Do Bicyclists Have A Right To The Road?

As the frequent target of motorists' aggression, bicyclists are often made to feel like they do not have a right to the road. However, no matter how many times you may be honked at while riding your bike, it is important to remember that under New York law — specifically New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1231 — "[e]very person riding a bicycle [...] upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights [...] applicable to the driver of a vehicle."

But, just because you may have a right to the road doesn't mean there aren't restrictions. In fact, New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1234 specifically states:

  • Bicyclists must use bike lanes, when available.
  • If there are no bike lanes, bicyclists must ride near the right curb, on the right shoulder or close to the right edge of the road, except they can move left if they need to avoid unsafe conditions or when preparing to take a left turn.
  • Bicyclists cannot ride more than two abreast when riding on the road, and they must ride single file when a vehicle passes them.
  • Bicyclists can ride more than two abreast when riding on the shoulder or a bike lane/path, so long as there is sufficient space to do so.

In addition, bicyclists in New York City need to remember that there may be city rules and regulations that apply to them, beyond the state laws mentioned above.

Despite these restrictions, however, it doesn't change the fact that bicyclists still have a right to the road — no matter what some drivers think.

Injured In A Bike Accident? Questions About Your Rights?

Contact the attorneys at Edelman & Edelman, P.C., today if you have been injured in a bike-related accident. Our lawyers will review your case and help you determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You don't have to deal with this alone — so let us help. Schedule your free consultation by calling our New York office at 212-235-1197. You can also reach us online.