Citizens of New York City depend on many modes of transportation to reach their destinations, bicycles being an extremely popular option. Unfortunately, while riding a bike in New York has many advantages, it also comes with some big safety risks. If you do decide to start cycling, patience and preparation are your best tools for staying safe on two wheels. Consider the following safety tips to prevent being a victim of a bicycle accident:
Be Aware of Parked Cars. Parked vehicles also pose a threat to bicycle riders. While it may be safer to drive closer to parked cars (or your only option, if a car blocks the bike lane), be aware of your distance to parked vehicles. It only takes a second for an unaware parked driver to open their door and send you flying.
Map Out Your Route. Before you leave, know what streets you will be riding on and take any necessary precautions. If you know you could hit heavy traffic or crowded streets, you should leave at a different time or take a detour. Less congestion means riding with more relaxed drivers, which in turn decreases your chances of getting into an accident. You may also want to opt for streets that offer bike lanes, where possible.
Make Yourself Visible (and Heard). Biking is especially scary at nighttime. It is crucial to use reflectors and lights after the sun goes down. Reflecting lights and adhesive strips can also be added to your helmet, and neon or bright clothing is always encouraged.
It is also important to make yourself visible by using the full lane in which you are riding. Drivers and bikers are encouraged to share the road, but it can be dangerous to share a lane.
Additionally, you should use a bike bell or yell out to pedestrians or bikers as you approach. Letting them know you are going to pass will allow them to give you the proper room you need.
Signal to Other Drivers. Bike accidents often occur at intersections or as a bicycle is turning. Even though bikes do not have traditional turn signals, cyclists are able to communicate their next move to drivers and other cyclists with hand signals. Click here for a basic list of signals.
Know New York City’s Bicycle Laws. Even though you are not in a car, you still have to obey some of the same traffic rules, such as stopping at stop signs and red lights. In New York State, distracted driving applies for cyclists as well.
Cyclist Traffic Laws
There are also traffic laws specific to cyclists. Knowing these laws will help you be on the same page with other riders and drivers. It will also help if you get into an accident. By proving you were following the law, you will be more likely to receive compensation for your injuries.
Click here for a full list of rules. Some of the more important rules to note include:
- Unless otherwise stated, bikes cannot be on sidewalks (excludes riders younger than 12)
- Riders cannot ride the bikes in parks (unless otherwise designated), but owners may push them
- Riders cannot wear more than one earphone attached to an audio device
- If you are in an accident, you must provide contact information and report to the police (just like in an auto accident)
- Children under the age of 14 MUST wear a helmet
Wear a Helmet. Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is like wearing a seat belt while riding in a car – it’s necessary for your safety. Sure, wearing a helmet may not necessarily prevent a bicycle accident, but it can help to increase your visibility on the road, and in the case that you do get in an accident a helmet could save your life.
Bronx Bicycle Accident Lawyer
No matter how safe you try to be, sometimes bad things still happen. If you get into an accident while you are on your bike due to someone else’s negligence, contact a New York bicycle accident lawyer immediately.