Bike Laws

Summary of NY bike laws

References are to NY Vehicle and Traffic laws

  • Every person riding a bicycle shall be granted all of the rights applicable to the driver of a vehicle – 1231
  • Any bicycle shall be driven either on a usable bicycle lane or near the right of the roadway or upon a useable right-hand shoulder so as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic EXCEPT  when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions – 1234
  • Bicycles shall not ride more than two abreast – 1234(b)
  • Bicycles shall ride single file when being overtaken by a vehicle – 1234(b)
  • Bicycles used from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a white lamp on the front visible from 500 feet and a red or amber light on the rear visible from 300 feet  and in addition shall be equipped with reflective devices- 1236

Important Insurance Information for Bicyclists

If you are out riding your bicycle, for leisure or for training, you should be aware that you are unprotected.  Not only are you lacking air bags and seat belts, but you may be lacking sufficient insurance in the event that you are hit by an inattentive or otherwise incapable motorist.  Some of the things that you should discuss with your insurance agent are as follows:

No-Fault: Bicyclists are covered under the New York No-Fault laws.  However, it is the No-Fault coverage of the car that hits you that determines how much coverage you have.  Since No-Fault is, by law, required to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, reasonable household expenses and other items from the accident, it is imperative that enough No-Fault coverage exists to cover those things.  Many people driving cars carry the minimum required amount of No-Fault, which may not be enough to adequately reimburse you, especially if that person has chosen the minimum monthly lost wage replacement of $2,000.00.

Recommendation: You should have additional No-Fault protection through your own auto policy that will come into play in the event that the person who causes your accident does not have enough.  There are two things to ask your agent for: APIP and OBEL.  The combination of these things should ensure that you maximize your coverage regardless of what the person who causes your accident has.

Pain and Suffering: The effects of an accident on your bicycle can have devastating consequences on your body and life.  While your damages could range from a few days off from your training to lifelong permanent injuries, it is never safe to assume the person who causes your accident will have enough to compensate you for what you will go through.  In New York, the minimum liability coverage (the coverage that the car must have to compensate you) is $25,000.00, which is an amount that many drivers carry.  If the accident caused you permanent catastrophic difficulties, would $25,000.00 be enough?


Recommendation: You can get Supplemental Underinsured Motorist coverage through your own auto policy.  This would provide you with additional compensation should another automobile cause your injuries, and those injuries have a value greater than the coverage of that other auto.

Property Damage: Is your bicycle covered?  In New York, car owners can carry as little as $10,000.00 of property damage coverage.  This means that if your bike is worth more than that, it may not be covered by the auto that wrecks it.

Recommendation: You should talk to your insurance agent about obtaining specific coverage for your bicycle


 Questions?   Contact Ben Rabin at The Rabin Law Firm

315-448-bike or 877-451-bike or email: