UPS Stands its Ground


Biking in New York City can be an arduous task, and that is without having to navigate bicycle lanes with car doors popping open and illegally parked vehicles blocking those designated lanes. One Big Apple cyclist had enough of delivery trucks using New York City’s bicycle lanes as their own personal unloading zone and sued United Parcel Service, Inc. (“UPS”) in an attempt to free those bicycle lanes. He lost.

In Bell v United Parcel Serv., Inc., the Appellate Division, First Department, recently affirmed a Supreme Court decision dismissing a complaint against UPS filed in New York County by a plaintiff who sought to permanently enjoin UPS delivery drivers from parking in designated bicycle lanes. Here, the plaintiff claimed UPS drivers continuously flout specific New York City Traffic Rules and Regulations that prohibit the operator of a motor vehicle from parking a vehicle, stopping, or standing in designated bicycle lanes.  

UPS moved to dismiss the complaint arguing plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a cause of action and because plaintiff lacked standing to sue UPS. The Supreme Court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint noting that “[a]lthough the complaint states a cause of action, the plaintiff lacks standing to assert it.” Here, the appellate court held that because plaintiff failed to sufficiently articulate how he suffered a special injury, beyond that suffered by the community at large (i.e., riding to work each day), as a result of UPS’s alleged conduct of obstructing designated bicycle lanes with its delivery trucks, UPS was entitled to dismissal of the complaint. That said, this decision may leave the door open (pun intended) for a cyclist who suffers a special injury.