Tag Archives: pa bicycle a

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

 

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

 

Horrific NC Crash That Hurt 4 Bicyclists Is Exhibit A for Why We Need a 3-Foot Passing Law in NY

 

As President of the New York Bicycling Coalition, I am urging New York State residents to get involved to help save the lives of bicyclists by urging their state legislators to pass a three-foot safe passing law. The unenforceable law on the books now in New York State defines the passing distance only as a “safe distance,” which police say is difficult to enforce.carchex-3-feet

A horrific car/bike crash last weekend in Angier, N.C., is sadly the latest evidence that all states need the three-foot passing law.

What makes it even more sad for me personally is because one of the injured riders, Mike Dayton, is a friend of mine who I know through my work with BikeLaw.com.  Mike is one of the nicest guys I have ever met.  More importantly, he is one of the safest and most experienced riders I have ever met.  Despite that fact, as discussed in detail below, Mike is laying in a NC ICU right now with a bad head injury because he was mowed down from behind while riding in a line of four single-file riders.  Trust me, if this could happen to Mike, this could happen to any of us who enjoy riding our bikes.

Like New York, North Carolina is another state behind the times without a defined passing distance law.  If the driver in Mike’s case would have just given these riders 3′ of passing distance, Mike would be happy at work rather than in the ICU…….

You can read the full news reports here and here:

 

Long story short, 4 experienced bike riders who were riding single-file were mowed down from behind by a passing car. The driver, Donnie Marie Williams, told a TV station that when she saw the bicyclists, there was no room to move over because a vehicle was coming in the other direction. “It happened so quick,” she said.

Apparently, it never occurred to this driver that she could have avoided this tragedy had she simply slowed down and waited for the on-coming car to pass.  If NC had a 3′ passing law, and had this driver learned that she MUST ALWAYS permit at least 3′ of passing distance, this crash would have never occurred.

I know that simply changing the law won’t prevent all future bike crashes but I also know from what I have seen over the years with seatbelt use, DWI penalties, etc., a change in the law CAN dramatically change motorist behavior.

Passing a 3′ law is an important first step in changing motorist behavior when passing people who ride bikes.  If you agree, please take 2 minutes to email your legislator by using this easy-to-use form.

Thanks for reading — and please remember to contact your state legislators in New York!

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

 

2017 Bike Summit Tops My Agenda As New President Of NYBC

 

Jim on bike

I am very excited to be the new president of the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide bike advocacy group.  I have an aggressive agenda for the next year or two to grow the organization – we currently have 700 members – and make our voice louder in Albany and across the state. I will be meeting with bicyclists across the state this year as I prepare for a statewide Summit in 2017.

I recently sat down with Mike Dayton from BikeLaw for an interview to discuss my plans. Check out his blog for the full interview, but here a few excerpts:

BIKE LAW: Tell us about your objectives for NYBC.

JIM: NYBC is co-sponsor of a 500-mile ride across Upstate New York called the Great Big FANY Ride. It comes through the Finger Lakes, but I would really like to have a Finger Lakes Ride that would also be a weeklong event. Also, we currently don’t have a statewide bike summit, and we are looking at putting one together in 2017. In 2016, we’re putting together regional summits.

BIKE LAW: As a bike lawyer, is there a traffic law you would most like to see changed in New York?

JIM: Actually, there are two laws I’d change right now if I could. One is the three-foot passing law. Right now, New York has a passing law that says vehicles must pass at a safe distance. Unfortunately, law enforcement interprets that to mean if you didn’t get hit, it must have been safe. So we are now trying to get a defined distance passing law of three feet. We have been lucky to get great sponsors in the Assembly and the Senate to push that change. We are optimistic that we will be successful. The other law I’d like to address concerns E-bikes. Right now, E-bikes are technically illegal in New York. We are working with PeopleForBikes on a definition of E-bikes so that they have a legal status in New York. Right now, we have different definitions of motorcycle, moped, and motor-propelled bicycles. E-bikes don’t really fit into any of those categories.

BIKE LAW: Are there any impediments to safe cycling in New York?

JIM: There are a number of impediments. We have the biggest city in the country where there is not enough established infrastructure. It can be difficult to cycle in New York City and other large cities. But there is tremendous change going on right now and tremendous advocacy. I’d point to Rochester and Buffalo as examples. In Rochester, there is the Rochester Cycling Alliance that does great work. In Buffalo, there’s a similar group called Go Bike Buffalo that is also doing excellent work. So there have been great strides made to improve infrastructure.

BIKE LAW: What will it take to get more New Yorkers on bikes?

JIM: One of the things we know in that regard is that people need to perceive cycling as safe. At the moment, for many people there is a perception that it’s not safe to ride on the public streets. Scott MacRae, a doctor and president of the Rochester Cycling Alliance, is a brilliant guy who did a recent article that analyzed empirical data that showed cycling improves your quality of life to a degree much greater than the risks associated with it. His point is that you can’t deny there are risks involved but the benefits far outweigh them. So you are far off better cycling.

Check out more of this interview at Bike Law Blog, and 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

 

 

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

 

HIT BY A CAR IN NY? YOU AUTOMATICALLY HAVE INSURANCE COVERAGE!

bicycle-accident-hit

I hear from NY bicyclists all the time who tell me they have been hit by a car and then refused to take an ambulance to the hospital.

Instead, they walked, called a family member or friend, and in some cases, got a ride from the driver who struck them!

Why?

Because they thought they were going to have to pay a big ambulance bill for the ride to the nearest hospital or huge medical expenses just for being checked out in the ER.

I certainly understand because ambulance rides don’t come cheap, and deductibles and co-pays can add up in a hurry these days.

But bicyclists need to know that there is a law in New York State that ensures that the DRIVER’S insurance pays for your medical bills after a crash – and even your lost wages if you are out of work because of your injuries.

It’s a great law in New York.

All privately owned motor vehicles registered in New York State are required to have something called PIP coverage.

Share-Road-Sign-K-4296PIP stands for “Personal Injury protection”, a form of “no-fault” insurance that covers medical bills and lost wages. NY requires every driver to carry minimum PIP limits of $50,000 to cover your medical bills and/or lost wages.  Many people (including myself!) carry APIP which is “Additional PIP” with limits over and above the minimum, required $50,000 coverage.

There is a reason PIP is called “no-fault.” It means that you’re covered no matter what happened – even if the bicyclist caused the crash, the rider is still eligible for PIP.

That’s because it often takes a long time for insurance companies to determine who was at fault in a crash, and people shouldn’t be forced to wait around for the insurance company’s decision while their medical bills are piling up.

PIP is a great safeguard, and even though $50,000 can be eaten up very quickly by medical expenses, PIP goes a long way toward helping people stay afloat after a bike crash.

So, if you are hit by a car in New York State, and it has state license plates, you don’t have to worry about paying for your initial medical treatment—just get in the ambulance!

As long as you have recorded the driver’s plate number, you can start a claim with their insurance and apply for PIP benefits.

If you need some guidance, send me an email at [email protected]. I’m always happy to help.

Safe riding!

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

 

Guest Post: PA Bicycle Attorney Explains Tort Insurance Options for Pennsylvania Bicyclists

Bicycle riders in Pennsylvania should learn their tort options on their car insurance.

Bicycle riders in Pennsylvania should learn what their tort options mean on their car insurance.

Bike accident lawyer Matt Dolfi of Pittsburgh unravels the confusion faced by bicyclists in the Northern Tier and across Pennsylvania over the “full tort vs. limited tort” options on car insurance in the Keystone State, and what it means for insured bicyclists who are injured by motorists.

Matt does a great job of explaining in very simple terms that just because a person has selected the “limited tort” option on their auto insurance policy does NOT mean that they are “limited” by that option should they be injured by a car while riding their bicycle (or walking as a pedestrian). The bottom line is that bicyclists and pedestrians get the benefits of the full tort option when injured by a motor vehicle regardless of whether they carry the full or limited tort option on their own vehicle.

You can read Matt’s blog here and learn more about Matt’s practice here.

Here are some of the high points from Matt’s excellent blog post:

Full tort or limited tort: Does a limited tort selection on an automobile insurance policy apply in a bicycle accident?

The short answer is – no. If you are injured by a motorist while riding a bicycle, your ability to recover for pain and suffering is not affected by a limited tort selection on your motor vehicle insurance policy.

Matt Dolfi.

Matt Dolfi.

Many people believe that if they are involved in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle (car, truck, bus, etc.), their limited tort insurance selection applies and precludes recovery for pain and suffering in the absence of a serious injury. But, that is not the case. Instead, because you are not occupying or operating a motor vehicle at the time of a bicycle accident, your limited tort selection does not apply.

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

 

 

 

The Newest Way To Protect Bicyclists: Video Cameras

 

helmet mount cameraIn my almost 30 years of representing injured cyclists it has been interesting to watch the impact that various new technologies have had on cycling and the bicycle crash cases.  This has been both bad and good.  Some technologies are responsible for causing more bike/car collisions (I.e. Cell phones, GPS) and some technologies (surveillance videos, body-mounted cameras) are actually assisting cyclists in proving that their collisions were due to the actions of an unsafe driver.

In this post, I discuss the increasing importance played by body-mounted or bike-mounted cameras.

Sad to say but when there is a bike collision, even when the motorist was clearly at fault, it is VERY common that the motorist will NOT accept personal responsibility and will instead blame the cyclist.  Over and over again I have seen otherwise honest drivers falsely claim that the cyclist was the cause of the collision rather than admitting they were at fault.

I used to believe that most drivers intentionally lied to avoid liability but I now believe that there is a deeper psychological principal at work here– people simply can’t stomach the idea that they inadvertently hurt someone so their brain reprocesses how the accident occurred in a way that deflects blame from them and imposes it on someone else, anyone else.  It’s the grown up version of the little kid that adamantly and earnestly denies that he walked through the kitchen with his muddy shoes despite the long line of muddy footprints that convincingly prove otherwise.

