UPPER EAST SIDE — Bicycle safety on the Upper East Side is improving, according to the NYPD.
The 19th Precinct has increased its enforcement of bicyclists by 52 percent since this time last year and it's paid off with an 18 percent decrease in bicycle-related accidents, police said.
On June 10, the precinct sent out patrols for a bike enforcement operation on First Avenue at 78th and 79th streets and at 90th and 91st streets, and handed out 94 summonses to cyclists for running red lights and riding in the wrong direction in the first three hours, according to the NYPD.
Bike safety became especially concerning for residents in the area after a woman was struck and seriously injured on First Avenue by a cyclist in June.
Police have also been targeting food delivery cyclists. The precinct doled out a total of 177 commercial bike summonses last year, and as of March this year, there have been 33, according to police records.
Increased enforcement has added more to restaurant owners’ plates, but it’s a necessity, according to John Philips, owner and chef of The Mansion Restaurant on York Avenue and 86th Street. Some of his delivery people have collided with parked cars and have even had run-ins with buses, he said.
Some employees have used cellphones while out on their deliveries, which he is liable for if anything were to happen, he added.
"Frankly, I want to get to a point where there are no cellphones allowed in this store," Philips said.
The city’s rules require that his delivery cyclists have lights on their bikes, wear vests and helmets, have IDs and sign off on the rules and regulations that have been posted in the restaurant's bulletin board.
"We try," Phillips said. "Bikers are getting injured and pedestrians are getting killed left and right."