Bike Rules

May 1, 2019

NYC Department of Transportation
Division of Traffic Operations
55 Water Street, New York, NY 10041

NYC Biking Rules

The following safety guidelines will make your bike ride in New York City safer and
prevent unwanted consequences.


  • Ride predictably and carefully.
  • Yield to pedestrians.
  • Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings.
  • Be seen and be heard.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians when riding through intersections.
  • Use hand signals before you turn or change lanes.
  • Don’t text or talk on the phone while riding.
  • Don’t drink and ride.

GEAR (what you should and shouldn’t use)

  • Wear a helmet. Children 13 or younger are required to – everyone else ought to.
  • Use a bell or horn and reflectors.
  • Use front and rear lights when traveling after dusk.
  • Don’t wear more than one earphone – it’s best to use none


  • Ride with the traffic, not against it.
  • Ride on the street, not the sidewalk (except children 12 or younger).
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths whenever possible.
  • Stay off expressways.
  • Avoid riding in drivers’ blind spots.
  • Leave extra room riding near buses, trucks and parked cars.
  • Don’t weave in and out of traffic.


Bicyclists have all the rights and are subject to all the duties applicable to drivers of
motor vehicles. This includes obeying all traffic signals, regulating signs and pavement
markings. Bicycle riding is permitted on arterial and local streets throughout the City
even though no designated route exists. Bicycle riding is prohibited on the roadways of
certain bridges, expressways and highways. Often a separate path exists on these
facilities for bicycles. Download NYC Department of Transportation Biking Rules and Regulations.

Bicycle Laws, Rules & Regulations

N.Y.C. Traffic Rules and Regulations

§ 4-01 (b) Definitions: A bicycle is defined as every two- or three- wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a tandem or tricycle, except that it shall not include a device having solid tires and intended for use only on a sidewalk by pre-teenage children.

§ 4-02 (a) Compliance with and Effect of Traffic Rules The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles and their operators.

§ 4-07 (c)(3) Restrictions on crossing sidewalks No driving bikes on sidewalks unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider is twelve years or younger. See also Administrative Code §19-176.

§ 4-08 (e)(9) Stopping, standing and parking prohibited in specified places No parking, standing or stopping vehicles within or otherwise obstructing bike lanes.

§ 4-12 (e) Driver’s hand on steering device Driver of a bicycle must have hand on steering device or handlebars.

§ 4-12 (h) Reporting accidents by drivers of other than motor vehicles Rider involved in accident resulting in death or injury to person or damage to property must stop and give name, address, insurance information, etc., and must report to Police Department.

§ 4-12 (o)(1) Use of Roadways NYC Department of Transportation Division of Traffic Operations 55 Water Street, New York, NY 10041 Bicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges and thruways, unless authorized by signs.

§ 4-12 (p) Bicycles

  • Bicycle riders must use bike path/lane, if provided, except for access, safety, turns, etc.
  • Other vehicles shall not drive on or across bike lanes except for access, safety, turns, etc.
  • Bicyclists may use either side of a 40-foot wide one-way roadway.

§ 4-14 (c) Restricted areas of parks No person shall ride a bicycle in any park, except in places designated for bike riding; but persons may push bikes in single file to and from such places, except on beaches and boardwalks.


§ 102-a Definition of Bicycle Lane: A portion of the roadway which has been designated by stripping, signing and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.

§ 102-b Definition of Bicycle Path: A path physically separated from motorized vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right–of-way or within an independent right-of-way and which is intended for the use of bicycles.

§ 375(24-a) Equipment Rider cannot wear more than one earphone attached to radio, tape player or other audio device while riding.

§ 1231 Traffic Laws Applicable to Persons Riding Bicycles Bicyclists are granted all rights and subject to all duties applicable to operator of vehicle except where not applicable.

§ 1232 Riding on bicycles • Must ride on a permanent seat;

  • Feet must be on pedals;
  • Bike must carry only number of persons for which it is designed and equipped.

§ 1233 Clinging to vehicles No attaching bike or person to another vehicle being operated on the roadway.

§ 1234 Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle lanes and bicycle paths

  • Must ride bicycle on the right side of the roadway (some conditions and exceptions apply – see also N.Y.C. Traffic Rules and Regulations Section 4-12 above);
  • No more than two abreast. § 1235 – Carrying articles Rider must keep at least one hand on handlebars when carrying packages.

§ 1236 Lamps and other equipment

  • White headlight and red taillight must be used from dusk to dawn;
  • Bell or other audible signal (not whistle) required;
  • Working brakes required;
  • Reflective tires and/or other reflective devices required.

§ 1237 Hand and arm signals

  • Bicyclists are required to use hand signals to turn left and right and to stop or decrease speed;
  • Rider can use either hand to signal a right turn.

§ 1238 Helmets and carrying children

  • A child under age one is not permitted to ride on a bicycle.
  • A child one or more years of age but less than five years of age must wear an approved helmet and be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
  • A child five or more years of age but less than fourteen years of age must wear an approved helmet.
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