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  1. #1
    I'm in State of Nature
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    Biking laws in NYC

    Hi,

    I'll be biking in the city (Manhattan specifically) in the coming months and I don't quite know the laws for cyclists. Can I ride on the sidewalks, etc. kind of stuff I'd like to know. Also can I bring my bike onto the subways? I'd like to know before I get arrested...

    I live in Long Island, so I don't know this stuff. Thanks in advances.

    Peace.

  2. #2
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Sidewalks = No
    Subways = Yes

    Here's a primer http://www.transalt.org/

  3. #3
    Air
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    LIRR - you'll need a bike permit ($5 at Penn Station (or maybe any station with a person, not sure)). Just realize that the subways are super, super crowded during rush hour - you may have a tough time getting it in and out if you're traveling during the week. They also reserve the right not to let you on if it's that crowded but I don't know anyone that's happened to.

    Are you coming in for fun or to get around the city?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    You have to be under 14 years of age to ride on the sidewalks.

    The local trains are less crowded and might be a better alternative if you are traveling at a busy time. (But truth be told, my bike ride to work is 45-50 minutes door to door.) The subway for that same 14-15 mile trip is at leas an hour and ten minutes! In other words, just ride.

    The two most important things for riding safely in NYC in my humble opinion is to be alert and be seen.

    Drivers do a lot of erratic things in NYC (not only in NYC but...) ride defensively.

    And be seen... bright clothes, a couple of lights. (I always have a flashing white up front and a flashing red on the back. It may not win me any OCP points but it helps get me home safely.)

    Oh, and on the nyc.gov site there is a good, interactive bike map.
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hambone
    The three most important things for riding safely in NYC in my humble opinion is to obey all traffic laws, be alert and be seen.
    T,FTFY

    Make sure to get some lights and use them if you ride at night. Without them, bikes are nearly invisible.

    Be especially careful at intersections; almost all of the bike-auto collisions happen at the intersections.

    Also, wear a helmet whenever possible.

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    Air
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    Take the lane when there's no bike lane - the more timid you ride near traffic the more likely you'll get clipped by someone driving and thinking 'they're over on the side of the road, they won't come near me' and you swerve around a car door being opened [by the way, 4 from the door is a good rule of thumb too]

    Oh - you need a bell too.

  7. #7
    I'm in State of Nature
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air
    LIRR - you'll need a bike permit ($5 at Penn Station (or maybe any station with a person, not sure)). Just realize that the subways are super, super crowded during rush hour - you may have a tough time getting it in and out if you're traveling during the week. They also reserve the right not to let you on if it's that crowded but I don't know anyone that's happened to.

    Are you coming in for fun or to get around the city?
    I'm coming in to get around as a one time deal. I already got the bike permit for the LIRR.

    When you mention riding in the lane, you mean with the flow of traffic on the road? Also the bell, is there a specific model or type you would recommend? Thanks a lot. Safety first.

    Peace.

    alphaod

  8. #8
    Air
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphaod
    IWhen you mention riding in the lane, you mean with the flow of traffic on the road?
    Yup - many bikers will ride as close to parked cars as possible but it's a good way to get nailed by an opening door. The biggest issues with traffic will be your avenues or major E/W streets (Houston, 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, etc...)

    Also the bell, is there a specific model or type you would recommend? Thanks a lot. Safety first.
    Any bike store will have one - I personally don't like the ones that you have to pull back a hammer on. There's a type that rings when you pull and rings again when you let go. Or you could go with an air horn
    The bell is more to warn peds but if a cop really was in a ticket giving mood he could give you one for not having a bell.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    My bell is a friendly way to let the tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge and the runners on the MUPs around the city know I'm coming. For real riding I squeal really loud. I think the human voice gets much better reaction.

    <edit>
    On what Air said, getting door'ed is probably the #1 problem riding in the city. Watch out for cabs and Lincolns (car service cars) especially!
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

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    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Other than those mentioned (e.g., not riding on sidewalks unless you're delivering Chinese food...), the only additional requirements are your bike must be equipped with either a bell or horn, you must have a light and you must have reflectors. Some people ride without these items, but you will be stopped and ticketed by some of the more zealous police officers.

    BTW, the Chinese food delivery thing was a joke....
    I don't give a damn 'bout a bad reputation
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  11. #11
    rhm
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    What about riding on one-way streets? The one-way streets I ride (8th Ave, 6th Ave ) have bike lanes on the left side. So when riding a one-way street without a bike lane (7th Ave), should I take the left lane as well?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm
    What about riding on one-way streets? The one-way streets I ride (8th Ave, 6th Ave ) have bike lanes on the left side. So when riding a one-way street without a bike lane (7th Ave), should I take the left lane as well?
    all else being equal, I'd stay right. Drivers expect cyclists and slower traffic to the right. And the best way to be safe is to be seen.

    That said, if there were construction or just traffic patterns that made the left lane a better choice, I would take it without hesitation.

