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NYC Council Slaps Fines on Restaurants for Law-Breaking Cyclists

New York restaurants and messenger companies will face $100 civil fines if they fail to equip delivery bicyclists with helmets, lights and reflectors under laws passed today by the City Council.

The package of four measures, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, authorizes the Transportation Department to inspect businesses and issue fines. Employers also will be required to ensure that riders attend road-safety classes.

City law already imposes criminal penalties of as much as $200 in fines and 60 days in jail on businesses that don’t provide cyclists with safety equipment. Those laws are seldom enforced by the police department, said Jeff Lynch, chief of staff for Councilman James Vacca, sponsor of the measures.

“The days of the wild, wild West are now over,” Vacca said today before the vote.

One of the 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.

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 the Bloomberg administration’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.

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