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New York City tragically continues to run over motorcycles

Despite a change in leadership, New York City continued to confiscate and destroy motorcycles that officials deemed illegal. Started by former Mayor Bill de Blasio (formerly Warren Wilhelm Jr.), the practice was continued by Eric Adams. In fact, the new mayor was so excited about the trend that the city held a press conference in which a bulldozer crushed over a hundred bikes as it waved a checkered flag, turning them all into trash in a matter of seconds. seconds.

As a motorcycle enthusiast and recovering New Yorker myself, this story is one your author has followed all along as an excuse to complain professionally about something personal. The city has moved to confiscate dirt bikes and ATVs that are relatively common to see (and hear) spinning in traffic or cluttering sidewalks. De Blasio has even made it one of his biggest traffic control initiatives in 2021, adding some spectacle to the new vehicle bans. However, a cursory examination of the vehicles involved showed that a significant number of vehicles destroyed are regular motorcycles that would have been legal under New York law and all-electric scooters used by low-income commuters and utility services. restaurant delivery.

But it’s the seemingly arbitrary nature of the confiscations and the utter wastefulness of their destruction that makes me cringe. Determinations of what makes a bicycle illegal are largely left to individual NYPD officers who have been tasked with removing as many two-wheeled vehicles from the streets as possible. This has resulted in regular street bikes (essentially anything that doesn’t look like an old-school cruiser) and electric scooters caught in the mix.

While de Blasio has also held numerous press events where the bikes have been publicly crushed for the media, this appears to be Mayor Adams’ first rodeo. On Wednesday, he and the NYPD pretty much lined up a bunch of motorcycles to destroy for the sake of the photographers. Adams pointed out that dirt bikes and ATVs were a dangerous nuisance, though anyone looking at the doomed lineup would notice that there were plenty of other perfectly legal designs lined up for the bulldozer treads.

During the event, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the city has seized more than 2,000 vehicles citywide so far in 2022, noting that this represents an 80% increase from the same period in 2021.

City leaders have tried to link motorcycles to an increase in violent crime and theft since 2020, often adding that the vehicles themselves are loud and driven recklessly. While the latter claims are indeed true (though not always), custom automobiles with exceptionally loud exhausts are also relatively common in New York City and can frequently be heard screaming in the night air.

Measures have also been taken to crack down on this problem. But two-wheeled transportation has arguably become the favorite scapegoat for everything that has gone wrong in recent years. That doesn’t excuse the city from confiscating legal e-bikes and scooters. Nor does it explain why NYC would choose to crush these vehicles, instead of auctioning them off to make money.

“Motorcycles are destroyed rather than resold or donated in order to keep them from returning to our streets and not allowing them to operate again,” Adams said at the event. “Once again, we would like to thank everyone who participated and assisted in the recovery of these dirt bikes. [sic]. So we see that every year, it’s the first day of summer, the increases go up. This is why we are using this day as a day to put in place concrete actions to ensure that we remove all these illegal bicycles and vehicles from our streets.

Again, these were initiatives launched by Adams’ predecessor. But you don’t put on such a show without trying to take credit for it. However, the current mayor has tried to expand these efforts by working with neighboring towns and using new camera technologies to locate more vehicles. He and the NYPD confirmed Wednesday that this summer will include a crackdown meant to eclipse the city’s previous confiscation efforts.

“We are here at Erie Basin Auto Pound to send a very strong and very clear message to anyone who illegally drives an ATV, dirt bike or other such vehicle on the streets of New York City. We will seize this bicycle and we will destroy it. We take this very seriously because riding these motorcycles on city streets, sidewalks or through parks and housing estates is dangerous. It’s reckless and it’s illegal. This puts everyone at risk. Other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, not to mention the cyclists themselves,” Commissioner Sewell told reporters.

“Our city will not tolerate this, and the NYPD will use every tool at its disposal to rid our neighborhoods of these dangers. It is the people who live in these communities who make the majority of the complaints. They tell us loud and clear to get these motorcycles out of our neighborhoods and stop them. The NYPD got the message and that’s exactly what we’re doing today.

[Image: @NYCMayor/Twitter]

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