Author Archives: JimReed

Local CX Star Danny Timmerman 5th in Cyclocross Nationals Pro Division

Dan Timmerman, Richard Sachs CX Team.  Photo by Carlos Alejandro

Dan Timmerman, Richard Sachs CX Team. Photo by Carlos Alejandro

My apologies to local cycling hero Danny Timmerman for my late congratulations on his incredibly impressive 5th place finish in the Pro division of the Cyclocross Nationals!  To be 5th in the nation among the very best professional racers is an amazing accomplishment.

What makes Dan’s accomplishment even more impressive is that less than a year ago he underwent vascular surgery to repair a kinked blood vessel in his hip.  To come back so quickly from such a disabling ailment and surgery is a testament to Dan’s hard work and epic cycling talent.

I was hoping to watch Dan races at CX Nationals which were held in Austin, TX the same weekend I was in Austin for the Lawyers Summit.  Unfortunately, due to heavy rains, the Sunday races were postponed until Monday and I wasn’t able to see the race because my flights were already booked for Sunday evening.  Bummer!  But my inconvenience pales in comparison to the inconvenience caused to the racers who had planned/peaked for a Sunday race only to learn at the very last minute that they wouldn’t be able to race until Monday.  It would be a massive understatement to say that there were a lot of very unhappy racers in Austin on that soggy Sunday morning as the race postponement was announced…..

Dan lives just outside of Trumansburg, NY in the scenic Finger Lakes.  As a local rider, it’s not unusual to see Dan putting in loooonnnnngggg training rides all over the steep hillsides that form the glacial Finger Lakes.  Dan and his wife Sam live “off the grid” and in the off-season Dan enjoys learning (and living!) the primitive arts of food gathering/growing, raising animals, making clothing/furniture.  You can read Dan’s full bio here.

Once again, congratulations to Dan on his comeback from surgery and his incredibly successful cyclocross season!

Thanks for reading,


Jim Reed, NY & PA Bike Crash Lawyer
[email protected]

PS  Here is a little bike porn– Dan’s Richard Sach’s “real steel” CX bike– beautiful!

Steel is Real!  Danny T's Richard Sachs CX Bike

Steel is Real! Danny T’s Richard Sachs CX Bike

A Riding Friend Who Will Be Missed……

The Upstate NY cycling community lost a hero Saturday.

My friend and occasional riding companion Mark Sheehan died Saturday.  He was just 64 years old.  He died while out on a bike ride when apparently he suffered a heart attack and died before he hit the ground.

Mark died WAY too young.  I am still in disbelief because Mark was so fit, so strong….it just doesn’t seem possible that he could have died.  Heck, Mark was a guy who won the NY State Powerlifting Championships when he was 50 years old– the Open division, NOT the Master’s division.

Mark was a truly tough guy.  He was a guy who rode 750 mile continuous bike rides (Paris-Brest-Paris, Boston-Montreal-Boston) like they were walks in the park.  He was a guy who told you he couldn’t climb hills — he couldn’t!  🙂 — but then he would power through hill after hill at his steady, strong pace.

As tough as Mark was, he was also the nicest guy you would ever want to know.  He was a man of few words but those words were always carefully chosen and delivered with a dry sense of humor that would leave you in stitches.

Here is an email I sent to our local riding group this morning:

Yesterday, my wife Meg and I were out for a cold, wet ride on the tandem when I got a text from my good friend Paul Kingsbury:  “Call me when you have a minute, sad news.”  Instantly, I thought, oh no, one of his parents died.  I felt all weak and knew that I didn’t want to call until the ride was over and I could handle the news I feared he would deliver.

Back at home, I called Paul and he told me the sad news that Mark Sheehan died.  It took my breath away.

“Not Mark Sheehan, not the toughest guy I know, not the guy who won the NY State Open Powerlifting Championships at age 50 (!), not the guy who grunted through PBP and BMB no matter how bad the weather, not the guy who NEVER, EVER, failed to finish anything he started.”

I was in total disbelief and as I went through my day yesterday, I often thought of Mark.  I thought of how it sucked that he died at just 64.  I thought of how it sucked that he didn’t really get any time to enjoy the retirement he worked so hard for.  I thought of how it sucked that Betty and his family were deprived of a truly great guy.

