Category Archives: Fatal bicycle accident

USA Cycling Teams Up With Bike Law Lawyers, Including Me, To Protect Cyclists

 

There is some very big news in the U.S. cycling world today. US CX Nats

Bike Law, a national network of bicycle crash attorneys, is now the exclusive legal partner of USA Cycling, the governing body for competitive cycling in the United States. This partnership will provide USA Cycling members with respected and professional legal assistance and much more: information, education, and
increased awareness of cycling laws, legal reform and advocacy.

As a proud member of USA Cycling, I can’t wait to see the synergy created by the Bike Law/USAC partnership.  I am one of two New York State attorneys in the Bike Law network. I am available to represent New York and Pennsylvania bicyclists and their families.

Bike Law, has lawyers representing cyclists and advocating for cycling safety across the United States and Canada.

USAC-logo

Bike Law will provide USA Cycling members with exclusive benefits, including:

  • Priority initial consultation with a bike attorney within 24 hours and at no charge.
  • Reduced fees in bicycle crash cases for members.
  • Ongoing consultation for clubs on organizational legal issues at no charge.
  • Speaking engagements on bicycle law to clubs at no charge.
  • Priority consideration for pro bono legal representation by the Bike Law Defense League to advance cycling justice.

Join USA Cycling today to support a great organization and join the fight to help make our roads safer!  USA Cycling has recently added a Ride Membership for those cyclists who love to ride but have no desire to race.

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

 

Police were Wrong but the Judge Gets It Right In Fatal NYC Bike Crash Case

Actress Caitlin Venedam.

Actress Caitlin Venedam.

An actress who struck and killed a bicyclist in 2014 while distracted by her cell phone has been barred from driving in New York state – not by police or a criminal court judge, but by an administrative law judge.

Many times I have had the unfortunate experience of the police simply not getting it right, so this case, where the police were wrong and the administrative law judge was right, is especially impressive.

Police said Caitlin Venedam, 28, a standup comic and actress who portrayed “Chastity” in the TV series “Gossip Girl,” ran down Matthew Brenner, 29, at about 9:30 p.m. on July 6, 2014. Police let her drive away without any charges.

But according to a report on dnainfo.com:

State Administrative Law Judge Regina A. Rinaldi decided that “a contributing factor in Matthew Brenner’s death was (Venedam’s) failure to exercise due care to avoid striking (the cyclist).”

Rinaldi barred Venedam from driving in New York state, starting in March 2016. She can still drive in her home state of New Jersey.

My friend and fellow BikeLaw lawyer, Dan Flanzig, represented the bicyclist’s Estate.  Dan did a great job of exposing evidence that would not have come out but for his efforts.

Daniel Flanzig.

Daniel Flanzig.

“But for our civil suit, certain things would never have been brought to light, including that she was using Google Maps to guide her,” said Flanzig, who said the actress would still be driving in New York were it not for information uncovered in the civil suit.

“That should have been used by (NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad). The Administrative Law judge would never have had the evidence necessary to revoke her license. The CIS work alone was completely insufficient.”

According to dnainfo.com, the actress told lawyers in a deposition that she was coming from her home in Point Pleasant, N.J., and was rushing to pick up a friend at LaGuardia, but ended up driving away from the airport on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

The report says:

Venedam got off the highway at Sands Street to call her friend and consult Google Maps on her cellphone because she was lost.

With her phone still open to Google Maps sitting on the passenger seat, Venedam drove down the street and veered across a safety triangle in order to make it back on to the BQE, according to the report.

The actress testified that she was traveling between 25 and 30 mph and was using audio prompts from the location app.

A video of the crash shows the actress trailing close behind a car that veered out of the way to avoid Brenner, then she smashed into the cyclist in the safety triangle as he tried to make his way to a bike path on the other side of the entrance ramp.

Police originally blamed Brenner for riding his bike across the ramp to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but the video shows he was not in the roadway.

Venedam was cited four times from 2006 to 2012 for unsafe driving, speeding, not wearing a seat belt and blocking traffic, according to New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission records.

