We just got back from a week in Manhattan. The closest we came to getting run over was by bicyclist running through red lights. In Texas a bicyclist has to follow the same laws as a motor vehicle. Is this not the case in NY?

Dennis, Texas

Ask Gothamist rides our bike all over the city, from Brooklyn up to the George Washington Bridge, into New Jersey and back. And when we do we stop at all - well, most - traffic lights and stop signs, follow the direction of traffic on one-way streets, yield to pedestrians and rarely, if ever, ride on the sidewalk. Why? Because it's the law. (And also because we are paranoid about being pinned under a yellowcab or being sued by Paris Hilton wannabes who would be better off picking up their toy dogs when they cross the street.)

A complete list of New York City traffic rules and regulations that apply to bicycles, begins clearly:

The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles. These provisions include all traffic controls for motor vehicles including pavement markings, signs and traffic signals.

So, just like in the heart of Texas, cyclists are supposed to behave like drivers. But then again, knowing how poorly many drivers behave it's not surprising that cyclists break the rules as well. Human nature cares not if you're on two wheels or four.

While the vast majority of cyclists that we know obey the rules, we are aware that the delivery guys who ride on the sidewalk, the messengers who come within inches of pedestrians and the recreational cyclists who ride cluelessly with headphones on (which is illegal, by the way) tend to give the rest of us a bad name.

For more on safe cycling and common-sense bike laws, visit Transportation Alternatives.