Category Archives: Cool Stuff for Bicyclists

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

 

Explore Scenic Ithaca Area Using Teen’s Great Cycling Routes Website

Willem van Osselaer

Willem van Osselaer was a senior at Ithaca High School when he developed a great online tool for bicyclists in the Ithaca area.

Willem, who will soon be a freshman at Cornell University, created Ithaca Cycling Routes as part of an experiential English class during his senior year. The site guides riders through some of the Ithaca area’s most beautiful road cycling routes.

Armin Heurich

“Willem developed the site over the course of five months and went way above and beyond course requirements to create a resource that will be valuable to visitors to Ithaca, new cyclists, and experienced local cyclists,” said Armin Heurich, a library media specialist at the high school and president of the Finger Lakes Cycling Club (FLCC). “The website is a labor of love and  a treasure.”

The site as constructed by Willem, a coordinator of youth cycling at FLCC, is simple to navigate. There is a link to the 12 routes – Find your route! – on the home page, as well as a map to East Hill Plaza, a starting point for most of the rides because it serves as a meeting spot for local bicyclists, and there is plenty of parking there. Many FLCC rides start there, Willem said.

Once visitors click through to the routes, they’ll see a wide variety of distances from the 3.2-mile Cayuga Waterfront Trail to the 75.1-mile Owasco Lake ride, with other distances ranging from 8.4 miles to 51.3 miles.

Willem gives two options on the all-flat Cayuga Waterfront Trail, a 3.2-mile, one-way version, and a downtown loop that is 5.1 miles. He also notes: “This is also the only route you will find on this website that is completely flat!”

With each route, there are:

  • Maps and distances in miles and kilometers, as well as notes on elevation gains and major climbs.
  • Notes on food stops and points of interest.
  • Conversational descriptions, overviews, and observations on traffic, scenery, and hills.
  • Turn-by-turn directions.

Willem likes to ride about 70 miles a week during the summer, so you might meet him on one of his bike routes.

“The main reason why I bike is to talk to people,” Willem said. “Cycling is the main way I spend time with friends, and I have met many people through this sport.

“What sets cycling apart from other sports is that it allows people to explore and get a sense of their surroundings. I love observing the Ithaca countryside and experiencing its geography.”

His favorite short route? Mount Pleasant (15 miles), because it’s the closest challenging hill to his house. “The lack of trees and the observatory at the summit make it feel like you climbed a true mountain.

His favorite long route? Weltonville (51.3 miles), which has “gorgeous views,” he said. “Many roads provide an almost constant view of the hillsides around you. During the fall, the foliage makes this route even more stunning.”

Willem, who will be a student this fall at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, is proud of what he’s accomplished, and rightly so. “My goal was not just to complete the class requirements, but also to create a quality end product. “

He wanted the website to be his best work, he said. “I knew that the more hours I spent on the website, the more useful it would be to cyclists.”

I hope cyclists who meet Willem along his routes will thank him for this great website!

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

Donate Your Old Bike Gear! My Donations Helped Ithaca High School Cycling Club Members

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All avid bicyclists collect gear over the years such as jerseys, bike seats, pedals, and more. Our gear clogs our houses and garages. Some of our old gear is still in good condition and would be welcomed by many other cyclists. But instead of donating it, we set it aside and forget it, or we throw it out.

This summer, round it up and donate it to someone or a group in need.

If your group or organization needs donated bicycles or bike gear, please email me at [email protected] and I will put your requests in a future blog post here.

I recently donated some of my used cycling gear – jerseys, pedals, seats, and bike racks – to the Ithaca High School Cycling Club, which has about 20 students participating in rides and hikes this school year, according to its faculty adviser, Armin Heurich, a library media specialist at the school.

Armin Heurich

Armin Heurich

Armin, also president of the Finger Lakes Cycling Club (FLCC), is making a difference in students’ lives, so keep the Ithaca High club in mind if you have items to donate.

