Bicycles are not just used as a hobby or to commute to work. Many workers in New York cycle as part of their job. They hop on a bike to deliver food, documents or packages for a company.
It's an important job in New York City, where traffic is dense. A courier on a bicycle may be able to make the delivery faster than someone in a car or a truck.
But it's also a dangerous job. A worker driving a car who is involved in a minor accident often can walk away unharmed. A cyclist, on the other hand, often faces a serious injury or worse even if the crash involves a slow-moving vehicle.
Thousands of injuries and dozens of fatalities affect NYC cyclists
According to 2017 New York City Department of Transportation, there were 4,397 injuries and 24 fatalities involving cyclists throughout the city. Many cyclists who do deliveries work for themselves and may have no workers' compensation protection. They or their families may face serious financial hardship after an accident on a bike. A cyclist who is injured may be unable to work, which means it's a struggle to pay rent, buy groceries or pay for other living expenses.
But a movement is under way to add layers of protection for workers who use bicycles. Cyclists, including couriers and delivery riders, have recently begun organizing, according to an article in Bicycling. "What we want to accomplish is the betterment of all bike workers," said Alim Mohammed, a bike messenger who wants to discuss the potential of unionizing cycling workers. The New York Messengers Alliance also has made attempts to create a union for couriers.
A fractured ankle can lead to financial hardship for a delivery cyclist
Messengers are similar to Uber drivers. They are classified as independent contractors. They receive money per job. They don't receive an hourly wage and benefits. Delivery riders who are injured may not receive any medical coverage from an employer. According to a New York Post article, a delivery rider sustained a broken ankle while working. "I had to keep working, pedaling with one foot, because I didn't have any way to buy food if I took time off," said one man who had worked as a bike messenger for 16 years.
Our New York City attorneys applaud the hard-working delivery riders and couriers who are seeking protection. If you're injured on the job, you should not have to worry about putting food on the table.
To receive the compensation you deserve after a workplace accident, it's important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Even if you have no workers' compensation or benefits from the company that hired you, you may be able to make a claim against another party such as the driver of the car that hit you.
Contact Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP if a loved one was killed in an accident or injured while riding a bicycle for work. We have hundreds of years of combined experience. You can count on us to help you on your path to justice.