Ask a question

Is It The Law In Ny To Wear A Safety Helmet When Riding A Bike In Nyc

Do you get a ticket for not wearing a bicycle helmet?

I don't think you will get a ticket, just a traumatic brain injury.

Is it preferable to wear a helmet while riding a bike even though it obstructs the view and causes an inconvenience while driving in traffic?

Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is very important to protect yourself and stay safe on the road.Wearing the correct bike safety clothing is a must when on the road. This includes a helmet, sunglasses, gloves and reflective clothing.New York Government issued a statement on their bicycle safety study (1996-2005) showing that nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet -

Is there any evidence to suggest that wearing helmets while biking can actually increase the chance of injury?

Reading Matthew Bellringer's answer to Are you safer riding a bicycle with or without a helmet? you will see the general thrust of the anti mandatory helmet argument, to wit:Urban cyclists don't get in crashes that helmets can do much about;Requiring people to wear helmets discourages people from riding;Getting more people on bicycles creates a safety-in-numbers effect;Encouraging cycling benefits the health of the population at large.As Colville-Andersen says in the interview, the insidious effect of helmet laws is to segregate bicycling as a recreational activity, not an activity of daily living. Seeing people wearing helmets while riding bicycles makes bicycling appear dangerous and discourages bicycling, making it look incredibly risky and necessitating lots of special equipment.To put Colville-Andersen's argument in the wider context, he is not a public health expert, he is an urban planner who emphasizes designing cities that are more livable and pleasant places to be, and by and large that means reducing car traffic. The bicycle is a tool for that, but as he says in the beginning of the interview, he sees the bicycle as analogous to a vacuum cleaner, a tool that everyone has, everyone uses, and to which there's no stigma attached. And to add my own personal experience, with my business I am riding large, heavy, sturdy bicycles with trailers attached along busy city streets. It has been years since I have fallen off my bicycle, the design case for bicycle helmets. On the other hand, every couple of weeks someone in New York City is killed while riding a bicycle, not by falling to their death, but by being run over by a motor vehicle. A helmet is not going to protect me from the traumatic shock I would suffer from being run down by a bus or garbage truck. I do wear a helmet, but I wear it because it makes me appear safety minded to actual and potential customers, not because I think it's going to save my life.

Why do so few bicyclists in NYC wear helmets, given the danger of biking in Manhattan?

Firstly, I'm not a New Yorker but as a keen cyclist and an Emergency Department Specialist nurse (and the beneficiary of a fairly decent head injury last year) I think there are a couple of factors.Most importantly, some people think they won't have an accident. Cyclists often, myself included, think we are immune. Additionally, many deaths in city locations are due to collisions with very large vehicles (lorries and trucks and buses) and no helmet will protect against this. Unfortunately, in the past, some cyclists have used this as an excuse not to wear a helmet at all, citing 'it won't protect me anyway'. Whilst true in those horrific collisions (often occurring when vehicles turn at a junction and don't see the cyclist) a helmet will protect in those instances when the head hits the ground after a tumble (or hits a kerb stone)Another reason, and often recited by my patients is 'they don't look cool' or 'they ruin my hair'. Now, whether or not this argument has merit (clearly not) it is a factor.In New York, where presumably many individuals are commuting to office work, this, to them, is a valid concern.I fractured my skull, my helmet broke in two, I don't want to consider what my (relatively not too bad) head injury would have been like without it.

What to do when getting a ticket due to riding bike on sidewalk on New York?

Go to court and argue it. It is your duty to choose the safest route and if that means sidewalk so be it. But you are not supposed to use the sidewalk as your personal velodrome endangering pedestrian. There has been several hit and run from bikes on pedestrians that resulted on dead. But you can make a point that using a whole line with your bike would not only be dangerous but will also cause more congestion. And you are not required to endanger yourself by riding in unsafe streets.

On the other hand check this: The jurisdiction for riding on the sidewalk is the "Environmental Control Board" So your ticket may be invalid.

—AC 19-176 - Riding bicycles on sidewalks is prohibited. Bicycles may be confiscated.
NOTE: Tickets for riding on the sidewalk fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Control Board (ECB). If you are given a ticket or summons that requires you to appear in criminal court instead, you should be able to get the ticket thrown out for lack of jurisdiction.

Also notice that: If there wasn't a bike lane or the bike line was not usable due to fixed or moving objects, you are not required to ride on one.

