Whether you are a local or a visitor, it is crucial for you to know bike laws in New York City, so you are aware of your rights, and what you are allowed and disallowed to do. It is not that difficult to remember bike laws in this city because it is almost the same with universal bike laws.
There are general rules that you must follow when you are biking around New York. Basic rules include: 1) Wearing a helmet as you bike, 2) Children under the age of one cannot ride around the city even if they are wearing a helmet; 3) You must always stay on bike lanes; and, 4) You cannot cycle on expressways, highways, and other prohibited areas.
If you are living in the UK or in Australia where you are used to driving on the left-hand side of the road, it can be a challenging adjustment if you decide to try cycling around the US. The US is one of the many countries driving and cycling on the right-hand side of the road. So, if you’re used to driving on the left side, you must be on guard all the time to make sure you are on the correct side.
Here are some specific bike laws in New York that are good to know whether you are a local or a visitor:
1. RCNY 19-190 (Right of Way)
If you are staying in your correct lane and a vehicle uses your path, then you are entitled to receive not more than $100. If the car uses your road and causes contact on you, the biker, then you are entitled to receive not more than $250. You do not have to worry about this when in Central Park as they have designated official bike lanes.
2. VTL 1123 (Overtaking on the Right)
Overtaking on the right is prohibited, but it is allowed in some conditions. These exceptions include when you are in front of a vehicle, and you are going to make a left turn; and when you are in a one-way street, and there is sufficient space for the car to pass on your right.
3. VTL 1214, RCNY 4-12-(c), and RCNY 4-11 (c)
All these laws pertain to “doorings,” which is one of the most dangerous road accidents that cause death or permanent injury to many bikers. Whenever you get hit by a car door as you are cycling towards the correct direction, then you are entitled to compensation, and there is no way for the vehicle owner to win the case. Vehicle owners, first off, should know that they must get out of the non-traffic side of the road and so, it is illegal for them or any of their passengers to get out along the highway. Secondly, vehicle owners must always be on the lookout before they leave their cars. They should always be aware of oncoming traffic. These laws do not only pertain to people getting off vehicles, but also to people getting on vehicles.
These are some of the most critical bike laws that you must remember if you are cycling around New York. It is good to know these even if you are just a hobby biker because you never know what you might expect on the road.