New York Bicycle Laws and Safety Tips
New York bicyclists know that riding a bike is a fun way to get exercise, travel to your destination, or even commute to work. Even though bicycles are very different from motor vehicles, bicyclists still must follow vehicle and traffic laws on the roadways. It’s important to know these bicycle laws, not only to avoid getting a ticket, but to help keep yourself and everyone around you safe while you’re riding.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a New York bicycle crash, don’t hesitate to call William Mattar law offices. Our bike accident attorneys can fight to protect your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call (844) 444-4444 today to get started with filing your personal injury claim.
Bike Helmet Laws
New York State helmet laws require all bicyclists under the age of 14 to wear a “safety certified” helmet while riding a bicycle. If you’re riding a bicycle with a child aged 1 to 4 years old, the child must wear a helmet and be secured in a child safety seat. Parents who allow their child to ride without a helmet can be fined up to $50 for violating helmet laws.
State law does not dictate that individuals over the age of 14 are required to wear a helmet. However, some counties (including Rockland and Erie County) require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. You can check helmets.org for more information on local helmet laws in New York.
“Safety certified” helmets should fit properly and securely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a good bicycle helmet should “not sit too high or too low” on your head, and should fit tightly enough that there is not extra space between the foam and your head. You should also ensure that the bike helmet you use is not damaged—if it’s cracked or missing parts, it may not be as effective in preventing injury. Consider replacing a bicycle helmet if it’s been worn in an accident as it may be compromised.
The bicycle accident attorneys at William Mattar Law Offices recommend that all riders practice safe riding habits and wear a helmet. It could save your life.
Traffic Laws and Bicycle Riding
In addition to New York’s helmet laws, bicyclists must follow all applicable state traffic laws. Drivers of motor vehicles can receive traffic tickets for violating certain laws, and the same is also true for bicyclists. Some major New York State Bicycle Laws include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Bicyclists must ride in usable bike lanes: If a usable bike lane is not available, bicyclists can ride near the right-hand curb, the edge of a roadway, or along a right-hand shoulder. When riding on the roadway or shoulder, bicyclists must avoid interfering with the flow of traffic.
- Bicycles must be equipped with a light or lamp at night: NY state law says that from “one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise,” bicyclists must equip their bikes with a front and rear lights to remain visible while riding.
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic signals: Traffic lights, stop signs, and other rules of the road apply to all bicyclists.
Bicyclists who follow all traffic laws can still find themselves involved in a bicycle accident. If you’ve sustained an injury in a bike accident that was the result of another person’s negligence, contact William Mattar law offices today. Our bicycle accident lawyers are knowledge and dedicated, and can help you determine the best course of action following a serious injury.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Wearing a helmet isn’t the only safety precaution you can take when riding your bike. The NY Department of Transportation offers several bicycle safety tips that may help reduce the risk of a bike accident or injury. Some of these tips include:
- Ride with traffic, not against it: If you’re on a bike, you should ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Not only is it the law, it is less dangerous than riding towards oncoming motor vehicles. In this situation, a driver may be less likely to see you.
- Keep two hands on the handlebars: Braking requires both hands. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to brake suddenly, so it’s a good idea to always be prepared.
- Use all appropriate hand signals: Bicyclists can use recognizable hand signals to indicate when they are turning, stopping, or attempting to change lanes when riding. For example, a bicyclist may hold out their left arm to notify other vehicles that they will turn left.
- Avoid wearing headphones while bicycling: Wearing headphones or otherwise using your cellphone can be a distraction.
- Remain visible to drivers: Some bicycle collisions occur when a driver doesn’t see a bicyclist, and unintentionally strikes them. There are a few simple ways to remain visible at all times while riding. These include wearing bright or reflective clothing and using lights on your bicycle.
Other tips include following all traffic signals and lane markings, assessing the road behind for cars, and keeping your bike in good working condition through regular maintenance.
Common Bicycle Riding Hazards
There are some common bicycle hazards you should be aware of, especially if you plan to ride in an unfamiliar area. Various hazards on a path can cause you to fall, skid, or otherwise lose control of your bike. As a result, you may fall or be thrown from your bike, which can cause serious injury to yourself and potentially others around you.
Common bicycle riding hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Rough, uneven, or jagged surfaces, such as a poorly maintained street;
- Weather conditions, including rain, snow, or wind;
- An unknown object or obstacle in the road (ex. an item of debris); and
- Slippery surfaces that can create a loss of tire traction.
You always have the option to walk your bike over an unsafe surface or path, rather than ride. Slowing down your speed in areas that contain hazards is another way to help prevent the chance of a bicycle accident.
Hurt in a Bicycle Accident? Call William Mattar.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident as a result of a negligent party, contact a bicycle accident attorney today. At William Mattar, we have experience representing injured bicyclists in a variety of complex bike accident cases. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (844) 444-4444, or fill out a free initial consultation form to let us know about your case.