Every year, the return of spring inspires thousands of New Yorkers to get back on their bicycles and enjoy the warm weather. In their excitement, however, many cyclists do not take the time out to adequately learn the actions, movements, and behaviors expected of them as dictated by both New York State and New York City Bicycle Law. To help ensure that you and your family enjoy a safe cycling season, Michael Gunzburg, P.C., an experienced NYC bicycle accident attorney and proud member of the New York Cycling Club, advises you to study and abide by the following bike laws, even before you go out for your first ride of the season:
- Familiarize yourself with the Cycling Hand Signals. By using these signals (as illustrated below), you help motorists, pedestrians, and/or other cyclists know when you are turning, slowing down, or stopping. NOTE: Motorists are not always looking out for cyclists, and they will have little sympathy for you if you fail to make the proper signal and they subsequently cut you off. Therefore, it is important that you practice these signals before you take your bike out onto the road.
- Wear a Helmet: State law requires that all cyclists under the age of fourteen must wear a helmet; however, a few individual counties have their own supplementary requirements. For example, some counties extend the law to apply to all cyclists below the age of nineteen, whereas others require that persons of all ages must wear helmets when riding a bicycle. Whatever county you are in, here are a few helpful suggestions to help ensure that you are wearing your helmet properly:
- Have your helmet comfortably touch your head all the way around its circumference.
- Let the helmet sit level on your head with the front just above your eyebrows. For instance, if you walk into a wall (not EXACTLY advised), your helmet should hit the wall before your head does.
- Adjust the y-straps so that the V-juncture rests just beneath your ears (See Image).
- Make sure the chin strap is snug against your chin. This is very important, as the chin strap keeps the helmet on your head should you be involved in a bicycle accident.
- For more helmet laws, safety tips, and even suggestions on how to purchase a safe helmet, look up Bike Helmet Safety Institute (http://www.bhsi.org/index.htm).
- Required Bicycle Safety Equipment: All bicycles should be outfitted with the following regardless of the age of the cyclist:
- Front light (white)
- Rear light (red)
- Reflective devices on at least both wheels, sides, and pedals
- Coaster brake-a braking system activated by back-pedaling
- Warning bell or horn
- Additional equipment may be added to bolster your bicycle's safety. (Please see the article Bicycle Safety in New York City, (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/biketips.shtml)
- Follow the Rules of the Road: Bicyclists should adhere to ALL laws that are applicable to cars, automobiles, and other roadway vehicles. These regulations include but are not limited to:
- Stop at all red lights and stop signs before entering onto another roadway.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Ride with traffic.
- Use the rightmost lane headed in the direction in which you are going.
- Look out for debris, potholes, and utility covers.
- Think ahead by scanning your view for turning vehicles and opening car doors.
- Other NYC-Specific Bike Laws: In addition to affirming a general conduct for motor vehicles, many municipalities set forth their own unique laws for bicycles. For instance, the following laws apply specifically to cyclists who ride in New York City:
- Bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on sidewalks unless signs indicate otherwise.
- Other vehicles may not park, stand, stop, or otherwise obstruct bicycle paths in any manner unless when turning.
- A cyclist must keep at least one hand on his/her bike's handlebars at all times.
- Bicyclists should primarily use a bike path or lane, if provided, except for when turns and other changes-in-access issues are concerned.
- When riding a bicycle, a cyclist must do three things:
- Ride on a permanent seat
- Keep his/her feet on the pedals
- Obey the bicycle's specific design by not exceeding the number of riders for which the bicycle is equipped to support.
As New York City Bicycle Accident Lawyers, Michael Gunzburg, P.C. Attorneys at Law, handle all types of cases involving bicycle accidents. We represent clients who ride into construction holes, who are struck by vehicles, and who are forced off the road due to negligent bus operators, among other things.
For instance, we recently handled a case involving a 29-year-old man who was riding his brand new bicycle on 5th Avenue and 42nd street when a New York City Transit Bus almost crushed him. He had to pull his bike literally off the street and over the curb; even then, he was forced to crash and subsequently landed on his right arm. The bus operator drove away while the young man was lying on the ground bleeding with broken bones. As soon as we were hired, we contacted the eyewitness present at the time of the accident and brought her in for a non-party deposition. This critical move solidified our client's victory in the case because, as the bus operator was never identified, it became his word and that of the eyewitness against no one else. The court granted judgment in favor of our client; when the defense appealed the decision, the appellate court agreed with our client and the lower court. The matter then was tried only on the issue of his damages.
A New York City Bicycle Accident Lawyer can also help with:
As active New York City Bike Lawyers, we understand what it's like to ride on City streets. The saying "share the road" is sometimes overlooked by some, especially when people get behind the wheel and lose sight of their responsibility to navigate their immediate surroundings. As we have done in previous bicycle-related cases, however, we look out for cyclists' interests and will represent your concerns with patience, determination, and understanding. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, contact Michael Gunzburg, P.C. Attorneys at Law, NYC bike accident lawyers, today.