Cycling in one of the biggest cities in the world sometimes is more difficult that it seems but, if you pay attention to these tips, you will ride a bike in New York safely.
What would you need to ride a bike in New York safely?
Bike riding is an effective and ecologically friendly way to get around. While some cities are more cyclist friendly than others, it is not impossible to ride a bike in New York safely. Even in a busy urban jungle like NYC, riding a cycle is a great way to travel.
Equipment for biking.
The first rule is to make sure that you and your bike are both equipped with the basic essentials.
Always ride with a cycling helmet on. It’s an important precaution that many cyclists forget or overlook. A good helmet should fit properly and make contact all over the head.
Another important thing should be a good loud bell. New York’s streets are often jam-packed, so attaching a good bell to your bike is imperative if you want to traverse these roads.
The bike should always have properly working breaks. When in traffic, the breaks are of primary importance and can save your life.
Finally, bicycle lights should be put on the bike. A white light in the front and a red one at the back completes your equipment. These lights should be switched on every time you ride after dusk.
Check your bike and other related equipment every month. Repair or replace the ones that have developed problems. Also get your tyres checked regularly in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. When all your cycling equipment is present and in good shape, half the battle is won.
Rights of a cyclist.
Before embarking on your biking adventure across the city, know and understand your responsibilities and rights as a cyclist. When on the road, a cyclist has the same rights to the road as any other big car or vehicle. But with this understanding, there would also be expectations that cyclists follow similar rules. Check this tips for riding a bike in the city.
Where and how to ride a bike
Bicyclists must use the bike lanes marked out in green or white in different parts of the city. If there is one where you are riding, stick to it. You are expected to not mingle with the rest of the traffic in these places. In places where there are no bike lanes to separate you from the rest of the traffic, ride as far to the right as possible and avoid the other motorists.
Another rule is to always ride with the traffic. Going against the traffic can cause confusion, which leads to accidents. It is also against the law to ride against the traffic. One thing that would help other motorists to avoid you is if you ride in a straight line. Some cyclists zigzag in order to get ahead of the traffic but such behaviour only confuses the motorists, who cannot predict every move of the cyclist. Driving on the road means that you ought to obey all the traffic signals and other general traffic rules.
Finally, don’t ride on the pavements meant solely for pedestrians. Just like other motorists, cyclists have to give right of way to pedestrians. Be considerate of those on foot just as you expect those in larger vehicles to be considerate of you.
Biking in a group.
If you are going cycling with a group of friends, you cannot do it all together. The roads are meant for everyone, so be considerate of others. Bikers cannot ride more than two abreast, though riding in a single file is always better, especially in high-traffic roads.
Things to be careful about.
One of the major hazards in New York is inconsiderate car drivers who open their doors without watching out for cyclists. Avoid riding too close to parked cars to avoid an accident. Another thing to watch out for is drivers making a quick turn at intersections without signalling. Be aware of what is happening around you, especially in crowded areas or intersections.
When riding through more residential areas, children and dogs can dart in front of you. So you need to be just as aware as if you are on the main road. New York is also known for its potholes and sinkholes, which any bicyclist should watch out for.
Last but not the least, you need to watch out for the weather. The winter can bring slippery ice and snow that melts into slush, both of which can be dangerous to cyclists. Using tyres with better grip can help prevent accidents under these weather conditions. The same goes for going out in heavy rain. Storms also affect NYC regularly, and it is better not to go out at all, leave alone cycle.
If you follow these simple tips and learn how to navigate your way through the city, you can ride a bike in New York safely and it can be just as pleasurable as in any other place.