Being a life long New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan, I have been riding a bicycle in Manhattan since I was a young child and it is something that I continue to do today.
As an attorney and a partner at Schulman Blitz, LLP, a New York City based personal injury law firm, I have handled many cases involving bicycle accidents throughout my career. My law firm handles these cases from the very beginning – when the accident first occurs – through successful settlements and trials.
It is without question that riding a bike in New York City is a very dangerous thing to do. I have handled countless lawsuits involving bicyclists and motorists, bicyclists and other bicyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and bicyclists and street defects, and I have seen many of our bicyclist clients sustain very bad injuries from these accidents. Below are some tips and appciable laws in regards to safe riding.
TIPS FOR SAFE NEW YORK CITY BIKE RIDING
– Wear a helmet. Helmets save lives! Trust me on this. Brain injuries are very common in bike accidents and are usually the most devastating type of injury.
– Be experienced. If you are not an experienced cyclist do not attempt to learn how to cycle properly on City streets. Participants of the program should really have some level of experience in dealing with the chaos of riding a bike in New York City.
– Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
– Yield to cars at stop signs.
– Travel only on streets that have designated bike lanes.
– Ride with proper clothing and footwear.
– If making a left turn at intersection, you must yield to drivers and pedestrians who are going straight.
– Only ride in the direction of travel as designated for motorists on that street. Do not ride in opposite direction of traffic of other vehicles.
– Do not attempt to pass other bikers.
– Do not ride in the middle of avenues or streets – stay towards the side of the roads.
– Always ride in a straight line.
– Do not weave in and out of traffic.
– Always look, signal and then look one more time before making a turn or switching lanes.
– A good rule of thumb is to not turn until you have established eye contact with a driver of car you are turning near. Many accidents happen because the bicyclist mistakenly thought the driver saw them.
– Always beware of opening car doors. A good rule of thumb is to always ride your bicycle at least three feet from any parked vehicles.
– Always wear bright clothing and make yourself visible. When riding in the daytime, wear bright clothing and when cycling at night, always use reflective materials and lights.
– Do not wear ear buds or headphones while you are cycling.
– Cyclists are required to follow all rules and regulations which apply to drivers of motor vehicles.
– Always ride on the street. Never ride a bike on the sidewalk.
– Obey traffic signals, signs and pavement markings.
– Always ride with traffic, never ride against it.
– Stop at stop signs and red lights.
– Always use marked bike lanes or paths.
The exceptions to this rule are:
1. If the street does not have a marked bike lane;
2. When you are making a turn;
3. If it becomes unsafe to stay in the designated marked lanes or path.
If you do choose to ride, be safe, be smart, wear a helmet and ride cautiously. And if unfortunately you are involved in an accident and are injured, give us a call and we will let you know what your rights are.