With the warm weather months upon us, more people can be seen riding bicycles on our roadways from all ages.

While those on bicycles need to be aware of the rules of the road, it is also the responsibility of motorists to keep an eye out for bikes on the road as well.

Ride WIth Traffic Or Against it?

In my travels, I've observed that most people on bicycles know which side of the road to travel on, and that is with traffic. I still see bicyclists traveling against traffic, which is not correct.

The New York State Department of Transportation puts it this way:

 The law requires that bicyclists ride with traffic (Sec. 1234(a)).   Bicycling against traffic is a leading cause of bicycle crashes.  Riding with traffic makes bicyclists more visible and their movements more predictable to motorists.

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Just as we have to learn how to drive on the roadways, anyone who chooses to ride a bike on those same roadways needs to learn the rules as well, which for the most part are the same as motor traffic laws, and that means coming to a stop at traffic lights when the signal is red. That also includes stopping and then proceeding cautiously at stop signs, and obeying any other type of traffic signs.

New(er) NYS Law Requirement For New Drivers

Since we are on the topic of bicycle safety (as well as pedestrian safety) here is something you may not know: In July of 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law, legislation S.1078B/A.5084A, which requires new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness as a component of the pre-licensing exam and as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle.

The Governor's website notes that this legislation "adds curriculum to the pre-licensing course that includes an overview of traffic laws governing motor vehicle operators' duty to exercise care with respect to pedestrians and bicyclists."

Not that I want to retake that test, but I think some existing drivers could benefit from having to learn about this safety awareness as well.

My top priority as Governor is to keep New Yorkers safe, and it is common sense to make pedestrian and bike safety education mandatory for drivers. This law will help prevent crashes and save lives, and I thank my partners in the Assembly and Senate for passing this legislation to make our streets safer. - New York State Governor Kathy Hochul - July 2022

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