February 21, 2024

Hoboken Mayor Bhalla to establish working group to create collaborative e-bike delivery regulations

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla today announced a new working group of local stakeholders including members of law enforcement, the Vision Zero Task Force, and Hoboken City Councilmembers to create equitable, legal, and manageable solutions that address the logistical challenges of e-bike delivery operations and pedestrian safety.

Below is a letter from Mayor Bhalla to Hoboken City Councilmembers regarding the working group and requesting a collaborative and holistic ordinance to regulate e-bike delivery sent earlier this week.

Dear City Councilmembers,

As you know, creating a safer neighborhood for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers through our Vision Zero pedestrian safety initiative is one of my administration’s top priorities. I am appreciative to the City Councilmembers who are taking this initiative seriously and have proposed safety changes surrounding electric-bike (e-bike) delivery in Hoboken, which I believe is an important and needed initiative. Nonetheless, I also believe the ordinance as currently proposed should be rewritten to achieve this goal that we all share. My administration and the Hoboken Police Department have substantial concerns about the proposed ordinance’s lack of any accountability for large companies employing e-bike delivery riders such as DoorDash and GrubHub, the potential targeting of immigrant populations and the practicality of forcing transient workers to register their employment with the City and law enforcement, among others.

Establishment of working group to craft equitable, legal, and reasonable solutions regarding e-bike deliveries

I am in complete agreement that reducing e-bike delivery drivers riding on sidewalks is an important Vision Zero initiative. The rapid growth of food and goods deliveries by e-bike, a convenience we all benefit from, means that e-bike deliveries will continue to be an important part of daily life in dense urban areas like Hoboken. To this end, I am pleased to announce the establishment of a working group dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by e-bike delivery. This working group will consist of diverse members of our community, public safety officials, City Councilmembers, and engaged stakeholders. Our aim is to foster collaborative dialogue and develop equitable, legal, and manageable solutions that address the logistical challenges of e-bike delivery operations in our city.

I have extended invitations to the following individuals to participate in this working group:

  • Councilmember Paul Presinzano   (Chair of Public Safety Subcommittee)
  • Councilmember Joe Quintero     (Former Chair of Public Safety Subcommittee)
  • Councilmember Emily Jabbour     (Chair of Transportation and Parking Subcommittee)
  • Councilmember Ruben Ramos     (Former Chair of Transportation and Parking Subcommittee)
  • Hoboken Transportation and     Parking Director Ryan Sharp
  • Hoboken Police Department Lt.     Keith Rotondi (Traffic Division)
  • Hoboken Police Department Sgt.     Frankie Rosa
  • Retired Captain John Petrosino
  • Hoboken Business Alliance     Executive Director Roxanne Earley
  • Hoboken Vision Zero Task Force     Member Ron Bautista
  • An electric-bike delivery     driver or representative (to be determined)

Each of these individuals brings a unique perspective and expertise to the table, and I am confident that their collective insights will be invaluable in our efforts to address this issue effectively.

Iam also respectfully asking the working group to address the concerns regarding the current iteration of the proposed ordinance, outlined below.

Lack of accountability for delivery services

The proposed ordinance does not include any responsibility for the employer of the majority of e-delivery bike riders, including companies such as DoorDash and GrubHub, for example. I believe that if regulations are imposed or fines are issued, they should be increased and issued to the companies employing the riders, to create an additional incentive to educate their employees on road safety. It is abundantly clear that these companies are not doing enough education and internal enforcement, which should not fall completely on the shoulders of the Hoboken Police Department and the City to address.

Additionally, it has been reported in media publications the difficult and strenuous conditions the e-bike delivery riders face on a day-to-day basis, with ratings and/or earnings from the larger companies increasing with more deliveries, placing greater pressure on riders. I understand that New York City has adopted measures that aimed to regulate this issue with the companies that employ them; I am asking for the working group to recommend comparable legislation to be considered at the state level.

Impact to immigrant communities

The reality is that many e-bike deliveries are performed by immigrant populations. This group is less likely to have the documentation needed to obtain the registration that the proposed ordinance would require, potentially reducing the ordinance's effectiveness just from a practical stance. Moreover, focusing enforcement on a group that is already reluctant to engage with law enforcement agencies could cause fear and opportunities for negative interactions that we've seen in other communities - surely not the intention of this ordinance but one of its likely unintended consequences.


Licensing and registration laws fore-bikes have been proposed in larger cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and Toronto, and in small cities like Medford (OR) and Garden Grove (CA), but they were ultimately rejected due to the burden on enforcement agencies, and the practical reality that the registration requirements were ineffective. Additionally, I have serious doubts that given what is likely an influx of new delivery riders on a regular basis (compare to an Uber driver who could perform pickups and drop offs in a number of different cities in any one day) and an unfamiliarity with the rules and regulations, it will be a constant burden on law enforcement to frequently issue summonses to individuals, as opposed to regulations and greater accountability for the app companies that employ them.

Transportation Alternative recommendations

On February 15, the well-respected transportation advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, came out with recommendations on addressing similar quality-of-life issues in New York City with the proliferation of same-day delivery apps and e-bike deliveries.

A few of their well-researched conclusions include:

  • Taking an industry-wide approach and regulating the companies employing the e-bike delivery riders. Transportation Alternatives conclude that they are “opposed to the licensing of delivery workers or e-bike riders because it will be ineffective, costly to taxpayers, and lead to increased police harassment of all people who use any type of bicycle or scooter”
  • Cities have attempted to adopt bike licensing laws for individuals including Toronto, Houston, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Jose but have repealed them as they have been proven to be in effective.
  • Creating a framework for a bidding process for delivery app companies that wish to operate in New York City that would charge a fee, with contracts and safety requirements
  • Requirements for companies to provide delivery workers with compliant e-bikes with limited speeds and engraved serial numbers
  • Providing secure on-street bike parking at high pick-up and delivery locations

In the re-writing of this ordinance, I am requesting that the working group discuss these conclusions and the potential to adopt them into a revised ordinance in Hoboken and corollary legislation that may be needed at the State level, and/or at the local level in collaboration with neighbor cities. My goal for this working group is clear: to facilitate constructive dialogue and collaboration that leads to the development of real and sustainable solutions to this ongoing concern.

Additionally, I would like this committee, and the Council as a whole, to consider some of the practical reasons why bike riding occurs on sidewalks. One main reason is because bike riders do not always feel safe riding bikes in the street, with potential conflicts with motorists due to street design. It’s not surprising that in Washington D.C., a comparable urban environment to Hoboken, bicycle riding on sidewalks decreased by 56% where protected bike lanes were installed. As I have stated previously, I now believe that the City made a mistake several years ago during the Washington Street redesign in not taking the opportunity to install protected bike lanes along our main commercial corridor. It is my hope that we will learn from this going forward and consider protected bike lanes whenever possible in Hoboken, such as in our upcoming Sinatra Drive project (which includes an extended protected bike lane). Expanding protected bike lane infrastructure is another conclusion in the report issued by Transportation Alternatives, and should go hand-in-hand with any proposed legislation designed to reduce sidewalk riding. I am respectfully asking for the working group to also provide recommendations on how this important infrastructure can be considered in the short and long term.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to the positive outcomes that will result from our collective efforts.


Ravi S. Bhalla