Blog Post Tells Harrowing Tale Of One Rider’s Personal Hell After Collision

 

bicycle-accident-hit

The Cycling In The South Bay blog had a great post recently that captures very well the agony/frustration/despair that often afflicts my clients who have suffered life-changing bike crashes.

The blog post looks at a January 2015 collision Deb Banks suffered when she was run down  by a drunk driver. She suffered multiple serious injuries:  a fractured pelvis, a huge gash on her arm , and most devastating, severe life-changing leg injuries.

Deb has endured five surgeries since then, and is still fighting for recovery every day. The driver was sentenced to nine years in jail. Sadly, Deb will suffer much longer than those nine years as she will have a lifetime of pain and hurdles to overcome on the road to recovery.

To understand all that she has endured, read the blog post here. It’s heartbreaking, and probably hard for many cyclists to read. But you should read it. Now. It could happen to any of us at any time we are riding.

The blog post has a couple important messages for all of us who ride bikes:

  • “First, it’s an explicit command for you to check your auto liability insurance and make sure that you have at least $500,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If your carrier won’t let you insure to that amount, change carriers.”
  • “Second, it’s a commentary on the trajectory of injury. We see Facebook posts of friends in the hospital, or gory aftermath photos, or black-and-white images of pins and bolts drilled into bone, and then we move on to the next item. It’s difficult to comprehend that after we’ve glanced at the photo, the person is still living with the injury, suffering from it, and in some cases is going to be dealing with it the rest of their life.”
  • “Third, this is the story of how one person deals with having her entire life upended as a result of one drunk driver. It’s not an easy story or a saccharine one, and it doesn’t have a happy ending because there is no ‘ending.’ There’s just a story about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and moving forward with what you’ve got left.”

The blog post writer concludes with some comments worth highlighting here:

  • “The real jail sentence has been the collateral life damage, and it’s something that every injured cyclist knows about intimately.”
  • Deb’s leg injury “requires constant daily care. It hurts all the time. It gets infected. She can’t swim, can’t bike, can barely walk, sleeps with her leg on a foam pad, and can’t sleep under the covers. In other words, her life has completely changed as she’s been thrust into the alt-universe of the catastrophically injured, i.e., those who carry massive disruptions to their daily life and emotional well-being along with the catastrophic physical injuries.”
  • “… If the ankle never mends, life today becomes a template for the rest of life, which means dealing with a leg that is permanently disabled.”
  • “One unexpected benefit to constantly struggling is empathy. Deb now ‘gets it’ in a profound way. However big her challenges are, she understands and empathizes with people who are in even bigger pain, in even more dire straits with no hope, ever, of recovery.”
  • “… She wants to prove that she can come back, that she can do it again, and then maybe she’ll be done with it. It’s occurred to her that cycling for hundreds of miles may not be her thing anymore, but if she does bow out, she’s vowed to do it on her terms, not on the terms of (driver) Gabriel Ray. ‘He doesn’t get to decide how I choose to live my life. He doesn’t.’”

Thanks for reading, and be sure to read the complete blog post!

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

Gear Up To See Washington By Bicycle! DC Cycling Concierge Offers Great Bike Tours

 

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Arnold Schwarzenegger with Jeff Miller of DC Cycling Concierge.

Jeff Miller, the former Executive Director of the national Alliance for Biking and Walking, and a recent consultant to the New York Bicycling Coalition (I am NYBC Board President), has come up with a cool business idea in Washington, D.C.: he runs bicycle tours of the nation’s capital!

What a great way to see all the beautiful monuments in Washington!

DC cyclingJeff’s new venture, DC Cycling Concierge, is just taking off but he’s already rubbed elbows with the rich, powerful and famous, like former California Gov. (and movie star) Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Here is what Jeff wrote in his blog about meeting Arnold:

“Yes, I got to be Arnold’s personal bike guide barely a month after my launch. It started with a call from a hotel concierge, asking my availability to take a VIP guest for a ride.