And then I thought, damn, he died while out riding his bike.  He died while doing what he loved.  He died quickly and without suffering….. 

He died the way I hope to die. 

God speed my friend, God speed.


“My Bike Helmet Died to Save a Life” says NY Bike Accident Lawyer

Crushed bike helmet photo from

Last night, a helmet I loaned to a new bicycling friend who was visiting the Elmira/Corning area saved his life.  No exaggeration.  I really think this helmet saved his life.

My crushed and bloody helmet died to save a life.

This true story has very important safety lessons for all cyclists.  I urge you to follow along for two important safety tips ALL cyclists should follow.

The night began innocently enough…..

As is our Tuesday and Thursday custom, our local cycling friends gather at Kingsbury’s Cyclery, Elmira, NY for a group ride.  This was an especially festive night because there were two brand new tandems out for their first group ride so there was a champagne “blessing of the fleet” by Paul Kingsbury, our local bike shop owner.  There was a new face in the crowd, a fellow named Matt who was from Georgia but in the area for a couple weeks on a work assignment.  Matt didn’t have a helmet so I loaned him my extra helmet.  Little did I know that this simple loan would serve such an important role.

Spirits were high as we rode out to Lattabrook Road for a brisk 2 mile climb before descending to a beautiful set of rolling hills through Breesport and North Chemung.  With a ripping tailwind, the large group of riders started to splinter into smaller groups as the hills took their toll on tired legs.  I was in a front group so I didn’t personally see what happened behind me but apparently Matt was riding alone between the front group and a second group when he somehow lost control of his bike and crashed hard onto the road.  As the second group approached, Matt was unconscious in the middle of the road.  The other riders quickly rendered aid to Matt as he floated in and out of consciousness.  911 was called and an ambulance soon arrived.

But there was a BIG PROBLEM…..

No one knew Matt’s last name…..  No one knew if he had any allergies or medical issues…..  No one knew an emergency # for Matt…….

Matt was whisked away to the hospital while we all racked our brains to figure out how to help.  Someone remembered Matt’s last name was on a decal on his bike.  I remembered that Matt told me he worked for Corning, Inc. and rode bikes with another cyclist I knew.  I emailed that cyclist while one of our bike riding friends who is a police officer called Corning, Inc. Security to alert them one of their employees was injured.  Slowly but surely we learned the information necessary to alert Matt’s wife.

So this unfortunate bike accident teaches at least TWO IMPORTANT SAFETY LESSONS FOR ALL BICYCLISTS:


As to the ID, there are lots of great ways to carry an ID:

  • Wear a RoadID– check them out at
  • Make your own ID.  Put all your relevant contact and medical info on a small card, laminate it, and carry it in your pocket.  Be smart like my buddy Paul Kingsbury and tie a bright ribbon to your ID and let that ribbon dangle out of your jersey pocket so hopefully medical personnel or your friends will be able to easily find it.
  • Carry your cellphone and put an ICE (in case of emergency # in your Contacts).  On my iPhone, I use an app called CloseCall that lets you save an emergency # to your startup screen.

I hope this sad bike accident is a reminder to all of us to be safe when out riding our bikes……

Thanks, Jim
PS  Thankfully, it appears that Matt will be OK.  He suffered a broken facial bone, a concussion and nasty road rash.  So glad he was wearing a helmet or this story might have ended much more sadly……..
James B. Reed
NY & PA Bicycle Accident Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)

NY Bike Accident Lawyer Recommends An Important Spring “Tune-Up” for All Bicyclists

Spring Biking Returns to Upstate NY!

Spring has finally sprung in Upstate NY and I know that the cyclists in my area (Elmira/Corning/Ithaca/Rochester) are loving the warmer weather.  While there are LOTS of things we should be attending to as we start a new season, and I will be blogging about those later, I wanted to tackle one of the most important tips I can possibly offer to my bicycling friends:


I know this isn’t nearly as much fun as buying a new bike or adding some hot new components, but the failure to have the proper coverage on your CAR can dramatically impact the amount of insurance coverage you will have when you are riding your BIKE.   You may be asking:  Why does my car insurance coverage affect me when I am riding my bike?  The short answer is that you CAN receive coverage from your car insurance if you get hurt by another car while riding your bike.  So, the key is to make sure you have the right coverage on your car.