Bike Lanes
You are NOT required to ride in the bike lane.
—34 RCNY 4-12(p)(1) states that bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are preparing to turn, or are avoiding unsafe conditions (including but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, pushcarts, animals, surface hazards).

Q: Isn't this an overstatement of the law? It seems to me that the law says that bikes have to stay in bike lanes.
A: No. If you look at the full text of the statute it clearly grants cyclists the discretion to ride in the bike lane or not, according to whether the cyclist deems it safe. As safe, usable bike lanes are extremely rare in New York City, cyclists are not required to endanger themselves by riding in unsafe bike lanes.

Q: But- but- aren't you saying that cyclists can ride wherever they want whenever they want? That's crazy!
A: No. Cyclists are still required to follow all other applicable traffic laws, such as riding the right way on one-way streets (VTL 1127(a)), and exercising due care (VTL § 1146). They are not, however, required to ride in the bike lane if there is any reason not to.

Edit: Ask this question in Y!A legal

Is it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in nyc?

It doesn't matter if riding a bicycle without a helmet is legal or illegal in New York City. It's stupid. Even if you are the best rider in the world, someone else's stupidity, carelessness, or inattention can cause you to go down. In any collision with an automobile, the bicycle rider always loses. Your helmet will help to keep your brains from being the topping on a street pizza.


Is it worth using full-face bicycle helmets for urban riding?

I'd be very wary of this. Sure, the full-face helmet may offer better coverage and, all else being equal, may be safer on paper. But there are other factors to consider here.In their coverage, these helmets obscure your face. This means you look considerably less human to drivers than someone whose face and expressions are visible. Even if it’s entirely subconscious and the drivers “know” that of course you’re a person under that, the subconscious is a very powerful thing and they’re less likely to treat you as a person.Moreover, full-face helmets are associated with the more “extreme” aspects of biking — namely BMX and downhilling. As such, people are likely to assume you’re a super aggressive daredevil who gets your kicks off dangerous acts like weaving through traffic and barrelling through crowds of pedestrians at top speed.I’m not just pulling these arguments from the air. Years ago, my friend did exactly this, thinking it would be safer. He went back to traditional helmets after a few months because he noticed how differently everyone treated him. Even if he was on an old city cruiser and dressed in khakis and loafers, he still wasn’t seen as another worker going home to his wife and kids, but as some faceless adrenaline junkie just itching for a fight. His biggest fear was that he’d get hit by a car and that everyone — the driver, the witnesses, the cops — would assume it was his fault and that he’d be sued into bankruptcy. Cyclists are already disproportionately blamed for accidents they didn’t cause. Why push it?Remember, a helmet alone does not make for safe biking. Rather, it’s the last element in a whole system that works to make you safe. It’s an element you hope you never need, because if you do it means everything else has failed. Visibility, communication, and respect are all elements that come before the helmet.

Are traffic laws not applicable to bike riders? If not, why?

Why do many of the newspapers and commentators see cyclists as self-satisfied anti-social law breakers, bent on their own and others destruction? Is it not because what they see on the streets are cyclists constantly flounting these laws with seeming disregard for safety? It’s true – we do (in most cases the disregard is only perceived, not actual), and we always have. So – does cycling attract only those types that have a casual regard for the law, or does cycling turn them into those people?The first thing to say is that of course, not all cyclists do break the rules – but they are few and far between. I would characterise them as helmet and hi-viz wearing neophytes – the sort of cyclist that sits behind a bus while it does it business at the bus stop, too nervous to go around. You know – the kind that give cyclists a bad name.As another proviso, it is perhaps worth pointing out that the demographic of cyclists is almost certainly younger on average than other road users, so it is possible to factor in a youthful rebellious attitude, but I’m sure that that is far from being the whole picture.This is how I see it working: your averagely intelligent person, starting to cycle for the first time, soon realises that the rules of the road are not designed with them in mind – they are almost entirely concerned with controlling the motorised traffic. Having reached this conclusion, our example soon decides that s/he can safely ignore these irrelevant restrictions without any dire consequences, either to themselves or other road users, as long as they use a little nous.This soon inculcates an attitude of brazen wilfulness, a slightly smug and superior demeanour and a growing certainty of their own superiority to the other vehicles around them. In other words, we become self-satisfied anti-social law breakers …and that’s a good thing!