Bill Passed to Keep Cyclists Safe

On Wednesday, May 10th, the New York City Council passed a bill I authored and sponsored by 10 Council Members that will improve commercial cyclist safety by closing a loophole that allowed certain businesses like UberEATS, Amazon, and Seamless to avert important safety measures required by law.

Under current law governing commercial cyclists, only businesses that consider commercial cyclists as “employees” are required to follow safety rules outlined in the law. The new bill closes this loophole so that companies like UberEATs, Amazon, and Seamless, which employ commercial cyclists as “independent contractors”, must also conform to the law.

 At every hour of everyday, delivery cyclists used by businesses of all kinds race through our city delivering meals and products right to our door. With the rapid and continuing growth of services like UberEATS, Amazon, and Seamless, it is important that our city adapts to protect the safety of all commercial cyclists, who often work in dangerous traffic and through inclement weather.

A loophole in the current commercial cyclist law allows certain businesses to unfairly and dangerously avert important safety measures required by law. I’m proud to have introduced legislation being voted on by the City Council today that will close this loophole and ensure the safety of all commercial cyclists throughout our city. If enacted, all businesses that use cyclists for delivery will be required to provide cyclists with a helmet, bike equipment that improves visibility like a headlight and taillight, working brakes, and a reflective jacket that displays the name of the business and the cyclist’s unique ID number. Beyond this, all commercial cyclists will be required to take a safety information course provided by the Department of Transportation that will help keep us all safe. This bill will save lives and build on the important work we’ve done to improve cyclist safety throughout our city.

Int. No. 1117 expands upon Local Law 52 [Int. 0683] that was passed by the City Council in 2012. Local Law 52 was part of a package of bills that strengthened New York City law in regards to commercial cyclists. The law requires:

  • -All commercial cyclists to be assigned a three-digit identification number and an ID card with a photo of the bicycle operator, the name, address, and telephone number of the business using the bicycle operator.
  • -A business using a bicycle for commercial purposes to maintain a roster of bicycle operators.
  • -Each bicycle operator to complete a bicycle safety course provided by DOT regarding safe bicycling and adherence to traffic and commercial bicycle laws. DOT must make the information available online.
  • -Each bicycle to be equipped with a lamp, a bell or device that gives an audible signal, brakes, and reflective tires.
  • -A bicycle operator to wear a retro-reflective jacket, vest with the name of the business and the bicycle operator’s individual ID number.

If enacted, the new bill will change the text of the law [section 10-157 of the administrative code] regarding commercial cyclists, from cyclists “employed by such businesses” to cyclists “operating a bicycle on behalf of such business” to fully cover and equally protect all commercial cyclists for the first time.