Cycling is an extremely popular means of transportation in New York City- but it can also be dangerous. In recent years the number of cyclists injured and killed in New York city has risen significantly. While cyclists can’t control the actions of motor vehicle drivers, it is important for all cyclists to know and understand NYS bicycle laws. Below are common misconceptions and myths that put cyclists at risk for serious injury:
Myth: Cyclists don’t need to wear helmets.
According to New York State Law, all bicyclists under the age of 14 years old are required to wear safety certified bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. Children aged 1 to 4 must wear certified bicycle helmet and ride in specially designed child safety seats. Children under 1 are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle. So what about drivers over the age of 14? While it isn’t legally required, helmets are still the best means of protection against serious and life threatening head and brain injuries.
Myth: Cyclists can ride with or against traffic, depending on the street
New York State law requires that bicyclists ride with traffic. Bicycling against traffic is a leading cause of bicycle crashes.
Myth: Cyclists always have the right away
Cyclists and motorists actually have the same rights and responsibilities on the road. Cyclists must yield the right of way to a pedestrian.
Myth: Riding style is optional, based on the preferences of the cyclist
New York State law has several requirements in terms of riding style, including: at least one hand must be kept on the handlebar at all times, only one earphone is permitted, and cyclists riding at night must have reflectors on the wheels and a headlight/taillight.