NYC Bike Lanes and Rules of the Road

Are you new to the city or looking to get into biking around for the first time but feel intimidated by all the rules and different routes?

This simple guide will hopefully clear things up and make the ride easy.

First, build up your confidence by researching the best route to your destination before you leave. 

Full map of the bike paths in all Ney Work City five boroughs |can be found on the website here.

Most bike lanes are only one-way, so keep this in mind so you never find yourself going against traffic. Bike lanes also go all the way around Central Park as well, but keep in mind that these are also one-way lanes, and biking on pedestrian walkways is prohibited. If you don’t know the best way to go and don’t have your map on you, don’t be afraid to ask a local! New Yorkers aren’t as scary as they look, and most people don’t mind helping out with directions, especially a fellow cyclist. Second, blend in with the experts by learning all the rules of the road.

This will help protect you and everyone else on the road with you. This helpful guide from outlines all the most laws to know before you go:


Brush up on the rules of the road. Remember, cyclists are subject to many of the same traffic laws as automobiles — like stopping at red lights, riding in the direction of traffic, and giving right-of-way to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Pedestrians: Pedestrians always have the right of way.

Always yield to pedestrians. As our potential to cause harm increases on the street, so does our responsibility to others. Slowing down and giving someone the respect they deserve will go a long way towards fostering a sense of shared responsibility that will ultimately make NYC streets better for cyclists, pedestrians and even drivers.

Crosswalks: Don’t stop in the crosswalk. Leave them clear so pedestrians can cross easily. (Law: VTL §1231)

Sidewalks: You hate to see cars in bike lanes. Pedestrians hate to see bikes on the sidewalk. (Law: AC § 1976)

Salmoning: Ride in the direction of traffic -- and make no mistake, when you’re on a bike, you are traffic! (Law: VTL §1231)

Red Lights & Stop Signs: No one can see how good-looking your bikes is if you ride through intersections without stopping. And new cyclists will follow your example. (Law: VTL §1231)

Lights and Bells: Front and rear lights are required if you’re riding at night. (Law: VTL §1236) Having a bell lets people know you’re approaching -- and they’re required on all bikes being operated in New York City. (Law: VTL §1236)

Helmets: Helmets are a good idea, and they’re required by law in the State of New York if you’re under the age of 14. Finally, have fun and don’t be afraid to explore! Biking in the city is a great way to see new things and meet new people.

New York has some amazing bike paths that can take you all over the city. Explore the Hudson River Greenway, the Central Park Loop, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many more exciting locations and you’ll be a natural on the road in no time.

NYC bike tours guide