Legislation Would Give Dept. Of Transportation The Power To Write Tickets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new plan passed by New York City lawmakers is cracking down on errant delivery bike riders and their employers.

The new package of legislation was passed Thursday by the City Council. The laws would require riders to wear reflective vests with their employer’s name and an ID number so pedestrians can easily identify commercial cyclists.

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1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

“They have to have bells on their bikes, lights on the bikes and most importantly, they must obey the rules of the road,” said City Council member James Vacca.

The bills also beef up enforcement, giving Department of Transportation agents the power to write tickets to riders in addition to police. They will also require commercial bikers to take safety classes. Businesses that violate the rules will face fines of up to $250.

“I’ve seen really bad accidents with bike messengers and I’ve been involved in them so I think it’s probably a good thing,” former bike messenger Dennis Smith told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

“It’s for the safety of somebody,” bike deliveryman Nelson Goldoy added.

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Pablo Vargas manages a Mexican restaurant on the Upper West Side, but told CBS 2’s Brown he doesn’t have a problem with the idea of paying up.

“It’s more safety for these guys because sometimes you see people running on the bike like crazy and they have accidents,” Vargas said.

One of the bills is named after Stuart Gruskin, who was struck and killed by a delivery rider going the wrong way on a Midtown street two years ago.

“When I first started all this, I was very clear about I didn’t want his death to be in vain,” said Nancy Gruskin, who has been pushing for safer streets since her husband’s death.

A six-person team of DOT inspectors has been canvassing the city for months spreading the word about laws already in place.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the measures within 30 days. DOT agents said they’ll continue educating businesses about the new law until January and then they’ll start handing out fines, CBS 2’s Brown reported.

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