NYC must curb e-bikes or more will die like Lisa Banes

I might’ve been Lisa Banes.

Like the “Gone Girl” actress, who died this week from traumatic mind accidents sustained in a June 4 hit-and-run scooter accident, I used to be mowed down in Manhattan by an e-bike that got here — silently — out of nowhere and left me for useless.

Hearing about Banes’ tragic, unfair passing introduced all of it again for me. And now I need to know: How many more mindless accidents, accidents and deaths must happen earlier than we lastly get these menaces off our streets?

It’s been practically two years since my hit-and-run. I used to be crossing Sixth Avenue and thirty seventh avenue on a gleaming Sunday in July when a Postmates supply driver got here roaring within the mistaken route down the one-way avenue, on the alternative aspect from the bike lane, and crashed into me.

It occurred so quick, I wasn’t positive if I used to be alive or useless. He instantly sped off, dropping the bubble tea order from Gong Cha.

He must have been flying. The affect was catastrophic, and he solely began out lower than a block away.

Covered in blood, I crawled across the avenue, attempting in useless to assemble my knocked-out tooth. A vacationer from North Carolina would later put up on Facebook about his journey to New York, and the way he noticed a motorbike hit a lady who afterwards regarded like a “hockey player after taking a puck to the mouth.”

The accident price me six high tooth and broken 11 others. It decimated my jaw and left me with an in depth nostril fracture and everlasting bone loss. I’ve had 5 surgical procedures. I had a horrible response to antibiotics after my first surgical procedure, breaking out in hives over each inch of my physique, in order that even the breeze from a fan made me cry. For months, it was tough to talk and the radiating ache was so intense that any modest motion — from laughing to getting dressed to turning on the bathe — was wrenching.

Doctors have instructed me that I’ll by no means absolutely get well from a few of my accidents.

Despite having medical insurance coverage, a lot of the prices have been out of pocket for a parade of specialists — a lot cash that I might’ve purchased a home upstate. But something is best than funeral prices.

Right now, anybody 16 and older can drive e-bikes within the metropolis, utilizing them in bike lanes and on streets with velocity limits no larger than 30 mph. You don’t want a license or registration — and that must change.

Greater accountability can be very important. Bikes for industrial functions, primarily these used for meals supply, seldom comply with the NYC administrative code, which requires {that a} enterprise be recognized on the bike by identify and identification quantity; that the operator put on higher physique attire with the enterprise’ identify and operator’s identification quantity on the again; and that the enterprise present or be sure that every bicycle is provided with a bell or machine able to giving a sign from a distance of a minimum of 100 toes. These guidelines must be enforced.

It’s additionally important that supply corporations be mandated to supply insurance coverage for his or her couriers, a lot of whom are barely making minimal wage.

If our leaders do nothing, even more tragedy is across the nook.

Just two months earlier than Banes’ accident, a 71-year-old man, Hing Chung, died after being struck by an e-bike on the Upper West Side. A day earlier than that, a New York City photographer was hit by a rushing e-biker — a supply driver, she believes — in Midtown. “The person didn’t stop. He just kept going. He knocked me down, I fell so fast it was unbelievable,” she instructed The Post.

I’m not the one Postmates sufferer. In 2019, a person who was on a supply run for Postmates was charged with reckless endangerment after he ran a purple mild on a motorbike with out brakes and fatally struck a 67-year-old pedestrian, Donna Sturm.

In 2020, e-bike fatalities surged 233 percent — to twenty from simply six in 2019, in keeping with metropolis Department of Transportation knowledge. There have been eight fatalities to this point this yr, together with a minimum of two pedestrians.

A Community Board 7 committee voted last week to ban electrical bikes from bike lanes, underscoring the mayhem and shut calls they’ve prompted on the Upper West Side.

As for my case, the courier has not been charged as a result of Postmates has did not positively determine the driving force or settle for accountability. Neither the identify nor Newark handle they’d for the driving force was actual, but they supposedly vet their supply folks. I hope for the general public’s security that he’s not nonetheless on the market, delivering for this or another firm.

These couriers will be reckless, however so can the businesses they work for.

Scenes like this e-scooter accident from May 11, 2021, are becoming more common. In 2020, e-bike fatalities surged 233 percent — to 20 from just six in 2019.
Scenes like this e-scooter accident from May 11, 2021, have gotten more widespread. In 2020, e-bike fatalities surged 233 % — to twenty from simply six in 2019.

Keep in thoughts that Postmates — a $2-billion firm that was simply purchased by Uber — primarily encourages extremely harmful situations by incentivizing couriers to ship as a lot as doable as quick as doable, even providing time-frame bonuses known as “crushers.” How ironic.

As for my incident, an Uber consultant instructed The Post, “Postmates was a separate company at the time, so we can’t comment on the particulars.”

So many pleasures of life are actually elusive for me. Even consuming is a battle. Before the accident, I used to be all the time socializing and networking. Now I keep away from folks and conditions that make me anxious as a result of I’ve no higher tooth and I don’t have the musculature to crack a smile — as soon as my finest function. The accidents trigger me disgrace and humiliation.

Eventually, once I can lastly get implants, the trauma nonetheless gained’t be behind me — and never simply because I’ll seemingly must undergo even more surgical procedures in 10 or 15 years.

As a lifelong New Yorker I all the time felt intrepid. Now, I’m fearful at each flip. I used to stroll a number of miles a day, however the easy act of crossing the road truly scares me. When an e-bike comes round a nook like a bat out of hell, I scream, “Watch it!” and burst into tears.

We can not be terrorized by this hell on two wheels. The metropolis must significantly prohibit e-bikes earlier than having a brush with loss of life turns into a perverse ceremony of passage for New Yorkers.

Doree Lewak is a function author for The Post.

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