To the Editor:
At the risk of sounding like a mutual admiration society, I want to thank Bette Dewing for her kind words about me in her March 15 column (“Trails That Need Following”). Given that she has been a tireless, stalwart advocate for pedestrian and bike safety for decades, I am humbled by her praise.
I also want to add two comments to her discussion of bike safety, particularly about delivery bikes. First, I spent over an hour watching food delivery bikes go back and forth in the West 80s after sundown. Not one single bike had a headlight. Not one. And less than half had any bell or other warning device. Although this may be low-hanging fruit, this certainly gives police officers something concrete for which to write summonses on an ongoing basis.
Second, with respect to the motor-assisted bicycles and fully motorized moped-style delivery bikes that are growing like kudzu and are dangerous not only because they make no sound (and have greater weight with which to cause injury) but because their riders are engaging in illegal practices such as going through red lights and traveling the wrong way on one-way streets: These bikes are already illegal under Section 19-176.2 of the New York City Administrative Code.
The NYPD’s legal department is about to make a formal ruling as to whether they can be used at all. If they rule that those bikes cannot be used, I strongly urge the NYPD to engage in a concerted campaign not simply to summons those who use the illegal bikes—as well as the restaurant owners who allow their use—but to actively confiscate them. A few weeks of serious crackdown, including summonses and confiscations, is the only thing that is likely to get restaurant owners to cease using these silent menaces.
President of the 20th Precinct
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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