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What You Should Know About New York Bicycle Laws

Where crossing the line can get you into trouble

The attorneys at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson have been pursuing claims for decades on behalf of injured bicyclists. We understand the laws and how they apply to personal injury cases.

There are two main components to every bicycle accident. Bicyclists and motorists each play a role and have certain duties they must abide by to avoid harm. These duties have become even more vital with the influx of thousands more cyclists participating in Citi Bike, New York’s bike share program.

Under the law, drivers of any vehicle, motorized or not, must exercise due care.

Obligations of motor vehicle drivers

Motorists must avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian or domestic animal on any roadway. A driver who causes physical injuries to a bicyclist, including head injuries and spine injuries, while failing to exercise due care faces a vehicle citation and is subject to a fine and/or up to 15 days in jail. The fine and jail time are greater for causing serious injury to a bicyclist and for subsequent injury accidents.

Of course, these are criminal penalties. Negligent drivers who cause injury may also be sued for civil penalties.

The bicyclist’s duties

Every person riding a bicycle on a road has all the rights of a motor vehicle driver, but the bicyclist also has responsibilities.  In addition to operating with due care and following all traffic laws, a bicyclist must:

  • Never carry more passengers than there are seats
  • Not cling to moving motor vehicles
  • Use a bike lane, if available
  • Ride along the right curb or shoulder when no bike lane is provided
  • Avoid undue interference with the flow of traffic, except when turning left or when avoiding unsafe conditions
  • Not ride more than two abreast
  • Not carry a package or bundle that prevents keeping one hand on the handlebars or obstructs visibility
  • Have and use a lamp on the front of the bike and reflectors on the tires when driving after sunset or before sunrise
  • Have a bell or other signaling device (but not a siren or whistle)
  • Signal turns with appropriate hand and arm motions

How Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson can help

Our lawyers aim to unearth the truth following a bicycle accident, so the responsible party — or the party’s insurance company — compensates the injured. Contact Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson online or at 888.746.8212 for a free consultation with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the intricacies of bicycle accidents.


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