Category Archives: Cool Stuff for Bicyclists

Inspect Your Quick Release To Avoid Devastating Failure While Riding

It’s winter in NY and PA — cold and icy and snowy, definitely not bicycle season — so it’s a good time to head to your garage, get your bike out, and complete a safety check. We will get our first taste of spring soon, I hope, so be ready.

quickrelease2If you have a quick-release seat or front wheel, that’s a good place to start your winter inspection. I will focus on that today because failure, of either the front wheel or the seat, can lead to very serious injuries and destroy your bike.

Please watch the instructional video above by Global Cycling Network. It’s a great primer for new and future quick-release users.

So you and your buddy installed quick-release seats and wheels last fall, and had a few safe rides? You think you have nothing to worry about, right?

I hope so, but … I have handled a few bike crash cases caused by quick-release failures. As you might imagine, if the quick-release fails and your wheel suddenly separates from the bike, injuries can be catastrophic.

Quick-release failures can be caused many ways:

  • Improper installation.
  • Improper adjustment.
  • Poor manufacturing.

The point is that if someone is injured because of a quick-release failure, they should:

  • Immediately preserve the bike and wheel and …
  • Contact an experienced bike crash lawyer who can then investigate the details of the crash and determine the cause of the failure.

I would recommend you take your bike to a local bike shop this winter and have them inspect your quick-release levers. Also be sure they observe how you remove and return your wheel and/or your seat. They might have safety suggestions after observing your methods that will save you thousands in medical costs.

Losing a front wheel while riding could send you head-first toward the pavement, so be as prepared as you possibly can before spring arrives.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Out Great Video Series On NY Bicycle Laws

If you or someone you love rides a bike in New York State, take 12 minutes or so and watch the two-part video series above that explains bicycle law in New York State. It’s an investment in your family’s safety on the roads!

I am sure even experienced NY bicyclists and drivers will learn something new about state law when they watch these videos, so I HIGHLY recommend these videos to all NY bicyclists and drivers.

Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse!

The NY Bicycling Coalition made the videos with the Albany Police Department, thanks to funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

The videos will be used by law enforcement agencies around the state to improve knowledge and enforcement of vehicle and traffic laws relating to bicycling, according to NYBC.

Check out my NY Bicycle Law Primer 2017 for a PDF summary of state laws that you can download and keep in your home!

The NY Bicycling Coalition made the videos with the Albany Police Department, thanks to funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

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

 

Dream Jobs For Rochester Teens At A New Kind Of Bike Shop

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David Gayle,16, and Shandan Jones,17, both of Vertus High School in Rochester, change a wheel at Dream Bikes on University Avenue. (Photo by Kevin Fuller, City Newspaper.)

There was a great story recently in the Rochester City Newspaper about a great life-changing opportunity for kids in Rochester.

14581490_186139165176732_61796676990708398_nDream Bikes, a nonprofit bike shop that opened earlier this year on University Avenue in Rochester, provides jobs to teens from lower-income neighborhoods in the city, according to the story.

The teens do the work. They do the customer service and sales, and work on the bikes.

This story warms my heart on two levels: 

  • First, it gives kids an opportunity to work with their hands, which is very important today, where shop programs have been eliminated from the schools.
  • And second, it means more kids riding bikes, which also is important today, when so many kids simply don’t have the opportunity to ride bikes.

What a wonderful win/win for the kids in Rochester!  The reporter on the story is right when he says that bicycles CAN improve lives.

16996010_259184571205524_5809000796459761078_nThe manager of the shop, Paul Barrows, summed it up very well: “We’re just here to try to help them out, give them a step up.”

According to the story:

Trek Bicycles formed Dream Bikes in 2008 and opened its first shop in Madison, Wisconsin, the home of its corporate headquarters. It opened a second location in Milwaukee, and the two locations have provided jobs for 80 teens and repurposed 10,000 bikes.

The Dream Bikes board decided last year to expand into additional cities and picked Rochester because of its struggles with poverty and its low city school graduation rates, Barrows says.

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

 

 

 

 

 

BikeLaw Lawyer Jim Reed makes the Huffington Post!

My wife Meg and me with author and wine lover Stefani Jackenthal (right).

