New York City restaurants and messenger companies whose bicyclists fail to obey traffic laws are facing a crackdown proposed by the City Council.
Council hearings scheduled for tomorrow will discuss a package of bills that would make employers liable for civil fines of as much $100 if they don’t post workplace signs instructing cyclists on traffic laws and equip riders with helmets, lights and reflectors.
The measures would authorize the Transportation Department to inspect businesses to ensure compliance with the rules. Another bill would require riders to attend road-safety classes, said Andrea Bender, a spokesman for Councilman James Vacca, sponsor of the measures.
“There’s broad consensus among the administration and the business community that we need to bring commercial cycling into compliance with the rules of the road,” Bender said. City law already imposes criminal penalties on companies of as much as $200 fines and 60 days in jail, she said.
“The criminal penalties get played down or dismissed or there’s little enforcement against the business that have responsibilities,” she said. “That’s why we felt the need to create civil penalties.”
Since 2007, New York has added more than 290 miles (467 kilometers) to the now more than 700-mile-long bike-lane system, part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to tackle two of the city’s most persistent problems: congested roads and ever- widening waistlines. The mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
One of the council bills, called Stuart’s Law, is named in memory of Stuart C. Gruskin, who was killed in 2009 by a commercial cyclist riding the wrong way on a one-way street, according to Vacca’s office.
The proposed safety provisions are already required by law, said Donn Lloyd, assistant manager at Quik Trak Messenger Service in Manhattan, a delivery service in operation for 26 years, according to its website.
“We have to do this anyway,” Lloyd said in an interview. “All of our riders are equipped with helmets, reflectors, bells and other safety gear. These laws are in effect and we’re prepared for anyone to come in and inspect us anytime.”
Scott Gastel, a spokesman for the Transportation Department, said the administration wouldn’t take a position on the bill at this time.
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