“Electric Scooters Have No Place on Boro Park’s Sidewalks,”Say Residents

By Yehudit Garmaise

“Mopeds, electric scooters, e-bikes, do not belong on sidewalks,” argued Rabbi Yossi Gross, an executive director at Bais Yaakov of Boro Park. “Electric vehicles are dangerous for both the people who walk on the streets and for the people who drive them. 

“We have to make sure that no pedestrian gets struck, which unfortunately, lately, has been very common."

Rabbi Gross said that very often, “You walk out onto the street, there is something flying by, you don’t see it, and unfortunately, people can get seriously injured this way.”

“A city crackdown” to ensure that electric scooters, mopeds, and e-bikes are not driving wildly on the sidewalks, could be one answer, proposed Rabbi Gross, who acknowledged that e-scooters are here to stay.

“Scooters are tools for kids to get from one place to another, but we need to make sure kids are riding at speed rates that are safe,” said Rabbi Gross.

“Fifteen to 30 mph for a scooter is absolutely unsafe, but 5 mph would be ok for us to walk the streets safely."

While e-bikes and mopeds can go up to 40 mph, and e-scooters can speed at 20 to 25mph, said Community Board District Manager Beri Spitzer, who added that “e-vehicles that are getting faster and faster every day."

After receiving many complaints about reckless e-vehicle riders at the Community Board 12 office, Spitzer said the responsibility for kids to learn how to use their e-devices responsibly firmly lies with the parents.

“Just like you won’t let your 15-year-old kid drive a car, you shouldn’t let your kids, if they are not responsible enough drive electric vehicles, ride e-scooters and e-bikes, which can seriously injure people,” he said. “If children refuse to use their e-vehicles responsibly, such as zig-zagging through pedestrians on the sidewalk, which can easily result in a pedestrian getting hit, then parents must take away their children’s devices.”

Many e-riders drive on the streets just as wildly on the streets, as on the sidewalks.

Every day, drivers and pedestrians spot e-vehicles heading the wrong way down one-way streets and not obeying basic traffic rules, such as stopping at stop lights, stop signs, and going with the flow of traffic.

Pedestrians can keep themselves safe by increasing their awareness of the recklessness of e-vehicle riders.

“So a good practice for everyone, and to teach their kids as well: to always look at both sides of the street before crossing,” said Spitzer.

“Many bikes and mopeds have zero regard for flashing school bus lights,” said one local school bus driver shortly after a child exiting a school bus was struck by a moped. “If we are going to share our streets with e-bike riders, they must also obey the same Rules of the Road to keep everyone safe.”

Drivers who are turning left, for instance, always have to always anticipate that e-vehicle riders might be flying through red lights.

After parking, drivers must first check their mirrors before getting out to prevent their doors from hitting e-vehicle riders, who Spitzer said, “often come zooming by when you open the door.”

Before exiting your car, Spitzer added that drivers must again “look both ways because  when e-bikes whiz by, they come up on you very fast.”

“It is not like with bicycles, which move much more slowly and will take awhile to reach you.”

Meyer, an adult who rides an e-scooter every day on Boro Park sidewalks and along the gutters, with the flow of traffic, agreed that kids should not drive scooters on the sidewalks.

But to have kids riding along the gutters is not necessarily a good solution either because kids often don’t have a sense of danger and caution, Meyer said.

“On the streets, which are more dangerous and unpredictable, kids on e-scooters might be more at risk of putting themselves and others in danger,” Meyer worried.

No matter where scooterists ride, Meyer added that drivers should do better to both share the roads and to communicate with scooterists.

“When they are turning or changing lanes, drivers must always use their signals to alert others on the road as to where the drivers are moving their vehicles,” said Meyer, who remains careful to obey traffic laws and stay aware of cars and pedestrians as he cruises around the neighborhood as part of his job. “Many times, drivers turn without first signaling.

“A lot of accidents result when drivers fail to turn on their blinkers before making turns, changing lanes, and pulling into parking spots."

“Most of it is common sense,” Rabbi Gross summed up. “Use common sense. Do what is safe, and don’t put pedestrians and people who are driving cars in danger.”

Part 2

Part 3

Minyanim at Shomer Shabbos: Achrei-Kedoshim
  • Apr 22 2023
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  • 8:00 PM

  • Apr 24 2023
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  • 7:00 AM

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