Navigating busy city streets as a bicyclist is not easy. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is trying to change that, currently, about a quarter of adult New Yorkers ride a bicycle at least a few times each year. Of them, close to half ride a bicycle at least a few times per month. Many New Yorkers rely on their bicycles for daily transportation.

DOT has made it a priority to build new bicycle lanes to keep bicyclists and others safe for the past decade. Bicycle paths do not only keep bicyclists out of harm’s way – by separating cyclists from the street and sidewalk, they keep pedestrians and motorists safe from bicycle accidents as well. Bicyclists occupy a unique niche between motorists and pedestrians and can face unique hazards when riding.

The Hazards of Cycling on City Streets

When there are no bicycle paths present, bicyclists can be confused about where to ride. Riding in the road means facing the dangers of sharing the road with cars and trucks. A collision between a bicyclist and a motorist is far more likely to result in severe injury to the bicyclist than to the motorist or the vehicle’s passengers, simply because the bicycle lacks the protective metal chassis that the vehicle has.

When bicyclists ride on the sidewalk, they face a similar dilemma: sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians, which can include parents pushing strollers, owners walking dogs, small children, and individuals in wheelchairs. A sudden stop in traffic flow or an excitable dog can be disastrous for a bicyclist, who might not be able to stop safely in time to avoid a collision. Do not assume that the only hazard of riding on the sidewalk is the hazard a bicyclist poses to pedestrians. Injury risks go both ways in all settings.

Where Should Cyclists Ride?

There are numerous bicycle paths that exist solely for cyclists throughout the city. When you are in an area with a bicycle path, ride in that path to minimize your risk of being involved in an accident. These lanes are colored green and marked by an image of a bicyclist.

When there is no path available, ride as far to the right in the right lane as possible. Be vigilant of other vehicles – when you are sharing the road with motorists, you must follow the same laws that apply to them. Signal before turning and do not do anything you would not do when driving a car, like “cutting off” another driver or running through a red light.

Work with an Experienced New York Bike Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and suffered financial damages as a result, you can seek compensation for these damages through a personal injury claim. To discuss your case in greater detail with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer, contact our team at Grant & Longworth, Attorneys at Law today to set up your initial consultation in one of our New York offices.