Bike Safety

Bikesmart Cover page for the Official Guide to Cycling in NYC

Bike Smart:
The Official Guide to Cycling in NYC

Bike Smart: The Official Guide to Cycling in New York City is a helpful handbook with information on making your cycling trip safer and easier, including tips on using newer bike facilities such as protected lanes and bike boxes, and basic tips for locking your bicycle. NYC DOT distributes up to 325,000 copies per year of the New York City Bike Map, which contains the most important rules of the road highlighted in the Bike Smart Guide.

Download Bike Smart in English, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean , Polish, Russian or Spanish

Helmets

Everyone should wear a helmet while riding. Helmets are required by New York State Law for cyclists ages 13 years and younger. DOT fits and gives away the official New York City bicycle helmet at free events throughout the city. In order to receive a helmet you must: be present, learn how to properly fit and wear a helmet, and sign a waiver (a parent or legal guardian must sign for children under 18). Find the next helmet fitting on the Events Calendar Search upcoming events on NYC DOT’s Facebook page


Get There Flatiron to SOHO

Get There

DOT's Get There bike encouragement campaign features real New Yorkers enjoying bike lanes across the City. The ads include a mix of familiar neighborhoods and landmarks, along with average cycling time, highlighting how quick a trip by bike can be. The campaign includes a collection of postcards, each focusing on an important cycling topic. DOT’s Bicycles and Greenways Unit and Safety Education and Outreach Unit distribute the campaign postcards, bike lights, and bike bells at public outreach events. Learn more about DOT's Get There campaign

We know you’re enjoying the ride, but there’s more than just getting there by bike! Check out some common myths and facts about biking:

Get There - Biking Myths vs Facts


NYC Biking Laws

Cyclists have all the rights and are subject to all of the duties and regulations applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. Download a complete list of New York City bicycle rules

  • 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. At red lights, wait for the green unless you see a sign that says “BIKES USE PED SIGNAL.”
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so. If the road is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side, you have the right to ride in the middle of the travel lane. Bicycling is permitted on all main and local streets throughout the City, even when no designated route exists.
  • Use a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors.

Get There - Bike Laws


Safety Tips

  • Ride in a straight line, obey traffic signs and signals, and do not weave in and out of traffic. Riding predictably reduces your chances of a crash with a motor vehicle.
  • Look, signal and look again before changing lanes or making a turn. Establish eye contact with drivers. Seeing a driver is often not enough. Make sure drivers see you before executing a turn or riding in front of a turning car.
  • Watch out for car doors. Be prepared for the possibility that a car door may be opened in your path. When possible, leave room between yourself and parked cars (3 feet is generally recommended) so that you can avoid a door that opens unexpectedly.
  • Stay visible. Wear brightly colored clothing for daytime riding. At night, use reflective materials and lights.
  • 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.

Get There - Get There Safely


For Children on Bicycles

  • Children under age one cannot be carried on a bicycle.
  • Children must be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
  • Cyclists under age 13 must wear an approved helmet.
  • Children 12 or younger should ride on the sidewalk, while adults must ride on the street.

Cycle Eyes Campaign

Cycling is booming in New York City. While we continue to promote cycling as a means of transportation, we also want to help you identify our 175,000+ low vision or blind pedestrians.

Watch an audio described version of the Cycle Eyes video