State pols call for e-scooter hit-and-run penalties after NYC fatality

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State lawmakers are calling for stiffer penalties for electric scooter riders who flee crashes in the wake of the June 4 hit-and-run that killed actress Lisa Banes.

“In New York today, the penalty for leaving the scene of an electric scooter crash without reporting it to the police is less harsh than the penalty when driving a car,” State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said Wednesday at the intersection of West 64th and Amsterdam Avenue, where Banes, 65, was mowed down by what NYPD described as a “scooter” rider.

Leaving the scene of a car crash that results in physical injury is currently a felony under state law — but doing it on an e-scooter is a mere misdemeanor.

“That makes no sense,” Hoylman said. “Our laws need to catch up up with the times.”

Hoylman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who appeared at his side on Wednesday, have proposed to bring e-scooter hit-and-run penalties in line with those of regular automobiles, they said.

“The roads are mayhem,” said Rosenthal. “There are all manner of vehicles not obeying the traffic rules. We’ve seen the increase in electric scooters and many more accidents that are happening and many more crashes on the horizon.”

The scene of the hit-and-run scooter accident that killed actress Lisa Banes on the Upper West Side on June 4, 2021.
The scene of the hit-and-run scooter accident that killed actress Lisa Banes on the Upper West Side on June 4, 2021.
Christopher Sadowski

Police officials have not said if the rider that killed Banes was on an e-scooter that does not require a license or a motor scooter that should have been registered with the state DMV.

But Hoylman said his bill was important regardless of the cause of Banes’ death due to the growing popularity of e-scooters, which the state legislature legalized in 2020.

“We don’t know the facts of the case,” he said. “Our main point, again, [is] to make the penalties of fleeing a scene of a hit and run consistent  between motor vehicles and electric scooter. There is no difference, a life was lost.”

Longtime friends of Banes, who lived in Los Angeles, called on the hit-and-run driver to turn themselves in to police.

Actress Lisa Banes was known for her roles in movies like "Gone Girl." and
Actress Lisa Banes was known for her roles in movies like “Gone Girl.”
Victoria Will/Invision/AP

“This is a hit-and-run. It’s basically murder,” said Greg Schriefer, who knew Banes for 15 years. “The driver got back on his scooter and immediately left the scene of the accident … No moral compass to turn around and see if she was OK.”

Banes, who had roles in “Gone Girl,” “Madam Secretary” and countless other shows, movies and stage productions, left behind “a loving wife,” her friend said.

“This is a wonderful woman who did not deserve this,” said Schriefer. “We must take back the streets from those who are using them unlawfully.”

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