After an education campaign on the Upper West Side last year, the Department of Transportation is set to begin enforcing rules for delivery bicyclists this month. The crackdown comes after years of complaints that delivery bicyclists — many of whom are under pressure to make fast deliveries — often flout bike rules by riding the wrong way, cruising down the sidewalk, or otherwise endangering public safety. They endanger their own lives too.
In the past, police were expected to enforce the rules by themselves, but it wasn’t always a priority. So the City Council, led by local Councilwoman Gale Brewer, decided last year to allow the DOT to enforce civil penalties having to do with bike-riding (NYPD will still deal with possible criminal violations, including moving violations).
After going door-to-door last year, the DOT said it will begin enforcing the rules this month. The DOT didn’t get back to us on whether any local businesses have been fined yet, but the changes are already evident. Most delivery bicyclists appear to be wearing reflective gear and helmets when they bike around, along with the name of the restaurant where they work. A list of rules from the DOT is below, via Transportation Nation, a WNYC website covering transit issues.
“In January 2013,” an inspector told Transportation Nation last year, “if you’re not in compliance with all the rules and regulations – like your delivery men not having their vests, their helmet, ID cards, and the poster’s not up in your establishment, we will be issuing a fine, anywhere from $100 to $250.” The DOT fines are lodged against the business, not the driver (NYPD fines, on the other hand, are against the bicyclist).
The public can also report to 311 if they see a delivery bicyclist going the wrong way or otherwise breaking the rules; here’s what DOT says:
“People can call 311 and get information from the Commercial Bicycle Rider Information and Complaint service group. In this service group we have 7 services, listed below. The caller can report anyone of these conditions and Customer Service will receive a 311 Customer Comment which will be reviewed.
Additionally, in the Notes to CCR (Call Center Representative), the CCR is advised that for ‘reports of a commercial cyclist not following traffic rules on a street, to use the NYPD “Biking Rollerblading or Skating Complaint” service.
Service Names include: Commercial Cyclist Legislation; Commercial Cyclist – Safety Poster Not Displayed; Commercial Cyclist – Rider Identification; Commercial Cyclist – Helmet Complaint; Commercial Bicycle – Without Safety Equipment; Commercial Bicycle – Business Name Sign; Bicycle Safety for Workers and Employers.”
So, what have you seen out there? Are delivery bicyclists being more safe? Let us know in the comments and take our poll below. And one more thing: please tip delivery bicyclists well, even if your food is 5 minutes later than you had hoped. If we take away the incentive for reckless riding, we’ll probably see less of it.