New York gets a little more bike-friendly each year, which means more and more new cyclists are getting on the road. Unfortunately, many new riders feel intimidated by the bike lane or make simple, preventable mistakes. To help some of the new cyclists out there, we’ve put together these four tips explaining bike lane basics.

Watch for Hazards

While riding in the bike lane, maintain awareness of your surroundings and watch for hazards, namely car doors and large trucks. If a car door opens suddenly and you’re too close to the sidewalk, you could hit the door and crash your bike.

Likewise, if you see a truck attempting to turn right, slow down and give them ample space. Semi-trucks have a huge blind spot on their right side, and the truck driver may have no idea you’re under them if you stop alongside their trailer.

Be Careful at Intersections

Bike lanes typically don’t extend across an intersection; they often trail off and pick up again on the other side. If you ever see a bike lane with dotted lines, know that a car might enter the bike lane or turn against your path.

Before attempting to cross, follow the same techniques you would if you were at the crosswalk. Always stop at red lights, even if there’s no cross traffic. Look both ways before crossing, wait until you have a signal saying it’s safe to cross, and keep watch for potential oncoming vehicles.

Use Your Signals

While many New York cyclists have unique ways of announcing their turn, hand signals are still the most reliable way to let drivers know where you’re going. While the exact nature of signals has changed over time, the New York Department of Transportation recommends cyclists use three basic signals:

  • Left Turn: Left arm straight out

  • Right Turn: Right arm straight out

  • Stop: Left arm pointed toward the ground at a 45-degree angle

Left Turns

Many new cyclists find themselves intimidated by the idea of making a left turn across traffic. The good news is that the NYC Department of Transportation has recognized this problem and produced a handy cyclist’s guide to help explain.

The DoT recommends two techniques. The first is the pedestrian technique, in which a cyclist approaches the intersection, dismounts their bike, crosses the street with pedestrians in an L shape, and then continues on their route.

The other, more advanced technique is vehicular style. With this technique, cyclists gradually move across the road as though they were a car making a left-hand turn. When the light turns green, the cyclist turns into the traffic lane and, once there, merges into the bike lane.

If you or someone you love were seriously injured while biking, you need affordable representation from a team you can trust. If you’d like an experienced New York City car accident attorney from Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices to evaluate your case, don’t hesitate to call us at (718) 690-3132 or send us an email.