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NYC officials crush more than 200 illegal mopeds and scooters

It’s a problem not unique to New York City alone, as many other municipalities try to deal with an influx of unregistered scooters, often used by delivery services but also in crimes. NYC, D.C., Boston, Cleveland, and others have stepped up efforts to confiscate these vehicles as more residents file complaints.

In 2023, the NYPD confiscated 18,430 illegal and unregistered motorized scooters, bikes, and ATVs — the highest number in city history — representing a 128 percent increase from 2022. (Photo: NYPD)

In 2023, the NYPD confiscated 18,430 illegal and unregistered motorized scooters, bikes, and ATVs — the highest number in city history — representing a 128 percent increase from 2022. This year, the NYPD says it has removed more than 13,000 illegal two-wheeled vehicles and ATVs, bringing the total number to nearly 42,000 since the Adams administration came into office. The 42,000 figure represents the largest number of illegal moped and scooter seizures in a 30-month span in New York City history.

“When it comes to protecting public safety, this administration is crushing it and that includes our efforts to crack down on the ongoing issue of illegal mopeds and scooters on our streets and sidewalks. Mopeds and scooters are not only endangering pedestrians when they are driven recklessly, but we have also seen an exponential increase in criminals using them to ride around and snatch property from New Yorkers. That’s why the NYPD will be ramping up a summer enforcement strategy to curb use of these illegal and unregistered vehicles. We are sending an important message to everyone who drives on the streets of our city: no one is above the law, and if you drive an illegal vehicle, you will face the consequences.”

NYC Mayor Eric Adams

Since 2022, crime patterns for street robberies and grand larcenies involving the use of illegal scooters and mopeds have steadily increased. In the first five months of 2022, the NYPD tracked 10 total robbery patterns, made up of 44 complaints involving these types of unregistered vehicles. Over those same five months in 2023, the number of robbery patterns increased to a total of 22, while the number of complaints jumped to 104.

“These illegal vehicles have no place in New York City. These motorbikes are dangerous and reckless, and they put everyone on our streets and sidewalks at risk. On top of that, these bikes have become the vehicle of choice in the commission of robberies and other violent crime patterns across our city. The NYPD takes this issue seriously, as proven by the thousands of vehicle seizures we have made so far this year. We will continue to listen to concerned New Yorkers who correctly demand that these hazards be removed from their neighborhoods, and we will keep working closely with City Hall, the city’s Department of Transportation, and all the people we serve to keep our roadways safe.”

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban

While overall index crime across New York City dropped another 2.4 percent in May 2024, compared to the same month last year, robberies and felony assaults experienced increases in May, largely fueled by offenders fleeing crime scenes on illegal, unregistered motorized scooters, bikes, or other vehicles.

Scooters and similar modes of transportation enable criminals to quickly commit offenses — often physically assaulting a victim in the process — without ever getting off their vehicle or simply by temporarily dismounting while a second individual stays seated. In both instances, mopeds and scooters facilitate a fast escape.

The NYPD’s enhanced summer enforcement strategy includes intensifying efforts to curb the illegal use of motorized scooters, bikes, ATVs, and other unregistered vehicles on city highways and streets through the strategic redeployment of Community Response Team (CRT) officers to focus on removing these illegal vehicles. NYPD officers will also increase the use of strategic checkpoints staged at bridges, tunnels, and other major roadways and crossings across the five boroughs. Such operations have already proven highly successful, contributing to more than 40,000 illegal motorized scooters, mopeds, ATVs, and other bikes seized since the start of the Adams administration.

The Adams administration has also advocated for state legislation in Albany to help crack down on the proliferation of illegal and unregistered vehicles on city streets. This critical piece of legislation (S7703/A8450) would close the “moped loophole” by requiring registration and licensing for these vehicles at the point of sale, helping stem the tide of new unlicensed mopeds on the street and holding sellers accountable. (Note: Many owners don’t even realize they have to register a scooter or moped under 49cc because they buy direct online or used from a previous owner.)

“Mopeds always required registration, but because of confusion or deceit very rarely were. With this bill, we closed a loophole and will now require mopeds to be registered before they leave the store, stopping the flow of illegal mopeds onto our streets, and making moped riders and pedestrians much safer. This is a true win-win.”

New York State Assemblymember Alex Bores

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