How Can I Stay Safe While Bicycling in New York City?
Bicycling is a great way to exercise, have fun, and travel throughout New York City. However, with the congestion of city traffic and the risk of an accident, there are several steps you should take to increase your safety. Whether you are a seasoned bicyclist or a beginner, you should protect yourself and take precautions on the road.
How Should You Increase Your Safety While Bicycling in NYC?
1. Prepare for Your Trip Beforehand
It is essential to check your equipment before you start out. This involves ensuring your helmet is a good fit, and that all components of your bicycle are in proper working condition. Your helmet should be snug but not too tight, and it shouldn’t move more than one inch either direction when you tug it. Helmets, even if they feel clunky, can save lives. In fact, it is estimated that helmets could reduce your risk of a head injury, such as a concussion, as much as 60-80%. Thus, you should wear a helmet every single time you go out riding.
You also need to inspect your bicycle to make sure all the gears are working, and that the brakes are in good condition. Your wheels may also need to be aired up. Just like your helmet, your bike should be a good fit for you, and it should not be too large or small. Riding a comfortable bike can increase your safety, because you will be able to focus on what is happening around you instead of thinking about how uncomfortable you are. You also will be less likely to fall off or lose your grip while riding.
Another way to prepare for your trip is to plan your route ahead of time. Whether you are riding to a park or going downtown to meet friends at a restaurant, it is important to map out your route. If possible, use roads that do not have a lot of traffic, and if you do go into heavy traffic, always make sure you are going the right direction on one-way streets. By planning your route in advance, you can be prepared and know where you are going, which can let you avoid heavy traffic and focus on the road.
2. Make Your Presence Known While on the Road
Bicycles are small and difficult to see, especially at night. That is why you should always wear bright and reflective clothing, and try to make eye contact with drivers around you before making a turn. As a bicyclist, you should have a headlight and taillight installed on your bike. You should also install reflective lights on your wheels to increase your visibility.
Furthermore, by law, you must have a bell installed on your bike. This bell can alert drivers to your presence, especially in heavy traffic when you might not be as easy to see. By making your presence known to others on the road, you can help avoid an accident and stay safe on New York City streets.
3. Obey All Traffic Laws
The state of New York has various laws regarding bicycling. As a bicyclist, you are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk. If necessary, you can dismount your bike and walk with pedestrians on the sidewalk, but you must always use marked bike lanes when riding through the city. Furthermore, you must never have earbuds or headphones on both ears. In order to be aware of your surroundings, you are required to have at least one ear free to listen to the sounds of traffic. This is particularly helpful when you need to pull over to let emergency vehicles pass by. If you have both ears listening to music, you won’t be able to hear horns or other warning signals to avoid a collision.
New York City streets can be difficult to navigate. There are one-way streets that may confuse riders. By law, you must not ride the wrong way down a one-way road. This is extremely dangerous, and may cause a head-on collision. It is important to pay attention to street signs, and to use common sense while riding in the city.
Additionally, you should obey all traffic laws. This involves:
- Stopping at red lights and stop signs
- Using hand signals when turning or stopping
- Yielding the right-of-way at intersections
- Staying within your designated bike lane
Compassionate Bicycle Accident Lawyers Serving Brooklyn
Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices has more than 20 years of legal experience. Our Brooklyn bicycle accident attorneys have guided numerous clients to successful legal solutions. If a drunk, negligent, or reckless driver caused your accident, we can help you pursue justice for your case. We will perform a thorough investigation to gather evidence, and will represent you throughout the process.
Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation. We take calls around the clock for your convenience.