Category Archives: Bike sharing program

City Of Elmira Is Latest Community To Welcome LimeBikes, Says NY and PA Bicycle Law Lawyer

The City of Elmira is going Lime, too.

The city will soon have ride-sharing bikes and electric scooters from LimeBike, a ride-sharing company that people will be able to access from their smartphones and other ways. Watch for more details soon in the local news media now that Elmira City Council this week cleared the way for the popular ride-sharing company to hit the streets.

We’ll see the lime green bikes popping up soon, perhaps even this month. LimeBike is already in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, and Ithaca. I wrote about the arrival of LimeBike in Watkins Glen here.

As THE bicycle law expert in Upstate NY, the Star-Gazette called me this week to comment for a story that was on the front page (photo at left).

I told the reporter that, as a longtime Bike Law lawyer, cycling enthusiast and racer, I love any program that gets more people on two wheels on our roadways.

More riders means less congestion of vehicles, a healthier population in general, and I hope, when people get back in their vehicles after LimeBiking, they will be more tolerant and patient with cyclists and approach us with respect and a willingness to share the road safely.

Here are my comments to the Star-Gazette:

  • “The statistics are that the more bikes in an area, the safer it is for all bicyclists. People get used to seeing bikes, and become more vigilant and on the lookout for bikes.”

  • “In Europe, where bikes are everywhere, the (accident) statistics are lower. Most advocacy groups look at rental bikes and say, ‘This is a good thing.’ It’s great for the environment, great for downtowns, but as a bike accident lawyer, I don’t want to see more people hurt on bikes. If it contributes to bicycle safety in our community, that’s a good thing.”

Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo told the Star-Gazette that the village has been happy with LimeBikes this summer. The village had 4,000 LimeBikers travel 8,200 miles from May through Oct. 1, she said.

I think the folks in Elmira will be excited to become LimeBikers, but before those LimeBikers unlock a bike for their first ride, keep these vehicle and bike laws in mind:

  • Bicycles have the legal right to ride in the road and even have the right to use the full lane when turning left or when it would otherwise be unsafe to ride to the right of the road.
  • Riders 14 and younger must wear a helmet. I recommend a helmet for all cyclists.
  • At this time, unlike some other local cities, Watkins does not have a law prohibiting bicycles from riding on the sidewalk, so legally, bikes may be operated on sidewalks. However, both bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the sidewalks must be respectful of one another and should walk/ride safely so they don’t endanger others.
  • Motorists are legally required to treat a bicyclist like any other vehicle (i.e.. yield the right of way to a bicyclist already within an intersection, yield to a bicyclist coming toward you if you are making a left turn across their path).
  • Motorists need to observe a “safe passing distance” when passing a bicyclist.

Motorists and cyclists need to look out for one another and observe the local and state laws in place to ensure that LImeBikers, and all cyclists, have an enjoyable and safe ride.

Thank you 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

 

Debate Over E-bikes Grows After NYC Partially Lifts Ban

ebike 1

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would lift its ban on riding e-bikes, making bike-sharing and delivery companies happier. For motorists and bicyclists in the city, it will be one more faster-moving object to watch for as they zig-zag through the frenetic streets. And reviving the debate nationally over the safety of e-bicycles.

The NY law on e-bikes is murky and confusing as noted in a nice blog post from CityLab:  “Under federal law, an electric bike with a maximum assisted speed under 20 miles per hour can be sold as a bicycle, not a motor vehicle. Under New York state law, riders would need to register these as they would a motorcycle, moped, or car. But there’s no clear way to register them. Because of this regulatory patchwork, e-bikes are legal to sell as bikes anywhere in the U.S. but effectively illegal to ride in New York, since they can’t be registered as motor vehicles.”

NYC Mayor Bill di Blasio.

NYC Mayor Bill di Blasio.

According to news reports from NYC, the city just months ago was taking a hard line on e-bicyclist delivery folks, targeting riders and the businesses they work for with fines from $200 to $500. But vocal critics said the fines were hitting delivery riders, often poor immigrants, the hardest.

The New York City Department of Transportation is drafting new rules that will regulate the use of pedal-assist bikes. For now, any throttle e-bikes that can travel faster than 20 mph are still banned.

