Bike Safety Tips for New Yorkers

By Alex Ariza, Injury Prevention Coordinator

Cycling around NYC has never been easier and more enjoyable with many miles of bikes lanes available to us throughout the 5 boroughs.

Riding your bike is a cheap and convenient way to get around the city and an excellent form of exercise.

In this video, we’ll review some tips to stay safe while riding your bike in NYC.

Personal Safety

The best way to keep yourself safe while riding a bike is by wearing a helmet. NYS law mandates people 13 years or younger must wear a helmet. This is a requirement, not a preference. Helmets are designed to protect your brain from serious injury. You only have one brain, so keep it safe!

Before you begin riding, you should make sure your bike is fitted to YOU! Adjust your seat’s height and handle bars to make sure you feel comfortable riding your bike. You can have your bike fitted at your local bike shop.

Having a small first-aid kit handy in your tool kit can also be helpful. Having alcohol pads, ointment, and bandages available can help you treat minor injuries like small cuts and scrapes to reduce the likelihood of infection.

Be Seen & Heard

Be predictable. You should not weave from lane to lane randomly; let drivers know your intentions. Use hand signals to notify drivers behind you to indicate where you intend to turn.

When riding at night or with limited visibility, make sure your pedals, wheels, and the rear of your bike have reflectors that drivers and pedestrians can see. Using a headlight will provide better visibility of the street and help to avoid sharp objects, pot holes, and other hazards that may harm your bike. You should also wear bright colored or reflective clothing when riding your bike in the evening hours.

Using a bell can alert pedestrians and other cyclists that may be on your path. Letting them know which direction you are riding from verbally is also helpful. You should not wear headphones while riding a bike. You should be alert of your surroundings while you enjoy your ride and that includes being able to hear what’s around you.


A regular tune-up of your bike will ensure a smooth ride and keep yourself and others safe. Tune-ups can be done at your local bike shop. Carry a tool kit with you when you ride your bike, especially if you are riding long distances. Make sure your kit includes a pump, spare tubes, and a multi-tool. Having basic knowledge of changing a flat tire or fixing your bike chain can be extremely useful for incidents that you may find yourself in in the future.

Rules of the Road

As a NYC cyclist, you will most likely share the road with cars, which means you must follow the rules of the road. Stop at red lights, do not speed through yellow lights or run through red lights. Know your hand signals – left, right, and stop. Do not weave in and out of traffic and keep a safe distance between cars. Ride in the same direction as traffic, not against it. You must yield to pedestrians. If you are an adult, do not ride your bike on the sidewalk.