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Jenifer Rajkumar intros Priscilla’s Law to register and license e-bikes, e-scooters

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | If you can’t pass a bill in New York City — try Albany.

The NYC E-Vehicle Safety Alliance, Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar and state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. on May 22 announced the introduction of Priscilla’s Law at a rally on the staircase inside Albany’s Capitol Building.

The first bill (A-9092 and S-9028) of two sponsored by Rajkumar and co-sponsored by Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright requires all bicycles with electric assist and electric scooters to be registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles “and have a license plate affixed [to them].” Electric Citi Bikes would be included under the bill.

The legislation is named for Priscilla Loke, 69, the deputy director of the Chinatown Head Start, who was killed after a cyclist riding a heavy electric Citi Bike ran a red light on Sept. 5, 2023, and struck her in the crosswalk at Grand and Chrystie Streets as she was walking back to work. She was knocked to the ground, struck her head and suffered severe head trauma. She died from her injuries at Bellevue Hospital two days later. Police eventually tracked down the cyclist — after initially having let him leave the scene — and he was given a ticket for blowing through the red light.

At the announcement of the bill in Loke’s name, her dear friend Sook Ling Lai, the Head Start’s director, urged that Loke’s death not be in vain.

The politicians and advocates said deaths and injuries from e-vehicles — for pedestrians and riders alike — will only continue to grow if riders are not held accountable for abiding by the rules of the road. License plates would mean unlawful riding could be caught on camera.

A second bill (A-9114), again sponsored by Rajkumar and co-sponored by Seawright, has the same two provisions as the first but also requires electric-assist bikes and e-scooters to be inspected and have liability insurance. Rajkumar refers to both bills as Priscilla’s Law and calls them a package.

“I authorized this commonsense legislative package to address the reckless use of e-bikes, one of the biggest issues at the top of New Yorker’s minds,” she said. “Last year we witnessed a record number of deaths from e-bike riders disregarding traffic laws and using dangerous, reconditioned batteries. My package honors the memory of Priscilla Loke and all the victims of e-bike collisions and fires by providing the same requirements for e-bikes as other motorized vehicles: license plates, insurance and inspection. Working with my partners at EVSA, we are going to create safe streets and support the responsible use of this emerging mode of transit.”

Seawright added, “Every day, I hear from constituents who are reporting near-accidents, wide-ranging injuries due to collisions, improper usage or malfunctions of e-vehicles and mopeds. No one should have to fear for their own safety in navigating their own streets and communities.”

“There are 74 victims of e-vehicle violence in EVSA,” Janet Schroeder, one of the group’s steering committee “core four,” said of the group’s members. “Seventy-two of the riders who crashed into these pedestrian and cyclist victims fled the scene. With visible license plates, these fleeing riders will more easily be tracked down.

“This is not about penalizing anyone, it is about changing behavior,” said Andrew Fine, another EVSA steering committee member. “The days of reckless riding on our streets must be put behind us for the sake of all, including the riders themselves.”

Dr. Daniel Murphy, chief of emergency medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, said the fallout of e-vehicle chaos in New York City is escalating.

“We are seeing consistent, steady numbers of severe injuries, including fatalities, from e-vehicle and moped crashes in the emergency room. Full stop,” he said. “As far as numbers are concerned, the number of injuries and the acuity of these injuries are getting exponentially worse.”

Rajkumar’s bill to license and register e-bikes echoes New York City Councilmember Robert Holden’s bill, Intro 0606-2024. However, despite EVSA’s strong advocacy, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams declined to bring the bill up for a vote last year, forcing it to be reintroduced this year and for its co-sponsors to be collected all over again. Currently, the bill boasts 31 co-sponsors, a majority of the 51-member Council.


  1. Pedestrian Pedestrian May 31, 2024

    Up next… a license to walk?!… Babes stop pretending to be important and go home and bake some cookies!

  2. John R Shuttleworth John R Shuttleworth May 29, 2024

    The traffic laws regarding bicycles, electric or manual, are clear. As are those for pedestrian conduct in relation to street/road crossing. These are: NYC Administrative Code Title 19, Sections 19-176, 176.1, 176.2 (According to 19-176-2(b) electric scooters are illegal in NYC. ??)
    Then the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY) Title 34 Department of Transportation. Ch. 4 Traffic Rules. Sec 4.02…. They are not enforced. Bicycle riders whether commercial or private regularly ignore these laws as pedestrians ignore those relating to them. Of particular concern is the dangerous condition created by bicycles on sidewalks.
    The only solution is licensing of bicycles, whether electric or manual, commercial or private, and required insurance across the board. Complicated in practice? Yes. The alternative? Being injured or killed; whether it be cyclist by motor vehicle or pedestrian by cyclist or motorist. Sounds like business as usual; up to the point a councilmember or member’s child or relative is hurt or killed. Then the laws will change. Question: Will they then be enforced?

  3. Marguerite Martin Marguerite Martin May 28, 2024

    Great bill! Where do I sign up to support it?

  4. Stephen DiLauro Stephen DiLauro May 28, 2024

    Wow! I am impressed and amazed that there are still politicians who care about the citizens of NY enough to introduce such a commonsense bill. Thank God! Long overdue but very welcome.
    Now let’s pray it passes and is enforced.
    Thank you to anyone and everyone who supports this improvement to the quality of life in the city.

  5. Jo Jo May 28, 2024

    We need these laws desperately, but we also need police to be prioritized to catch and arrest riders of all motorized (e-assisted or regular bikes) who ride on sidewalks, turn corners against traffic and run red-lights). I’ve seen such behavior in plain sight of cops and they do NOTHING !
    It’s the Wild West of the streets of Lower Manhattan.

  6. C.J. Scheiner C.J. Scheiner May 28, 2024

    Great idea. But in the meanwhile why won’t the City take action against vehicles that park on the street, usually illegally and often for days, with all license plates removed, in violation of
    nypd violation code: VTL 4021A 402(1)(a): No License Plate or Single License Plate
    These vehicles are a safety hazard; they block fire hydrants and street cleaning and intersection visibility, etc. yet are ignored by ticket issuing traffic officers.
    If these “ghost” vehicles were ticketed, booted, towed and sold at auction the City could make millions of dollars, and maybe remove the need for Congestion Pricing.

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