“By creating the framework for pedal-assist bicycles, our goal is to join other world cities that are opening the door for delivery workers, older or less able-bodied cyclists, and other casual aspiring cyclists to experience a safe and low-emission mode of travel,” said NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a news release.

“The mayor’s announcement is a positive first step, but until the City has established a solution for converting the e-bikes currently being used to pedal-assist bicycles, we worry that delivery workers will continue to be criminalized,” wrote Joe Cutrufo, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, in an email to Bicycling magazine.

ebike signE-bikes – and bicycling – are growing more popular in the U.S., news reports say. The National Institute for Transportation and Communities said its research found that people buying e-bikes are less reliant on motor vehicles.

E-bike advocates say they help reduce barriers for people who may not ride a traditional bicycle because of age, disability or poor physical condition. Some work commuters like them because they are a less strenuous ride to the office.

E-bike critics have many valid concerns: pedestrians don’t want to tangle with e-bikes on sidewalks. Some bicyclists call e-bikes cheating and don’t want to share busy bike paths with e-bikes that will travel faster. Police officers are worried about speeding and dangerous crashes..

There is pending legislation in NY to better define e-bikes and their legality in NY.  It is my hope that this legislation will soon become law because confusion over e-bikes is bad for everyone.

Be safe on our roads, and thank you 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

3032905-poster-3028632-poster-p-citibike-2

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

 

Take A Free Ride This Summer, Thanks To Bike-Sharing Program, Says NY Bicycle Crash Lawyer

Bike-sharing programs in some of our bigger cities will cost riders some money, but not the programs in the Twin Tiers. They are free.

Bake sharing program in some bigger cities will cost riders some money, but not the programs in the Twin Tiers. They are free.

Bike sharing is catching on in the Twin Tiers just in time for the summer. People who can’t afford to buy a bike, or don’t have access to a bike for some other reason, have at least three really great options to find bikes to borrow in the Southern Tier:

  • Near the walking trail at Sperr Memorial Park in Big Flats, between Kahler and Hibbard roads.
  • At the Water Street entrance to the Lackawanna Rail Trail in Elmira.
  • At the Watkins Glen Village Marina Bar and Grill at 2 Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen.

Bike shares are an awesome resource for riders from many different walks of life, including those who don’t have their own bikes; travelers who regularly ride but don’t want the hassle of dragging their own bikes along on their trips; and people who haven’t ridden bikes in years and want to try a short ride.

A bicycle is such a great way to explore a new area because you can quickly cover a much bigger area than you can walking and you can see more remote, quieter areas in a much better way than being trapped in a car on the busy main roads.

To learn more about bike sharing and how it works, check out the Southern Tier Bicycle League.

The Star-Gazette newspaper earlier this month featured the new Sperr bike share shed, which got a boost recently from Brendan Marshall of Big Flats, a junior at Horseheads High School who worked on the shed as his Eagle Scout project.

Brendan made many repairs, including painting the shed, replacing a wall and reshingling the roof.

“I used to ride my bike all the time before I got a car. This is one of the most useful things I’ve come across in my life,” Brendan told the Star-Gazette. “I believe it’s valuable for the community that everyone can have a mode of transportation that’s quick and easy. Everyone could use a bit of exercise.”

The bicycle shed has been at the park for about a year.

So go enjoy the ride. It is free and fun!

Thanks for reading,

Jim
NY & PA Bike Accident Lawyer

_________________________________

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

 

 

 

 

 

Ithaca Cyclist Has Smart Safety Advice For All Riders, Says NY and PA Bike Accident Lawyer

Andy Goodell

Andy Goodell

Andy Goodell of Ithaca, a very experienced long-distance cyclist and a good friend, posted some excellent lighting and safety advice recently on the Finger Lakes Cycling Club listserv.

Andy started his post with a look at dynamo hubs — in case you didn’t know, an electric generator in a wheel hub usually used to power lights on the bicycle — and talks about lights that work, lights that confuse and blind drivers, and other safety pointers that all bicyclists should take to heart.

Andy knows what he’s talking about. When he says predictability is the key to safety, it seems too simple. But it isn’t. He’s right!

I recommend that all Twin Tiers riders take a minute and read Andy’s brief but potent post!