He told me about one student, Marty, who has become an amazing success story through the high school club. The young man was riding a heavy, clunky hybrid bike two years ago, according to Armin, who convinced Marty to join the club’s AIDS Ride for Life team. Marty had so much fun that his father bought him a road bike, and Marty has improved as a bicyclist, “just crushing it on the hills,” Armin said.

Armin said this was just as significant: Marty went from being a shy person with a small circle of friends to being outgoing and having many friends, thanks to cycling and the club.

Willem, a senior soon to graduate and a club co-president, is finishing a class project with Armin that will create a collection of Ithaca-area bike routes with detailed analysis, photos, and narrative text. Willem and club co-president Madeline are also active in the FLCC, and several high school students have participated in FLCC-organized road races.

Option 2Armin makes an excellent point when he says that students should consider cycling clubs like his in order to develop a healthy routine of integrating outdoor recreation into their stressful weekly school routine.

“I reflect on the fact that when I was a kid, we used to play after school in the neighborhood,” he said. “These days, so many students are taking tough AP classes and are involved in so many more structured activities. It seems that unstructured play and recreation is a rare commodity these days, and I believe that it’s very important. There are inherent risks to cycling, and we’ve had some close calls, including a few falls, a scary endo, a crash into a tree, some minor scrapes and bruises, some touching of wheels, and our fair share of flat tires and a few snapped cables. I see every one of these opportunities as a teachable moment. Students always prove to be resilient, and parents prove to be understanding. Learning to participate in activities with an element of risk is an important part of the maturation process.”

I was touched to receive thank-you emails from the students who received my donated items. Here is a sampling of some of their emailed comments:

“I was able to get an amazing kit from your donation, and I know that all of the members of our club were incredibly grateful for your generous donation.” – Madeline

“I got a nice bike jersey, which I am very excited about wearing. It’s my first one. Thank you!” – Rowan

“I took home your old cleats and they seem to fit perfectly. Thank you so much for your donations.” – Johannes

“I just got into cycling in the last year and I really love it. I didn’t have any cycling jerseys and one of the jerseys you donated fit me perfectly. I will definitely be using it a lot. Thank you!” – Robin

“Your donations helped give our newer members a safer and more enjoyable cycling experience. I received the bike saddle and have noticed how much more comfortable it is than my old one. Thank you!” – Marty

Clear out your closets and garages and donate your used gear that is in good shape to a club or riding group near you.

For example, Armin said the school club needs jerseys, shorts, MTB shoes with SPD cleats, wedge bags, tubes, and 700c road tires, and any items would be greatly appreciated.

If you want to contact Armin, send email to [email protected].

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

 

 

 

 

 

Test Your NY Bike Law IQ By Reading My Column At The Odessa File

Odessa File

A few months ago, I began writing a column for The Odessa File (photo above), a must-read community news website in Schuyler County. Since my wife and I live there now, I wanted to find a way to connect with my fellow residents, and I know that everyone in the county reads it. Charlie Haeffner has created a great resource for county residents, and I will say it again: Everyone. Reads. It.

The feedback has been great and people are coming up to introduce themselves on the street when I am out in the community. It’s been a great icebreaker.

0411reedPicI just published my fifth column this year. I write about legal news that people can use in their everyday lives. I have written about a great insurance change in state law for New York State drivers; about how a woman’s tragic death has led to a positive change in another state law; and about how writing wills can be a messy process for families.

My latest column is a wake-up call for New York motorists and bicyclists. The hibernation is over.

The snow is gone for good (I hope) and bicyclists are getting their bikes out of the garage and checking their brakes and tires. As we all prepare to hit the road again, and dodge the horrible potholes that winter left behind, it’s time to remind everyone on the road what the law says about the rights of motorists … and bicyclists!

So please. go read the terrific Odessa File website and read my column.

As a bonus, I have a brief quiz in the column that will test your knowledge about basic bike laws in NY. If you email me your answers, I will enter you in a drawing for a $50 gift card to a great Watkins Glen restaurant.

You can also email me at [email protected] f you’d like a very readable and easy-to-understand primer on NY laws for bicyclists. It’s a great refresher so we all have another safe year of sharing our roads with drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

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

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