“Later that evening, I had arranged everything and took the governor for a ride around D.C. and several monuments he wanted to visit. It was pretty surreal, riding with someone so famous and watching the wave of reaction from people walking, biking, and driving around D.C. as we rolled by.

“From an article in the Washington Post to his posts on Instagram (with over 200,000 likes!), Facebook and Snapchat, it created a fun stir on social media.

Jeff Miller took the The Beghetto family of Italy to the Arts of Peace monument, which was made in Italy in 1950. It is on Lincoln Memorial Circle in West Potomac Park.

Jeff Miller took the the Beghetto family of Italy to the Arts of Peace monument, which was made in Italy in 1950. It is on Lincoln Memorial Circle in West Potomac Park.

“Halfway through our ride, I mentioned a slight detour option and the governor replied, ‘Maybe we can do that tomorrow.’

“And indeed, we went for another ride the next day with a trip to the Capitol that included an impromptu and personal tour of the Capitol Building by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.”

Jeff has already had guests from all over the country and world, he said. “Many are experiencing their first visit to DC. Others grew up here, but enjoy the convenience of having someone else handle the details, safety, and route.”

Take your own bike or Jeff will help you arrange a rental. So next time you are in Washington, check out the DC Cycling Concierge!

 

Thanks for reading,

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

Downstate Reporter Urges Better Safe Passing Law For Bicyclists

bicycle_commuters

The Journal News, a downstate newspaper that serves Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties, recently featured a story about bicycling accidents and deaths downstate, written by David McKay Wilson, a reporter, bicycling advocate and former board member for the Westchester Cycle Club. My hope is this story will help win over hearts and minds downstate about the importance of making our roads safer statewide for bicyclists! Albany, are you listening? It’s time to improve the state’s vague safe passing law!

David recently toured accident sites in the Lower Hudson Valley where bicyclists were killed and checked on cases involving motorists facing changes in bicyclists deaths downstate. What he found was the disposition of cases involving cyclists’ deaths varied dramatically.

David called me for comment and I had this to say in the story:

Attorney Jim Reed of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira, who represents cyclists injured on the road, said the disposition of cases depends on several factors: the aggressiveness of the police investigation and local prosecutors, as well as the existence of aggravating factors, such as drug or alcohol use by the driver.

“If there’s an aggravating factor, the prosecutor has more power to bring the hammer down,” said Reed, who also serves as president of the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide advocacy group. “If not, there are large deficiencies in New York’s law.”

Public outcry also has impact as well.

“If you are not a squeaky wheel, the police are moving on to their next collision or drug bust,” Reed said. “Having local advocates raise hell can help.”

David’s story makes some key points worth noting here:

  • There are more bike commuters downstate. NYC bicyclists are crossing the George Washington Bridge and riding north to Rockland County while more bike commuters are also going to work locally or riding to Metro-North train stations, destined for the city.
  • Bicycle commuting is on the rise nationally, growing by more than 62 percent from 2000 to 2013, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
  • In 2014, according to the state, 47 cyclists were killed statewide and 5,694 were injured. Nationally, 720 bicyclists were killed, up 4 percent from the year before, according to the Insurance Institute for National Highway Safety.
  • Among New York’s 47 fatalities, 11 resulted from drivers failing to grant the right-of-way to cyclists while nine were caused by driver inattention or distraction. Cyclist error was the contributing factor in 19 of the fatalities, according to the state report. In addition, 19 of the fatalities occurred at night – between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

David also wrote the following about the statewide drive for a better safe passing law, something I have lobbied for in Albany as the president of the NYBC:

Efforts in Albany in 2016 to strengthen New York’s Safe Passing Law, which cycling advocates say will give prosecutors stronger tools to enforce road sharing, failed to come for a vote in the state Assembly. The current law, which was passed in 2010, requires that motorists pass at a safe distance. The bill would require that motorists pass cyclists by at least three feet.

It passed in the Senate but failed to emerge from the Assembly Transportation Committee, chaired by Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester. A phone message to Gantt’s office was not returned.