Andy’s post:

While a dynamo hub is a great option for those that need to ride through the night or that want to ditch the days of charging your batteries, it’s certainly not common and not required for being safe at night. Battery-powered LED lights have come a long way, and still double in power and duration every year or two. High-quality, USB-rechargeable 300 lumen lights are as cheap as $50 these days, and are more than enough to light your way at night. Low-quality Internet knockoffs can be as cheap as $10, but may not have long-term durability. Certainly aim for the best you are willing to afford, but just keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a $300 to $500 dynamo system.

I’ve moved away from seizure-inducing strobing rear lights. Germany forbids them, and studies keep showing that drivers have a hard time tracking where you are when all they see is a flashing light. I have a wide solid taillight that is better than what I’ve seen on some motorcycles. Only when the conditions are very poor, and visibility is a concern due to snow or fog, then I consider adding a strobing taillight, but still leaving the solid light on so that it’s easy to follow where I am..

In front, strobing lights are the most annoying and least useful. You can’t see anything yourself from a strobing light, and all you do is blind oncoming drivers. Especially now that many are very high powered, aiming a 300 (or 1,500!) lumen strobing light at someone is actually rather dangerous. Imagine driving down the road with an oncoming car with strobing high beams aimed directly at you — good luck trying to see anything else.

And most importantly, while lights make you visible, they don’t make you safe. That is up to us, and riding predictably is what keeps us from harm.

Don’t ride in the gutter, weave around cars or make other sudden maneuvers. Seems like common sense, but even on Cayuga Street in Ithaca with sharrows (a lane marked for sharing vehicles and bikes), it’s rare to see someone riding a straight line and not weaving around cars.

Predictability is what allows drivers to safely pass in a predictable way. Weaving is what will cause them to accelerate hard to get past you and often with less room than we’d like.

Use lights, ride predictably and stay safe!

Andy

Thanks for reading, and please share your comments below,

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

 

 

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Thanks To Boy Scout and His Friends, Bike Share Program Taking Off In Big Flats Park

A group of Scouts had fun painting some of the bikes for the new bike sharing program.

A Big Flats Eagle Scout is leading a project that is putting the finishing touches on an awesome new bike sharing program at Sperr Memorial Park in Big Flats.

My congratulations to Eagle Scout candidate Brendan Marshall and other Scouts from Troop 3097 in Big Flats, who spruced up and repainted an old shed and a bunch of bikes for the bike share. What a great community project by some terrific youngsters!

The white bike-sharing shed, which will soon have a sign, is located at the west entrance of Sperr Park near the intersection of Winters, Hibbard and Maple roads.

Look for this white shed to borrow a bike while visiting Sperr Memorial Park.

Brendan’s mother, Kim Marshall, said Brendan was helped by six to 10 other Scouts and some Scout leaders in replacing some rotted boards and old shingles, installing shelving and hooks, and painting the shed and the bikes.

“The boys really had fun painting the bikes so they’d stand out,” Kim said.

She also said the trail around the park was busy the day Brendan and his friends were working on the shed, and the project drew a lot of interest.

“The parking lot was full almost all day, and several people stopped to ask what we were working on,” Kim said. “Once they learned about the bike share, they thought it was a great idea. If the number of people using the trail that day was pretty typical, the bike share should get a lot of use.”

Sperr Memorial Park is a memorial to slain state Trooper Andrew J. Sperr, who was shot to death on March 1, 2006, by two fleeing bank robbers. The gunmen were captured later that day.

Trooper Sperr would be proud of these young men, who have pledged to make a positive impact in their community.

So go take out a bike and go for a ride around Sperr Memorial Park. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy our beautiful fall weather and celebrate the achievement of these fine young men and their families.

To learn more about other bike share sites in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers, visit the Southern Tier Bicycle League, and even better, become a member of STBL and help support great programs like this.

The bike share project was supported by STBL, the town of Big Flats and a grant from the Community Foundation of Elmira Corning and the Finger Lakes Inc.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks, Jim.

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

 

 

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Donate Old Bicycles To Make A Child’s Christmas Brighter

Child cycling

Make a difference in a child's life this holiday season by donating a bicycle.

