Countering the punitive narrative sweeping town towards electrical bikes and different types of micromobility, Mayor Adams on Monday revealed a brand new metropolis effort to bolster the “vital” type of transportation whereas additionally lowering the danger of substandard lithium-ion batteries that energy among the automobiles.
The mayor mentioned his “Cost Protected Journey Protected Motion Plan” will embrace presumably creating the type of “battery-swap” program that was floated one month in the past in Streetsblog and later launched by Council Member Keith Powers. And the plan will lastly permit authorized e-bikes in metropolis parks.
“This plan commits to designing a protected setting and entry program that can assist New Yorkers transition away from the unlawful mopeds and uncertified bikes and batteries to protected, authorized units and batteries,” the mayor mentioned at a Metropolis Corridor press convention. “We’re additionally going to steer the nation by piloting choices like battery-swapping and safe-charging methods for our supply employees.”
Particulars of the plan revealed a mixture of new concepts and ongoing efforts that can contain different branches of presidency. However the mayor spoke passionately in regards to the significance of authorized electrical bikes as a key to a sustainable transportation future.
“We all know [e-bikes] are handy, however in addition they are a necessity, significantly for individuals who are a part of this booming economic system of delivering meals and different objects all through town,” he mentioned. “[E-bikes] play a significant position in assist lowering congestion in how we transfer across the metropolis as we take care of our environmental points that we face. However defective variations of those e-bikes and unlawful electrical mopeds … don’t meet the fundamental security requirements and include uncertified lithium ion batteries. We wish to promote the expansion of protected e-microbility as a local weather pleasant different to vehicles.”
He repeatedly blamed “defective” lithium-ion batteries for the issues fires — fires which are exacerbated by the astounding warmth given off by damaged batteries and the truth that many individuals cost substandard batteries in bulk close to the very door of their residence or constructing, blocking folks’s paths to security.
The mayor’s announcement additionally got here with a mini-bombshell for the customers of authorized electrical bikes: this summer time, town Parks Division will drop its ban on the units on bike lanes and greenways below its management — a coverage that was not according to state regulation.
“We’re going to launch a pilot to permit electrical micromobility units on park drives and greenways to create extra protected areas for New Yorkers to experience,” Hizzoner mentioned. “E-bikes and e-scooters are right here. We would as nicely get used to them. They’re now a part of our motion. Now we should make certain they’re included in our on a regular basis lives in a protected and environment friendly method.”
Past that, the “Cost Protected, Journey Protected: New York Metropolis’s Electrical Micromobility Motion Plan” [PDF] supplied these particular proposals:
- The town will pilot “Out of doors Electrical Micromobility Storage and Charging Options at NYCHA Properties”: It is a main change from an earlier initiative by the housing authority to fully ban electrical bikes.
- The mayor will “advocate” for the state legislature to cross, and Gov. Hochul to signal, a invoice that will subsidize the acquisition of protected, authorized e-bikes, as reported by Streetsblog.
- The town will proceed its effort to create charging hubs for supply employees.
- The town will proceed fireplace education schemes and an NYPD effort to forestall the sale of unlawful mopeds by working with enterprise homeowners who promote them, and, in some circumstances, shutting them down. “Companies that proceed providing unlawful units on the market have these units seized and obtain summonses. “
One factor left unclear is whether or not Metropolis Corridor will create a battery-swap program, such because the one advocated by Streetsblog and Powers (D-Higher East Facet). The mayor’s proposal solely says that Metropolis Corridor “will have interaction with stakeholders and specialists, together with New York Metropolis Council, to design a program tailored to our distinctive bike owner panorama, specializing in the wants of supply cyclists and low-income communities.”
SIDEBAR: HOW IS THE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY PROBLEM BEING FACED NATIONALLY?
The mayor’s feedback got here after Fireplace Commissioner Laura Kavanagh continued responsible solely “e-bikes” for the spate of fires, quite than particularly citing unlawful units, akin to unlicensed mopeds, or the defective, uncertified batteries which have proliferated as a result of they’re cheaper and available. She did add that the federal Shopper Product Security Fee — to which FDNY wrote final month searching for federal intervention — has been “extremely responsive,” mentioning a recall on at the very least one defective system and a overview of how the federal authorities can stop substandard merchandise from coming into the nation at ports.
The mayor promised ongoing engagement with the Shopper Product Security Fee, a part of Metropolis Corridor’s multi-government strategy. Supply employees, the mayor mentioned, “shouldn’t must be battery and tools specialists.” It’s as much as authorities, he added, “to make sure the merchandise and our streets are protected.”
Along with asserting his proposal, the mayor signed a slate of payments handed earlier this month by the Metropolis Council, together with:
- Intro 663 (by Council Member Oswald Feliz), which might prohibit the sale of uncertified batteries or these not authorised by respected organizations akin to Underwriters Laboratory. This invoice was particularly cited within the mayor’s 35-page plan.
- Intro 752 (Gale Brewer), which might prohibit the sale and meeting of second-use lithium ion batteries. “In layman’s phrases, it’s a battery that has been reconstituted,” Brewer mentioned earlier. This invoice was additionally cited within the mayor’s plan.
- Intro 722 (Robert Holden) requires the FDNY to publish an annual report on all fires brought on by powered mobility units, together with particulars just like the geographic location and circumstances of every fireplace, and constructing sort at which it occurred. This was the lone invoice within the package deal that the FDNY opposed — on the grounds that it isn’t “the very best use of sources,” Appearing Chief of Fireplace Prevention at FDNY Thomas Currao testified final 12 months. He raised points with the difficulty the FDNY would have with a invoice due to “what it’d take to assemble and produce all the components on this report.”