Hit-and-run e-scooter riders should be hit with stiffer penalties, two state lawmakers say.
State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, at a press conference at the corner of W. 64th St. and Amsterdam Ave. on June 16, called for the passage of their legislation (S.7212/A.8128) that would make the penalties for a hit-and-run with an electric scooter consistent with the law against leaving the scene of an automobile collision without reporting.
The press conference followed the death of actress Lisa Banes, 65, who died last week after a rider on a stand-up-style electric scooter hit her outside Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side and fled the scene.
“Our laws today don’t reflect the modern reality of our streets and sidewalks,” Hoylman said. “In New York today, the penalty for leaving the scene of an electric scooter crash without reporting it to police is less harsh than the penalty when driving a car. That makes no sense. Scooters have become a part of New York’s transportation infrastructure. Our laws need to catch up with the times. If you hurt someone with a scooter and you flee the scene, you must be held accountable, the same accountability as if you were driving a car.”
“Lisa Banes’s life ended tragically and publicly,” Rosenthal said. “She was struck by a negligent and reckless scooter driver who fled the scene. In recent years, e-scooters have exploded in popularity, but the law regulating their use has not kept pace. Since 2020, there have been more than 588 crashes involving electric scooters in New York City, which resulted in three pedestrian deaths and injuries to 538 people.
“In far too many cases, the driver fails to stop,” Rosenthal continued. “If a person were to leave the scene of an automobile accident after causing injury, they would be charged with a class A misdemeanor; driving an e-scooter, however, is classified merely a violation. We must protect pedestrians and hold dangerous drivers accountable by passing my legislation with state Senator Brad Hoylman to hold drivers accountable by increasing the penalties for leaving the scene of a crash with an e-scooter.”
Under current law, the penalty for leaving the scene of an electric scooter crash without reporting it to police is a violation if the crash results in physical injury, or a B misdemeanor if the crash results in serious physical injury.
On the other hand, the penalty for leaving the scene of a car crash without reporting it to police is an A misdemeanor if the crash results in physical injury, or an E felony if the crash results in serious physical injury.
(S.7212/A.8128) would increase the penalties for electric scooter hit-and-runs to be consistent with the penalties for automobile hit-and-runs.
There was a reason e-scooters were banned in NYC until recently and clearly this failed experiment in a crowded city such as ours ought be rolled back and repealed.
It’s little comfort to the injured, maimed and killed whether the offender stops or not or whether the penalties are more severe.
These vehicles, along with e-bikes and traditional bikes, pose serious threats to pedestrian traffic with their wild abandon in flouting all types of traffic rules; direction, speed, traffic signals and right-of-way, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross streets and putting them at frequent risk of great bodily harm.
While these intros are appropriate, the mayhem on the streets and sidewalks has been a serious public safety issue ever since Mayor Bloomberg cut a deal with the devil. I was told by then-Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh in 2010, “The reason there is no enforcement (of the rogue cyclists) is because Transportation Alternatives doesn’t want it.” That was confirmed by internationally recognized transportation expert and cycling advocate Prof. John Pucher: “I told them not to do that.”
The sense of impunity unleashed by the “visionaries”‘ arm-twisting, combined with selling a bill of goods conflating going green with an irresponsible bike culture, has caused numerous serious injuries. Too many fatalities. And an environment of jeopardy in public spaces. Is this visionary or zealotry?
Anyone who buys the TA line about the more bikes on the streets, the safer the cyclists and streets, need only see the mounting number of accidents amidst the build-out of Vision Zero. Reality check. There is NO SAFETY for anyone without a responsible bike culture. The backbone of a responsible bike culture is enforcement by the NYPD. The NYPD should be relieved of some duties, but enforcement of the laws supporting public safety is not one of them.
How so many elected public officials swallowed the TA party line for so long is a sad commentary on the integrity not only of our politicians but of the public that has elected them. This is written by a veteran of the bike industry.
Unaccountable e-scooter drivers regularly use sidewalks, bicycle lanes and car lanes to operate their vehicles as fast as possible, in complete disregard of traffic, traffic signals, rights of pedestrians, children, pets, or animals that may get in their way. E-scooter drivers and owners need to be trained, licensed, insured, and required to comply with the same rules of the road as car drivers. Until then there will be hundreds of accidents with injuries and deaths.