Lesson of the Day: ‘Keeping New York’s Delivery Bicyclists Safe’

Lesson of the Day: ‘Keeping New York’s Delivery Bicyclists Safe’

This lesson is a part of our new Accessible Activities feature, which aims to welcome a wider variety of learners to our site and to The Times. Learn more and tell us what you think here.

Featured Article: “Keeping New York’s Delivery Bicyclists Safe” by Coral Murphy-Marcos

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Americans have grown to rely more on food delivery services for safe and speedy meals brought to their doors. However, protections for delivery workers have been slow to keep up with the increasing dangers they face.

In this lesson you will learn how food delivery workers in New York City are forming watch groups to protect one another. In a Going Further activity, you will share what you learned in a one-pager.

Share your experiences: How often do you and your family use food delivery services, such as Seamless, Grubhub or DoorDash? Have you been ordering in more food during the pandemic?

Make a list: Brainstorm a list of the challenges you think food delivery workers might face.

Then, find a partner and share and discuss your lists. What do you think would be the advantages and disadvantages of being a food delivery worker? Would you ever want to be one?

Here are 10 words you’ll find in this article that you may not know:

1. shift 2. documenting 3. protect 4. primary 5. excluding 6. inquire 7. status 8. penalize 9. reject 10. limits

Which words are you familiar with? Which are new to you?

Use this list of words and their definitions on Vocabulary.com to learn what each means and to practice using them.

Click through and read the article above as a slide show or read it here as a PDF. You can read a longer version of the article here. Then, answer the following questions:

1. Why have delivery workers started watch groups in New York City? Why does Vicente Carrasco, the leader of the Queensboro Bridge watch group, say, “If we don’t do this, no one else will protect us”?

2. What are some challenges and dangers delivery workers face, according to the article? How do these challenges compare with the list you made during the warm-up activity?

3. How are delivery workers supporting and protecting one another? Give two examples from the article.

4. Look at the photos and videos in the article. What story do they tell about the life of a delivery worker in New York City? Which image stands out to you most?

5. How does a recent New York City Council bill improve conditions for delivery workers? What other ideas do you have to better protect them?

6. What’s your reaction to the article? How does it change how you think about food delivery workers? Will you order food in the future? Do you think food delivery workers where you live face similar challenges?

Option 1: Create a one-pager.

Share what you have learned by creating a one-pager. You can start with a blank sheet of paper or use a template. If you need inspiration, you can see examples of other students’ work here.

Your one-pager should include:

  • A drawing that captures the main idea or theme of the article.

  • One challenge delivery workers face.

  • One quote or statistic from the article.

  • One word to capture the feeling or emotions you had while reading the article.

  • One question you still have about delivery workers.

You can add more images, colors, information and words to your one-pager to make it interesting for your audience. Then, share your creation with your classmates.

Option 2: Learn more about being a food delivery worker.

In “My Frantic Life as a Cab-Dodging, Tip-Chasing Food App Deliveryman,” from 2019, the Times reporter Andy Newman writes about working as a food app deliveryman for a week, dodging cabs, being greeted by half-naked customers and often getting no tip.

Read the entire article or just look at the photos and embedded videos, then discuss with a partner. How did the article add to or change your understanding of the skills, benefits and challenges of being a delivery worker? What did you find most surprising or fascinating about Mr. Newman’s firsthand account? What further questions do you have on the subject? Would you ever want to be a delivery worker, even if it’s just a summer or a part-time job?

Want more Lessons of the Day? You can find them all here.