Category Archives: Leaves in roadways

Do Your Homework Before Deciding On Whether To Bike To Work, NY Bicycle Attorney Says

Bicycle commuting can be a HUGE money-saver!

So you’re sick of spending all your money on gas, car maintenance and parking?  And you wish you had a chance to burn a few more calories?  Perfect solution:  commute by bike to work!

Kiplinger has a calculator to show how much you could save each day by riding your bike to work.

As a test, I said my daily commute is 20 miles round trip. I said I don’t have any parking or toll expenses. They said I can save $8 a day– that’s a whopping $2,000 a year!   And the commuting calculator even tells you how they  calculated the amount they show.

Try it — you might be surprised what you find.

But before you decide to put a new bicycle for commuting to work on your Christmas wish list, remember this:

  • Fall is here and winter is coming (sadly). Unpredictable weather. Wet leaves followed by snowy roads in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers are a huge hazards for bicyclists. And we are seeing less daylight, so our safe riding hours are shrinking. Yes, you can get a light for your bike, but you will still be mostly invisible to drivers and you won’t be able to see the road hazards like potholes with just a bike light.
  • Do you wear your work clothes, maybe a suit, on a bike commute, or carry your work clothes and change in the bathroom? It’s not a deal breaker, but consider that a complication each day. And if you arrive to work sweaty, can you take a shower?
  • Do you have somewhere safe to store the bicycle at work? (And don’t say your office!)
  • Know your commute path well. Are bicycles allowed on all the streets and roads? Will you feel safe riding with traffic if there are no shoulders or the shoulders are filled with glass and other debris? Know your road conditions very well. Again, DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
  • Your best bet is to become a part-time bike commuter. Once you do your homework (yes, I said it again), pick a few sunny and warm days and try it. Don’t put your car up on blocks just yet! Realize that in the Twin Tiers, bicycle commuting will likely always be part time, thanks in part to our two seasons — road construction and winter!

As Kiplinger points out in another story, there are many benefits to bicycling to work. Among them: it’s a good workout, you’ll save money, it’s better for the economy and it cuts down on the parking hassle.

If you like the bike commute, Kiplinger suggests you buy:

  • Lights for early-morning or nighttime riding. Get a white LED front light to attach to your handlebars so you’ll stay visible when approaching intersections, and buy a red, blinking light to attach to your seat post or clip onto your back so approaching drivers will see you from behind.
  • A rack or panniers, either of which can attach to the back of your bike, to carry files, a change of clothes or other personal items. A small messenger bag or backpack might suffice but can strain your back. Most mountain bikes or hybrids easily accommodate a rack or panniers.
  • Shoes with clips, which will give you more control and power during a rush-hour ride.
  • A fender to keep water from splashing onto you from your rear tire.
  • A cycling computer to track your speed and trip length.

Just remember: Do the math. Pick a go0d day and ride to work (once you do your homework and planning).

If you like it, and want to work bike commuting into your schedule, then by all means let Santa know what you want. Just be sure Santa knows you want to be SAFE!

If you are a bike commuter, please share your tips or favorite stories in our comments section!

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

 

New NY State Leaf Collection Policy Endangers Bicyclists, Says NY Bicycle Lawyer

Leaves raked to the side of roads pose a safety hazard to bicyclists.

Fall is always a challenging time of the year for bicyclists in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers. It is rainy and windy, and we have to dress in layers because one moment it will be in the 50s and damp, and the next, the sun comes out and it warms right up.

Road conditions are an even larger concern. Leaves can mask other dangers on the road — debris that can shred tires, or nasty potholes that can send us crashing to the pavement. Wet leaves are a year-round hazard. Helmets, essential any time of year, are even more critical for all ages in the fall.

Now this week, bicyclists learned they will need to dodge more than the usual falling wet leaves and occasional leaf piles. According to a news report here, New York State has told landfill operators to no longer accept bagged yard waste. That means many more Elmira and other Chemung County residents will have to rake their leaves out to the street or road.

Now I know the public works people ask residents to rake their leaves to the curb,  not in the road. But since most residents don’t want the leaves blowing right back into their yards, they usually plop them in the gutter, off their property.

That’s where it causes major headaches and potential hazards for bicyclists. Beyond adding more wet leaves (and probably grass and other yard waste) to our streets and roads, it gives us another hazard to steer around! And the change in policy guarantees there will be many more piles forcing cyclists further out into the travel lanes.

Many times, the leaf piles are bigger than parked cars, so we are forced to veer into traffic more — something most motorists aren’t patient with. Often, they can’t see the leaf pile that we see! Besides, they will drive through a leaf pile rather than veer around it. That’s not an option for us.

So, my fellow bicyclists, do you have any suggestions to share that will make riding this season safer? Some bike groups have advocated for abolishing leaf pickup programs? What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and remember to ride safe this season!

Thanks, Jim

_________________________________

James B. Reed

NY & PA Bicycle Accident Attorney

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

Mailto: [email protected]

Office: (607)733-8866

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

Web: www.zifflaw.com

 

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