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When Fast Delivery Means Danger for Cyclists

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Sep 13, 2012 11:45:30 AM

Listing the ways in which New York is both unique and truly great would require far more time and space than a blog post could occupy. Because it is not just the individual museums and monuments, theaters and restaurants, stores and green spaces that define the wonder of NYC. It is also the little things. Like, being able to get piping hot pizza delivered to your door at two in the morning by an optimistic young struggling actor traveling by bicycle.

Unfortunately, New York isn't always a safe place to live and work. And even this simple delivery service is fraught with danger at times. An extraordinary number of bicycle accidents occur each year on the streets of New York, which end up injuring or even killing these active delivery people. However, many delivery operations focus on time-efficiency and profit over safety. So rather than seeking to prevent devastating accidents, cyclist delivery people are becoming more aggressive in their riding tactics, rather than less.

When these cyclists are pressured to deliver their wares, many end up riding against the flow of traffic, taking up room on the sidewalk or pedaling through red lights and stop signs. Though it is ultimately their choice to do so, many safety advocates believe that if employers were put on the hook for paying safety fines issued in response to this behavior, cyclists would stop feeling compelled to break safety rules in order to get things delivered quickly at all costs.

The market for delivery in New York is competitive, and business owners thus feel compelled to deliver ever-faster. However, at the point where delivery people are endangering the safety of themselves and others, the culture of this industry needs to change. Perhaps placing responsibility on employers for their employees' actions is a good place to start.

Source: New York Daily News, "Your hot pizza, their steep fine," Paul Steely White and Daisy Chung, Sep. 6, 2012

Topics: car accidents, bicycle-accidents, Cycling Safety, cyclist-safety, Worker Safety

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