NY City Council Passes New Legislation For Commercial Bicyclists

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 09:47 PM

Bike racks in front of restaurants on Manhattan's Upper West Side (photo by Kate Hinds)

(Elizabeth Spain - New York, NY, WNYC) New York's City Council overwhelmingly passed a package of four bills designed to give the Department of Transportation more enforcement power over delivery cyclists.

The legislation creates civil penalties for businesses whose bicyclists fail to adhere to rules already on the books, like wearing reflective vests and helmets. It also requires commercial cyclists to complete a safety course.

“New York is a city on the go and we want to keep it that way, but we must do so safely,” said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Business owners are responsible for the safety of their employees and anyone else in the workplace ... We must all work together, along with the Department of Transportation and law enforcement, to make our streets safer. This is what this legislation aims to do.”

Civil penalties will give the DOT more power to issue fines and enforce the rules, which previously were criminal penalties and often not followed through on. Ticketing bicyclists for moving violations, like riding on sidewalks or running red lights, will remain under the purview of the New York Police Department.

The city's DOT has a six-person bike inspection team that's been going door to door to businesses on Manhattan's east and west sides. The inspectors' job right now is outreach and education; in 2013, however, they will begin enforcement.

A spokesperson for Mayor Bloomberg says that he will sign the new legislation.


Comments [2]

Robert Wright

In New York City in the year to June, collisions with motor vehicles killed 291 people - nearly one person a day. A collision with a cyclist last killed a New Yorker in, I think, March 2009 (this law is named after the victim). Clearly, the death three-and-a-half years ago was a tragedy for those concerned. But is it really good public policy that the city council is focusing on enforcement against cyclists in these circumstances?
I've argued strongly for some time that the city has its priorities wrong, most recently here:

Oct. 15 2012 03:31 PM
Carol Wood

While they're at it, the DOT should educate commercial cyclists about laws that PROTECT them while doing their hazardous and indispensable work.

These cyclists should know that they're entitled to medical care free of charge if struck by a car in NYS (under No-Fault and MVAIC insurance).
(not-for-profit informational Web site)
(What-to-do wallet card)

Oct. 12 2012 01:56 PM

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