The NYPD’s 19th Precinct recently enjoyed a minor win in the ongoing battle against illegal electric bikes, dirt bikes, mopeds, and ATVs. In an early Monday morning tweet, the Precinct shared an image of their most recent round-up: two truckloads of “illegal 2-wheeled devices.”
It’s about time? Try all the time!
Our officers are continuously hard at work answering community safety concerns.
Two more trucks of recklessly driven illegal 2-wheeled devices off to the POUND—they don’t belong riding on sidewalks, bike lanes or roadways & we’re removing them: pic.twitter.com/RDxbyn9zmP
— NYPD 19th Precinct (@NYPD19Pct) December 5, 2022
Loud, illegal and dangerous street vehicles have long been a source of contention for NYC residents – as is reflected in the generally enthusiastic responses on social media, where commenters have chimed in to voice gratitude. Scattered amongst the comments are individuals looking for their own previously stolen vehicles, in the hopes they may be among those recently confiscated.
This is hardly a new issue. In 2021, the NYPD offered officers a $100 bounty per vehicle seized, and this year, Mayor Eric Adams publicly crushed one-hundred dirt bikes with a bulldozer as part of his campaign against illegal street vehicles. This ire is not without reason; beyond being noisy, electric bikes and ATVs may lack things like working turn signals or brake lights, and without properly documented vehicles, drivers may be uninsured.
However, there are those advocating for a more equitable approach. Earlier this year, Documented, a “news site devoted solely to covering New York City’s immigrants and the policies that affect their lives,” covered the effect that the vehicle crackdown has had on NYC’s delivery drivers. For undocumented immigrants, or those who do not speak English as a first language, laws around which vehicles require which licenses, and even how to pay fines, may be difficult to navigate. Per the Deputy Advocate for Environmental Justice and Infrastructure, “We need a multilingual public education campaign… followed by a grace period, before impounding more vehicles.”
Mayor Adams also has a plan for those who just ride for fun. At his June demolition rally, he was quoted as saying, “You know, I loved riding a dirt bike when I was a child, and so I think it’s crucial that we have those spaces. And we’re going to look at some of the spaces out there to allow them to ride.” Or, in the words of ATV enthusiast Tyson Johnson, “If [the city] was smart they’d have a place for us to ride… Nobody wants to get chased by the police for riding.”