Let’s face it. Regardless of how old we are, we’d all like to find a new bicycle under the Christmas tree. Or at least next to it.

We all remember the Christmas when we received our first bike. Now many of us have had the chance to watch our children or grandchildren enjoy the same thrill.

Not much has changed for children when it comes to new bikes.

Eventually, though, new bikes become old bikes, and old bikes end up in the back of the garage, gathering dust, or on the curb with a “FREE” sign.

Remember other families in need this holiday season when you plan to dispose of your old bike.

The Southern Tier Bicycle League, a group of riders who promote riding year-round, is looking for bikes that your children have outgrown or stopped using. The donated bikes will be refurbished and given to children who will really love them!

Click here to read more about the League’s Bike Renewal Program.

Or to learn more, call or write Bill Fischer at 607-731-2737 or [email protected], or Jack Chaney at 607-483-4418 or [email protected].

For riders from Elmira and Corning, Waverly and Sayre, and Wellsboro and Mansfield, now is the time to become a member of the Southern Tier Bicycle League.

You can become a member for $10 in annual dues, or qualify by volunteering four hours of your time at STBL events.

Your membership will introduce you to bicycling events in the area and benefit various charities.

And it will help make old bikes new again and put them in the hands of people of all ages who will love them.

In the spirit of the holiday season, isn’t that enough reason to join right now?

Thanks for reading!

Thanks, Jim.

_________________________________

James B. Reed

NY & PA Bicycle Accident Attorney

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

Mailto: [email protected]

Office: (607)733-8866

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

Web: www.zifflaw.com

 

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Elmira Bicycle Accident Lawyer: Bike-sharing program a great idea for Twin Tiers riders

Bicycles

The Southern Tier Bicycle Club is gearing up its new bike-sharing program.

My hat is off to the Southern Tier Bicycle League for its efforts in creating a free bike-sharing program in Watkins Glen and Chemung County.

This is a super program that will help those of us in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of the Southern Tier get out on the roads to enjoying biking.

Here is a news report on the bicycle-sharing program:

Bike Share Program Urges Neighbors to Get Out on Two Wheels

Reported by: Jenelle Tortorella

WETM-TV

Elmira, N.Y. – One Chemung County group is working to get you off the couch and out exploring your neighborhood.

The Southern Tier Bicycle League unveiled a new bicycle share program. It makes bikes available to neighbors and visitors in the Southern Tier for free.

The Southern Tier Bicycle League has opened a bike share in the City of Elmira. With four adult bikes and five children’s bikes, the program gives neighbors and visitors the chance to ride through the Southern Tier, free of charge.

“It’s cheaper, you’re using less gas, and you’re able to get out and enjoy yourself,” said Kent Goben, the Southern Tier Bicycle League President.

This is the second bike share to come to the Southern Tier; the League opened the first one at the Village Marina in Watkins Glen last fall. There are two adult bikes and four children’s bikes there.

The bike pool provides two wheels to anyone who is interested, all you need to do is sign out a bike, buckle up your helmet, and return the bicycle by dark.

The creators of the bike pool said this service isn’t just a way to encourage you to get out and about, but it provides visitors to the area an alternative way to explore the Southern Tier.

“We have transients come in by boat and their only means of getting downtown to check out what we have to offer is by foot,” said Village Marina General Manager Mike Schamel. “There are a lot of nice places to visit near here like Watkins Glen, and the Catherine Trail. That’s a long way to walk by foot, but if you had a bike, you could check [those places] out.”

“I’ll advertise [the bike share] on my website and Facebook, that we have the ability to give our guests free bikes to use to go through the Historic District. Many people come to this area just for that reason; this way, they can stop and look at the houses and really enjoy it,” said Butch Monroe, the owner of the Painted Lady in Elmira.

The business owners said having the bike share is an extra incentive they can offer their customers.

The program is a first come, first serve basis, but you can reserve the bikes ahead of time.

If you’re interested, you can call 607-733-6798 for the Elmira bike share, and 607-546-8505 for the Watkins Glen bike share.

To learn more about the Southern Tier Bicycle League, click here.

The site includes some great information, including a local schedule of events, safety information and many great links. Check it out!

….

Thanks, Jim
_________________________________
James B. Reed
NY & PA Bicycle Accident Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)

 

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