Flanzig said criminal charges would be difficult to bring against her because distracted driver statutes require the driver to be holding the cellphone.

Thanks for reading,

Jim

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

 

Downstate Reporter Urges Better Safe Passing Law For Bicyclists

bicycle_commuters

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

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

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

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

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

Public outcry also has impact as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Jim

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

Of course you would!

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

State Sen. Tom O'Mara.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara.

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

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

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

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano.

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

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

Thanks for getting involved,

Jim

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

 

NY Bike Accident Lawyer Jim Reed Elected President Of NY Bicycling Coalition

Jim Reed of the Ziff Law Firm

Attorney Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm, was recently elected president of the board of the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC), a group that advocates for a safer New York state for bicyclists.

Jim is passionate about bicycling and will help NYBC grow and reach more riders across the state. He will be a game-changer for NYBC!

“The New York Bicycling Coalition is dedicated to making bicycling safer for all New Yorkers,” said Jim, who has handled hundreds of bicycle accident cases in his 27 years as a lawyer. “As a personal injury lawyer representing cyclists from all over the state, I know all too well the dangers faced by cyclists. It is my personal goal to see fewer fatalities and injuries, and I hope to achieve that goal while working hard on behalf of NYBC.”

Jim Reed use this photoJim, who has been on the NYBC board for four years, has been an avid cyclist since he was a teenager. He participates in all kind of cycling, including road racing, mountain biking, bike trips and recreational riding.

The New York Bicycling Coalition advocates in Albany and across the state for better transportation policies, more funding, and educating about bicycle safety, the benefits of riding, and treating riders with respect.

NYBC welcomes Reed’s energy and passion for safety.

“Jim is the right person to lead NYBC as we begin our second quarter-century as the only statewide organization working on the full spectrum of bike and pedestrian issues,” said NYBC Executive Director Paul Winkeller. “His successful work as a bike lawyer has encompassed advocacy, education and enforcement – all the elements that need to be aligned in order to ensure a safe and shared road and trail system serving every New Yorker.”

NYBC logo“Jim’s immense passion for cycling and his deep understanding of the transformative value of healthy transportation and recreation will serve NYBC well as we continue to grow our impact throughout the state,” said Justin Smith, NYBC communications director. “Jim’s proven leadership in his community and at his practice combined with his extensive legal experience representing people who bike, as well as his desire to enable everyone to pedal to better, fuller lives, will ensure that NYBC’s governance remains strong as we advance our efforts helping communities in New York state become safer and more enjoyable places to ride a bicycle.”

If you are interested in supporting the important mission of NYBC you can join here:  www.nybc.net/join.

Thanks for reading!

Attorney Adam Gee
[email protected]

 

 

 

Photographer Tracks Down Ghost Bikes In Haunting New Book

GhostBikeQ2Ghost bikes, those white-painted bikes we see chained to guardrails and road signs, are a haunting memorial to cyclists who died when struck by motor vehicles.

They are a chilling reminder of the need for both safe driving and safe cycling.

I recently purchased a beautiful book devoted to ghost bikes across the country. I was so intrigued by the book I reached out to the author, Genea Barnes, to write a guest blog post describing why she undertook this emotional project and some of her experiences as she toured the country and Canada, photographing ghost bikes and learning the stories behind each ghost bike.

Powerful stuff.

Her blog post:

In May 2010, I was walking around Brooklyn with my camera and I saw it, my first Ghost Bike. I knew immediately what it meant; a child had been killed on a bicycle. It was as if I could see the spirit standing there.

51vgOSD3yrLIn the days that followed, I saw at least three more ghost bikes. Today, more than ever, people move through the world without a strong sense of spatial awareness. To me, a ghost bike represents the most grievous outcome of this. If you ride a bicycle on a regular basis, you have had a close call; a moment where you were aware enough to avoid the worst, or maybe you were lucky. I knew I had to find a way to raise awareness of how we (cyclists and drivers alike) move within our infrastructure.

