A Friday evening in early September 2011 saw New York City reach a sad milestone for the year, the number of fatal bicycle accidents reached double digits. There is good news in the midst of this tragedy; however, the number of fatal bicycle accidents has been decreasing in recent years, even though the number of cyclists on the road has increased.
According to Transportation Alternatives, there were 26 fatal bicycle-accidents in New York City in 2008. And, despite an increased number of riders on the roads, this number fell to 18 in 2010.
Because of the risks posed to bicyclists, riders should take proactive steps to help ensure their safety.
First, bicycles are considered “vehicles” by New York state law. Therefore, all bicyclists in the state need to obey the same rules of the road as cars and trucks. As such, the City of New York reminds bicyclists that they must:
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Ride on streets
- Remain visible, with headlights, reflectors and red taillight
Also, the City of New York offers the following safety tips, which are applicable to all bicyclists, everywhere:
- Look before turning or changing lanes
- Be predictable by obeying good driving habits, like would be done in a car
- Wear reflective or bright clothing
- Be aware of the surroundings, watch for car doors, cars backing out of driveways and drivers making turns
- Always wear a helmet