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Roadmap for owners as bike etiquette takes a right turn

Bicycle ridership is on the rise. More than 750,000 New Yorkers use a bicycle regularly (at least once per month), more than three times the number of riders almost two decades ago.

To support sustainability and provide an alternative means of transportation, the City of New York has been doing a lot of work around expanding bicycle-related infrastructure, such as adding new bike lanes — almost 300 miles within the last five years — and expanding their partnership with Citi Bike to work towards providing service throughout the five boroughs.

According to the Department of Transportation, daily Citi Bike trips are up an average of 16 percent in comparison to 2016 figures.

Access to bicycles in the city is only expected to increase amidst Citi Bike’s own plans to expand its bike sharing services to users.

The City of New York also recently enacted two new laws that will improve riders’ ability to transport bicycles within office buildings.

If you’ve been thinking about commuting to work by bicycle, but are unsure of what to do with your bike after you get to the office, or if you manage a commercial building and you’re looking for guidance, here’s what you need to know:

The new laws build upon the 2009 enacted bicycle access law, which require owners and managers of office buildings with at least one freight elevator to create a bicycle access plan upon a tenant’s request.

The new laws now require that owners of office buildings make passenger elevators available for foldable bicycle access. Any existing bicycle access plans must also be amended to reflect these new requirements.

Owners are also required to post signage outlining the building’s access plan and associated rules, or post signage indicating where tenants and other occupants may access the plan. Both local laws took effect last September and are being enforced accordingly.

If requested, office buildings must provide at least one freight elevator for bicycle transport during normal hours of operation. If a freight elevator is not available or operational within the building during those hours, foldable or compact-assembly capable bicycle access must be provided by passenger elevator as an alternative.

Tenants must also certify that they have enough storage available within their leased space to ensure compliance with building and fire codes as well as occupants’ ability to enter or leave the premises, especially in the event of an emergency.

Owners can ask to be exempted from the rule, but they need to file an exception request with the Department of Buildings explaining why they cannot accommodate a request for bicycle access.

Exemptions may be granted if use of the building’s freight elevator involves a substantial safety risk or if there is a sufficient off-site bicycle storage facility within a few blocks from the building that is either owned or operated by the owner or manager. Once exemptions are granted, owners must post or make available upon request a letter of exception from the City.

Tenants should also take steps to protect the buildings they work in and retain their ability to transport bicycles within buildings.

Tenants should give priority to pre-determined freight schedules, tenant move-ins and move outs, security protocols and any ongoing construction work to protect both their safety and minimize disruptions to day-to-day operations. Tenants or occupants transporting bicycles should be sure to fold their bikes and carry them in protective cases upon entering a passenger elevator to protect the building’s finishes in lobbies and elevators.

Users should also give priority to overcrowded passenger elevators, especially during peak hours, and they should take special care when moving through buildings with particularly small or crowded lobbies or elevators.

The City has shown a commitment toward enhancing bicycle use across the city — and also ensuring that commuters have storage options within office buildings as New Yorkers embrace bicycles as a means of transportation.

While the City has provided increased access for bicycle riders into buildings, riders must also understand their responsibility in providing a safe and clean environment for all.

We hope that New York City continues to ensure that bicycle use is extended in ways that promote ridership experience, safety, and also protect private property.

In other REBNY news:

REBNY’s 9th Annual Summer Donation Drive, supporting the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services, will be coming to a close this Friday, September 8th. Donations of new or like new kitchen items — including silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates, cups, cleaning essentials, and more — to support subsidized housing for veterans, may be dropped off at the REBNY mailroom (570 Lexington Avenue, Lower Level). To make a monetary donation, please contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at

Submit your top transactions and nominate your outstanding colleagues for REBNY’s prestigious industry honors. The deadline for submissions and nominations is Friday, September 15 at 5:00 p.m. All awards will be presented at the 29th Annual Residential Brokerage Division Deal of the Year Charity & Awards Gala, the New York City residential real estate industry’s biggest night of the year, to be held on Thursday, October 26th from 6:00-10:30 p.m. at Metropolitan West. Visit to download the contest rules, award application, and table/ticket reservation form. For event sponsorship opportunities, email Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at

Looking to jumpstart your real estate career? REBNY will be hosting a 75-hour Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Course on-site at REBNY’s Midtown Manhattan education center this fall with courses on Saturdays and Sundays from September 16th to October 24. Fee: $320 for the course and text book. Those interested in registering should email and view the on-site course schedule.

REBNY will be hosting its first ever #REBNYTech Hackathon 2017 on Friday, October 13 through Sunday, October 15 at the Urban Tech Hub at Grand Central Tech. Over these three days during NYC Real Estate Tech Week, the #REBNYTech Hackathon will bring together 200 of the brightest minds in the property and technology industries to hack cutting edge solutions to real-world challenges faced by the world’s leading real estate companies. Teams will work across six challenge categories to compete for a total of $50,000 in cash and prizes. In addition, the event will feature speakers from across PropTech and real estate, and will attract high profile corporate sponsors and organizational partners. To attend the event or register your startup or tech company team, visit

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