En Español

Understanding bike Tickets in NYC



If you ride in New York or in the boroughs of NYC you are aware of the NYPD's push to write more cycle tickets. Cyclists are obligated to follow the same rules of the road as motorists. Within the confines of the City of New York, the New York State vehicle and traffic law allows the City of New York, as well as other municipalities,to substitute certains portions of the VTL for the Administrative Code of the City of New York as well as the Traffic Rules and Regulations of the City of New York.

The most common bike summons given are:

  • Riding on the City Walk
  • Failure to have proper lights or reflectors
  • Failure to use and/or ride within available bike lanes
  • Failing to obey a traffic control device (red light tickets)

A recent article by Transportation Nation outlines the push on bike tickets in NYC.

When given a ticket, most people are understandably angry and are in shock that they actually received a "bike ticket". The next feeling that pops into their head is "I am going to fight it". Depending upon the ticket and the penalty, this may make sense. You can fight alone or you can hire a lawyer o fight it for you. The reality is, in the of the City of New York, your chances are slim. Like other jurisdictions, there is no plea bargaining with a prosecutor. There is just you, the officer and the administrative law judge. Also, given the recent "ticket fixing" scandal in the N.Y.P.D., officers are being watched and come prepared for trial. There are now actually monitors in the court rooms watching the police. If the case is dismissed, the officers now have to answer to their supervisors as to what went wrong. Your hope that you will tell your sob story is never going to happen because there is no one to hear it. You will have the right to confront the officer, offer evidence and testify, but this is only after you plead not guilty and proceed to trial. The trial will be short and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will make his or her finding.

copy of NYPD memo

Is it worth while to hire a lawyer to fight a bike summons?

The answer to this question depends upon a number of circumstances. Is the summons a violation of the vehicle and traffic Law? Is it a misdemeanor or violation of the Administrative Code? Do you presently have points on your license? Do you have an A.C.O.D. or other adjudication that requires you to remain of the of the Court system? Have you filed an application for immigration to the U.S? What stage is the process in? What is the cost and penalty of the ticket v. the cost of the lawyer? Do you have the means (money) to hire a lawyer? All of these are factors in considering to retain an attorney to fight the ticket and should be considered before you decide to hire a lawyer. A lawyer will not be cheap and also does not guarantee a dismissal. It does however give you the advantage of having someone who has done this before, is familiar with the process and burdens of proof, to fight on your behalf.




Presently, New York bike lawyers does not focus on representing cyclists who are ticketed. We are a New York Bike Crash firm. However , if you determine that you would like to consult with a traffic lawyer, we would be happy to recommend an attorney with home we have a close working relationship to undertake your bike summons case.

Related Posts
  • New York's License Plate Laws Don't Work for Bike Racks Read More
  • Advocates for Safer Streets Read More
  • The Importance of Underinsured Coverage for Cyclists & Scooter Riders Read More