Bike Lane Laws & Liability

New York Bike Lane Laws and Liability

Protect your rights in a bicycle crash

NYC Bike Share operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The program plans eventually on welcoming 10,000 bicycles and 600 bike-docking stations city-wide and already reports that city bike riders travel one million miles in less than a month. As New Yorkers gear up for more bicycles, bike lane laws and liability issues also demand attention. Inevitably, watch for an increasing number of bike accidents as more bikers take to the roads. At Rubenstein & Rynecki, we have more than 35 years of legal experience, which includes handling bicycle accident cases.

What are New York’s bike lane laws?

Bicyclists must comply with Vehicle and Traffic Law statutes that prohibit bikers from riding on highways, expressways, interstate routes, thruways and drives unless signs authorize them to ride there. The city does not allow bicycles on side walks. Bike lanes fulfill the need for places to ride. The statute states that you should ride in usable bike lanes but it also provides exceptions. Some lanes are rough, hazardous and unsafe for bikers. You have the right to move out of bike lanes when you prepare to turn or to avoid unsafe conditions, including the following:

  • Fixed or moving objects
  • Motor vehicles
  • Bicycles
  • Pedestrians
  • Pushcarts
  • Animals
  • Dangerous surfaces

Liabilities bikers face

Bike riding can be confusing sometimes, especially for bikers approaching intersections. Bikers making right turns must turn from the closest lane to the curb. When making a left turn, bikers must merge to the center of the road before turning. Violations can result in liability.

Bike lanes make riding safer. A Department of Transportation (DOT) study shows that bike lanes reduce bike accidents causing serious injury and death by 40 percent. However, crashes still occur. The liable party is the one exhibiting the greater negligence. A motorist opening the door of a parked vehicle can strike a biker. A vehicle blocking a bike lane is in violation of NYC traffic statutes. Bikers can collide with illegally parked vehicles.

Experienced legal help for bike accidents

You many wonder, “Can I sue for a bike accident?” When injured in a bike accident, you can seek legal help from our attorneys at Rubenstein & Rynecki. We investigate the accident scene, determine the cause and identify liable parties for pursuing a lawsuit. Our firm has represented clients in New York accident cases since 1972 and we have the level of skills necessary to help you recover fair compensation. No recovery, no fee. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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