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Can a Cyclist Use a Pedestrian Crossing?

Is It Legal For a Cyclist to Use a Crosswalk in NYC?

New York State and New York City have different regulations when it comes to where people should ride their bicycles. Generally, it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in NYC, while there are no restrictions in the state of NY. The city’s specifications override the state’s.

You may also wonder about the laws surrounding cyclists using pedestrian crossings. Crossings are part of the sidewalk system, but they do of course go into roadways, where bike lanes are also located. And in some areas, there aren’t any designated bike lanes at all, so what should a cyclist do in these scenarios? What other exceptions are there?

Koenigsberg & Associates is here to answer all of these questions and more.

Man walking his bicycle in a crosswalk in New York City

Crosswalk Laws for Cyclists

Generally, a cyclist is not permitted to use a pedestrian crosswalk. Exceptions are made for those walking their bike across the street while they are using the sidewalk. Otherwise, a cyclist can’t simply bike across a crosswalk, using it as a shortcut or otherwise.

For all intents and purposes, when it comes to crosswalks, a bike is like a car; the operator must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks in addition to staying out of them.

Vision Zero and Cyclist/Crosswalk Decisions

Since Vision Zero was implemented in 2014 by former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, it has been legally specified that cyclists must stop for pedestrians walking in and trying to enter crosswalks until the pedestrians have fully made it to the other side. This of course also applies to vehicles.

Problems With Cyclists & Safety in NYC

It’s no secret that riding a bike in New York City assumes a lot of risk. Numbers of injuries and fatalities continue to fall slightly year after year, but people are still being injured and even killed regularly. In 2000, there were 458 local bicyclist fatalities and severe injuries, and in 2018 (the latest year we have data from), there were 319.

Not only are cyclists vulnerable to the mistakes of motorists, but there is also an issue with pedestrian injuries from reckless cyclists. This issue in NYC has gotten better since more designated bike lanes were created but hasn’t been completely eliminated.

The NYC DOT estimates that approximately 800,000 New Yorkers regularly ride bicycles, and nearly a third of all New York adults have ridden a bike in the past year. With so many people relying on bikes for transportation on our overwhelmed local roads, creating and following regulations are essential.

With all of this in mind, the answer to if cyclists can use pedestrian crossings is not only that they legally can’t but also that they really shouldn’t.

Additional Cyclist Rules & Regulations in NYC

There are many restrictions on riding bicycles in the city. Cyclists:

  1. Should not wear headphones - One earbud is permitted, however.

  2. Must ride in the bike lane where designated.

  3. Must ride to the right side of the road in most cases when no bike lane is available - Never on the sidewalk or crosswalk.

  4. Need to have at least one hand on the handlebars.

This list is far from exhaustive. Cyclists have the duty to stay informed about the constantly changing rules of the road which apply to them.

Note: Helmets are only required for those under the age of 14 and working cyclists.

Were You Involved in a Crosswalk Accident?

If you were the victim in a pedestrian walkway accident, whether you were a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist, the attorneys at Koenigsberg & Associates are here to help. Please call us at (718) 690-3132 for a free consultation, or you may contact us online.

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