    I find the left lane bike lanes problematic with getting "doored." People are just not as cautious exiting the right side of a cab.
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

  13. #13
    I'm in State of Nature
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewnyc
    BTW, the Chinese food delivery thing was a joke....
    Aww. I'm Chinese, so for a second there I thought I find the loop hole.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    funny I was thinking posting this to BF this morning after it happened...

    Cabbie yells at me and then gets caught at a light. I pull up next to him and ask what he had yelled (I was very polite.)

    And he told me I should get on the sidewalk.

    I replied, "Mister, you drive a cab in New York City and you don't know better than that? I mean driving is your job. How can you not know something as simple as bicycles have every right to be on the road?"

    The passenger in the back was laughing as the light went green and I made my left and the cab went straight.
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

  15. #15
    Behind EVERYone!!! baj32161's Avatar
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    ^^^ Priceless!!!!!!
    A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.

    ― Bruce Lee

  16. #16
    Boosted Mr2 henria86's Avatar
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    .. i live in the city,
    i have a air horn an always ride with full finger gloves an blinking leds..
    the air horn does the trick all the time..
    henri

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henria86
    .. i live in the city,
    i have a air horn an always ride with full finger gloves an blinking leds..
    the air horn does the trick all the time..
    henri
    I've got a five LED white blinking headlight up front and a red blinkie in the rear. Once it gets to be dusk, I hit the ones in the end of my drop bars, too.

    The reality is that (as a group) cabbies now-a-days suck. They are lousey drivers who don't know jack $hit about the city. This problem is compounded by the fact that half of them drive around talking on the phone all day. I say, raise the fare by 50%, buy back 25% of the medalions, and make it a profession to be proud of again. And ban the use of cell phones when the cab is moving.
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

  18. #18
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    If you are going multi modal get a folding bike. An alternative is remove the wheels and seat post, loosen the headset, wrap the whole mess in a painters drop cloth secured with bungee cords. Now your bike is a 'package'. Bikes are permitted on the subway, but obviously if the car is packed you should not take it on. LIRR NJT PATH AMTAK and Metro North have their own rules. In general the rules are different for folded bikes, and 'packaged' bikes.

    If your ride on sidewalks eventually you will get a ticket. This is especially true of 'minority' areas where sidewalk tickets are an excuse to check for warrants, and perhaps the sidewalk biking is done in an irresponsible manner. A sidewalk ticket is not expensive but has a mandatory court date.

    A cable lock is better than nothing but will not work against big city bike thieves. I suggest a cable + U lock. or If weight is not important bulldog or kryptonite locks.

    Get the official bicycle map. If there is traffic that scares you, go a few blocks over. If you see a 'ghost rider' show your respect and consider an alternate route, the one you are on is dangerous.

    http://times-up.org/index.php?page=a...e_ghost_riders

    check your tires every 5 mi and remove any glass.
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  19. #19
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm
    What about riding on one-way streets? The one-way streets I ride (8th Ave, 6th Ave ) have bike lanes on the left side. So when riding a one-way street without a bike lane (7th Ave), should I take the left lane as well?
    Local police precincts have had periodic crackdowns on Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Chelsea and Midtown so I would strongly advise against riding the wrong way -- even in the bike lanes. Fines can run as much as $150 for going the wrong way or runing a red light and also count as violations on a NYS driver's license.

  20. #20
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacy
    Local police precincts have had periodic crackdowns on Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Chelsea and Midtown so I would strongly advise against riding the wrong way -- even in the bike lanes. Fines can run as much as $150 for going the wrong way or runing a red light and also count as violations on a NYS driver's license.
    Oh, no worries, I wouldn't go against traffic! What I'm wondering is, is there a law or rule or anything telling bikes where to ride on one-way streets? I ask because Sixth and Eighth Avenues through midtown (both are one way: North) have bike lanes at the left side; but Seventh Avenue (one way: South) does not. So when I go down Seventh Ave, should I be at the left? I find I don't like being at the left without a bike lane (drivers don't seem to know what to do) so I tend to stick to the right lane / margin when I go down Seventh Avenue. Still, I see a lot of bicyclists using the left lane, so I wonder....

  21. #21
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Generally speaking, slower moving vehicles are supposed to stay to the right, just like everywhere else in the US - but there are exceptions. Most avenueshave bus lanes so there's uduslly less traffic there but sometimes it's better, and safer, to stay to the left Either way, there usually isn't that much enforcement in Manhattan, outside of midtown and outside of Critical Mass.

  22. #22
    Air
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    I find for some reason I'm more seen in the left hand lane than the right. Maybe because the drivers are on the left? Dunno.

  23. #23
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air
    I find for some reason I'm more seen in the left hand lane than the right. Maybe because the drivers are on the left? Dunno.
    Intuitively it also seems safer to ride against traffic so you can see what's coming. Unfortunately that's not what the law says.. and they do enforce this stuff once in a while.

  24. #24
    Air
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    Oh no - I'm not saying to ride against traffic. I'm talking about on the one way avenues and being on the left side of the road instead of the right when there's no bike lane - I always seem to get much more clearance from drivers. I'd 'guess' that because the driver's side is on the same side they see me and give more clearance.

  25. #25
    Car-Free Flatlander Stacy's Avatar
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    It does seem to make more sense.

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