The City of Elmira is going Lime, too.
The city will soon have ride-sharing bikes and electric scooters from LimeBike, a ride-sharing company that people will be able to access from their smartphones and other ways. Watch for more details soon in the local news media now that Elmira City Council this week cleared the way for the popular ride-sharing company to hit the streets.
We’ll see the lime green bikes popping up soon, perhaps even this month. LimeBike is already in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, and Ithaca. I wrote about the arrival of LimeBike in Watkins Glen here.
As THE bicycle law expert in Upstate NY, the Star-Gazette called me this week to comment for a story that was on the front page (photo at left).
I told the reporter that, as a longtime Bike Law lawyer, cycling enthusiast and racer, I love any program that gets more people on two wheels on our roadways.
More riders means less congestion of vehicles, a healthier population in general, and I hope, when people get back in their vehicles after LimeBiking, they will be more tolerant and patient with cyclists and approach us with respect and a willingness to share the road safely.
Here are my comments to the Star-Gazette:
“The statistics are that the more bikes in an area, the safer it is for all bicyclists. People get used to seeing bikes, and become more vigilant and on the lookout for bikes.”
“In Europe, where bikes are everywhere, the (accident) statistics are lower. Most advocacy groups look at rental bikes and say, ‘This is a good thing.’ It’s great for the environment, great for downtowns, but as a bike accident lawyer, I don’t want to see more people hurt on bikes. If it contributes to bicycle safety in our community, that’s a good thing.”
Watkins Glen Village Trustee Laurie DeNardo told the Star-Gazette that the village has been happy with LimeBikes this summer. The village had 4,000 LimeBikers travel 8,200 miles from May through Oct. 1, she said.
I think the folks in Elmira will be excited to become LimeBikers, but before those LimeBikers unlock a bike for their first ride, keep these vehicle and bike laws in mind:
- Bicycles have the legal right to ride in the road and even have the right to use the full lane when turning left or when it would otherwise be unsafe to ride to the right of the road.
- Riders 14 and younger must wear a helmet. I recommend a helmet for all cyclists.
- At this time, unlike some other local cities, Watkins does not have a law prohibiting bicycles from riding on the sidewalk, so legally, bikes may be operated on sidewalks. However, both bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the sidewalks must be respectful of one another and should walk/ride safely so they don’t endanger others.
- Motorists are legally required to treat a bicyclist like any other vehicle (i.e.. yield the right of way to a bicyclist already within an intersection, yield to a bicyclist coming toward you if you are making a left turn across their path).
- Motorists need to observe a “safe passing distance” when passing a bicyclist.
Motorists and cyclists need to look out for one another and observe the local and state laws in place to ensure that LImeBikers, and all cyclists, have an enjoyable and safe ride.
Thank you for reading!