Bicycling in New York is governed by a series of laws and rules. They are found in the State’s Vehicle and Traffic Law. The links below can help you find more information about the laws and rules. Bicycles have the legal right to share the road on most public highways and bicyclists must comply with governing laws. Bicyclists can be ticketed for violations. In the case of children, parents or guardians may be held responsible for any fines.
Here is a summary of the principal requirements for bicyclists under New York law:
- Bicyclists must ride with traffic and thus travel in the same direction as motor vehicles.
- Bicyclists may travel side-by-side on the road, but must ride in single-file when other vehicles need to pass.
- Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle .
- If there is a bicycle lane in the roadway, the bicyclist must use it except to avoid a hazard or to turn left. If there is a separate parallel path, the bicyclist may use either the path or roadway.
- Bicyclists must signal to turn on a roadway, a bike lane or bike path.
- Bicycling is not allowed on interstate highways and expressways. Local jurisdictions can prohibit bicycles elsewhere, for example parkways or sidewalks.
- Helmets must be worn by those under 14 years old. Localities may have additional requirements for those over 14.
- Bicycles must be properly equipped with workable brakes, a bell or horn, reflectors and, if driven at night, a headlight and taillight.
- A bicyclist cannot wear more than one earphone when listening to a radio or other audio device.
- A bicyclist may not grab onto or otherwise attach to a moving motor vehicle.
- A bicycle cannot carry more people than the number it was designed to carry. The law also calls for motorists to exercise “due care” to avoid collision with bicyclists. Bicycle accidents involving death or serious injury have to be reported within ten days.
Links to information on Laws and Rules of the road related to bicycling:
FAQ – New York Bicycling Law
Sharing the Road Safely in NY
New York City Bicycle Education and Safety
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (Excerpts on Bicycles)
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law (Complete)
Helmet Use Law in 50 States
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