News

New York City DOT Set To Crack Down Hard On Bicycle Delivery Riders

Everything From ID Cards To Following Traffic Laws To Attire To Be Scrutinized
New York City Bicycle Deliverymen in Union Square - Jan. 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

New York City Bicycle Deliverymen in Union Square – Jan. 31, 2013 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is getting ready to put the heat bicycle delivery riders, enforcing rules covering everything from what they wear to how and where they ride.

In their rush to deliver “in a New York minute,” commercial bicyclists can cut it close.

“I’ve gotten nearly clocked a couple of times,” one delivery cyclist told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday.

And as CBS 2’s “bike bedlam” reports showed back in 2010, they can ride roughshod on the rules — two-wheeling on sidewalks and riding without required helmets.

After years of complaints the city is getting ready to put these riders under a bigger microscope.

The Department of Transportation has teamed up with Delivery.com to provide helmets, reflective vests, bells, and lights to 1,500 deliverymen citywide.

“Our inspection teams have gone to 3,500 businesses in Manhattan and Brooklyn and they’re soon to be making inroads in Queens and the Bronx,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at a Union Square event on Thursday.

She said it’s part of an ongoing safety and enforcement effort.

“When it comes to safety, we mean business. Businesses that employ bike delivery people need to be up to speed on safety as they are with making speedy deliveries,” Sadik-Khan said.

The DOT said it’s ramping up enforcement efforts, rolling out commercial bicyclist inspection teams. From bells to lights, inspectors will be educating businesses about required equipment and clothing, as every commercial cyclist is now required to wear a safety vest featuring the employer’s name.

Commercial bicyclists won’t have to be licensed, but they will have to start carrying a new identification card, with their name and the name of the business they work for.

The owner of Village Farm on the Lower East Side said complying hasn’t been expensive — and could even save money.

“You know, [compliance] insures safety of our drivers, our delivery guys. They follow the rules, we see less accidents, save on insurance,” Mangesh Shah said.

Come April, the focus moves from education to enforcement — a potential ticket blitz for bad biking, such as going the wrong way down one-way streets.

Restaurants who fail to post safe cycling rules can be fined up to $250.

“I’m pleased to report that 57 percent of the businesses that were visited had those posters up for display,” Sadik-Khan said.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …