Tag Archives: New York City

Debate Over E-bikes Grows After NYC Partially Lifts Ban

ebike 1

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would lift its ban on riding e-bikes, making bike-sharing and delivery companies happier. For motorists and bicyclists in the city, it will be one more faster-moving object to watch for as they zig-zag through the frenetic streets. And reviving the debate nationally over the safety of e-bicycles.

The NY law on e-bikes is murky and confusing as noted in a nice blog post from CityLab:  “Under federal law, an electric bike with a maximum assisted speed under 20 miles per hour can be sold as a bicycle, not a motor vehicle. Under New York state law, riders would need to register these as they would a motorcycle, moped, or car. But there’s no clear way to register them. Because of this regulatory patchwork, e-bikes are legal to sell as bikes anywhere in the U.S. but effectively illegal to ride in New York, since they can’t be registered as motor vehicles.”

NYC Mayor Bill di Blasio.

NYC Mayor Bill di Blasio.

According to news reports from NYC, the city just months ago was taking a hard line on e-bicyclist delivery folks, targeting riders and the businesses they work for with fines from $200 to $500. But vocal critics said the fines were hitting delivery riders, often poor immigrants, the hardest.

The New York City Department of Transportation is drafting new rules that will regulate the use of pedal-assist bikes. For now, any throttle e-bikes that can travel faster than 20 mph are still banned.

“By creating the framework for pedal-assist bicycles, our goal is to join other world cities that are opening the door for delivery workers, older or less able-bodied cyclists, and other casual aspiring cyclists to experience a safe and low-emission mode of travel,” said NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a news release.

“The mayor’s announcement is a positive first step, but until the City has established a solution for converting the e-bikes currently being used to pedal-assist bicycles, we worry that delivery workers will continue to be criminalized,” wrote Joe Cutrufo, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, in an email to Bicycling magazine.

ebike signE-bikes – and bicycling – are growing more popular in the U.S., news reports say. The National Institute for Transportation and Communities said its research found that people buying e-bikes are less reliant on motor vehicles.

E-bike advocates say they help reduce barriers for people who may not ride a traditional bicycle because of age, disability or poor physical condition. Some work commuters like them because they are a less strenuous ride to the office.

E-bike critics have many valid concerns: pedestrians don’t want to tangle with e-bikes on sidewalks. Some bicyclists call e-bikes cheating and don’t want to share busy bike paths with e-bikes that will travel faster. Police officers are worried about speeding and dangerous crashes..

There is pending legislation in NY to better define e-bikes and their legality in NY.  It is my hope that this legislation will soon become law because confusion over e-bikes is bad for everyone.

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

NY Highest Court Ruling Could Make Streets Safer In NY For Bicyclists

Injured Bicyclist

Jonathan Maus, the publisher and editor-in-chief of BikePortland.org, had a great recent post about a New York Court of Appeals ruling about city street design and accident liability that could be great news for bicyclists all over the country.

Jonathan writes:

  • “After years of assuming cities had blanket immunity from liability when it came to street design decisions, a recent decision by New York’s highest court has thrown that into question. The court found that the City of New York can be held partly liable for a man’s death because they knew the road encouraged speeding and unsafe driving but they failed to study and implement measures to mitigate the risk.
  • “The ruling is being hailed as a “landmark” and “game-changing” decision by New York City nonprofit organization Transportation Alternatives.”
  • Bigger“Here’s what Transportation Alternatives said in its statement: The New York high court just ruled that the City can be held liable for failing to study and implement traffic calming measures, which the jury determined were a major factor contributing to the crash. In a 2004 incident, the driver was traveling at 54 mph on Gerritsen Avenue, which had a speed limit of 30 mph. Prior to the incident, the City had been advised by local residents, elected officials, and the Department of Transportation that speeding was common on the street, but that no sufficient speed study or traffic calming review was performed. The Court found the City liable for failing to adequately study and mitigate the road conditions that contributed to the speeding, stating that “an unjustifiable delay in implementing a remedial plan constitutes a breach of the municipality’s duty to the public.”
Jonathan Maus.

Jonathan Maus.

Jonathan continued: Experts testified during the trial that “it was known among traffic engineers that straight, wide roads” that lack pedestrian-friendly features “encourage speeding because drivers feel more comfortable on roadways with those characteristics.” The Court distinguished these types of thoroughfares from streets that have traffic calming measures in place, which “cause drivers to be more cautious” and “are known to reduce the overall speed on roadways. … The ruling is a major development because it means the City can potentially be held liable for unsafe street designs.”

Jonathan also got reaction from my fellow BikeLaw.com lawyer and Bicycling Magazine columnist Bob Mionske, who said the decision is a “watershed moment for cycling advocates.”

Here are Bob’s comments to Jonathan:

Bob Mionske

Bob Mionske

“Traffic violence is the issue for advocacy efforts and this decision opens the door to holding liable the only party who can make the changes necessary for a safer transportation environment. I applaud their decision as all cycling advocates should.” Bob said he thinks the ruling will lead to more lawsuits against public entities for unsafe road design which will in turn compel municipalities to make the roads safer.

“My guess is that the Turturro decision out of New York Court Of Appeals,” Bob said, “will be used as support in other jurisdictions, and we will see some jurisdictions agree with New York and others continue to apply their state’s sovereign immunity statutes, especially in states with ‘absolute’ state immunity.”

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

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

 

 

 

Are You Traveling To A Big City? New Study Shows City Bike Shares Are Very Safe

3032905-poster-3028632-poster-p-citibike-2

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

 

Here Is A Summary Of Bike Laws In New York State And NYC To Keep Riders And Motorists Safe!

BFA 6

I see motorists and bicyclists break the law every day.

As a veteran bicycle law lawyer, I decided it was time to summarize our state laws so everyone sharing the road knows their rights.

Why These Laws Apply to Cyclists

NY Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) – §1231 – Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles – Every person riding a bicycle ….. upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

Rules of the City of N.Y. (RCNY) 4-02 (a) – The provisions of N.Y.C. Traffic Rules are applicable to bicycles and their operators.

Safe Passing Law:   Motor Vehicles Passing Bikes

Share-Road-Sign

Photo courtesy of RoadTrafficSigns.com. RoadTrafficSigns.com

VTL 1146 – Drivers to exercise due care. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian, or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary. For the purposes of this section, the term “domestic animal” shall mean domesticated sheep, cattle, and goats which are under the supervision and control of a pedestrian.
VTL 1122 – 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.
VTL 1120 – All motorists must drive on the right side of a roadway, except in the following situations:
• When passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction;
• When passing a cyclist, pedestrian, animals, or obstructions in the roadway.
RCNY 19-190 – Right of Way –
Subdivision (a) provides that if a motor vehicle driver fails to yield to a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way, the driver shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $100, in addition to or as an alternative to the penalties that can be imposed for committing a traffic infraction as provided in the law. Subdivision (b) of Section 19-190 provides that if a driver violates subdivision (a) and the vehicle causes contact with the pedestrian or bicyclist, and thereby causes physical injury, the driver shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $250, in addition to or as an alternative to the penalties that can be imposed for committing a misdemeanor as provided in the law.

Bikes Passing on the Right

VTL 1123 – Overtaking on the right – The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:

• When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
• Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;
• Upon a one-way street, or upon any roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.
• (b) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway, except as permitted by section eleven hundred thirty-one of this article.

“Doorings”

220px-Door_zone_openVTL 1214 – Opening and closing vehicle doors – “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic, and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall a person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
RCNY 4-12-(c) – Getting Out of a Vehicle – “No person shall get out of any vehicle from the side facing on the traveled part of the street in such manner as to interfere with the right of the operator of an approaching vehicle or a bicycle.”
“Doored” by a NYC Cab
RCNY 4-11(c) – “Taxis….while engaged in picking up or discharging passengers must be within 12 inches of the curb or parallel thereto “.
RCNY 4-11 (c) -Taxi and Cars for Hire – Picking up or discharging passengers shall not be made under such conditions as to obstruct the movement of traffic and in no instance so as to leave fewer than 10 feet available for the free movement of vehicular traffic; where stopping is prohibited; or within a bicycle lane.

Bike Lanes and Road Position for Cyclists

Bike-Lane-ArrowVTL 102-a – Definition of Bicycle Lane – A portion of the roadway which has been designated by striping, signing and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicycles.
VTL 1234. Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle or in-line skate lanes and bicycle or in-line skate paths. (a) Upon all roadways, any bicycle or in-line skate shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane or, if a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge.
Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, in-line skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on in-line skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.
**VTL § 1234 Does Not apply in New York City. It is specifically superseded by 34 RCNY 4-02 (e) **
RCNY 4-12 (p)(1) Bicyclists may ride on either side of one-way roadways that are at least 40 feet wide.
RCNY 4-12 (p)(3) Bicyclists should ride in usable bike lanes, unless they are blocked or unsafe for any reason.
RCNY 4-12 (o) Bicycles are prohibited on expressways, drives, highways, interstate routes, bridges, and thruways unless authorized by signs.

Riding Single File or No More than 2 Abreast

VTL 1234 (b) Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a shoulder, bicycle or in-line skate lane, or bicycle or in-line skates path, intended for the use of bicycles or in-line skates may ride two or more abreast if sufficient space is available, except that when passing a vehicle, bicycle or person on in-line skates, or pedestrian, standing or proceeding along such shoulder, lane or path, persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates shall ride, skate, or glide single file. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall ride, skate, or glide single file when being overtaken by a vehicle.

Stop Before Entering Roadway

VTL 1234 (c) Any person operating a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb shall come to a full stop before entering the roadway.

Cars Blocking or Obstructing Bike Lanes in NYC

A-Philly-bike-laneRCNY Section 4-08(e) – Block or obstructing a Bike lane – “No Stopping Zones (Stopping, standing, and parking prohibited in specified places). No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any bicycle lanes or within a designated bicycle lane….”
RCNY 4-12(p)(2) No person shall drive a vehicle on or across a designated bicycle lane, except when it is reasonable and necessary:
(i) to enter or leave a driveway; or
(ii) (ii) to enter or leave a legal curbside parking space; or
(iii) (iii) to cross an intersection; or
(iv) (iv) to make a turn within an intersection; or
(v) (v) to comply with the direction of any law enforcement officer or other person authorized to enforce this rule; or
(vi) (vi) to avoid an obstacle which leaves fewer than ten feet available for the free movement of vehicular traffic.
(vii) Notwithstanding any other rule, no person shall drive a vehicle on or across a designated bicycle lane in such manner as to interfere with the safety and passage of persons operating bicycles thereon.

Equipment

VTL 1236. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. (a) Every bicycle when in use during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible during hours of darkness from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and with a red or amber light visible to the rear for three hundred feet. Effective July first, nineteen hundred seventy-six, at least one of these lights shall be visible for two hundred feet from each side.

(b) No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet, except that a bicycle shall not be equipped with nor shall any person use upon a bicycle any siren or whistle.

No Brakeless “Fixies” in NY

VTL 1236 (c) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

VTL 1236 (d) Every new bicycle shall be equipped with reflective tires or, alternately, a reflex reflector mounted on the spokes of each wheel, said tires and reflectors to be of types approved by the commissioner. The reflex reflector mounted on the front wheel shall be colorless or amber, and the reflex reflector mounted on the rear wheel shall be colorless or red.

VTL 1236 (e) Every bicycle when in use during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with reflective devices or material meeting the standards established by rules and regulations promulgated by the commissioner; provided, however, that such standards shall not be inconsistent with or otherwise conflict with the requirements of subdivisions (a) and (d) of this section.

2 Earphones Are Unlawful

VTL 375 24-a – Use of earphones while driving or riding a bicycle – It shall be unlawful to operate upon any public highway in this state a motor vehicle, limited use automobile, limited use motorcycle or bicycle while the operator is wearing more than one earphone attached to a radio, tape player or other audio device.

Hands on the handle bars

VTL 235 – Carrying articles – No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars. No person skating or gliding on in-line skates shall carry any package, bundle, or article which obstructs his or her vision in any direction. No person operating a skate board shall carry any package, bundle, or article which obstructs his or her vision in any direction.
RCNY 4-12 (e) – Cyclists must have at least one hand on handlebars at all times.
Seats and Pedals
VTL § 1232 Cyclists must ride on a permanent seat, feet must be on pedals, and bike must carry only the number of persons for which it is designed and equipped.

Children on Bikes

boy with helmetVTL 1238 – Helmets and carrying children
• A child under age one is not permitted to ride on a bicycle.
• A child one or more years of age but less than five years of age must wear an approved helmet and be carried in a properly affixed child carrier.
• A child five or more years of age but less than fourteen years of age must wear an approved helmet.

Riding on the Sidewalk and in Parks in NYC

Admin Code – 19-176 – Bicycles ridden on sidewalks may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions (see also: RCNY § 4-07(c) (3)
RCNY 4-07 (c) (3) No driving bikes on sidewalks, unless sign allows or wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and rider is twelve years or younger
RCNY 4-14 (c) No person shall ride a bicycle in any park, except in places designated for bike riding; but persons may push bikes in single file to and from such places, except on beaches and boardwalks.

Riding on the Sidewalk in Other Municipalities

BFA 4The NY Vehicle and Traffic Law does not expressly regulate sidewalk bicycling. However, NY General Municipal Law (Section 180)6 states that NY municipalities can regulate bike riding on sidewalks. They cannot require that bicyclists use a sidewalk instead of a public roadway, but they can impose limits to sidewalk bicycling. So it is up to individual municipalities to regulate sidewalk cycling as they see fit.
Some municipalities have no sidewalk cycling regulations, while others do regulate sidewalk bicycling. For instance, the City of Elmira prohibits sidewalk cycling for persons 14 or older. The City of Ithaca prohibits cycling on the sidewalk for anyone older than 10 years old unless a person over 10 has a disability requiring the use of a bicycle as a means of transportation or mobility.

I wrote this compilation of laws with Daniel Flanzig of Flanzig and Flanzig, LLP, www.newyorkbikelawyers.com. We collaborated on this in our roles as Legal Advisers/Board Members to the New York Bicycling Coalition and as bicycle accident lawyers with BikeLaw.com.

DISCLAIMER: Please appreciate that this compilation of cycling laws is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Also appreciate that laws change on virtually a daily basis and accordingly whenever researching any legal issue, it is critically important to perform up-to-date research to determine the current state of the law.
If you have any legal question pertaining to cycling laws in the state of New York, please feel free to contact Jim Reed at [email protected].

Enjoy your bike and ride safely!

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

 

Thanks To CAF USA and Amtrak, Bicycling Means Big $ for Twin Tiers, Says NY and PA Bicycle Accident Lawyer

 

New bike-friendly baggage cars produced at CAF USA will be available on Amtrak long-distance routes by the end of the year.

New bike-friendly baggage cars produced at CAF USA will be available on Amtrak long-distance routes by the end of the year.

Amtrak will soon offer bike-friendly baggage cars on all 15 of its long-distance routes, thanks to workers at CAF USA in Elmira Heights, according to the New York Bicycling Coalition.

CAF USA was awarded a $298.1 million contract in 2010 to build the baggage cars and other cars for Amtrak.  This is great news for our local economy and it is great news for all N.Y. cyclists.

The Coalition said the new cars’ built-in luggage racks will secure unboxed bicycles, which means passengers will no longer have to box their bicycles to be checked as baggage. As someone who has frequently traveled with my bikes, I LOVE the fact that Amtrak is making it so much easier to take bikes on their train.

CAF USA is producing bike-friendly baggage cars for Amtrak in Elmira Heights/

CAF USA in Elmira Heights.

As the Coalition noted in this blog post:

“This is good news for bicycle-touting passengers using New York’s only long-distance Amtrak train, the Lake Shore Limited, who will benefit from the new bike-friendly baggage car service on this route between New York City and Chicago.

“The improved service will make it easier for cyclists to travel by train from New York City to many upstate destinations, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica and Albany.  The service will also contribute to bicycle tourism in the state by providing a more convenient way for cyclists in the Midwest to access some of New York’s best bicycling destinations and events via rail.”

“(The) New York Bicycling Coalition has long advocated for roll-on bicycle service on Amtrak trains in New York, and we remain committed to introducing and improving rail transportation options for bicyclists in an effort to promote bicycle tourism across the state,” said Josh Wilson, Executive Director of New York Bicycling Coalition.  “This news is fantastic, and we hope to see this service expanded to other Amtrak routes in New York.”

According to the Coalition, shorter corridor routes in New York, including the Adirondack, Ethan Allen, Maple Leaf and Empire Service trains, will not include the service. Bicycles can’t be carried onto these trains, which serve many smaller communities whose local economies often depend on tourism.

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

 

 

NY and PA Bicycle Lawyer: Viral Video Makes Funny but Important Point About Safety!

Vehicle parked in bicycle lane

A new YouTube video makes a funny but smart point about bike lane safety,

I am a bike rider. I am a lawyer. I encourage EVERYONE, bike riders AND motorists, to obey the law.

But as a bike rider who knows NY and PA bicycling laws, I can tell you that there are MANY laws on the books that make absolutely no sense.

And I can also tell you that there are many people, including some police officers and judges, who simply do NOT know the law as it applies to NY bicyclists.

I know from painful personal experience how frustrating it is for cyclists to encounter motorists or police who mistakenly tell them they are “breaking the law” when in fact they are not.

The video below is awesome because it portrays in a VERY comical fashion what happens when you strictly comply with what a police officer has told you is the law. Sometimes humor is the best revenge.

Here is what happened, according to The Associated Press: filmmaker Casey Niestat was issued a $50 ticket for not riding his bicycle in a Manhattan bicycle lane. Niestat told the officer he was riding on Second Avenue to avoid potential hazards in the bicycle lane.

In a video posted online this week, Niestat plows his  bike into various obstacles in bike lanes, including barrels, delivery trucks and even a police car. He told the AP that none of the obstacles were placed there for the video.

 

 

 

The AP noted that bicyclists must stay in the bike lanes, when they are available, except when conditions are not safe! And tickets are at the discretion of all officers!

P.S.:  The lawyer in me feels compelled to note that I do NOT endorse riding without a helmet (EVER!) and I sure as heck don’t recommend intentionally crashing your bike into anything but the biker in me sure did find this funny…..  🙂

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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NY Bike Accident Victim Justly Gets $6 MILLION Plus In Jury Verdict

I just read of a great jury verdict on behalf of an injured bicyclist. I am very happy for this bike accident victim because I know all too well the HUGE medical expenses and other financial damage suffered by a badly injured cyclist.

I was also pleased to see that the jury rejected the defense argument that the bicyclist was at fault in causing the collision. I am so sick and tired of the lame “blame the victim” defense that it is gratifying to see juries reject this nonsense.  In this case, the defendant ran a red light AND was speeding and he wants to blame the cyclist?  Yeeesh!

Here’s the full story on the recent verdict:

New York Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Results in $6.125M Verdict

A New York jury has awarded $6 million to a restaurant deliveryman, who was run down on his bike by a rental car.

The personal injury lawsuit was filed in Kings County Brooklyn Supreme Court by Jing Xue Jiang, 26, who was struck on June 4, 2005. The vehicle that struck Jiang was being driven by Jamaal Freeman and was rented from Dollar Rent a Car and Rental Car Finance Corp. The bicycle accident lawsuit named all three as defendants.

According to the complaint, Freeman ran a red light at the intersection of Halsey Street and Lewis Avenue and Brooklyn, striking Jiang while he was on his bicycle. The lawsuit alleged that Freeman was speeding at the time.

Jiang suffered multiple fractures to his vertebrae, left leg, right forearm and also suffered a concussion and subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was hospitalized for 14 days, underwent four weeks of physical therapy and was out of work for six months as a result of his injuries. He allegedly suffers residual impairment of his cognitive functions due to the swelling of the brain caused by the accident.

Defense attorneys admitted that Freeman was negligent, but also argued that Jiang could have avoided the accident and was thus partially responsible.

The jury rejected that argument and found the defendants fully liable for Jiang’s injuries. The jury awarded Jiang $6 million for past, present and future pain and suffering, and $125,000 for future medical expenses.

Thanks, 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