How to bike safely in New York City

If you asked someone to picture a biker, they would likely imagine a rider strolling along a wooded path, a mountain biker, or a professional cyclist. Most people’s imaginations wouldn’t automatically picture an urban biker, but many people in large cities like New York City (NYC) use bikes to commute or get exercise.

While some safety measures are appropriate for all bikers, like being aware of your surrounding and wearing a helmet, other laws and guidelines are conditional depending on where your ride. On the path along the lake or down the mountain path, you don’t have to worry about mass amounts of vehicle or pedestrian traffic, construction, and other typical city obstructions.

Keep yourself and others safe while riding on the streets of New York City by adhering to the city’s biking laws.

  1. Ride your bike on the street (not the sidewalk)
    • Riders age 12 or younger with wheels less than 26 inches in diameter can ride on the sidewalk.
  2. Ride your bicycle with traffic
  3. Obey traffic signals
    • Disobeying stoplights, stop signs, designated bicycle markers and paths, and construction signals could lead to a life-altering accident.
  4. Equip your bike with a white headlight, red taillight, and reflectors
    • A horn or bell is also recommended to make yourself known
  5. Children under 13 must wear a helmet.

Other safety tips specific to city bicycling include:

  1. Ride predictably and in control
  2. Establish eye contact with drivers before making a turn or riding in front of the vehicle
    • If you can’t see the driver, they likely can’t see you.
  3. When braking, stop in front of the vehicle behind you
    • Drivers have blind spots. Stopping in this area could result in a collision.
  4. Be aware of obstruction like car doors, broken bottles, pedestrians, construction material and parking meters
  5. Wear brightly colored clothes if biking during the day and reflective clothing at night
  6. If wearing earbuds or headphones, only wear one
    • Keeping one ear free allows riders to hear the sounds of the city.

Biking is a great all-around exercise choice and environmentally-conscious commuting option. Following the laws recommended safety guidelines allows for you and other bicyclists to continue reaping the benefits.