Where would New Yorkers be without a great leader like Bill de Blasio to protect them from the scourge of … electronic bicycles?

More from Slate:

Though technically illegal to use in New York state, the battery-powered bicycles have helped the city’s more than 50,000 bicycle deliverymen keep pace with perennial demand for take-out food and surging requests for deliveries of groceries and consumer products. The bikes are perfectly suited for the demands of the job: They facilitate affordable, rapid transportation of lightweight goods through a metropolis with virtually no remaining streetspace, without generating exhaust or noise.

On Thursday, de Blasio announced the nation’s largest city would start fining restaurants in addition to operators, expanding and formalizing a style of broken-windows policing favored by the NYPD, which has confiscated 900 e-bikes this year. His justification? E-bikes are “just too dangerous,” the mayor said at a press conference.

How dangerous are they? Nearly 70 pedestrians (and 13 cyclists) have been killed by cars, trucks, and buses in New York City this year. No one has been killed by a bicycle. As for e-bikes in particular? The NYPD has no data on e-bike accidents or complaints. Nor does the city have any information about how the crackdown affects restaurants or riders. De Blasio was acting on instinct: The crackdown began when a local cyclist, Matthew Shefler, called into his radio show to complain.


But Bill de Blasio is no ordinary mayor.

Recommended Twitchy Video