Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cycling on Sidewalks may become a thing of the past - Legislation gaining steam


photo: NY TIMES Todd Heisler

(New York, NY) Earlier this week, Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and her Senate colleagues passed S4528-A, a bill that will curtail the threat of commercial bicyclists’ reckless cycling in New York City.  This legislation, sponsored by Senator Krueger in the Senate and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) in the Assembly, provides for liability to be shared between the operator of the bicycle and the business employing or affiliated with the cyclist. City Council Member Jessica Lappin sponsored the home rule message that helped enable the bill to be passed in the Senate.

The intent of this bill is to address the growing problem that sidewalks in New York City’s most crowded neighborhoods have been taken over by speeding delivery bicyclists. By riding on sidewalks instead of the streets, these delivery bicycles pose a serious risk for community residents on foot -- particularly seniors and young children.  Currently the police can only ticket the bike rider, however under the new law the businesses that employee these reckless riders will face the fine.  When a business has a vested monetary interest in its employees following the “rules of the road,” they will be motivated to educate their delivery people to follow the law.  This will act as a very strong deterrent for the kinds of reckless activities which injure and sometimes kill pedestrians.

“This has been a growing problem in many of our neighborhoods. It’s evident by the large volume of calls my office receives on the matter, not to mention concerns expressed at local Community Boards and police precinct meetings” said Senator Krueger.  “I am a strong supporter of expanded, safe biking access but everybody needs to follow the rules.  This legislation will bring us far closer to a responsible public policy for the coexistence of  bike delivery persons and  pedestrians.”

S4528-A works to enforce Section 10-157 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York which requires all commercial bicycle operators to carry identification cards as well as wear an obvious visual means of identification with the name of the establishment or a registered number identified solely with a particular business address. 

 "The issue of sharing our streets among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists is one of compromise.  We must all work together to ensure general public safety.  This legislation will go far in ensuring the proper regulations are in place so our community's public safety can be enforced.  I am pleased to see the Senate’s approval of this legislation, working toward a responsible policy for keeping our pedestrians safe by removing the threat of bicycles on our sidewalks.”

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