Thanks for reading,

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

 

Are You Traveling To A Big City? New Study Shows City Bike Shares Are Very Safe

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The next time you’re in a big city with a bike-sharing program, and you’re worried about riding a shared bike on unfamiliar busy streets, remember a new study out that reports that bike sharing, which has seen rapid growth in the last 10  years, has not led to a death of any cyclists yet.

Using the metropolitan bike shares (like Citi Bikes in NYC or Hubway Bikes in Boston) is safe and fun! While many critics worried that city bike shares would be dangerous, the actual evidence from millions of rides from across the U.S, is that bike shares are very safe.

Bicycle safety experts have long known that the single biggest factor to increased bike safety is an increased number of bikes on the road because motorists become more aware of the presence of bikes, and bike sharing in cities once again proves that point.

bike_share1_750 foto 2Researchers found that bike-share riders tend to get into far fewer crashes than other cyclists, according to a report from the Mineta Transportation Institute, which looked at data from bike-share systems in Washington, D,C., San Francisco, and Minneapolis.

A Vox story on the report has some great links worth checking out, too.

Here is a summary of the study ….

Remember these numbers:

  1. Bike-sharing systems are in more than 90 cities and riders have taken more than 35 million trips.
  2. No deaths reported in bike sharing, while the overall estimated cycling fatality rate is 21 deaths per 100 million trips.

Among the study’s conclusions:

  • Design matters. Bike-share bikes are heavier and have wider tires, so they are built for rough use and potholes, a big source of accidents for cyclists.
  • The bikes have fewer gears, so riders can’t go very fast.
  • Their drum brakes perform better when it’s wet.
  • They are usually painted bright colors and feature flashing lights, so they are easier for drivers and others to see them.
  • Drivers are more alert and usually drive slower in congested city downtowns, so they are less likely to hit bicyclists.
  • Bike-sharing often attracts new and inexperienced riders, who are more likely to be cautious and alert.
  • Bike-sharing riders use helmets less than other riders. Some say drivers are more careful around cyclists without helmets.  With that said, I want to be clear that I ALWAYS recommend that everyone wear a helmet because helmets certainly do help in some situations and helmet-use sets a good example for children who are legally required to wear a helmet.

I recommend reading the full report.

Have you ever used a bike share? If you have, what do you think of the study’s conclusions? What was your experience like? Please share your comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

What To Do If Your Bike Is Stolen! Try Rejjee … And Other Advice From A Veteran Bicycle Law Lawyer

bike lock 4-4

There is nothing worse than having your beloved bicycle stolen.

If it is stolen, you want to do everything in your power to get it back. Have you registered your bike?

NYBC logoIf you haven’t already done it, go to Rejjee’s website or its mobile app and discover the smart and FREE way to manage all of your valuables. Rejjee has been selected by the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC), a state advocacy group for bicyclists (I am the president of the NYBC board), to be the group’s official bicycle registry to help reduce bike theft and increase the recovery of stolen bikes.

RejjeePlease take a moment to register your bike there now using the code NYBC and $3 will be donated to help NYBC’s mission – making New York State a safer, more accessible, and enjoyable state to ride your bike in.

Rejjee allows people to register an unlimited number of valuables, and it includes a real-time loss/theft reporting tool. The platform also includes a neighborhood lost and found!

Founded in 2014, Rejjee’s mission is to take $1 billion in stolen goods off the Internet.

Here is another option for bicyclists:

Bob Mionske

Bob Mionske

My friend Bob Mionske, a great bicycle law lawyer and member of the BikeLaw.com network, has a terrific website with great advice about keeping your bike safe and secure.

