Hoboken city council passes legislation to improve safety of electric vehicle food delivery

Bucharest, Romania - February 13, 2019: An Uber Eats food delivery courier delivers food in Bucharest, Romania.

The Hoboken city council recently passed important legislation to improve the safety of residents as well as e-delivery riders on Hoboken’s sidewalks and streets.

Aligned with Hoboken’s Vision Zero program, what has become known as the “Tests and Vests” legislation will require those who use certain electric bikes and similar vehicles to make food deliveries in Hoboken to be licensed and wear a fluorescent vest bearing a license number.

This legislation is sponsored by Hoboken city council members Paul Presinzano, Ruben Ramos and Michael Russo, who collaborated and received input from concerned residents, dedicated delivery riders, local restaurants and delivery companies, and government officials.

“This is the first step in solving a top quality of life issue for residents that has largely been ignored,” Presinzano said. “As elected officials, our No. 1 responsibility is to ensure the safety of our residents and this legislation hopes to address the unsafe practices of certain e-delivery personnel on our sidewalks and streets.”

The proposed ordinance is centered on three key principles: registration, education and visibility. Its aim is to cultivate a vibrant food delivery industry while placing utmost importance on the safety and welfare of community members. By combining education and visibility, the ordinance seeks to enhance accountability among riders, promoting safe driving practices and addressing irresponsible behavior effectively.

Under the licensing requirement, individuals will need to familiarize themselves with state and local laws governing safe riding on Hoboken’s streets, complete a brief quiz and pay a nominal annual fee of $5.

Failure to adhere to the ordinance will result in a $50 fine.

“This ordinance is the foundation to bring sanity back to our sidewalks and keeping our pedestrians safe,” Ramos said. “Our residents have implored us to take action and the current ‘putting our head in the sand and hope’ approach is not getting the job done.”

The start of the new ordinance will be in June. This approach allows time for continued collaboration with public safety and the e-bike task force, community education and input to ensure a successful rollout and maximum compliance with this new program.