Many of the bike riding laws in the city are also found in other jurisdictions of the state. All laws enacted within the city are in harmony with biking laws that apply in other cities and towns. There are some laws covering situations in New York City that are either not covered elsewhere, or are a little different. In any event, laws within the city and the state are intended to protect people from harm.
Here are some of the more common questions about bike laws, and what they mean for you:
Is it illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in New York State?
You may find smaller towns that do allow bikes to be ridden on sidewalks, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Most areas of the state utilize the same standards as New York City. That is, bike riding on the sidewalk is allowed for children under the age of 12, and only with bikes with wheels under a certain diameter.
There may be signage that provides temporary permission to ride bikes on sidewalks. Unless such signage is posted, it's best to assume that bike riding for those over the age of 12 is reserved to the street.
When are bicyclists required to wear helmets?
Current New York State bike helmet laws, as well as those that apply in the city, require children under the age of 14 to wear helmets while operating a bicycle. Older teenagers and adults may also be required to wear helmets, based on regulations enacted by the local jurisdiction.
When in doubt, consult the local authorities. What you learn will help you avoid fines and other unpleasant situations.
What light should bicyclists use to be visible to other motorists?
Bikers should ensure their bicycles are outfitted with lights on the front and the back. Those lights should provide ample illumination to be seen during bad weather and at night. Along with making it easier for others to see the bike, the lights should allow enough illumination for the cyclist to proceed safely.
Red reflectors are also required in the city and many other parts of the state. Those also help to make the bikes more visible to others on the road, and minimize the potential for traffic accidents.
What equipment must a bicycle have when used at night?
Along with lights that make it easier to see and to be seen, red reflectors are a must. It also helps if the cyclist chooses to wear some sort of attire that has reflective qualities. This helps to enhance the effect created by the use of lights, and reduces the potential for not being seen.
Should bike riders wear certain colors of clothing?
As a general rule, wearing biking attire that prevents blending in with the surrounding area is a good idea. Bright colors are often a good choice during the day as well as at night. Any color combination that catches the eye and makes the biker more visible is a good thing.
Are there colors to avoid? In general, stay away from anything that makes it more difficult for others to clearly see the bike. At night, that means refraining from wearing darker colors. During the day, opting for something like a bright yellow or a vibrant red would be better than a green or gray that looks a lot like the street and any foliage along the lane.
If a road does not have a bicycle lane, where must a bicyclist ride their bicycle?
No bike lane means using the street, unless there is signage clearly indicating bike riders can use the sidewalk. For streets that are considered standard widths, staying closer to the curb so cars can get past is a good idea.
When streets are narrower than the current standard, remaining close to the curb may not make any difference. In this instance, drive down the center of the lane. Whatever the width of the street, remember to ride with the traffic flow, and not against it.
For more information about biking laws in New York City, and how they apply to something that's happened to you, contact the team at Linden Law today.