Cycling Laws in New York State and New York City
New York State and New York City both have laws and rules designed to protect cyclists, as well as to control the conduct of cyclists upon its roadways. Some of the rules are applicable in both NYC and the State, while others are not.
Below, we have compiled a list of laws and rules to help you understand those that are applicable to where you ride and to help you better understand the rules that are designed to protect you from negligent drivers. You can also click on the links below for a more complete list of rules throughout the State and City, as well as those applicable to bicycle delivery persons and Pedicabs in NYC.
New York Bike or Vehicle Laws Superseded by the Administrative Code of the City of New York
Pursuant to authority provided by §1642 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, the following provisions of such law shall not be effective in the City of New York: §1112, 1142(b), 1150, 1151, 1152, 1153, 1156(b), 1157, 1171, 1201, 1202, and 1234.
Why Are These Rules Applicable to Cyclists?
- VTL § 1231 Bicyclists are granted all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties of the driver of a motor vehicle.
- RCNY § 4-02 (a) The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles and their operators.
- RCNY § 4-12 (h) Cyclists involved in accidents resulting in death or injury to person or damage to property must stop and give name, address, insurance information, etc. and must report to the Police Department.
What Rules Help Protect Cyclists?
- RCNY § 4-08 (e)(9) It is against the law to park, stand or stop within, or otherwise obstruct bike lanes.
- RCNY § 4-12(p) Other vehicles shall not drive on or across bike lanes.
- RCNY § 4-12(c) It is illegal to get out of a vehicle in a manner which endangers cyclists (often referred to as "dooring").
- VTL § 1146 Drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
Equipment Required For Cyclists:
- VTL § 1236 (a) and (e) Bicycles must have a white headlight, a red taillight and reflectors between dusk and dawn.
- (b) Bicycles must have a bell or other audible signal
- (c) Bicycles must have working brakes.
- (d) Bicycles must have reflectors, reflective tires and/or other reflective devices.
- VTL § 375 (24)(a) Cyclists may not wear more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or other audio device while riding.
Rules for Children:
- VTL § 1238 (a) Children under 14 but older than 5 must wear an approved helmet.
- (b) A child under one is not permitted to ride on a bicycle.
- (c) A child one or more years of age, but less than 5, must wear an approved helmet and be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
Cycling for Work? - Delivery and Other Commercial Purposes:
- AC § 10-157 Bicycles used for commercial purposes.
- Working cyclists must wear business identifying information on bike and body, including operator's identification number.
- Business must provide working cyclist with a helmet, according to A.N.S.I. or Snell standards.
- Working cyclists shall wear the helmet provided by business.
- Working cyclists must carry, and produce upon demand, a numbered ID card that includes operator's photo, name, home address, and business' name, address, and phone number.
- Working cyclists must abide by all equipment requirements stated in VTL 1236.
- Business must maintain log book that includes the name, identification number and place of residence of each working cyclist; and the date of employment and discharge. The log book must also include information on daily trips, identifying the working cyclist's identification number and name; and name, place of origin, and destination. Owner of business must file an annual report with the Police Department identifying the number of bicycles it owns, the identification number, and identity or any employees.
Rules for you while you ride in NYC
- RCNY § 4-12 (p) Bicyclists may ride on either side of one-way roadways that are at least 40 feet wide.
- RCNY § 4-12 (p) Bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are blocked or unsafe for any reason.
- VTL § 1234 Cyclists must ride by the right hand curb and no more than two abreast. Does not apply in new York City. It is specifically superseded by 34 RCNY 4-02 (e).
- AC § 19-176 Bicycles ridden on sidewalks may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions (see also: RCNY § 4-07(c)(3)).
- RCNY § 4-07 (c)(3) No driving bikes on sidewalks, unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider is twelve years or younger (see also: AC § 19-176).
- RCNY § 4-14 (c) No person shall ride a bicycle in any park, except in places designated for bike riding; but persons may push bikes in single file to and from such places, except on beaches and boardwalks.
- RCNY § 4-12 (o) Bicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges, and thruways unless authorized by signs.
- VTL § 1237 When turn signals are required, left turns shall be signaled with the left hand, and right turns may be signaled with either hand.
- VTL § 1233 Clinging to vehicles, or attaching bike to another vehicle being operated on a roadway is prohibited.
- RCNY § 4-12 (e) Cyclists must have at least one hand on handlebars at all times.
- VTL § 1232 Cyclists must ride on a permanent seat, feet must be on pedals, and bike must carry only the number of persons for which it is designed and equipped.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding the rules and regulations of cycling in New York City, New York State, Long Island, or Westchester, feel free to contact us at (866) 352-6944.
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