I returned to New York in December to “officially” start my Ghost Bike Project, and over the next couple of years I sought Ghost Bikes in every city that I visited. During this time, I worked on pieces combining photos of Ghost Bikes with images of live people, shot in my studio and manipulated through Photoshop to look like ghosts. I was mirroring my first encounter with a Ghost Bike. In my travels, I found that in most places,

Ghost Bikes are removed after a short time. This discovery upset me, and I wanted to help these memorials and their sentiment live on. In 2012, I did a Kickstarter to fund a road trip to photograph Ghost Bikes around the country. The goal was to create a book, a lasting memorial, and a poignant reminder to be aware and to keep each other safe.

Genea Barnes.

Genea Barnes.

After months of research under my belt, I flew to New York, rented a car and set out to find and photograph as many Ghost Bikes as I could. In the course of 27 days on the road, I traveled just under 6,000 miles, I stopped in 45 different cities, and I found 66 of the 126 Ghost Bikes I had sought.

There are moments in any big project that one is presented with the question of whether or not they are doing what they are supposed to. I was fortunate to get many confirmations along the way, which I wrote about in the first portion of my book.

My favorite was after one of my longest days on the road.

When I arrived in Canada, I quickly realized that my budget would not allow me to stay for the intended two days. Instead of taking my time, my new goal was to shoot all the bikes in Toronto, drive to Ottawa, shoot the bikes there, then get stateside and find a cheap motel.

GhostBikeR3I went to sleep around 1 a.m. after completing the research for the day to follow. I woke at 5 a.m. and headed out. I arrived stateside around 10 p.m., and stopped to use the internet to find a cheap motel. The closest one that I could justify the price was an hour and a half away. I arrived in Plattsburg, N.Y., exhausted, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a Ghost Bike locked to the fence in front of the motel I was staying.

It was moments like these that made me trust that what I am doing will make a difference. I do not want for much in this life, but I do want to affect the world in a positive way.

The book is divided into two sections. The first, the journal of my travels while searching Ghost Bikes, including small photographs that document who the bike was for, and where it was located. The next section includes images that were created from the photographs that I took. The book is hardcover and 148 pages.

Thanks for reading Genea’s blog post and I recommend the book to all bicyclists!

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

 

 

Why I Believe We Need a Better Safe Passing Law to Protect NY Bicyclists

safe driving pic

A safe bicycle passing law in New York State designed to make it safer for bicyclists and motorists to share the road is too vague and hard to enforce.

Merrill Cassell.

Merrill Cassell.

Merrill’s Law, passed by the state Legislature in June 2010, requires motorists to pass bicyclists at a safe distance to prevent accidents. The law was named in honor of Merrill Cassell of Hartsdale, a safe bicycling advocate who was struck by a passing public bus and killed in 2009. The bus driver was never charged.

A recent story in a downstate newspaper, published on the fifth anniversary of Merrill’s death, shared the sad news: bicyclists don’t feel safer and police across the state are writing few tickets for safe passing violations.

Law enforcement professionals say the law is almost impossible to enforce.

In this 2010 blog post, I said I was happy to see the law pass but I was critical of the wording, calling it too vague to enforce. I was right.

Because what constitutes a “safe distance” is not clearly defined under the current NY safe passing law, the legal distance is subject to interpretation. Frankly, I much prefer the safe passing law of at least 24 other states who list a specific, objective “safe passing” distance like 3 feet, 4 feet or more.

I prefer this objective standard because I think it is easier for prosecutors to prove an objective, concrete distance like 3 feet rather than argue about what might have been safe under the circumstances.

I have long believed the NY safe passing law is virtually worthless because of the difficulty of determining legally what constitutes a “safe distance” for a motorist to pass a bicyclist.

Unfortunately, in any case involving anything short of the cyclist actually being struck by the motorist, the motorist has a compelling argument that the passing distance “must have been safe because I didn’t hit the cyclist.”

