"There are laws on the books that aren't working," City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) said at a City Hall news conference. "The goal of this legislation is to shift the liability from the rider of the bike to the owner of the business."
Lappin said the NYPD issued 40,000 summonses to bicycle offenders last year, but it didn't solve the problem.
Under the bill introduced yesterday, the fines of $300 or more would be lodged against the business owners, with repeat offenders put on a published list, Lappin and other sponsors said. The goal is to pressure business owners into making their riders obey the law and stay off sidewalks.
"A bicycle is an extension of the workplace," offered Councilman John Liu (D-Queens), Transportation Committee chairman. "It is a piece of equipment that the business owner relies upon, and, as such, the businessman should be liable."
Pedestrians in Tribeca had mixed reactions.
Mark Luehrs, 53, who said he got into a fight with a bicycling deliveryman who nearly ran him down as he shoveled snow last winter, liked the idea.
"If you get hurt by one of these guys, what are you going to do? They've got no money," he said.
Courtney Archer, 26, said enforcement is key.
"We're always battling for space on the sidewalk. ... I'm skeptical of whether or not they'll enforce it," she said.
Homemaker Pasia Nahoum had a different view.
"The other side to this story is we like the food to come hot and to come fast," she said. "Whaddya gonna do? That's New York City."