I’d like to own an electric bicycle. There’s just one problem: I couldn’t ride it anywhere.
The problem, you see, is that I live in the state of New York. Just last year, the NYPD began a crackdown on “illegal scooters and electric bikes,” issuing tickets and even seizing the scooters. The goal, as reported by Molly Crane-Newman and Thomas Tracy, was to “increase public safety by enforcing laws pertaining to the use of motorized scooters [and] electric bikes.” The cops are handing out $500 Environmental Control Board violations for riding electric bicycles. Anyone using such a vehicle to make deliveries will see their employers issued a summons.
New York has made no provision for licensing such electric bikes and scooters. The state government seems content simply to harass those using the vehicles, particularly in the legal dungeon that is New York City. Essentially a gulag within a gulag, NYC has laws even more strict than the already burdensome laws of the upstate New York. The state ranks dead last in most indices of personal and economic freedoms and boasts the heaviest tax burdens anywhere in America. The reason for these issues is simple: For far too long, New York has remained firmly and irrevocably in the grip of liberal Democrats. There is no such thing as a Republican in New York; there are only Democrats and RINOs. There is no such thing as freedom in New York; there are only varying degrees of oppression.
Now, in a place like New York City, you would think environmentally friendly electric bicycles – which take up far less room on city streets and which produce no pollution – would be welcomed amidst the congestion of the Big Apple. The appeal, both as a fair-weather commuting option for energy-conscious citizens and as a “bug out” vehicle that can maneuver through obstacles and requires no gasoline, should be obvious. The electric bike offers greater long-term sustainability than a motorcycle with most of the advantages of a motorbike. A bicycle properly equipped with load-bearing cargo equipment not only gets the weight of your groceries, your survival gear, or your possessions off your body, but also makes it possible to go farther and get there faster. The appeal of the bicycle is simple: It is as maneuverable as a motorcycle, but lighter and quieter. An electric bike takes you farther than a standard bicycle, while making it possible to pick up the slack when you get fatigued.
Why, then, do the supposedly “green” Democrats hate electric bicycles and harass those who operate them? This answer, too, is simple: Democrats hate freedom and love to exert their iron-fisted will over even the smallest areas of their subjects’ lives. Electric bikes are immensely popular; they must therefore be illegal. Electric bikes are environmentally friendly; they must therefore be rejected, because environmentalist Democrats are hypocrites. Electric bikes allow those with limited funds the freedom of transportation away from the crime-ridden and broken-down public transportation methods run by Democrats; they must therefore be eliminated as competition.
Just how popular are electric bikes? Previously in Technocracy, I shared with you the then-fledging campaign for the Wave eBike. The creative duo of Aaron Brady and Justin Bransmit, two businessmen based out of Manhattan Beach, California, used crowdfunding to finance the production of what they termed the “world’s most affordable electric bicycle.” Crowdfunding successes in the world of electric bicycles are not new. A competitor to the Wave previously earned a staggering $6 million through crowdfunding, demonstrating just how much interest there is in low-cost electric bicycle alternatives. Bransmit and Brady, meanwhile, saw their own crowdfunding campaign raise an impressive 962 percent of their modest funding goal.
Bransmit and Brady are now introducing a step-through model, the Lady Wave, and have debuted a new crowdfunding campaign to go with it.
“We saw incredible response to the original Wave eBike,” explains Bransmit. “Over and over again, our customers asked us for a step-through version. The electric bicycle is the future of sustainable transportation … and we couldn’t be happier about bringing it the nation. It’s just a shame that there are certain areas, like New York, where you can’t use the bike as it’s meant to be used, as reliable and environmentally friendly day-to-day transportation. The citizens of New York are missing out on something from which they could really benefit.”
The Lady Wave is capable of reaching a top speed of 22mph. It has a range of 23 miles (nearly double that in “pedal assist” mode). Propelled by a powerful 36 volt, 500 watt motor, which is in turn powered by a 10Ah battery, the steel-framed cruiser weighs just 50 pounds. If it is as impressive as the original Wave eBike, it will sell well. The demand for such electric bicycles shows no signs of slowing down.
An electric bicycle represents a compromise at the low end of motorcycling. It’s not as fast as a gas-powered vehicle, but it’s much more energy efficient (the cost of operation of an electric bicycle is pennies compared to that of a gas-powered motorcycle, and compares favorably even to public transportation). It is as simple as it sounds: An electric bicycle is basically just a bike that also has a battery-powered motor connected to drive it. This can be used either to assist the rider in pedaling, or to propel the bicycle by itself.
The point is simple: A truly sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation option – one that can be supported by the very people who constitute its potential market – would seem like the very form of transportation urban markets need. As long as those markets are dominated by liberal progressives, however, stupid laws and stupider regulations will stand in the way of real progress. This is the legacy of political liberals: They pay lip-service to progress while doing nothing but standing in its way. It’s up to us – those of us who value freedom – to find ways to work around them.
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