Friday, June 28, 2013

Motorists Must Share the Road with Cyclists

I was reading this interesting article, Motorists Must Share the Road with Cyclists, shared with me by my son, an avid cyclist living in Pittsburgh, PA.  Since I've actually been wondering about the rules of the road for bikes and motorized vehicles, I was especially interested in these particular paragraphs:
As a cyclist, I am legally allowed to ride in the right lane of West Liberty Avenue, in the middle of the lane, and I do. I am legally allowed to pass a line of cars on the right, along the curb, when those cars are stopped for a traffic control device. I stop at red lights and stop signs, and I yield at yield signs.

As a motorist, you are required to give me four feet of clearance when overtaking me on the road. Yes, that means you need to switch lanes to pass me. If you cannot do so, slow down and wait until you can. By law, you may cross a double yellow line to allow for the required clearance, again waiting until it is safe to do so.

So it got me to wondering even more about the laws in New York State.  An Internet search brought me to this site by the New York State Bicycling Coalition on New York State Bicycling Law.  I was kind of amazed at a few of the things listed in this summary:

Here is a summary of the principal requirements for bicyclists under New York law:
  • Bicyclists must ride with traffic and thus travel in the same direction as motor vehicles.
  • Bicyclists may travel side-by-side on the road, but must ride in single-file when other vehicles need to pass.
  • Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle .
  • If there is a bicycle lane in the roadway, the bicyclist must use it except to avoid a hazard or to turn left. If there is a separate parallel path, the bicyclist may use either the path or roadway.
  • Bicyclists must signal to turn on a roadway, a bike lane or bike path.
  • Bicycling is not allowed on interstate highways and expressways. Local jurisdictions can prohibit bicycles elsewhere, for example parkways or sidewalks.
  • Helmets must be worn by those under 14 years old. Localities may have additional requirements for those over 14.
  • Bicycles must be properly equipped with workable brakes, a bell or horn, reflectors and, if driven at night, a headlight and taillight.
  • A bicyclist cannot wear more than one earphone when listening to a radio or other audio device.
  • A bicyclist may not grab onto or otherwise attach to a moving motor vehicle.
  • A bicycle cannot carry more people than the number it was designed to carry. The law also calls for motorists to exercise “due care” to avoid collision with bicyclists. Bicycle accidents involving death or serious injury have to be reported within ten days.

I'm definitely going to do a little more research and try to be more vigilant, both as a cyclist and as a motor vehicle driver.

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