Summer and New York Citi Bikers are here…Beware!

Summer and New York Citi Bikers are here…Beware!

Now that summer’s here, it seems like there are more bikes on New York City’s streets than cabs. As you may know, the Big Apple has become more bike friendly. This may be due to the recent rollout of New York’s Citi Bike, the eagerly anticipated city bike-share program.

There are thousands of bikes now available for the public to ride. While New York City residents are certainly encouraged to participate, the program envisions that tourists and NYC visitors will be riding them even more. Mayor Bloomberg has installed bike lanes, dedicated to bikes only, and has even closed certain streets to cars to encourage safe bike riding all over the City.

While bike riding is fun and it offers a unique way to sightsee in New York, unfortunately many people (including drivers of cars and trucks) don’t know how to safely ride with bikes on city streets. They are not aware of the “rules of the road” so there is a greater risk for collisions and injuries. Head injuries, bike crashes with opening car doors and intersection collisions are the three most frequent ways bike riders get hurt.

This blog contains some safety guidelines to help protect bicyclists from getting hurt:

  • Wear a bike helmet to reduce the risk of head injuries.

  • Keep a four (4) foot distance to the left of parked cars to avoid being “doored.”

  • Be alert at intersections.

  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs, even if no one is crossing in front of you.

In NYC, bicyclists must be at least 16 years old to ride Citi Bikes. Under New York State law, all children 13 years old and under must wear a helmet, when bicycling.

Bicyclists have all the rights and are subject to all of the duties and regulations applicable to drivers of motor vehicles.

Here are some additional safety rules that all bicyclists should follow:

  1. Ride with traffic, not against it.

  2. Obey all traffic laws including stop lights, signs, signals and lane markings.

  3. Use hand signals when making turns.

  4. Use bike lanes where available.

  5. Stay off the sidewalk.

  6. Yield to Pedestrians!

  7. Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

  8. Don’t wear earphones while riding.

Hopefully, your New York City bike ride will be a safe and enjoyable experience. However, if you are injured in an accident, after getting first-aid, take the important steps to protect your rights. Get the name of the owner, driver and insurance company for the vehicle involved and note the specific location. Take pictures of the scene, the other vehicle and your injuries. Call the police, if possible, to document the incident.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please feel free to call me.

Updated 7/17/13: CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez wrote about physical and mechanical safety tips for Citi bike users. Read it here.

Ron Katter
Katter Law Firm
Phone: 866-LAW-HELP
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293