Rules for Commercial Bicyclists


From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Queens; Queens injury lawyer)





Rules for Commercial Bicycling

Bikes are an inexpensive, fast, and efficient way to deliver goods. The city has laws and rules that to help make commercial bicycling safer. Administrative Code of the City of New York §10-157 and §10-157.1 pertain to businesses that employ commercial bicyclists. Failure to comply with these laws may result in a fine.

Requirements for Businesses

Businesses that employ commercial bicyclists must post the Commercial Bicyclist Safety poster where delivery cyclists will easily see it and in languages that they understand.

Businesses must provide delivery cyclists with the following:

  • A unique 3-digit ID number for each bicyclist
  • Upper-body apparel with the business' name and bicyclist's 3-digit ID number on the back
  • A bicycle helmet in good condition
  • Business ID card

Businesses must equip commercial bicycles with the following:

  • A bell or other audible device
  • White headlight and red taillight
  • Reflectors
  • Brakes

Special note: Electric bicycles are not capable of being registered by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and therefore their operation is prohibited in New York City.

Requirements for Commercial Bicyclists

Commercial Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws, including the following:

  • Yield to pedestrians
  • Ride in the direction of traffic
  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs
  • Stay off the sidewalk
  • Signal when turning
  • Use a white headlight, and red taillight at night
  • Use a bell to signal presence
  • Do not wear more than one earphone while riding

Commercial cyclists must also wear a helmet, must wear upper-body apparel printed with the business name and their ID number, and must carry their business ID when riding for work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will receive the ticket for violating the law or not being in compliance with city rules?

All equipment and business-related violations will be issued to the business owner. Tickets for moving violations will be issued to the cyclist in violation.

Who enforces the law?

A special group of inspectors from DOT enforce the sections of the City's Administrative Code that relate to commercial bicycling (§10-157 and §10-157.1). NYPD enforces all moving violations.

What will commercial bicyclists need if stopped for a moving violation?

Commercial cyclists must carry their business ID when riding for work.

Can commercial cyclists use an electric bike?

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles does not register electric bicycles, therefore their operation is prohibited in New York City.

What kind of clothing must commercial bicyclists wear?

Commercial cyclists must wear upper body apparel with their 3-digit ID number and the business name on the back. Any garment, such as a jacket or vest, will be in compliance as long as the business name and ID number are legible.

Can commercial bicyclists place bags on the handle bars?

That is allowed, but not recommended. The best way for business owners to help their employees safely carry deliveries is to provide a basket or pannier.

Why do commercial bicyclists need a number?

The law requires that each person delivering food for a business have a unique 3-digit number for ID purposes. If someone leaves, business owners may reassign that number, and record the change in their log.