- Last Updated: 4:10 AM, July 14, 2012
- Posted: 2:14 AM, July 14, 2012
Five years after adding regulations to put the brakes on lawless bicycle delivery guys, the city announced yesterday that it’s finally getting around to enforcing them.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said she’s launching a six-month campaign to educate riders and merchants on the rules and dispatching a new squad of six agency inspectors to enforce them.
The inspectors will for the first time target eateries and shops that use delivery bikes, slapping them with fines of $100 to $300 if their riders don’t comply with laws requiring them to carry ID and business cards, wear vests with ID numbers and helmets, and outfit their cycles with lights and bells.
“The laws are simple, and the laws are not new,” Sadik-Khan declared outside a Lenny’s sandwich shop on Columbus Avenue near 83rd Street. “Businesses that depend on bike delivery can’t cut corners on safety.”
Officials said most complaints to 311 about erratic bicycle deliverymen come from the Upper East and West sides. They are going to be the first neighborhoods targeted in the door-to-door education effort.
But Sadik-Khan’s announcement didn’t go far enough for City Council Transportation Chairman James Vacca (D-Bronx). He accused the city Transportation Department of being MIA on bike enforcement — and vowed the council would take steps to fix it.
“We’ve had commercial bicyclists who think this is the Wild, Wild West,” charged Vacca, who attended the press conference and promised to enact legislation to ensure the rules are followed.
“For too long, we’ve hid our heads in the sand. We’ve allowed this problem not only to exist; we’ve allowed this problem to become more and more prevalent,” Vacca said.
Sadik-Khan took to the podium and sarcastically thanked Vacca for “that strong endorsement of the new DOT program in education, outreach and enforcement.”
Vacca estimated that less than 10 percent of commercial bikers actually obey the rules of the road.
A Post reporter walking down Columbus Avenue spotted dozens of delivery bikes. Not one — except at Lenny’s — had front and back lights as required by law.
And it didn’t take a reporter long to find someone with a delivery-bike horror story.
Walking by a couple of minutes after the press event on Columbus Avenue, Josh Lichy, 27, recalled that his girlfriend was struck by a deliveryman on a bicycle on Third Avenue last year.
“The bicyclist was coming from the opposite direction,” said Lichy, a real-estate broker.
“She looks to see if traffic is coming, doesn’t see anything, keeps walking. Bam! She gets knocked out.”
Getting in gear
The city’s safety rules for bike delivery riders include:
* Unique 3-digit ID cards
* Business ID cards with photo of biker and phone number
* Upper body apparel with business’ name and cyclist’s ID number
* A bell or other audible device (notawhistle)
* White headlight and red taillight
* Working brakes
* Bike and safety rules posted at establishments