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Bicycle Safety on the Morningside Campus

Bicycle Safety on the Morningside Campus


Effective Date: May 13, 2010

Policy Statement

Columbia University encourages the use of non-motorized transportation but recognizes that it is necessary to establish campus guidelines for the safety of pedestrians, non-motorized device operators, and the campus population.

Reasons for the Policy

In order to promote the safety of bicycle riders and pedestrians, this policy describes guidelines that have been developed for the use of bicycles on campus. Individuals who ride bicycles must exercise sound judgment and courtesy at all times while operating bicycles. It is important that each rider act in a responsible manner so that others will not be hurt.

Primary Guidance to Which This Policy Responds

The policy responds to the University's policy on Bicycle Parking, which is found in the Administrative Policy Library.

Responsible University Office & Officer

The Vice President, Public Safety, is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of this policy. The University's Office of Public Safety, Morningside, is responsible for maintaining the policy.

Revision History

There is currently no revision history for this policy.

Who is Governed by This Policy

All faculty, staff and affiliates of the University and all visitors to the Morningside Campus.

Who Should Know This Policy

All faculty, staff and affiliates of the University and all visitors to them on the Morningside Campus.

Exclusions & Special Situations

The University's uniformed Public Safety Bicycle Patrol officers, in the performance of their duties, are exempt from any requirements in this policy, provided that they exercise due caution and discretion in the performance of their duties.

Policy Text

Individuals who ride bicycles must exercise sound judgment and courtesy at all times while operating their bicycles. It is important that each rider act in a responsible manner so that others will not be hurt. In order to promote the safety of bicycle riders and pedestrians, the following regulations apply to the use of bicycles on campus:

1. Bicyclists are responsible for the safe operation of their bicycles at all times.

2. Cyclists need to be considerate of pedestrians, and must use caution on or around all walkways. Pedestrians have the right of way at all times. Pedestrians are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, but it is the cyclist's responsibility to yield to a pedestrian. Cyclists should keep in mind that a pedestrian may be visually impaired, hearing impaired or infirm, and that pedestrians may make sudden, unpredictable movements. Accidental collisions may seriously injure pedestrians or other cyclists. A cyclist who strikes someone may be liable for personal injuries and property damage.

3. When riding and upon approaching pedestrians from behind, cyclists should alert them of their approach.

4. When walkways are congested, or when directed to do by a Public Safety Officer, cyclists should walk their bikes.

Note: Bicycles may be walked at any time on any campus walkway or roadway and it is usually prudent to do so.

5. Bicycles are prohibited from being ridden within University buildings.

6. Bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on non-paved areas such as grass and planting beds.

7. Bicycles should be parked and secured pursuant to the requirements of the University's Bicycle Parking Protocols.



Cyclists on public streets must follow N.Y.C. Traffic Rules and Regulations, the N.Y.C. Administrative Code and the N.Y.S. Vehicle and Traffic Law as they pertain to bicycles. Summaries of these applicable sections are included below.

NYC Department of Transportation

Division of Traffic Operations

55 Water Street, New York, NY 10041


Bicyclists have all the rights and are subject to all the duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. This includes obeying all traffic signals, regulating signs and pavement markings. Bicycle riding is permitted on arterial and local streets throughout the City even though no designated route exists. Bicycle riding is prohibited on the roadways of certain bridges, expressways and highways. Often a separate path exists on these facilities for bicycles.



§ 4-01 (b) - DefinitionsA bicycle is defined as every two- or three- wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a tandem or tricycle, except that it shall not include a device having solid tires and intended for use only on a sidewalk by pre-teenage children.

§ 4-02 (a) - Compliance with and Effect of Traffic RulesThe provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles and their operators.

§ 4-07 (c)(3) - Restrictions on crossing sidewalksNo driving bikes on sidewalks unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider is twelve years or younger. See also Administrative Code §19-176.

§ 4-12 (e) - Driver's hand on steering deviceDriver of a bicycle must have hand on steering device or handlebars.

§ 4-12 (h) - Reporting accidents by drivers of other than motor vehiclesRider involved in accident resulting in death or injury to person or damage to property must stop and give name, address, insurance information, etc., and must report to Police Department.

§ 4-12 (o)(1) - Use of RoadwaysBicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges and thruways, unless authorized by signs.

§ 4-12 (p) - Bicycles• Bicycle riders must use bike path/lane, if provided, except for access, safety, turns, etc.• Other vehicles shall not drive on or across bike lanes except for access, safety, turns, etc.• Bicyclists may use either side of a 40-foot wide one-way roadway.

§ 4-14 (c) - Restricted areas of parksNo person shall ride a bicycle in any park, except in places designated for bike riding; but persons may push bikes in single file to and from such places, except on beaches and boardwalks.



§ 102-a - Definition of Bicycle Lane

A portion of the roadway which has been designated by stripping, signing and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.

§ 102-b - Definition of Bicycle PathA path physically separated from motorized vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way and which is intended for the use of bicycles.

§ 375(24-a) - EquipmentRider cannot wear more than one earphone attached to radio, tape player or other audio device while riding.

§ 1231 - Traffic Laws Applicable to Persons Riding BicyclesBicyclists are granted all rights and subject to all duties applicable to operator of vehicle except where not applicable.

§ 1232 - Riding on bicycles• Must ride on a permanent seat;• Feet must be on pedals;• Bike must carry only number of persons for which it is designed and equipped.

§ 1233 - Clinging to vehiclesNo attaching bike or person to another vehicle being operated on the roadway.

§ 1234 - Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle lanes and bicycle paths• Must ride bicycle on the right side of the roadway (some conditions and exceptions apply - see also N.Y.C. Traffic Rules and Regulations Section 4-12 above);• No more than two abreast.

§ 1235 - Carrying articlesRider must keep at least one hand on handlebars when carrying packages.

§ 1236 - Lamps and other equipment• White headlight and red taillight must be used from dusk to dawn;• Bell or other audible signal (not whistle) required;• Working brakes required;• Reflective tires and/or other reflective devices required.

§ 1237 - Hand and arm signals• Bicyclists are required to use hand signals to turn left and right and to stop or decrease speed;• Rider can use either hand to signal a right turn.

§ 1238 - Helmets and carrying children• A child under age one is not permitted to ride on a bicycle.• A child one or more years of age but less than five years of age must wear an approved helmet and be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.• A child five or more years of age but less than fourteen years of age must wear an approved helmet.


§ 10-157 - Bicycles used for commercial purposes

• Business must be identified on the bike by name and identification number.• Operator must wear upper body apparel with business' name and operator's number on the back.• Business must provide operator with a helmet according to A.N.S.I. or Snell standards.• Operator shall wear a helmet provided by business.• Operator must carry and produce on demand a numbered ID card with operator's photo, name, home address and business' name, address and phone number.• Business must maintain log book that includes the name, identification number and place of residence of each bicycle operator; and the date of employment and discharge. The log book must also include information on daily trips, identifying the bicycle operator's identification number and name; and name and place of origin and destination.• Owner of business must file an annual report with the Police Department identifying the number of bicycles it owns and the identification number and identity of any employees.

§ 19-176 - Bicycles operation on sidewalks prohibitedBicycles ridden on sidewalks may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions. See also N.Y.C. Traffic Rules and Regulations §4-07 (c).