Because of this ambiguity, many police officers have told me off the record that they won’t write tickets for violating this law unless there is an actual collision.  And at least one local DA has told me the same thing. So what good is a law that law enforcement won’t enforce?  No good.

Because of the lack of enforcement of our current law, I have spent many hours advocating for NY to adopt a 3-foot passing law. I think 3 feet is easy to enforce because that’s the length of a yardstick that hangs in virtually every elementary school classroom I have ever been in.

For sports fans, one yard is one of those hashmarks on the field every time you tune into a football game.  For a person of average height, 3 feet is their approximate arm length.

No measurement is easy or precise, but in my view, any particular measurement (i.e., 3 feet or 4 feet)  is much better than the ambiguous “safe distance.”

Here is the law under discussion:

  • 1122-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of NY: Overtaking a bicycle.

“The  operator  of  a  vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on  the  same  side  of  a roadway  shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof.”

Would 3 feet be a safe passing distance? Or do you prefer 4 feet, or more?

Please add your comments below!

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

 

 

 

 

Tragic PA Bicycle Accident Kills 7-Year-Old Troy Boy Riding With Father, Says NY and PA Bicycle Lawyer

My heart goes out to the parents of 7-year-old Haydin Antonio Riggins of Troy, who was struck and killed last week while riding in a bicycle trailer with his sister.  This sad story hits home for many cyclists like myself who remember fondly the days of riding their bikes with their kids in either a cycling trailer or child seat– my three kids each spent many hours in our tow-behind bike trailer and I can only imagine the horror and grief felt by this boy’s father and family……

generic_graphic_crime_accident_cyclist_bike_bicycle_hit_and_run_png_475x310_q85Based upon the news accounts, it sounds like the pickup truck driver who struck the bicycle and trailer failed to yield the right of way to the bicycle that was already within the intersection.

As we have discussed before on this blog, the driver of a vehicle entering an intersection has the legal obligation to yield the right of way to any vehicle (including a bicycle) that is already within that intersection.

In other words, the driver of the pickup truck that struck the bicycle ridden by Haydin’s father Marcell Riggins had a legal duty to yield the right of way to the Riggins bicycle and the driver’s failure to do so is a violation of the law.

According to news reports, a truck driven by David Edwards of Mansfield struck the bicycle shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Elmira Street and Porter Road in Troy, Bradford County.

Police said the impact of the crash threw the father clear of the bicycle but the bicycle trailer with Haydin and his 6-year-old sister, Skylar, was dragged a distance before the pickup truck finally came to a stop.

Haydin was pronounced dead at the scene. Marcell and Skylar were treated at Troy Community Hospital for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, police said.

Edwards and a passenger, Ryan Johnson, also of Mansfield, were not injured.

Per newspaper accounts, the police investigation continues but one has to wonder why at least a Failure to Yield ticket has not been issued to the pickup truck driver.  Hopefully, Haydin’s family is keeping in close contact with the police and the District Attorney’s office to make sure appropriate charges are filed in this tragic collision.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Riggins family……

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

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Was Right To Send Drunk Driver To Prison For Accident That Killed Steuben County Bicyclist, Says NY and PA Bicycle Law Lawyer

cnpca8039-vi

A Wayland man is going to state prison for two to six years for striking and killing a bicyclist while he was driving drunk. I heartily applaud the prison sentence because it’s all too often that drivers who kill cyclists get off with little more than a slap on the wrist.

Of course even this sentence is insufficient to properly compensate this poor cyclist’s family for the pain they have suffered.

According to news reports here and here: Kyle A. O’Neal, 26, was sentenced Tuesday in Steuben County Court in Bath in the death of James Mitchell, 18, of Wayland, in May 2013.

Police said O’Neal was drunk when he struck Mitchell, who was riding his bicycle along County Route 36 in the Town of Cohocton.

The slain teen’s father, Joseph Mitchell, said it was important to think of his son as more than just a victim, according to The Leader newspaper in Corning.

