In a March 19th letter to Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, seven members of the City Council and representatives from Asian American Federation and Legal Aid Society asked the department to also protect delivery workers from robberies and attacks.
“As we lift the ban on e-bikes to meet the rush of delivery demands, we must also ensure we unlock those previously confiscated,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides.
Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the NYPD would no longer enforce its ban on e-bikes, as bars and restaurants are only allowed to do take-out or delivery to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The lawmakers noted that food delivery workers, many of whom are middle-aged and immigrants, rely on the throttle-powered e-bikes to meet the demand for ordered meals. Having an e-bike confiscated often results in the delivery worker not being able to make ends meet, they said.
“In a time where businesses are struggling to stay afloat, workers at vulnerable income levels are struggling to make a living,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Adams. “It is unfortunate that a pandemic has forced the administration to place value on low-wage workers who deliver food in our city and halt the crackdown on e-bikes.”
The mayor’s moratorium comes just one month after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a bill legalizing e-bikes statewide. Last year, both chambers of the state legislature passed similar legislation.
“During this time of unprecedented hardship on small businesses and delivery workers, it is imperative that we free up every transportation alternative that will keep our restaurants and small businesses afloat,” said Councilman Peter Koo.