He offers this advice, in part, if your bike is stolen:

  • First, notify law enforcement by filing a stolen bike report. This is where your file documenting ownership of your bike will first be utilized — you will want to provide law enforcement with the bike’s serial number and a photo of the bike. (Do you have the serial number and a photo?)
  • Next, you should conduct your own search for the bike. Look on online sites, such as Craigslist and eBay. Be aware that thieves will sometimes steal a bike in one city and advertise it for sale in another city.
  • Bring a photo of the bike and make the rounds of the pawn shops and secondhand stores in your area. If a thief tries to sell your stolen bike to them, they may recognize the bike. If they have already bought the bike, the documentation you have filed, along with the stolen bike report, will be proof that the bike is yours, and you will be entitled to recover the bike through procedures established by state law—check with your local law enforcement agency for those procedures.
  • You should also make the rounds of the bike shops in your area. Thieves will sometimes attempt to sell stolen bikes to bike shops, especially if the shop sells used bikes.
  • Finally, check the police impound yard from time to time — your bike will end up there if it is recovered. Law enforcement should notify you, but just in case they’re not as diligent as you, it won’t hurt to look. Also, check the impound yard of your local transit agency — you’d be surprised how many bikes are left behind on buses.
  • If you do find your bike, notify law enforcement for assistance in recovering your bike. If law enforcement recovers your bike, they should notify you, based upon the stolen bike report you filed.

Bicycling.com also has some great advice worth reading, too. Check it out here.

The bottom line is: Protect your bicycle today. Register it with Rejjee or take a photo of the serial number and the bike!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

New Elmira-To-Big-Flats Trail Planned For Bicyclists! Here Is How To Get Involved, Says NY and PA Bicycle Law Lawyer

Chemung County and the City of Elmira want to build on the success of their Lackawanna Rail Trail (above and below) by building a path that links Elmira and Big Flats.

Chemung County and the City of Elmira want to build on the success of their Lackawanna Rail Trail (above and below) by building a path that links Elmira and Big Flats.

Twin Tiers bicyclists who have been seeking a safe bicycle route from downtown Elmira to the shopping areas in Big Flats can learn more and speak out starting Tuesday at one of two community meetings on a proposed bicycle path’s three routes.

Lackawanna Rail Trail 01Many people say they would love to ride their bikes but they are concerned about the dangers of riding on the road. (And no one wants to ride a bike on the Miracle Mile!) Dedicated bike trails give these people a safe, secure place to ride their bikes. Also, these trails are a wonderful place to teach children how to safely ride their bikes.

Of the three proposed routes, it is Route 3 that Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council transportation analyst Mike Perry told the Elmira Star-Gazette is the best and safest choice.

He’s right!

It takes bicyclists along David Street to Oakwood Avenue in Elmira Heights to Grand Central Avenue in Horseheads.

The first meeting is the Tuesday meeting of the Southern Tier Bicycle League at 3 p.m. at 400 E. Church St., in the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce at the Lake Street intersection.

Learn more about the proposals here.

If you miss Tuesday’s meeting, the transportation council’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meet at 10 a.m. April 15, also in the chamber offices.

The Elmira-Chemung Bicycle Pedestrian Trail 2035 Plan, a study finished a year ago, used community ideas to establish a network of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly routes.

Labella Associates mapped out the following routes to the Arnot Mall:

  • Route 1, the Miracle Mile, would cost $4,116,000 to build.

  • Route 2, which follows Madison Avenue, Lake Street and Main Street, would cost $849,000.

  • Route 3 would cost $793,000.

If Route 3 is selected, there will be a lot of work to be done. A railroad crossing in Elmira Heights would need work. A culvert on Upper Oakwood Avenue would have to be wider. Grand Central Avenue near Interstate 86 would need to be wider, too, as well as the shoulders on Sing Sing Road, Colonial Drive and Arnot Road.

Construction could begin as soon as sometime in 2017, transportation officials said.

I would encourage area bicyclists to get behind the project and learn more about it. A SAFE bike and pedestrian path connecting Big Flats and Elmira would benefit all parts of the county!

Thanks for reading — and please get involved by learning more about the options and speaking out!

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

Horrific NC Crash That Hurt 4 Bicyclists Is Exhibit A for Why We Need a 3-Foot Passing Law in NY

 

As President of the New York Bicycling Coalition, I am urging New York State residents to get involved to help save the lives of bicyclists by urging their state legislators to pass a three-foot safe passing law. The unenforceable law on the books now in New York State defines the passing distance only as a “safe distance,” which police say is difficult to enforce.carchex-3-feet

A horrific car/bike crash last weekend in Angier, N.C., is sadly the latest evidence that all states need the three-foot passing law.