“James was not just a kid on a bicycle,” he told the court. “He was my best friend and my youngest son.”

Joseph Mitchell made this remarkable statement about O’Neal: “Someday I’ll forgive him.”

Mitchell was less than a half-mile from home when he was killed around 8:30 p.m. on May 9, 2013, police said.

O’Neal, who police said left the scene, was arrested later that day.

He was initially charged with driving while intoxicated, then second-degree vehicular manslaughter.

In June, he entered a guilty plea on the vehicular manslaughter charge after an agreement with prosecutors.

Judge Marianne Furfure.

Judge Marianne Furfure.

Addressing Mitchell’s family, according to The Leader, O’Neal said: “I will never forgive myself for that night. I realize there is nothing I can do or say that will diminish the pain that I’ve caused.”

Judge Marianne Furfure wants O’Neal placed in the state’s shock incarceration program.

“Your decision to drink and to drive not only violated the law, but also caused the death of an innocent bicyclist,” Furfure told O’Neal in court.

I know some people are critical of Judge Furfure’s decision to recommend shock incarceration over traditional prison but I have appeared in front of Judge Furfure many times and I have always found her to be one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and hard-working judges I have ever met so I am confident that she has a sound well-reasoned basis for recommending shock incarceration.  Many people don’t realize that a judge, in determining an appropriate criminal sentence, has a great deal of information at their disposal in making the tough decision of exactly what sentence they should impose in a given case.  Therefore, for those of us who are not privy to all the information provided to the judge, it is difficult to know all the factors that made a judge choose one sentence over another.  With that in mind, I am sure Judge Furfure thought long and hard before recommending shock incarceration and I am sure she had many good reasons for doing so.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of this innocent cyclist James Mitchell.

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

 

 

 

 

In Memory Of Matt Miller, NY State Senate Right To Support O’Mara-Backed Legislation Calling For Bike Safety Instruction For New Drivers, Says NY and PA Bicycle Lawyer

Matt and Michele Miller and their 7-year-old son, Holden.

Matt and Michele Miller and their 7-year-old son, Holden.

The New York State Senate this week approved legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats), to add bicycle and pedestrian safety training in New York State’s pre-licensing driver’s education and examination requirements in the wake of the death of bicyclist Matt MIller, according to a news release from O’Mara’s office.

State Sen. Tom O'Mara.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara.

The measure was approved with strong bipartisan support, 58 to 1. Read the legislation here.

O’Mara first said he’d support the bill on May 15 at the Awareness Ride in Memory of Matt Miller at Eldridge Park in Elmira, a 6.2-mile bike ride around city streets that drew about 200 bicyclists.

Matt, 43, a 1989 Elmira Free Academy graduate, was struck head-on and killed in April by a left-turning motorist while riding his bike on Hendy Creek Road in the town of Southport. The driver was ticketed for Failure to Yield the Right of Way.

Matt is survived by his wife, Michele, and their 7-year-old son, Holden. Family and friends have started a college fund for Holden. You can learn more and donate here.

I am representing Matt’s family in all matters pertaining to Matt’s death, including a wrongful death action to financially provide for his family. 

If approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Cuomo, the legislation would require the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to include instruction on:

  • Safely passing a bicyclist on the road.
  • Special considerations while driving in urban areas.
  • The definition and designation of bicycle lanes.
  • How to navigate an intersection with pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Leaving a vehicle without endangering pedestrians and cyclists.

“Matt Miller’s tragic death has led the local cycling community to get behind this legislation, and it’s made all of us more aware than ever of the need for this action,” said O’Mara, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, in the news release. “Making all drivers more aware of sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians is the most effective way to make our roadways safer. It’s a straightforward, common sense piece of legislation that could save lives and the Assembly leadership should approve it.”

The legislation moves to the state Assembly, where it remains in the Assembly Transportation Committee. O’Mara said he would push the Assembly to approve it before this year’s regular legislative session adjourns.

To learn more about Matt and how family and friends have rallied the local bicycling community, click here.

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