This explains why it isn't illiegal
New York bicycle rules
Note the exception listed in the first point:
§ 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
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