Tips for Biking in NYC
Riding a bike in NYC has never been better! With more than 1,200 miles of bike lanes, pedaling around is more convenient than ever.
Whether you’re an experienced rider or new to city biking, here are a few simple tips to help you feel more comfortable and confident:
Plan a sensible route
From shared lanes to car-free greenways, choose a route that matches your comfort level. Use the Citi Bike mobile app to map out a route to wherever you’re headed — we’ll show you the best route using bike lanes whenever possible.
Do a pre-ride check
Before you start your ride: adjust the seat to fit your height, make sure the tires have air, and double-check the brakes. If there’s a problem with the bike, just dock it and tap the red ‘wrench’ icon, then choose a different bike.
Wear a helmet
All Citi Bike riders are encouraged to wear a helmet while riding. (In New Jersey, it’s the law for riders under 17!) Make sure yours fits snugly, wear it level on your head, and always buckle the chin strap.
Obey traffic signals
In New York and New Jersey, motor vehicle laws also apply to bicycles. This includes the requirement to obey all traffic lights and signs. One of the few exceptions, is that in New York City, cyclists are allowed to proceed with the walk signal. These “leading pedestrian intervals” give pedestrians and cyclists a head start to enter the intersection before motor vehicles are allowed on green.
Yield to pedestrians
Like motor vehicles, cyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians when the law requires it, including at crosswalks and intersections. If you have the light, use your bell to alert pedestrians to your presence, but you should always yield to them.
Ride in the direction of traffic
Cyclists are required by law to ride in the same direction as cars, and must use a bike lane when available. If there is no usable bike lane, you can either ride to the far left or right side on a one-way street. You have the right to ride in the center lane if the bike lane or side of the street is obstructed, too narrow, or otherwise unsafe.
Ride with caution
Riding close to parked cars leaves bicyclists vulnerable to getting hit by opening car doors. Keep your distance and stay alert, especially around large vehicles or buses. Do not weave from lane to lane, and always make sure to avoid turning vehicles.
Stay off sidewalks
Bikes aren’t allowed on sidewalks. Exceptions are made for riders who are 12 years old or younger and under parental supervision, or when the road conditions aren’t safe for cyclists.
Use hand signals
Bicyclists should use hand signals to let drivers and other cyclists know where they’re going. Stick your left arm straight out to indicate a left turn. For a right turn, extend your right arm straight out, or raise your left arm and bend it upward at the elbow in an L shape. To stop, hold your left hand by your side pointing toward the ground. Look twice before making a turn or changing lanes.
Never ride distracted
Don’t text and ride! Pull over if you have to send a message or talk on the phone. It’s illegal to ride with two headphones in (one is permitted). But keep in mind: It’s always safer to ride without anything inside your ears. Being aware reduces the chance of a crash.
Want to learn more about how to stay safe on the roads? Watch our safety video at the top of the page to learn more about how to enjoy your ride safely.