OPINION: E-Bike Licensing Would Harm Workers — and Absolve App Companies | Technology Apps

Delivery Cyclists Deliveristas By Josh Katz 82 Crop.jpg

For a significant portion of New Yorkers, the streets are, quite simply, our workplace. For us, the safety of our streets is something we care deeply about — and we have grave concerns that our elected leaders are about to put us in even more harm’s way in the name of street safety,

Several recently introduced bills would force workers to register our individual e-bikes and obtain insurance and inspections for them. As members of a collective representing New York City’s nearly 65,000 app delivery workers, my fellow deliveristas and I were deeply disappointed to see local and state leaders introduce legislation to force delivery workers to shoulder the burden of e-bike regulation — rather than trying to regulate the app companies that profit from the proliferation of unregulated e-micromobility devices.

Gustavo Ajche

Make no mistake, our e-bikes are the engines that fuel the growth machine of app delivery companies. But because we are classified as independent contractors, we have to buy those devices ourselves. If these proposals pass, we’ll also have to register them and be responsible for maintaining them — adding to the personal costs that imperil many of us who struggle to make a living in this precarious industry.

These bills will also unfairly target delivery workers, as most ticketing laws of this kind disproportionately target non-white residents of the city and we are a largely non-white, immigrant workforce.

Unfortunately, too many politicians fail to take a comprehensive view of public safety when considering such bills. They do not consult and empower the city’s predominantly Black, brown and…

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