For the sake of everyone in the community, NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is asking residents to be mindful of the laws and safety guidelines regarding bicycles on sidewalks. A number of elderly community members have complained of near-misses from cyclists that could have resulted in serious injuries.
“Getting hit by a bicycle can be a serious matter for anyone, but for an elderly person, the consequences are increased dramatically,” says Hikind. “I was recently visited by a constituent who was almost hit. She came to my office very shaken up and she told me, ‘If I’m hit by a bicycle, I’ll spend three months in the hospital.’ She was right. A broken hip or arm can have serious, life-changing consequences for older people.
“Of course, we want our children to enjoy their bicycles so the key is to give them the tools—like helmets, as well as a horn or bell—and information necessary to protect others and themselves. It behooves all of us to have an awareness of New York City’s bicycle laws and safety guidelines.”
In New York City, cyclists have all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties and regulations applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. Cyclists must:
- 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 a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors regardless of where they are riding.
Cyclists are also cautioned to:
- Ride in a straight line and do not weave in and out.
- 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.
“Our community is all about family and caring for others,” said Hikind. “It is in this spirit that I ask all of our parents to share our City’s bicycle laws and safety tips with their children. The last thing any of us ever want to do is hurt another human being.”