NY Bicycle Law Reminder by NY Injury Lawyer


As my regular blog readers know, this Central New York personal injury lawyer is also a huge bicycle devotee.  I have been cycling for pleasure and exercise for decades.  I have also been representing injured cyclists for decades.  But since I’d rather save my fellow cyclists from the heartbreak of a bike injury than help them recover from one afterwards, I am once again posting some reminders regarding New York’s bicycling safety laws.  If you’re planning to ride a bicycle in New York, it’s important to be aware of these laws to avoid any legal troubles and ensure your own safety.

First, as in all States, cyclists here are required to ride in the same direction as traffic. Bicyclists are not permitted to ride against traffic. Doing so is especially dangerous when you approach an intersection as the vehicles turning toward you will not be expecting you there.

In addition, bicyclists in New York are required to ride as close as “reasonably” possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, unless they are preparing to make a left turn, passing another vehicle, or avoiding hazards on the road, in which case they are allowed to “take the lane”.

Bicyclists are also required to obey all traffic signals and signs, just like motor vehicles. This means stopping at red lights and stop signs, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, and using hand signals to indicate turns.

In New York State, all bicyclists under the age of 14 are required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. While it is not required for adults to wear a helmet, it is highly recommended for safety purposes. Wearing a helmet can help reduce the risk of head injuries in the event of an accident.

Bicyclists should also be aware of the laws regarding riding on sidewalks. In many cities and towns in New York State, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk. However, some municipalities allow bicyclists to ride on sidewalks if they are traveling at a slow speed and yield to pedestrians. Check the local laws before riding on sidewalks.

If you want to listen to music or something while riding (a very bad idea in my opinion), you can legally only use one earbud.  The other ear must remain free to hear horns and traffic.  But why risk it?  Keep both ears open and free. Common sense should convince you that this is just plain safer.

Riding with others?  If so, you can ride side-by-side, except that if traffic is approaching from behind, you must switch to single file.  Makes sense, right?

Finally, bicyclists should be aware of the laws regarding riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Just like motorists, bicyclists can be charged with a DUI if they are caught riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal blood alcohol limit for bicyclists in New York is .08%, the same as for motor vehicles. Riding under the influence can result in fines and even jail time. More importantly, riding while intoxicated can cause you to suffer a serious injury.

Bicycling is a fun and eco-friendly pastime. But please practice the sport safely, obey New York’s laws and use common sense.  Ride in the same direction as traffic, obey traffic signals and signs, wear a helmet, stay as far right as reasonably possible, avoid riding on sidewalks (unless allowed by local laws), and refrain from riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol. By following these laws, you can help ensure your own safety and the safety of others on the road.  And you will avoid having to hire someone like me to represent you in a New York bicycle accident case.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@mbk-law.com   I’d love to hear from you!

Michaels Bersani Kalabanka P.C.
Syracuse NY bicycle accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

Contact Information