Below I am posting an email exchange between myself and one of the riders in our local clubs (  The exchange is somewhat long but well worth reading for every cyclist.


Glad to respond to your request to repost this info for our new members because I do think that it is critically important that ALL CYCLISTS check their auto insurance policies to make sure they have AT LEAST $250,000 (better yet, $500,000) of SUM (Supplemental Underinsured Motorist) coverage.

This is a complicated subject but the Reader’s Digest version is that this is coverage from your own insurance company that covers you when you get hit by some woodchuck (that’s a nice legal term for “uninsured dirtbag”) who has no insurance or only minimal coverage.  Adding additional SUM coverage is very cheap and provides LOTS more protection so it truly is a no-brainer that you should have this coverage.  I have represented many injured cyclists whose recoveries have been dramatically increased because they had the foresight to purchase this coverage.

If after reading the info below, you still aren’t sure about your coverage or what you should do, just email me and I will be happy to take a look at your policy and offer some advice.  And, NO, it won’t cost you a penny!  So who ever said a lawyer wouldn’t give free advice?  J

Thanks, Jim



What SUM coverage provides is coverage from your own insurance carrier if you have the bad luck to be injured by someone who has no insurance (uninsured) or insufficient insurance (underinsured).

In NY, you can have SUM coverage up to the amount of your Liability coverage.  Liability coverage is the coverage you are required to have to protect someone else you might accidentally hurt.

In NY, you are only required to have liability coverage of $25,000, but I urge EVERYONE to have minimum liability coverage of at least $250,000 (better yet, $500,000).

Why so much coverage?  Two reasons:

1.      Having liability limits of $250,000 permits you to also buy SUM limits of $250,000.  It is that SUM coverage you need to protect YOU.

2.      None of us likes paying for insurance but the interesting thing about insurance is that you pay a lot for the first amount of coverage but not much more as you add additional coverage.   What this means, is that you can buy a whole lot more protection for not a whole lot more money.  I had my agent run the #’s for increasing liability and SUM from $25,000 to $250,000 and the annual cost was only $62 more (only $5 more per month!).  Of course, your costs may vary but it is certainly worth looking in to with your own agent.

Why is SUM coverage important to cyclists?  Because it applies not only when you are driving your car but also if you get hit by a car while riding your bike! So if you get hit by a car with no insurance and you have SUM coverage of $250,000, that means you can recover up to $250,000 from your own insurance carrier.  Sure makes those few extra $ that you spent for SUM coverage look like a smart buy, eh?


Because I appreciate that trying to figure out your insurance coverage is like trying to memorize pi to the 100th digit, and because I can generally review a policy very quickly because I know what I am looking for, I am willing to review your insurance coverage FOR FREE.  I know, you will all be shocked by the idea of a lawyer doing anything for free but that’s how much I love cyclists! J

Seriously, if you want to scan the Declaration pages from your car insurance policy (that is the page or two that recites all of your coverages and the amounts of premium you pay for those coverages) and E-mail them to me at [email protected], I will be happy to take a quick look and give you my recommendation.  If you don’t have a scanner, you can fax them to me at (607) 398-7947 but make sure you give me your E-mail address for response.

And no, don’t worry, I will not share your info with anyone else and I sure as heck won’t give your info to any insurance agent.

NY Bike Accident Victim Justly Gets $6 MILLION Plus In Jury Verdict

I just read of a great jury verdict on behalf of an injured bicyclist. I am very happy for this bike accident victim because I know all too well the HUGE medical expenses and other financial damage suffered by a badly injured cyclist.

I was also pleased to see that the jury rejected the defense argument that the bicyclist was at fault in causing the collision. I am so sick and tired of the lame “blame the victim” defense that it is gratifying to see juries reject this nonsense.  In this case, the defendant ran a red light AND was speeding and he wants to blame the cyclist?  Yeeesh!

Here’s the full story on the recent verdict:

New York Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Results in $6.125M Verdict

A New York jury has awarded $6 million to a restaurant deliveryman, who was run down on his bike by a rental car.

