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6 New York Bicycle Laws You Need to Know

Key Rules for NY Bicyclists to Keep in Mind

Are you a bicyclist? Whether you ride your bike as a primary mode of transportation or just for leisurely fun, there are several bicycle laws that every rider should be aware of. The New York Police Department strictly enforces these regulations and is extremely vigilant for violators, as people’s safety and lives could be at stake. Of all the bike laws in New York, a particular portion of these rules is often violated. With this in mind, we encourage you to review the following 6 bicycle laws to better avoid getting a ticket or, worse, injured or killed:

Riding with two earphones is illegal: Nothing beats riding a bike while listening to your favorite tunes. However, it is illegal to wear more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player, or other audio device while riding a bike in New York. Wearing two earphones may obstruct your hearing by limiting your abilities to listen to the surrounding traffic and thus put you at risk of getting hurt. For instance, if you are riding your bicycle with two earphones in, you may not notice a car tailgating you or speeding by you. As a result, you could get into an accident and suffer serious injuries or death.

At least one hand must be on the handlebars: Cyclists in New York must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. Cyclists are also prohibited from carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents them from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars. This makes sense, as riding a bike with no hands is a recipe for disaster no matter how many times you’ve done it.

Do not ride on sidewalks: In New York City, bicyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks unless a sign allows otherwise, or the wheels are less than 26” and the ride is 12 years old or younger. In addition, bicyclists in NYC cannot ride in a park and only in places that are designated for bike riding. However, they can push their bikes in a single file line to and from such places, as long as they’re not beaches and boardwalks.

Although riding on sidewalks may seem like a safer option than riding on the street, it can actually be more dangerous because sidewalks are intended for pedestrian use only. Allowing bicyclists to ride where pedestrians are supposed to walk could be chaotic and result in injuries. That’s why roads throughout New York contain a designated bicyclist lane.

Come to a full stop: All bicyclists in New York must come to a complete stop before entering a roadway from a private road, driveway, alley, or curb. It is harder for motorists to identify bicyclists on the roads, so bicyclists should exercise caution and adhere to this law to better prevent an accident. The last thing you want is to whizz out onto a busy road without stopping first and get struck by a vehicle as a result.

Children on bikes: Children under the age of one are not allowed to ride on a bike, and children who are one year old or older but less than five years old must wear an approved helmet and be transported in a properly affixed child carrier.Further, children who are five or older but younger than 14 must wear an approved helmet. Thus, you should ensure your child or loved one is following these rules at all times. Safety first!

Equip your bike with lamps and a bell: If you choose to ride a bike in the darkness, or during the hours following the sunset and before the sunrise, you must equip your bike with a front lamp that shines a white visible light at least 500 feet forward and a back lamp that shines a red or amber light at least 300 feet behind you. At least one of your lamps must be visible for 200 feet on each side of you.

While it’s important to be seen, you must also be heard. As such, all bicyclists must have a bell or another device that emits an audible sound for at least 100 feet. Sirens and whistles are prohibited.

Got a Ticket While Riding Your Bike?

Contrary to popular belief, bicyclists must adhere to the same road laws and regulations as motorists, therefore if you violate any of the rules above or commit unlawful actions such as speeding or running a red light, you can get a ticket. Luckily, your case may be defendable.

To learn more about your ticket and how we can help, please contact our New York traffic ticket lawyer at (212) 235-1525!

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