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Stiff penalties for reckless biking in Suffolk County, New York

In February of 2021, Suffolk County, New York legislators passed a law making significant changes to bicycle regulations within the county. They stated that these changes were necessary to curb a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents involving juvenile bicyclists that led to serious injury and death.

Major components

This law coincides with some existing New York State laws on bicycle operation, but it also creates several new violations. Under the reckless biking statute, it is now an offense to:

  • Trick ride, weave or zig-zag unless necessary
  • Ride with no hands on the handlebar
  • Ride with two or more persons on a bicycle unless equipped for such operation
  • Operate a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Ride with headphones or earphones in or on both ears
  • Numerous equipment violations

Potential penalties

Those found in violation of the statute face a fine of up to $250 for any of the moving violations, a written warning for equipment violations and possibly even impoundment of their bicycle. Parents of juveniles under 14 riding without a helmet face a fine of $50. If police find stop someone riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they could receive all of the same penalties as if the police arrested them for driving a vehicle while impaired.

The court will take no action against the impaired bicyclist’s driver’s license, but drunk biking accidents can cause injury to both vehicle occupants and pedestrians alike. Drunk driving accident attorneys are a valuable resource when it comes to determining whether an impaired bicyclist is liable for injuries sustained as a result of an accident.

If you or a loved one received injuries from an accident with a reckless or impaired bicyclist, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to assist you.