The city is attempting to make the bustling streets of some of Manhattan’s priciest neighborhoods a little less chaotic by enforcing cycling laws and emphasizing the importance of safety for bicycling restaurant delivery workers.
Department of Transportation inspectors are distributing flyers and hosting training sessions over the next six months in the Upper West Side and then the Upper East Side to educate workers. The inspectors will also provide safety equipment to delivery workers, including identification and helmets.
“New Yorkers are used to getting what they want, fast, but businesses that depend on bike deliveries can’t cut corners on safety,” DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Safe deliveries begin long before New Yorkers place their orders and the deliveryman grabs the bag.”
After the six-month-long education effort, businesses will be fined anywhere from $100 to $300 if their delivery workers break bicycle laws.
Cyclists who ride against traffic or on the sidewalk, fail to wear a helmet or ignore traffic signs and signals will receive fines. Each delivery cyclist must also wear apparel with their employer’s name on it for identification purposes.
Many local leaders and business owners are already on board with the plan.
“Cyclists have become one of the greatest hazards when walking on the sidewalk or crossing a street, due to so many of them not obeying the laws,” said Barbara Adler, Executive Director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, which advocates for member businesses on the Upper West Side. “Undoubtedly, this [program] will make the streets of New York City safer for everyone. We are very happy about it.”
Monica Blum, the president of Lincoln Square Business Improvement District, which represents businesses near Lincoln Center, has already distributed the DOT’s fliers to local merchants.
“It’s a great thing DOT is doing, especially the education,” Blum said. “There are a high number of elderly people on the Upper West Side and sometimes with bikes riding illegally on the sidewalks, it creates a danger.”
New Yorkers may have to wait a little longer for their food deliveries. But that doesn’t seem to have hurt Lenny’s , a sandwich shop on the Upper West Side. The restaurant started requiring its workers to follow the city’s cycling laws about three years ago. “
“The education is essential and effective in keeping people safe,” said Katherine Chung, Lenny’s Director of Human Resources.
And it appears to have paid off.
“We’ve seen the number of bike accidents reduced,” Chung said. “The enforcement works at not losing productivity or workers.”