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What obligations do motorists, cyclists have on the roadway?

Previously, we began speaking about the issue of roadway sharing between cyclists and motorists. As we noted, both motorists and cyclists have the right to be on the road and both have the duty to respect one another's rights and follow all traffic laws.

One important law impacting motorist-cyclist interactions on the road is New York's Safe Passing Law, which, in its current form, requires motorists to pass at a "safe distance" from cyclists. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring a stricter standard, specifically at least three feet. It remains to be seen how far that proposal will go. 

For their part, cyclists are required to obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and may be ticketed for failing to do so. Cyclists are allowed to shared the road on most public highways, but are not allows to share interstate highways or expressways. Cyclists must ride in the flow of traffic, and must use bike lanes when available. Cyclists have the option to use bike paths when available, but they are not required to do so. Cyclists who choose to use the road are required to ride on the shoulder or near the edge or curb of the road, though they are permitted to move further left to avoid hazards.

When a cyclist is harmed in a roadway accident, it is important that he or she works with an experienced advocate to look at the facts of the case and determine where liability falls. Even in cases where a cyclist may have been partially at fault for the accident, it is still possible for the cyclist to receive damages for his or her injuries. We'll look more at this issue in a future post.

Source: New York State Governor's Safety Committee, "Bicycle and Wheel Sport Safety," Accessed August 2, 2016.