Liu Li Qiang, a 45-year-old immigrant from China and delivery worker, wants the state to legalize e-bikes, which are prohibited in New York. Delivery workers suffer large financial losses each time they’re given summonses and have their bikes confiscated, he said.

When a new delivery guy joins this job the first thing he will need is the vehicle which can help him to deliver the goods efficiently and quickly. What will be the best option other than bicycle especially electric bikes? It is easy to use and you can also pass the traffic jams easily. You can either use it with peddle assist or by throttle assist. Immigrants generally take electric bikes on rent for their delivery job. One of the immigrants said that it can take two or more than two months of savings to buy their own electric bike.

One can buy the best electric bike under £1000, To survive in another country electric bikes are the best tool. Since the electric bikes are introtuced it had become a boon for the delivery workforce in New York City. The majority of the delivery workers are in their 40s, 50s and some even in their 60s. For them, electric bikes are the best investment in their job as it will expand their delivery area and they can also deliver goods in less time and can deliver more goods eventually leading to a good wallets.

The problem faced by the delivery workers

But there is a hitch. Electric bikes capable of going beyond the speed of 20 miles per hour are ban in New York City. This is why the lawmakers of some city and state elected officials say pose a clear hazard to public safety. Some immigrant group and also the elected officials called this ban as unfair and say that it targets the delivery workers of New York City, many of them are Asian, Latino and African-American immigrants.

Fine for operating electric bikes are also very high. Fine can go upto 500 dollars which is very high for low wage workers. In some cases, the bikes of the delivery workers also confiscated by the police. Some have to give fine from their savings while some have to lose their electric bikes when they have no money to pay the fine. One of the immigrant delivery workers said that it is eating into the salaries of delivery men.

“Most of these workers are paid very low wages,” said Persephone Tan, associate director of immigration and policy at the Asian American Federation, a nonprofit. “I think because they are normal folks from very vulnerable backgrounds, they would take any job that would help them sustain themselves financially.” There are many lawyers who are fighting for the immigrants just to make their life easy in the country which is totally new for them. There is an organization of the immigrants who protest against the government demanding the availability of electric bikes for them. Many protests have had also been held against the government to solve this issue.

The aftermath of the legal fight

Since the electric bikes are considered as motor-driven bicycles in New York City, they are technically subject to the registration, licensing and insurance requirement of motor vehicles, according to the group. But, you can not go for these processes as you can not register motor-driven bicycles according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

“If we legalize them, then they have to have the training, they have insurance, they have a license, and this way it’s easier for us to make them accountable,” she said.

Ther had been many protests and rallies to lift the ban on electric bikes but the response from the government is negative. “E-bikes are illegal to operate in New York City and the NYPD is stepping up enforcement,” de Blasio said in a statement at the time. “Those at the top of the food chain need to be held accountable. That’s why instead of merely targeting riders, we’re going after businesses that look the other way and leave their workers to shoulder the fine.”

One of the organization said that they are going fight for their rights till the legalization of electric bikes. As they see no other options available to sustain their life in New York City.

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