Rights of Non-motorized Transportation

In addition to the pedestrian the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law covers the rights of those riding bicycles, skates or inline skates. Article 34 Operation of Bicycles and Play Devices of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State dictate the “rules of the road” as they relate to bicycles, skates or inline skates.

Article 34

§ 1231

Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on inline skates. Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on inline skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and hall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.

§ 1234. Riding on Roadways, Shoulders, Bicycle or Inline Skate Lanes & Bicycle or Inline Skate Paths

  1. Upon all roadways, any bicycle or inline skate shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or inline skate lane or, if a usable bicycle or inline skate lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge. Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, inline skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on inline skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.

  2. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on inline skates upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on inline skates upon a shoulder, bicycle or inline skate lane, or bicycle or inline skates path, intended for the use of bicycles or inline skates may ride two or more abreast if sufficient space is available, except that when passing a vehicle, bicycle or person on inline skates, or pedestrian, standing or proceeding along such shoulder, lane or path, persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on inline skates shall ride, skate, or glide single file. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on inline skates upon a roadway shall ride, skate, or glide single file when being overtaken by a vehicle.
  3. Any person operating a bicycle or skating or gliding on inline skates who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb shall come to a full stop before entering the roadway.

§ 1235. Carrying Articles

No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars. No person skating or gliding on inline skates shall carry any package, bundle, or article which obstructs his or her vision in any direction. No person operating a skate board shall carry any package, bundle, or article which obstructs his or her vision in any direction.

§ 1236. Lamps & Other Equipment on Bicycles

Every bicycle when in use during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible during hours of darkness from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and with a red light visible to the rear for three hundred feet. Effective July first, nineteen hundred seventy-six, at least one of these lights shall be visible for two hundred feet from each side.

  1. No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or whistle.
  2. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
  3. Every new bicycle shall be equipped with reflective tires or, alternately, a reflex reflector mounted on the spokes of each wheel, said tires and reflectors to be of types approved by the commissioner. The reflex reflector mounted on the front wheel shall be colorless or amber, and the reflex reflector mounted on the rear wheel shall be colorless or red.
  4. Every bicycle when in use during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with reflective devices or material meeting the standards established by rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner; provided, however, that such standards shall not be inconsistent with or otherwise conflict with the requirements of subdivisions (a) and (d) of this section.

§ 1237. Method of Giving Hand & Arm Signals by Bicyclists

All signals herein required to be given by bicyclists by hand and arm shall be given in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:

  1. Left turn. Left hand and arm extended horizontally.
  2. Right turn. Left hand and arm extended upward or right hand and arm extended horizontally.
  3. Stop or decrease speed. Left hand and arm extended downward.