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What do I need to know about riding a bicycle in New York?

Photo of Christopher Seleski

When you need to ride a bike around the city, you might find that you have questions about what you can and can't do. The answers aren't always easy to come by. New York has some very strict bike laws that govern everyone from hobbyists and children to professionals and adults.

If you are heading out for work or pleasure, make sure that you have brushed up on safety guidelines for the big city. Additionally, make sure you're aware of the laws that apply to you.

Where should I ride?

You must ride on the street. There are only a few instances in which a person can ride on a sidewalk in New York. For example, a child under 12 years old who is on a bike with wheels under 26 inches might be able to ride on the sidewalk.

When you are riding, stay in bike lanes if they are available. Also, remember that you can only ride with the flow of traffic -- not against it.

Do I have to follow traffic laws?

You do have to follow certain traffic laws. For example, you are required to signal your turns just like a vehicle. Since you likely don't have turn signals on your bicycle, you need to use hand signals when you are getting ready to turn. Another thing that you must do is to stop at all stop signs and red lights. Bicycles in New York are required to obey traffic signs just like vehicles.

What happens when cars are parked in my path?

You have to be alert for opening doors so you don't become a victim of dooring. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least three feet between your bicycle and any vehicles. This gives the vehicle occupant ample space to open a door without risking hitting you with the door. If it is unsafe or impossible for you to ride in a bicycle lane, such as if a car is parked in it, you do have the right to ride in a traffic lane.

What if I get into an accident?

If you are injured while you are riding a bicycle in New York, you might opt to seek compensation. Make sure that you get medical care if you need it. File a police report so that you have it if you need it later. You should also keep track of the financial damages you have due to the crash.

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Past President NYSTLA
Big Apple | Pothole & Sidewalk Protection Committee
Trial Lawyers Care
Super Lawyers
Take Justice Back | www.takejusticeback.com
Life Member | Million Dollar Advocates Forum | Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum | The Top Trial Lawyers in America
American Association for Justice Leaders Forum | Patron 2015
American Association for Justice | Sustaining Member 2015
Avvo Rating | 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Medical Malpractice

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