Thousands of New Yorkers ride bicycles on a regular basis, but often for very different reasons: a leisurely hobby, a necessary means of transportation, a competitive sport, or even as a job. Because bicycle riders are relatively exposed and unprotected, the negligence of others can cause accidents that seriously injure bicyclists. The streets of New York City, with its potholes, heavy vehicular traffic, and constantly opening taxicab doors can also be the cause of bicycle accidents that injure riders. Recently, with the introduction of the Citi Bike program, thousands of additional residents and tourists take to New York City streets every day aboard bicycles. The unfortunate fact is that bicycle accident cases are far from uncommon. Fortunately, our team of bike crash attorneys in New York can help those involved in local cycling accidents.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., has represented countless injured cyclists who were involved in an accident due to pedestrians, cars, and even other bicyclists acting in dangerous ways. If you have been injured while riding a bicycle, whether you live locally or were just visiting, the experienced bike accident attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., can help. To speak with one of the NY bike law lawyers at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., about your New York bike accident, Contact Us or call 1-800-2-DEARIE.
New York City Bicycle Laws
Bicyclists are held to many of the same standards and responsibilities as operators of motor vehicles. But bicyclists are also protected by laws that recognize the vulnerability of bicyclists operating in streets where there is vehicular traffic. The most important thing to know as a bicyclist is that if there is a bicycle lane or path, you should be riding within its boundaries. If a bicyclist is in a bike lane or path, the law protects that bicyclist.
Here are several laws and administrative codes that govern bicyclists:
If there is a bicycle lane, bicyclists must use the bicycle lane, except to avoid an accident, to make a turn, or to access something that requires leaving the bicycle lane.
Other vehicles, including taxicabs, cannot drive on or across a bicycle lane, nor can they stop to pick up a fare on a bicycle lane.
NYC Administrative Code §4-12(p).
Bicycles cannot be ridden on sidewalks in New York City. If they are ridden on sidewalks, they may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions.
The only exception to this rule is if there is a sign allowing sidewalk riding, or if the wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and the rider is twelve years or younger.
NYC Administrative Code §19-176; NYC Traffic Rules and Regulations §4-07(c).
- Bicycles must have a white headlight, a red taillight, and reflectors, when ridden between dusk and dawn.
- Bicycles must have working brakes.
- Bicycles must have reflectors, reflective tires and/or other reflective devices.
- Bicycles must have a bell or other device capable of giving an audible signal
- Citi Bikes should be equipped with this mandated equipment.
NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law §1236.
How Bicycles Must Be Ridden
The operator of a bicycle must ride on a permanent seat with his/her feet on the pedals. Furthermore, the bicycle must only carry the number of people for which it was designed.
NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law §1232.
Bicyclists cannot wear more than one earphone attached to any type of audio device.
NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law §375.
Bicycles used for commercial purposes
Bicycles being used for commercial purposes, like food or package delivery, are subject to additional laws that must be followed:
- The business must be identified on the bike by name and identification number;
- The operator of the bicycle must wear upper body apparel with the business’ name;
- The business must provide the operator with a helmet, and the operator must wear that helmet;
- The business must maintain a log book of the name, identification number, and place of residence of each bicycle operator, and their dates of employment with that business.
NYC Administrative Code §10-157.
- Children under the age of one are not allowed to ride on a bicycle.
- Children between the ages of one (1) and five (5) must wear a helmet and must be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
- Children between the ages of five (5) and fourteen (14) must wear a helmet.
- Operators of bicycles who are over the age of 14 are not required by law to wear a helmet. Of course, every bicyclist, regardless of age, should always wear a helmet, especially on the busy streets of New York City.
NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law §1238.
These are just a few of the laws that govern bicycle riding in New York City and New York State. But the facts and circumstances of each bicycle accident are unique to that situation.