Laws for a bike-friendly New York City

New York City can be a challenge to navigate. To alleviate some of the traffic volume and help the environment, the city has been developing the necessary infrastructure to promote bicycling.

Getting people to switch to two wheels is more than adding bike lanes, however. The laws of both the city and state need to reflect the move to pedal power.

Laws for motor vehicles

When cars and bikes share the road, auto accidents are always a possibility. These incidents are often due to drivers who are not keeping an eye open for cyclists. Drivers can receive a ticket for failing to observe a cyclist’s right-of-way.

New York City has specific laws to prevent a common accident known as dooring. When drivers park on the curb and exit the driver’s side, the open door can become a hazard in the bike lane. People exiting a vehicle must wait until it is safe. They should keep the door open for only as long as it takes to exit or enter the vehicle.

Responsibilities for cyclists

Many commuters use bicycling as their primary means of transportation. For safety reasons, cyclists must also observe the proper rules of the road. In two-way traffic, they should always be on the right of motor vehicles. However, in New York City, it is acceptable for bicyclists to travel on either side of wide one-way streets. It is against the law for cyclists to bike on the sidewalk in NYC.

A safe bicycle commute demands proper equipment. Some of the requirements include:

  • Reflectors or reflective tires
  • A front-mounted lamp
  • A signaling bell
  • Working brakes

Keeping the city streets safe

Cycling is a low-cost, green way of getting around the city. Accident prevention should be a priority as more cyclists take to the streets. When both drivers and cyclists obey the local laws, the road becomes a much safer place.