What makes it even more sad for me personally is because one of the injured riders, Mike Dayton, is a friend of mine who I know through my work with BikeLaw.com.  Mike is one of the nicest guys I have ever met.  More importantly, he is one of the safest and most experienced riders I have ever met.  Despite that fact, as discussed in detail below, Mike is laying in a NC ICU right now with a bad head injury because he was mowed down from behind while riding in a line of four single-file riders.  Trust me, if this could happen to Mike, this could happen to any of us who enjoy riding our bikes.

Like New York, North Carolina is another state behind the times without a defined passing distance law.  If the driver in Mike’s case would have just given these riders 3′ of passing distance, Mike would be happy at work rather than in the ICU…….

You can read the full news reports here and here:

 

Long story short, 4 experienced bike riders who were riding single-file were mowed down from behind by a passing car. The driver, Donnie Marie Williams, told a TV station that when she saw the bicyclists, there was no room to move over because a vehicle was coming in the other direction. “It happened so quick,” she said.

Apparently, it never occurred to this driver that she could have avoided this tragedy had she simply slowed down and waited for the on-coming car to pass.  If NC had a 3′ passing law, and had this driver learned that she MUST ALWAYS permit at least 3′ of passing distance, this crash would have never occurred.

I know that simply changing the law won’t prevent all future bike crashes but I also know from what I have seen over the years with seatbelt use, DWI penalties, etc., a change in the law CAN dramatically change motorist behavior.

Passing a 3′ law is an important first step in changing motorist behavior when passing people who ride bikes.  If you agree, please take 2 minutes to email your legislator by using this easy-to-use form.

Thanks for reading — and please remember to contact your state legislators in New York!

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

Tell Albany We Need A Safe 3-Foot Passing Law NOW, Says NY and PA Bicycle Law Lawyer

It’s time for action.

When I was elected president of the board recently of the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC), a group that advocates for a safer New York State for bicyclists, I decided improving New York’s safe passing law would be at the top of my legislative agenda in Albany.

I need YOUR help (and it is real easy to help). Let me explain.

NYBC logoThe NYBC is urging a 3-foot safe passing law in New York to replace our ineffective current law, which only says that a car must pass at a “safe” distance but doesn’t give any guidance on what is a “safe” distance. Unfortunately, with such an ambiguous standard, many police and prosecutors take the position that any distance, even 6 inches, must have been “safe” if the car didn’t actually hit the cyclist, which is clearly ridiculous and very unsafe.

We need our state law to spell it out specifically for motorists and cyclists: that a minimum safe passing distance is 3 feet.

Many states say 3 feet is a safe passing distance, but Pennsylvania says it's 4 feet.

State Senator Tom O’Mara has agreed to sponsor the 3-foot passing distance amendment because he is dedicated to improving cycling safety for all New Yorkers.\

Now I need my fellow New Yorkers to join the fight.

First, please click on this link to send an email to your state legislators, asking them to co-sponsor or support the 3-foot passing law.

IN ADDITION, if you can spare a little more time, please schedule a visit with your legislator to ask them face-to-face to support this amendment – because it is the most effective way to really get a Senator or Assemblyman to support the proposed law.

Here are links to the state Senate and state Assembly so you can find your local legislators.

I have handled hundreds of bicycle accident cases in my almost 30 years as a lawyer. I have represented cyclists from all over the state, and I know all too well the dangers we all face every time we ride. It is my personal goal to see fewer fatalities and injuries, and I hope to achieve that goal while working hard on behalf of NYBC.

Thank you for helping to make our roads safer!

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

At Long Last, A Simple Law To Save Bicyclists’ Lives — Proposed 3-Foot Passing Law For NY!

If you could change just a few words in an existing law to make it safer for every person in NY to ride their bikes, wouldn’t you do it?

If the change in the law wouldn’t cost a penny but would save millions of dollars a year, wouldn’t you do it?