Compounding the problem of driver’s adamantly denying fault is the fact that many police officers seem to have a strong predisposition to blame the cyclist.  Many times this occurs because the cyclist is badly injured so they are unable to tell their version of how the collision occurred so the police officer accepts the motorist’s version as gospel because that is the only version he has heard. Other times, the motorist tells one version, the cyclist tells another version, and the officer simply doesn’t take the time to thoroughly investigate (interview ALL witnesses, take photos and measurements of skid marks, physical evidence, etc.).

So in many of my bike accident cases it becomes tough to PROVE who was at fault.  One tool that can make a huge difference is video of how the collision occurred.  As the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Many cyclists have now resorted to using a “black box” — a tough, mountable camera that records footage during a ride. The hi-res cameras could serve as a deterrent for motorists who may otherwise drive recklessly. They are there to provide footage for police in the unfortunate event a cyclist is hit or harassed by a driver.

The Huffington Post has a great story about a mother and her 1-year-old son who were struck by a car three years ago while walking in a crosswalk in Washington, D.C. An avid rider of a 100-pound cargo bike, the mother, Megan Odett, now wears a GoPro camera to help protect herself after close calls on her bike.

It’s sad that cyclist’s need to wear cameras to prove the fault of the drivers who often falsely claim that the cyclist was at fault. In my own cases, on many occasions, I find that the driver’s frequently lie and attempt to blame the victim.  Although I don’t wear a camera myself, I certainly think it’s a good idea for those cyclists who frequently ride on busy urban streets. Sad to say but sometimes one can’t be too careful….

Having a point-of-view camera is a huge help in hit-and-run cases, since the proximity to the vehicle as well as the image and audio quality are better than that of red light and surveillance cameras. In other cases, the camera is an impartial observer that can help determine which party was at fault, the reporter noted.

Fly6LightCamera

Fly6 Combination Light & Video Camera

The market is ready. In February, the Fly6, a combination rear bike light and audio/visual camera specifically designed to record drivers behind a cyclist who may rear-end, cut off or unsafely pass a biker was unveiled.

Australian cyclist Paul Ludlow was able to use Fly6 footage (here) after police initially believed the account of the driver who allegedly cut Ludlow off. (Go to settings and set it to .25 speed so you can see what really happened.)

“[The camera] proved everything,” Ludlow told HuffPost via email. “The police then advised me that they were going to charge the driver as he had failed to give way to an oncoming vehicle.”

Dina Driscoll, a 30-year-old Philadelphian who bikes with her kids, told the HuffPost she wears her camera mounted to her helmet.

“It’s the most visible to drivers,” she said. “I point to it sometimes if a driver is being really aggressive, [as if to say] ‘Hey, I notice you.’”

See the full story here.

Do you have a wearable camera or do you plan to soon buy one?

Tell us about your experience in the comments below if you already have a camera.

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

 

 

For NY And PA Bicycle Accident Lawyer, It’s A HUGE Honor To Be Featured In National Bike Law Expert’s Blog!

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BobMionskeinStarsAll of my fellow avid bicyclists know Bob Mionske, the former Olympic and pro cyclist who also happens to be a top-notch Oregon bicycle accident lawyer who wrote THE book on bike law, “Bicycling and The Law.”

Dan Flanzig, a New York City bike accident lawyer, and I were recently honored to be interviewed by Bob for his blog, BicycleLaw.com.

For bicycle accident lawyers, being featured in Bob’s blog is like an athlete being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It doesn’t get any better!

Dan and I were interviewed because we were both selected to be featured in BikeLaw.com as among the top bicycle accident lawyers in our state.

Dan and I talked about:

  • How we got started as bicycle accident lawyers.
  • The state of bicycling in New York, upstate and downstate.
  • Our work with the New York Bicycling Coalition. We are both board members.
  • The statewide political climate in Albany for bicycling.
  • Our best advice for bicyclists involved in accidents.

My wife and I have both been struck by vehicles while riding and I talk about the impact it had on us. You’ll have to read the interview for those comments but here are some of the other excerpts:

  • Historically, the cycling movement hasn’t been particularly well-received in Albany but things seem to be warming and we are cautiously optimistic that there are better days ahead. I think many NY politicians and state agencies are starting to see the huge benefits cycling can offer in many different respects—health, improving urban transportation, tourism dollars and reducing fuel consumption.
  • NYBC is the largest cycling advocacy group in New York and … is really on the move. NYBC is targeting a few key legislative projects: E-bike legislation, a 3-foot safe passing law, and specific inclusion of cycling safety education to the new driver curriculum and driver permit test.
  • Proper insurance coverage can mean the difference between financial devastation versus successfully surviving the financial damages caused by a bad bike crash. One quick insurance tip: if you are a NY cyclist who also owns a car, make sure you have at least $250,000 of SUM (Supplemental Under-Insured Motorist) coverage on your auto policy. This coverage protects you if you get hit by a car that is either uninsured or under-insured. You can read more about SUM coverage on my blog, New York Bike Accident Blog.

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