Bicycling in New York? Here Are the Laws You Need to Know

Bicycling is a great way to get exercise, a fun competitive sport, and an increasingly popular alternative to commuting to work. With more people taking up bicycling each year, it’s important to have an understanding of some of the general laws which apply to bicyclists to ensure your safety. Here are answers to some common questions both new and experienced bikers may have about bicycling laws in New York.

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet?

New York law requires all bicyclists ages 14 and under are required to wear helmets both when they are operators and passengers of bicycles. If you are a parent who permits your child to ride without a helmet, you can be fined up to $50.

Do I Have to Obey Traffic Lights and Signs?

Yes. Most of the same laws that apply to motor vehicle operators apply to bicyclists, including the laws requiring obedience with traffic lights and signs and signaling for turns.

Do I Need to Ride With or Against Traffic?

New York law requires you to ride with traffic.

What Space in the Road Can I Occupy With My Bike?

Bicyclists must use any usable bicycle lane, but if none are available or if the bicycle lane is unusable, bicyclists should keep as far to the right as is safe and possible, to avoid interfering with oncoming traffic.

Can Bicyclists Ride Side-By-Side on a Roadway?

New York law allows this, but also states that bikers must ride single file when they are being overtaken by other vehicles, to promote the flow of traffic.

Can I Ride on the Sidewalk?

The street can be a dangerous place, especially if you are bicycling in a big city like New York City. Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk is not prohibited by New York statutes, however it is important to know that some municipalities do prohibit bicycling on sidewalks. Look for posted signs indicating this prohibition.

Can I Ride My Bike on Any Kind of Road?

New York law allows bicyclists to use most kinds of roads, with the exception of interstate highways and expressways. It is important to note that municipalities with jurisdiction over controlled-access highways can prohibit bicycling on those roads as they see fit.

Do Motorists Need to Treat Bicyclists Differently From Other Motorists?

New York law requires motorists to use “due care” to avoid colliding with bicyclists. Further, because bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators, motorists must give bicyclists the same rights and opportunities they would give to other motorists.

What Do I Do if I’m Biking and Injured in a Crash?

New York law requires you to report this incident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the crash. If no motor vehicle was involved, you will need to file a bicycle crash report. If a motor vehicle was involved, you will need file a motor vehicle accident report.

Questions About Biking Laws in New York? Contact an NYC Bicycle Accident Attorney Today

If you have questions about your rights as a bicyclist, or if you have been injured in a bicycling accident, contact Scaffidi & Associates today. They will listen to you, answer your questions, and help you determine what your options are.

Posted in: Personal Injury Law


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