My wife Meg and me with author and wine lover Stefani Jackenthal, right. (Photo courtesy of Huffington Post/Stefani Jackenthal.)

It’s not every day that you see your name (and worse yet, your photo in lycra!) on the Huffington Post but I recently had that pleasure/horror in a very nice article about the CycleAdirondacks bicycle riding event held this past August. As many of my readers know, my wife Meg and I love getting away for cycling weekends and vacations. We look for new places to visit and ride year-round all over the country and world, but our favorite places are closer to our home on Seneca Lake in New York State. Yes, we do love New York!

logoIn August, while we were riding in Cycle Adirondacks on our tandem, we met Stefani Jackenthal,  a former professional athlete who now works as a travel and wine journalist, educator, and consultant.

Meg and I love to ride, and love wine, too, so the three of us became fast friends, and now Stefani has published an account of her visit to the Adirondacks in a great post on Huffington Post.

The Reeds are flattered to be a part of Stefani’s account of the terrific weekend ride.

We highly recommend watching for the third annual Cycle Adirondacks!

We met Stefani on a steep, winding uphill part of the course and we rode much of the next three days together.

Comfy Campers provided our weekend accommodations. (Photo courtesy of Huffington Post/Stefani Jackenthal.

Comfy Campers provided our weekend accommodations. (Photo courtesy of Huffington Post/Stefani Jackenthal.

I told Stefani we were encouraged by friends who participated in the first event in 2015 to give it a try, and I also told her how much we were enjoying “glamping” (see photo at left). Comfy Campers provides a tent, air mattress and chair for weary riders like us.

Check out all of Stefani’s terrific story (there are many photos), and to learn more about her, click here and here.

To learn more about the 2017 Cycle Adirondacks, click here.

The ride benefits, in part, Wildlife Conservation Society promoting many community-based programs in the Adirondacks.

Message me using the link below if you have any questions about the event!

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Twin Tiers Businesses Need To Become More Bike Friendly, Says NY And PA Bicycle Law Lawyer

commutersThe League of American Bicyclists has released its Fall list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses across the United States.

These are businesses that encourage employees to bicycle to work, and perhaps even offer incentives to ride to work. These businesses sometimes organize staff rides and actively help in building a Bicycle Friendly Community.

These businesses provide safe and secure bike parking, and showers and changing areas for those who ride to work. They also provide a repair area and advocate in their community for dedicated bike paths so employees can commute safely.

These businesses also provide safety information and bike maps, and when possible, encourage employees to attend skills and maintenance classes. Educating motorists about safely sharing the road is another key component.

Finally, the businesses sometimes have a volunteer bike coordinator who coordinates events and surveys co-workers about their commuting habits.

Some upstate businesses and other organizations made the list, but none from the Southern Tier. Still, it is great to see these businesses working hard to achieve this important designation and we hope more local businesses in Chemung, Schuyler, Tompkins and Steuben counties will consider working toward being declared a Bicycle Friendly Business.  You can learn what is required to become a Bicycle Friendly Business here:  http://www.bikeleague.org/business

The Upstate NY list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses:

  • Go Bike Buffalo, a nonprofit agency, with 10 employees.
  • Ingalls Planning & Design of Fairport in Rochester, an architecture, planning and design company, with three employees.
  • Hart’s End LLC in Rochester, a food retailer in Rochester, with 68 employees.
  • R Community Bikes in Rochester, a nonprofit agency, with 80 employees.
  • Steinmetz Planning Group in Rochester, a professional services agency, with two employees.

In all, the League of American Bicyclists welcomed 43 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFBs) to the Bicycle Friendly America program. More than 1,090 businesses from across the country have earned this status over the past seven years.

I know of at least one local business that is bike-friendly: C Tran, the Chemung County bus system.

FILE_CTRAN LOGOJim Arey, the director of the Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council, said most of the buses have bicycle racks that can carry two bicycles. “We have a policy that all new buses will have such bicycle racks. You see bicyclists using the racks on the buses,” he said.

FILE_CTRANBUSThe Transportation Center downtown also has two multi-station bicycle racks.

Now it is time for other local businesses to accept the challenge.

What does your business or organization do to encourage and support bicycle commuters? Please respond below, in the comments section!

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