The personal injury lawsuit was filed in Kings County Brooklyn Supreme Court by Jing Xue Jiang, 26, who was struck on June 4, 2005. The vehicle that struck Jiang was being driven by Jamaal Freeman and was rented from Dollar Rent a Car and Rental Car Finance Corp. The bicycle accident lawsuit named all three as defendants.

According to the complaint, Freeman ran a red light at the intersection of Halsey Street and Lewis Avenue and Brooklyn, striking Jiang while he was on his bicycle. The lawsuit alleged that Freeman was speeding at the time.

Jiang suffered multiple fractures to his vertebrae, left leg, right forearm and also suffered a concussion and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was hospitalized for 14 days, underwent four weeks of physical therapy and was out of work for six months as a result of his injuries. He allegedly suffers residual impairment of his cognitive functions due to the swelling of the brain caused by the accident.

Defense attorneys admitted that Freeman was negligent, but also argued that Jiang could have avoided the accident and was thus partially responsible.

The jury rejected that argument and found the defendants fully liable for Jiang’s injuries. The jury awarded Jiang $6 million for past, present and future pain and suffering, and $125,000 for future medical expenses.

Thanks, Jim


James B. Reed

NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

Mailto: [email protected]

Office: (607)733-8866

Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)


Blogs: and

NY Bicycle Accident Lawyer Discusses Great Winter Riding Tips

Bicycles in the snow
Image via Wikipedia

As a bike accident lawyer who loves riding year round despite the fact that I live in Upstate NY where the winters can be BRUTAL, I have learned many tricks over the years to make winter riding not just tolerable, but actually enjoyable.  I was just thinking about putting together a blog post with some of my tips when I received an email (pasted below) from the great folks at (makers of PowerTap powermeters, trainers, etc.) with a super article on Conquering Cold Weather Riding.  And then as fate would have it, one of our local riders posted his own set of tips for winter route selection that I also thought was great:

1.  Choose long, steady climbs.  That way your generating heat for a long time.

2.  Choose steep, fast descents.  That gets the chilling over quickly.

3.  Choose south facing descents.  That minimizes the chance of running into patches of ice and snow when going fast downhill.

4.  Expect invisible ice, in the form of condensing frost, on any road surface near a north facing, snow covered slope.

5.  Anything that looks wet has a high likelihood of being ice.

I hope you all benefit from these tips and I wish everyone a safe and warm Thanksgiving holiday

Thanks, Jim
James B. Reed
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)

Conquering Cold Weather Riding from

Whether you’re maintaining form for upcoming cyclocross races, rolling out some valuable base miles, or simply trying to burn off the calories from holiday goodies, riding outside when the temperature drops can be tricky. But, getting outside to ride once or twice a week can be a great way to clear your mind and get a great workout. If you prepare correctly, you will stay warm, safe, and most importantly, have fun. We compiled a list of tips from our in-house experts for riding outside in the winter.

1. Dress in Layers

  • Wear clothing you can peel away if needed. Three or four layers is ideal – under-shirt, thermal jersey, a vest (lightweight or thermal, depending on weather), and maybe a jacket.
  • Leg and arm warmers are easy to remove and put in your jersey pocket if it warms up.
  • Use a water wicking layer on the base (active wear or wool) and then go into more wind/wet protection on the outer layers.

2. Protect Your Extremities

Feet and hands can be difficult to keep warm; experiment to figure out what works best for you.

  • Wear good gloves on your hands and booties on your feet.
  • If your hands get easily cold, try lobster gloves.  They keep your fingers just as warm as mittens but provide dexterity to brake and shift.
  • Waterproof, windproof layers are critical.
  • Bring an extra pair of gloves along to switch the wet ones out with dry part way through the ride.
  • If it’s really cold or your feet get easily cold, wear winter riding shoes, shoe covers, wool socks and stick-on foot warmers. The foot warmers are air-flow activated, so these usually work better if you replace the shoe covers with them.
  • Here’s a tip for cold feet that one of our experts thought would never help, until he tried it himself. Take the sole out of your shoe and trace it out on a cereal box; put the cut-out in your shoe with the sole on top of that. It keeps your feet a lot warmer paired with a good pair of booties and some wool socks.

