Bicycling isn’t only a great source of exercise to promote your health and wellbeing, it’s convenient. This is especially so in a crowded city like New York City where non-stop traffic is commonplace. But like many things, bicycling can be risky. Bicycle accidents can and do happen, and they can cause life-threatening injuries due to bicyclists’ exposure and lack of protection.
The city of New York has made considerable efforts through bicycle legislation over the past 20 years to promote safety for bicyclists, but serious and fatal accidents still happen. Below are five tips to help you be as safe as possible when you’re cycling throughout the City.
Wear Protective Gear
You can’t stress the importance of wearing a helmet when cycling enough. According to a New York City bicycle safety study, bicycle victims sustained head injuries in nearly 75 percent of fatal bicycle accidents, and 97 percent of those killed in bicycle accidents weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Children between the ages of five and 13 have to wear a helmet. While there are no NYC helmet laws for people 14 years of age and older, you’re much better off wearing a helmet when cycling than not.
Additionally, cyclists are required to have a white light on the front of their bikes and a red light on the back of their bikes starting from the half-hour after sunset to the half-hour before sunrise. This helps make them more visible to motorists on the road.
Steer Clear of Sidewalks and Certain Roadways
New York law states that cyclists cannot ride on sidewalks unless they are children under the age of 12 and their bicycles’ wheels are 26 inches in diameter or less.
It’s also illegal, due to the extreme risk, for bicyclists to ride on expressways, interstates, or on specific highways, bridges, thruways, and drives.
Follow Traffic Laws
Except for traffic laws that are specifically for bicyclists, you should follow the general rules of the road. Bicyclists should ride in the same direction as the traffic. Cyclists should also abide by the same green, red, and yellow traffic lights as other motorists and obey any signage.
Look for Bike Lanes
For bicyclists’ safety, it’s required that they utilize designated bicycle lanes when riding. There are some exceptions when doing otherwise would be necessary. If you’re turning at an intersection or into a driveway or if there’s something or someone in the bicycle lane obstructing your path, you don’t have to use a designated bicycle lane at that time.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
You may want to emulate driving or riding in a car with smooth jazz playing in your ears through your earbuds. But this is an unsafe practice when cycling. It’s important to have your eyes and ears open to your surroundings. According to NY law, it’s illegal to wear two earphones (one in each ear) while cycling.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident
Bicycle accidents can result in severe, life-threatening injuries. Treating these injuries and recovering from them can cause you to suffer significant losses.
The New York bicycle accident lawyers of The Mandel Law Firm in NYC can help you hold the person who caused the accident responsible and pursue compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses. Call us today to discuss your legal options at 646-779-1441 or contact us online. We’re available 24 hours a day, every day of the week.