Of course you would!

NYBC logoAs President of the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC), I am pleased to announce that NYBC has secured support in both the New York State Assembly and Senate for a new 3-foot passing law in NY. Here is the Senate and Assembly bills.

State Sen. Tom O'Mara.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara.

My personal thanks to New York Senator Tom O’Mara, who agreed to be the lead sponsor for this important law in the Senate, and to Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who agreed to co-sponsor the Assembly bill. It is so nice to know our local legislators truly care about cycling safety in NY.

But now comes the hard part, and this is where we can use your help. We need concerned, caring bicyclists to reach out to their local legislators to ask that they please support this important law.  We need people to visit, write and email their legislators. We need legislators across NY to know about this important law and to know it matters to all NY cyclists.

NYBC will be teaching its members across the state how to support this new law. If you are interested in helping this effort, please join NYBC today.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Memberships start at just $35 but if you can’t swing that amount, email me at [email protected] and I will get you on the NYBC mailing list so your voice can be heard.

Let’s bring New York State law into the 21st century. Let’s save lives and save money. Let’s send a message that New York is serious about creating a safe and shared road system throughout our great state!

Thanks for getting involved,

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

2017 Bike Summit Tops My Agenda As New President Of NYBC

 

Jim on bike

I am very excited to be the new president of the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide bike advocacy group.  I have an aggressive agenda for the next year or two to grow the organization – we currently have 700 members – and make our voice louder in Albany and across the state. I will be meeting with bicyclists across the state this year as I prepare for a statewide Summit in 2017.

I recently sat down with Mike Dayton from BikeLaw for an interview to discuss my plans. Check out his blog for the full interview, but here a few excerpts:

BIKE LAW: Tell us about your objectives for NYBC.

JIM: NYBC is co-sponsor of a 500-mile ride across Upstate New York called the Great Big FANY Ride. It comes through the Finger Lakes, but I would really like to have a Finger Lakes Ride that would also be a weeklong event. Also, we currently don’t have a statewide bike summit, and we are looking at putting one together in 2017. In 2016, we’re putting together regional summits.

BIKE LAW: As a bike lawyer, is there a traffic law you would most like to see changed in New York?

JIM: Actually, there are two laws I’d change right now if I could. One is the three-foot passing law. Right now, New York has a passing law that says vehicles must pass at a safe distance. Unfortunately, law enforcement interprets that to mean if you didn’t get hit, it must have been safe. So we are now trying to get a defined distance passing law of three feet. We have been lucky to get great sponsors in the Assembly and the Senate to push that change. We are optimistic that we will be successful. The other law I’d like to address concerns E-bikes. Right now, E-bikes are technically illegal in New York. We are working with PeopleForBikes on a definition of E-bikes so that they have a legal status in New York. Right now, we have different definitions of motorcycle, moped, and motor-propelled bicycles. E-bikes don’t really fit into any of those categories.

BIKE LAW: Are there any impediments to safe cycling in New York?

JIM: There are a number of impediments. We have the biggest city in the country where there is not enough established infrastructure. It can be difficult to cycle in New York City and other large cities. But there is tremendous change going on right now and tremendous advocacy. I’d point to Rochester and Buffalo as examples. In Rochester, there is the Rochester Cycling Alliance that does great work. In Buffalo, there’s a similar group called Go Bike Buffalo that is also doing excellent work. So there have been great strides made to improve infrastructure.

BIKE LAW: What will it take to get more New Yorkers on bikes?

JIM: One of the things we know in that regard is that people need to perceive cycling as safe. At the moment, for many people there is a perception that it’s not safe to ride on the public streets. Scott MacRae, a doctor and president of the Rochester Cycling Alliance, is a brilliant guy who did a recent article that analyzed empirical data that showed cycling improves your quality of life to a degree much greater than the risks associated with it. His point is that you can’t deny there are risks involved but the benefits far outweigh them. So you are far off better cycling.

Check out more of this interview at Bike Law Blog, and thanks for reading

Jim

James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com