3. Minimize Exposed Skin

Do the best you can to cover all your exposed skin.

  • A balaclava or handkerchief can cover the lower half of your face. However, be cautious with items that cover your mouth. Breathing into things makes them wet, and wet items freeze to ice quickly on a bicycle. Covering the chin instead of the mouth will often keep you warmer than covering your mouth and making your face wet. It will also make breathing easier and more enjoyable.
  • If it’s really cold, you can use Vaseline to cover the skin on your face to avoid frostbite, although this is for extreme temps only.

4. Regulate Heat

  • Some outerwear comes with zippers. Zippers easily open or close to regulate heat as needed. Do not get sweaty; if you are warm, crack open the zipper to keep just a little cool; this will also motivate you to ride a bit harder.
  • If your outerwear doesn’t have zippers, here’s a tip: Tucking a shirt into your riding pants/tights holds heat in. Untucking a shirt from pants/tights allows air to move through and cool you down. This is a good way to adjust for varying temperatures during a ride.

5. Invest in Some Key Gear

Invest in a few pieces of key clothing. This is key. Better clothes are more comfortable. Not just better fitting, but they also regulate your body’s temperature better. By using materials that not only block cold air, they wick moisture from your skin. They’ll keep you drier, which in turn keeps you warmer.

  • Look for Windblock and wool; it’s great at adjusting to changing temperatures.
  • Most of the clothing you already own for Spring and Fall cycling can be used as layering pieces for winter riding. However, two good pieces to splurge on for cold weather riding are thermal tights (preferably bibs with a chamois), and a thermal jacket or jersey.

6. Don’t Over Dress

  • It’s better to be a little cool when you start riding than soaking wet from sweating halfway through your ride. Your body will warm up as you continue riding, so after a few miles, you should be warmer and more comfortable.
  • Over dressing can be as bad / dangerous as under dressing. If over dressed and you sweat too much, you will soak all your clothes through and then none of them become effective to keep you warm. A rule of thumb is to dress so you are cool when getting on the bike and then ride to warm up.

7. Consider Your Helmet

  • Make sure your helmet still fits properly with a hat underneath. If it doesn’t, purchasing a larger helmet or thinner hat is recommended. Skullcaps are thin and generally fit under helmets, but make sure they cover your ears.
  • If more insulation is required, BMX helmets are inexpensive, and their lack of ventilation can be beneficial in the cold.
  • Ski helmets also make great winter cycling helmets; they already have the ear covers on them and are extremely warm.

8. Plan Carefully

Be prepared, weather can change quickly this time of year.

  • Check the weather pre ride.
  • Plan your ride with short-cuts to get home; if the weather changes, if you are over or under dressed, or if you have a mechanical, you want to make sure you can get home quickly.
  • Plan shorter distance rides if it is snowing – snow makes riding much more difficult and slow going. One of our experts points out: “A 20 mile loop that I ride year-round will take me under 1 hour in the summer but can stretch out to 2 hours in the winter pretty easily.”
  • Ride a little harder than normal to begin with to warm up quickly.
  • Try not to stop riding once you’ve started; if you’ve started sweating at all, you’ll get cold FAST once you stop.

9. Stay Hydrated

  • In colder temps, it’s very easy to forget to drink, and you can get dehydrated quickly. Even though it is cold out, your body still needs fluids.
  • If it is below freezing, add salt to water to keep it liquid. Use a drink mix like Gatorade or Nuun to keep your water from freezing.
  • Put a second water bottle of HOT water in your back jersey pocket as you leave to keep you initially warm. Also the body heat will keep that one liquid throughout the ride.

10. Stay Visible

Dress with bright colors and flashing lights. Usually on gloomy days a blinking light will show up in the middle of the day. Motorists are less likely to look for cyclists in the winter, so making a bold statement you are on the road will keep you from getting hit.

11. Prepare Your Bike

  • Keep bike maintenance up to date. You don’t want to get stuck on the road trying to fix a mechanical.
  • Keep flats to a minimum with training tires that have extra flat protection.
  • Use fenders. Salted roads are consistently wet down to 0 degrees.

12. Master Ice and Snow

If the climate where you live is snowy, keep these additional tips in mind.

