Category Archives: League of American Bicyclists

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Buffalo Building Better Bike Safety– Hat’s Off to Them!

Justin Booth of GO Bike Buffalo, left, and Bill Nester of the League of American Bicyclists.

Justin Booth of GO Bike Buffalo, left, and Bill Nester of the League of American Bicyclists talk on Aug. 18.

As an Upstate NY cyclist, bike accident lawyer, and a New York Bicycling Coalition Board member, I am wildly enthusiastic about the continuing strides being made in Buffalo and Rochester to promote safer cycling in those Upstate cities!

On Aug. 18, GO Bike Buffalo and other bicycling advocates in Western New York met with Bill Nester, Vice President of Programming with the League of American Bicyclists.

There is a great story about the meeting on the New York Bicycling Coalitiion website.

Nester was in Buffalo to talk about why it’s important for Buffalo and other communities to be part of the League’s Bicycle Friendly Communities program.

So why become a BFC?

From the NYBC story: By taking key steps to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, like adding and improving bike infrastructure such as protected bike lanes and trails, the BFC program benefits not only residents of your city but it also helps to attract people from other states and nations. Multiuse paths, rail trails, protected bike parking, great events like Buffalo’s Skyride and much more, are all BFC developments and activities that make people feel comfortable while biking in your town and region.

The meeting attracted local political leaders and the news media.

Rochester is also on the road to making its city more bicycle-friendly by working to make its Inner Loop safer for riders. I blogged about that project here.

The Rochester Cycling Alliance, the city’s bicycling advocacy group that is helping with the Inner Loop project, will host a 2016 meeting about the League’s Bicycling Friendly Communities. No date has been set yet, but I will publicize it here and I hope Twin Tiers residents will attend the meeting and begin advocating for similar status in Elmira, Corning and Ithaca.  Better bike safety is good for everyone!

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

NY Must Be Safer, More Welcoming For Bicyclists, Says NY and PA Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The League of American Bicyclists lists NY No. 42 in its national ranking of Bicycle Friendly States for 2012.

The League of American Bicyclists, in honor of National Bike Month in May,  recently released its latest Bicycle Friendly State Program rankings, and New York was a dismal No. 42 in the national ratings, the League’s fifth annual assessment.

As a new Board Member of the NY Bicycling Coalition (NYBC), a statewide bicycle advocacy group, I was disappointed to see that NY was rated so poorly. There is lots of room for improvement in making NY a safer and more hospitable environment for cyclists.

The good news is that certain cities (i.e., Rochester) are making great strides forward in designing and implementing cycling infrastructure.

The bad news is there’s lots of work ahead of us but it is my hope that groups  like the NYBC and their many devoted volunteers will continue to make incremental improvements in making the Empire State cycling friendly.

According to a news release from Brian Kehoe, the NYBC Executive Director, the state’s ranking was based on many points, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encourage programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride.

New York’s recently enacted Complete Streets Law was noted as a positive achievement, according to the news release. Tips for improvement included adoption of a state bicycle plan and the establishment of a statewide bicycle advisory commit­tee to oversee its implementation.

To learn more about the national rankings, click here.

To see the report card on NY, click here.

Read all about the bicycling renaissance in Rochester by clicking here!

Washington state was No. 1 in the national rankings, followed by Minnesota and Massachusetts.

Pennsylvania was No. 15.

Nebraska, Kentucky, New Mexico, Montana, Alabama, West Virginia, North Dakota and Arkansas ranked lower than NY.

RESIDENTS of Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers, what can we do to make NY more welcoming and safer for bicyclists? Please share your comments below!

Ride safely, and thanks for reading!

Jim

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

 

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Proposed Federal Law Guts Bicycling Safety Protection for Cyclists, NY and PA Bicycle Lawyer Says

Everyone should speak out against new legislation in Washington that eliminates funding to protect bicyclists.

The League of American Bicyclists, a great organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for bicyclists and walkers, is warning this week about a piece of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that eliminates dedicated funding for bicyclists and walkers and, going even further, removes bicycling from the federal transportation program.

If approved, this legislation will GUT laws and programs protecting cyclists and reverse decades of progress. This is VERY BAD for bicylists!

The legislation, introduced by Congressman John Mica, R-Fla., is called the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, and you can read more about it here on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee website.

The League, on its blog, said the bill reverses 20 years of progress by:

  • Destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional.
  • Repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school.
  • Allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • Eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs.
  • Eliminating language that ensures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”

The League adds the following comment: “It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system — a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It’s a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.”

Now is the time to get involved! On Thursday, two other House members will introduce amendments to restore dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School.

All Americans have a stake in this legislation. We all want safe paths, bike lanes, crosswalks, sidewalks and bikeways. Contact your local House member and urge that legislator to support the amendments!

Please act now!

Here are the top 10 reasons to oppose the legislation.

You can go here to find your local representative and send them an urgent message. I urge everyone in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers to speak up today!

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