New York City is preparing to crack down on bicycle delivery drivers who ride unsafely through the streets while on the job.
Beginning in April, city inspectors will enforce a new law requiring food delivery bicyclists to wear high-visibility reflective vests with the name of their restaurant on the back. Businesses in violation will receive $100 to $300 fines.
"Any police officer or someone from my Commercial Bicycle Unit can show up and know who is currently riding for the business," said Kim Wiley-Schwartz of the Department of Transportation.
Each business must also keep an up-to-date list of delivery cyclists. Bike advocates say that could make for safer streets.
"If rosters and vests are a step in that direction, I'm all for it," said Andrew Crooks, a bicycle shop owner.
Restaurant owners, too, say they're on board, as long as they don't get nickel-and-dimed for technicalities.
"Hopefully it's not too onerous to comply with the regulations, and hopefully it makes cycling and delivery safer," said restaurant owner Michael Paritsky.
The city has spent months running classes reminding cyclists and employers about the upcoming enforcement initiative. One lesson: don't promise New Yorkers they'll get their quickly because it may pressure delivery cyclists to ride the wrong way or on the sidewalk.
Critics wonder if the new law is necessary since plenty of riders already break the old ones, like riding the wrong way in a bike lane.
But some in the food business say they've seen a recent change, with delivery workers wearing brighter clothing and making safer deliveries.
"I've seen a lot more vests popping up in the last couple of months," said restaurant manager Leah Neumann. "They are getting the message."