  • Ride platform pedals instead of clip-ins during the snowy and extra cold months. If need be you can put your foot down faster if you lose balance, and you can wear thicker, warmer boots.
  • Be prepared to crash – it is going to happen, so don’t take your nice bike out unless you are looking for an excuse to upgrade come Spring. Lots of layers sometimes help cushion the fall.
  • Be able to get off your bike fast – crashing on ice is much faster than crashing on pavement or dirt, there is no skidding and then falling. You are just riding along one second, and literally the next second you hit the ground and are sliding on the ice. Some people use Pam or other cooking oils on their cleats/pedals for faster release.

Manned with these tips, you should be able to ride when it’s in the 40’s, 30’s, 20’s (degrees Fahrenheit), and even colder, and you can extend your outdoor riding season into the winter.

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Get iWrecked, the FREE iPhone App that Helps Bicyclists After an Accident

The app iWrecked has been called the original auto accident app for the iPhone.

OK, if you’re thinking “Why would I want an accident app?” I can tell you.

IWrecked is an invaluable tool for recording essential details after a crash. It’s absolutely FREE and from my perspective(s) – as a personal injury lawyer, an avid bicyclist and bike accident attorney and an everyday driver – this app is something everybody with an iPhone (or one of the new iPod Touch w/cameras) should have.

I’m using this app on my own iPhone and I thought it would be a good idea to spread the word on the NY Injury Law Blog and the NY Bike Accident Blog. I heard about this app via The Chicago Bicycle Advocate by Brendan Kevenides (“Cool iPhone App Can Help Bicyclists After A Crash”).

Basically, iWrecked can help in two ways – recording information about an accident and getting help after an accident. According to the description by iWrecked makers Vurgood Applications, the app is a resource for recording everything you need to after a wreck.

“Take unlimited photos of the damage and accident scene….generate a detailed, professional-looking PDF accident report with images, which you can send directly from the app to your insurance company.”

Wow, that’s two sentences describing would be a tremendous hassle without iWrecked to prompt you to get the information you need, then sort and store it, and make a report. Here are some more features:

  • detailed accident log and history
  • unlimited photos from the device camera or imported from photo library
  • a PDF accident report with images to preview and send
  • listings of nearby taxi and/or towing companies to assist you
  • emergency numbers (911) with the press of a button
  • unlimited vehicle information and photos in a log
  • speed-dial call buttons to set for the insurance company, other driver and more

You can see a video of iWrecked in action on in this post (embedded above). Check it out.

No bicyclist expects to be in an accident, yet accidents happen every day. Why not be prepared – especially since it’s FREE!

Thanks for reading,


James B. Reed
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: [email protected]
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: and

Elmira Event Introduces Kids to the Fun of Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a fantastic activity for kids – it’s exciting, active, contributes to an appreciation of nature, and we can only hope! an ongoing interest in bicycling.

An upcoming local event presents the perfect opportunity to introduce children to the sport: Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at Pirozzolo Park, by the Elmira Town Hall. For about 2 and a half hours, children will learn about mountain biking safety from experienced riders and then take a fun ride along the Chemung River.

The event is sponsored by the Finger Lakes Mountain Bike Club, and the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed.

The event was created by the International Mountain Biking Association to not only pass on a love of bicycling to a new generation, but to honor the memory of young mountain biker Jack Doub. The teenager from North Carolina was very passionate about the sport but tragically, he passed away in 2002. This event, now at the sixth annual mark, is one of the ways the IMBA encourages kids to have the same passion for the sport of mountain biking as young Jack did.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day stresses safety while the kids have a great time. Kids will learn about responsible riding habits, equipment, and good manners on the Chemung River Trails they’ll be riding.

Parents are welcome to join in, but chaperones and trail guides will be with the children at all times. After the ride, refreshments will be served at Pirozzolo Park while the kids and guides get to recap the experience.

What kids need to participate in Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day:

  • An off-road capable bicycle
  • A water bottle to get rehydrated along the way.
  • A waiver signed by all participants and parents before the ride.
  • A helmet. Helmets are mandatory to participate in this event.

If you don’t have a helmet, the Finger Lakes Mountain Bike Club may have one for you or your child to use. Just contact the club to find out.

