Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In New York?
Riding my bike as I go about my daily activities has accorded me various benefits as this has become my way of contributing to environmental conservation and improving my health as well. For most New York residents like me, bike riding has become our way of life. Bikes are the most eco-friendly means of transportation and overtime; I have come to realize that my commuter expenses have tremendously reduced as I now rarely use the bus or even my car to get to work.
With the availability of clearly demarcated bike lanes and state laws that oversee the use of bike riding in New York, bike users like me fall among the advantaged lot of United States citizens. These lanes and state laws make bike riding safe and convenient, and for this reason, New York residents and visitors visiting our beautiful state don’t mind a bike ride over the bus any day.
As much as New York is a friendly bike environment, adherence to regulations on bike riding and various road user laws is mandatory, and any party found to be in breach of the set guidelines risks penalties.
A question that most New York bike riders often battle with is “is it illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in New York?”
The answer to this question is yes and no. Riding of bicycles on the sidewalk for persons above the age of twelve years is illegal in New York. However, riders are allowed to walk with their bike on the sidewalks. The only persons permitted to ride on sidewalks are children who are the age of twelve years and below, and for them to be allowed to do so, their bicycle must have a diameter twenty-six inches and below.
Our company has always had our client’s best interests at heart. Despite engaging in the business of bike rentals, we are also aware that not all our clients are aware of the regulations on bike use in New York. Some of our clients are visitors in New York City, we, therefore, owe them a duty to ensure their safety and that they avoid unforeseen tickets. As a company, we also stand disadvantaged if one of our clients is fined with one of our bikes for a violation of bike state laws. We, therefore, ensure that before we rent out the bikes, our clients are well advised on all the guidelines on bike use in New York.
Here Are Some Of The New York Bike Laws That Cyclists Need To Be Aware Of
New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws
The laws applicable to vehicles are also applicable to bikes in the state of New York. Therefore just like drivers, bike operators are required to act within the provisions of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws. The laws have set aside provisions for bike lanes and the positions that cyclists should take while on the road. For example, the Vehicle and Traffic Laws Act defines a bike lane as a designated road area that has been marked either by stripping or pavements that have markings for the exclusive use of bikes. By using the term exclusive, the law shows that vehicles are not supposed to use the designated bike areas, hence making such areas the rightful bike riding areas for New York cyclists.
Where Can Cyclists Ride In The Absence Of Bike Lanes?
Further, where there are no designated bike lanes, the act provides that cyclists are supposed to ride on the right-hand shoulder, or edge of the road. Drivers have been mandated under the act to be very careful when opening doors towards the right-hand shoulder as this is likely to endanger the cyclists. As a cyclist, it is only acceptable for you to deviate from the right-hand shoulder where your safety is compromised if you continue to ride on that shoulder. For example, if there are permanent objects ahead, a cyclist can’t maintain the right shoulder rule. Also, in the event a cyclist wants to make a left turn, it will be unreasonable to continue riding on the right shoulder.
Where a road is a one way and it is over 40 feet wide, riders are allowed to use either side of the road as long as they ride close to the edge of either side. In general, cyclists should, at all times, ride on the bike lanes. However, a rider is allowed to deviate from the bike lanes where it is unsafe for them to keep doing so. For example, where a bike lane is under repair, a cyclist might choose an alternative route for safety purposes.
Prohibited Cycling Areas in New York
As a cyclist in New York, riding on expressways, highways, drives and every other place prohibited by the New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws is a crime. There is an exception, however, that allows bikers to use the prohibited areas if signage for bikes exists.
Penalties For Cycling On Unauthorized Parts Like Sidewalks
Sidewalks are prohibited biking areas in New York. As mentioned earlier, a biker can walk alongside his bike on the sidewalk but not cycle. Cycling on such areas can be unsafe for other sidewalk users as collisions with pedestrians are bound to occur. The exception for children only operates as far as the bike is under twenty-six inches in diameter, and the child is under the age of twelve.
What Are The Penalties For Riding Bikes On The Sidewalk?
As a bike rental company, we are aware of the repercussions riding one of our bikes on the sidewalks carry. First, using the sidewalk as a riding area is a misdemeanor crime in New York and the offender can face the following penalties:
- Confiscation of the bike being used by the offender at the time of the arrest
- A maximum of up to twenty days in prison
By always riding in the designated areas, we are confident that you will never have a problem riding in this beautiful city.