NYC Biking Laws
Cyclists have all the rights and are subject to all of the duties and regulations applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. Download a complete list of New York City bicycle rules
- Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter).
- Ride with traffic, not against it.
- Stop at red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles or other cyclists.
- Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side, you have the right to ride in the middle of the travel lane. Bicycling is permitted on all main and local streets throughout the City, even when no designated route exists.
- Use a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors.
- Ride in a straight line, obey traffic signs and signals, and do not weave in and out of traffic. Riding predictably reduces your chances of a crash with a motor vehicle.
- Look, signal and look again before changing lanes or making a turn. Establish eye contact with drivers. Seeing a driver is often not enough. Make sure drivers see you before executing a turn or riding in front of a turning car.
- Watch out for car doors. Be prepared for the possibility that a car door may be opened in your path. When possible, leave room between yourself and parked cars (3 feet is generally recommended) so that you can avoid a door that opens unexpectedly.
- Stay visible. Wear brightly colored clothing for daytime riding. At night, use reflective materials and lights.
- Use your bell. Your bell alerts drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence, it is required by law.
- Don’t wear earphones. By law you may wear one earbud, but keeping your ears clear is a much safer choice.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for children age 13 or younger and working cyclists, helmets are a good idea for cyclists of all ages.
For Children On Bicycles
- Children under age one cannot be carried on a bicycle.
- Children must be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
- Cyclists under age 13 must wear an approved helmet.
Everyone should wear a helmet while riding. DOT fits and gives away the official New York City bicycle helmet at events throughout the city. Call 311 to schedule a fitting. In order to receive a helmet you must: be present, learn how to properly fit and wear a helmet, and sign a waiver (a parent or legal guardian must sign for children under 18).Find the next helmet fitting on the DOT Events Calendar
Don’t Be a Jerk
DOT’s Don’t Be A Jerk bike safety campaign humorously highlights the essential dos and don’ts of safe, responsible biking. According to DOT’s 2010 Sustainable Streets Index, commuter cycling increased 262% in New York City from 2000 to 2010. With more bikes on the road, smart cycling is even more crucial to making New York City’s streets safer for everyone using them. Learn more.
Bike Smart: The Offical Guide to Cycling in New York City, is a helpful handbook with information on making your cycling safer and easier, including tips on using newer bike facilities such as protected lanes and bike boxes. And it’s free!
- Download Bike Smart in English