Let me recap the details:

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day
10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 2
Pirozzolo Park, West Elmira Town Hall, 1208 W. Water St. Elmira, NY 14905

Bring a bike, Wear a helmet, and grab a water bottle.

Use this link to download an IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking registration form.

Thanks for reading, ride safely – and teach your kids to ride safely too!

– Jim


James B. Reed

NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

Mailto: [email protected]

Office: (607)733-8866

Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)


Blogs: and


A post on the Finger Lake Cycling Club (FLCC) listserv raised an interesting question:  Is it a violation of NY Vehicle and Traffic Law for one bicyclist to “draft” another cyclist?

The suggestion was that drafting violates NY Vehicle & Traffic Law §1129 regarding “Following Too Closely”.

Below I pasted the full background of the question and the full text of the law but let me take a stab at answering the question.

My answer is “Technically, yes, it is arguable that drafting DOES violate NY law if doing so results in a collision”.

Sounds like a lawyer answer, eh?  Well, I follow the logic of Andrejs Ozolins from FLCC, a non-lawyer, but very smart and thoughtful guy who I think logically answered the question when he said that he felt that drafting constituted the ticketable offense of Following Too Closely:

“Seems fair enough — applying the same criteria as for motor vehicles.  Cars can draft and ride in tight bunches in the special circumstances of racing, but not when being used as transportation vehicles on public roads. In general, I’m glad for any instance where people (especially the police) treat bicycles as equal, legitimate users of the roads.”

And that’s the rub (or not, depending on your perspective)—under NY law, with limited exceptions, bicycles are treated like any other vehicle which means that they enjoy the privilege of being able to use the road like any other vehicle BUT it also means bicycles must obey the NY Vehicle and Traffic laws.  It is the old adage of “with the privilege comes the responsibility”.

So, from my perspective, a few points emerge:

  • The language of the law is important:  “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not  follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and  the  traffic  upon and the condition of the highway”.
  • So, you can draft legally so long as you do so in a “reasonable and prudent” manner. That means good riding skills which means you are legally required to adjust your speed, spacing and position behind the bike you are following to take in to consideration the road conditions you are encountering.
  • But you would be violating the law if you failed to ride in a “reasonable and prudent” manner by overlapping wheels, failing to allow enough distance between you and the rider you were following,  or when failing to reduce your speed when conditions required.

Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know your thoughts on this issue in the Comments below,



James B. Reed

NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

Mailto: j[email protected]

Office: (607)733-8866

Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)


Blogs: and


As I was pursuing my other hobby this morning (volunteer EMS) I was called to a cycling accident where a rider had touched wheels with another rider (as a consequence of drafting) and subsequently crashed.

As I was helping out in the back of the ambulance, the deputy came over to talk to the injured rider to inform him that since (my paraphrasing, here)

1) NYS law requires bicycles to conform to NYS V&T law unless otherwise stated in the regs, and

2) Following too closely is a V&T infraction, then it follows that

3) drafting a bicycle constitutes following too closely and is a ticketable offense.

He did not actually write the guy a ticket but it was more issued as a verbal warning, since the deptuty felt that by drafting, the rider was doing something dangerous.

Aside from being in rather poor taste, as I thought it over, I could not find a flaw in the deputy’s logic.

Kind of disappointing to think that drafting (and by extension, all pack riding maybe?) is technically illegal.

Are there other implications for this?  Could it affect someone’s health insurance coverage  if they revealed that they were injured while they were violating V&T law on a bicycle?

Seems a bit extreme, surely there is another take on this.

Can I get yours?


§ 1129. Following too closely. (a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall

not  follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent,

having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and  the  traffic  upon

and the condition of the highway.

(b)  The  driver  of  any motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another

vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence

district and which is following another motor  truck  or  motor  vehicle

drawing   another  vehicle  shall,  whenever  conditions  permit,  leave

sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such

space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a  motor  truck

or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing any

like vehicle or other vehicle.

(c) Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business

or  residence  district  in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing

other vehicles shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between

each such vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable  any  other

vehicle  to  enter  and occupy such space without danger. This provision

shall not apply to funeral processions.