Law

A Short Guide to Safe Cycling in NYC

New York City has become something of a cyclist’s playground in recent years, thanks to its beautiful green spaces and abundance of paved roads and paths. State and local governments have also invested considerable resources into expanding New York’s City cycling infrastructure, and have worked to make cycling more accessible to everyone.

Yet cycling in the city is hardly just a recreational pursuit. Given that New York City is a global business hub, it’s unsurprising that more residents are opting to commute to work via bike. Along with being easier on the environment, studies have also shown that those who commute to work via bike are twice as happy as those who don’t.

Whether you’re biking for pleasure or commuting, it’s important to arrive safely at your destination. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the steps smart cyclists take to protect themselves why biking in New York City.

Wear the appropriate safety gear

Unlike with motorcycles, for adults (For more detailed explanation of the law in New York, See Faq’s on the Frankel Law Firm site), bike helmets are not mandated by law. Yet anyone who cycles regularly in an area with the traffic density of New York City should wear one. The simple act of wearing a lightweight helmet can help you avoid serious injuries. In 2017 alone, there were more than 100 fatalities and 4,300 injuries resulting from a collision between bikes and autos in New York City.

Observe safe cycling protocols

Once you’re safely equipped, it’s time to ensure you know the rules of the road. If you’re a new cyclist, avoid wearing any earbuds or headphones, as they can significantly decrease your situational awareness. The use of two earbuds or headphones are also a violation of the law. If you’re a more experienced rider, it is prudent and proper both due to adherence to the law and for safety reasons to abide by the single earbud rule.

Your bike should also have a bell and reflective safety lights installed, as vehicles may have a hard time seeing cyclists during dawn, dusk and nighttime hours. Cyclists should also obey all the standard rules of the road and avoid traveling on sidewalks. Exploration in greater detail of the laws relating to safety lights and reflective devices can be found in the Faq’s section of the Frankel Law Firm website.

Become comfortable cycling in traffic

New York City’s streets are teeming with vehicles and pedestrians. Learning to safely and calmly navigate these streets alongside them is an important task for any city cyclist.

Use the appropriate hand signals, (it is the law!) to let vehicles know when you’re turning, or, at minimum, point in the direction you’re going. Ensure that you give parked vehicles plenty of space. While parked cars may seem like safe static objects, an unexpected door opening is one of the most common road hazards cyclists face.

What to do if you’ve been injured

If you or a loved one has been injured while cycling, it may be prudent to consult with an attorney. Personal injury cases can be quite complex, so it’s important to find an attorney with deep experience with this kind of litigation.

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