Protect Your Neck

Since so many of you are doing delivery and it’s only going to get busier on that front, let’s get legal please.

Whether you have an established delivery service, or are starting fresh, it is important to be mindful of the potential liabilities inherent in providing delivery services. Especially right now, delivery services must be a revenue stream and not a source of liability, so here are a few important tips and notes.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Personal Car Insurance Will Not Cover Your Business!

Automobiles used for delivery services require commercial insurance coverage, which can be obtained directly by the vehicle owner, or if the car is not owned by the business, through a “Hired & Non-Owned” (“HNO”) policy endorsement. The last thing anyone needs right now is an uncovered personal injury claim, so please check with your delivery drivers and insurance broker to ensure you have the necessary coverage. We are here to help and can put you in touch with a broker who can assist you right away.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Death, Taxes, and City Regulations…

Of course, the City of New York has a number of regulations governing the use of bicycles for delivery services, which they define as commercial bicycles. Thankfully, the City also provides a lot of useful information on how to comply with these rules, which you can find here. This includes City-approved, printable templates for the required rosterbusiness card, and placards. While we hope the City will relax its enforcement of these regulations during these difficult times, it is best to ensure that your business is in compliance with the regulations to avoid the risk altogether.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Record Keeping

 Each business must maintain a roster that includes the commercial bicycle employee’s:

  • Full name;
  • Residential address;
  • Three-digit ID number (to be created by the business and unique to each employee);
  • Date of hire (and discharge); and
  • Confirmation that the employee completed the City’s free Commercial Bicyclist Safety Course, which can be found here.

Additionally, you must provide each commercial bicycle employee with a business card that the employee must carry with them when making deliveries.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020


As noted above, each commercial bicycle employee must complete the City’s free safety course. Additionally, each commercial bicycle employee must have a safety helmet and reflective upper-body apparel (jacket/vest) that lists the business’s name and the employee’s three-digit identification number on the back.

Lastly, the City requires each bicycle be equipped with:

  • A bell or other audible device;
  • White front light and red taillight;
  • Reflectors on the sides of both wheels;
  • Brakes; and
  • A metal or plastic sign affixed to the rear of the bike, or on both sides of the bike, with the employee’s three-digit identification number.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Tools of The Trade: Wage Considerations

Both the FLSA and New York Labor Law allow you to require your delivery employees provide and maintain their own “tools of the trade” (automobile, bicycle, safety equipment), provided that the amortized weekly cost to the employee, when deducted from their weekly wages, does not reduce their wages below the required minimum or overtime wage. These costs can include the cost to purchase a bicycle, if it was required. Additionally, Courts in New York have previously held that $500 per year (or approx. $9.62/week) for bicycle maintenance is reasonable. While there is no steadfast rule on calculation costs related to the use of an automobile for delivery, the IRS standard business mileage rate is a reasonable approximation of such costs. Note that if you require your delivery driver to obtain commercial automobile insurance, that cost will also be included.

Remember, there is no violation unless the weekly expenses reduce the weekly wages below the required minimum or overtime wage. Importantly, tips and per-delivery wages will defray the costs and help avoid any potential violations. To further protect yourselves from the risk of future liabilities, we recommend- where possible- purchasing delivery bicycles and required safety equipment and providing them to your delivery employees. To the extent you require your delivery employees to provide their own vehicles and safety equipment, be sure to get copies of receipts for the purchase of any bicycle and safety equipment. As for automobiles, we recommend keeping a log of the mileage covered by each employee while providing delivery services.

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Take Out Customers

Q: What should I do if a customer asks whether employees have COVID-19 or have recently traveled to a CDC-designated country?

You can choose to tell customers whether employees in general have COVID-19 or have recently traveled to any CDC-designated countries. However, you must maintain an employee’s expectation of privacy regarding their medical information as mentioned above. You may additionally choose to let customers know of the precautions you are taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your establishment. 

Last Update: March 12, 2020

Q: What should I do if someone comes into my business and I believe they have COVID-19?

Be cautious acting here because it is illegal for an establishment to refuse service based on a person’s race, ethnicity, national origin or disability. You cannot treat a customer differently if you believe they are from a country where COVID-19 is widespread.

Last Update: March 12, 2020