Bike Law’s Jim Reed Seeks 2017 NY Bike Summit

Bike Law attorney Jim Reed, the newly elected president of the New York Bicycling Coalition, wants to bring bike advocates together for a statewide conference.

New York Bike Law attorney Jim Reed was recently elected president of the New York Bicycling Coalition, a statewide bike advocacy group. But in a recent interview, the first state Jim mentioned was Maine.

The reason? “The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has 5,000 members, and NYBC only has 700 members, even though we are a much larger state,” Reed explains. “That’s our greatest challenge at NYBC – to make it clear to New York riders that we are relevant to them.”

Reed has ambitious plans for the New York organization. He wants to increase the coalition’s membership, and he wants to engage advocates across New York by holding the state’s first bike summit in 2017.

We caught up with Jim to discuss his plans as NYBC’s leader. We also asked Jim, who practices law in Elmira, about his favorite place to ride in New York. Read on for his answers.

BIKE LAW: Congratulations on being elected president of the New York Bicycle Coalition. What do you see as NYBC’s mission?

JIM: Our mission is huge. We are trying to advocate for a tremendously big state and a tremendously diverse state. Unfortunately, our budget is small, and we operate with one full-time employee, one part-time employee, and a board of volunteers who are working their butts off to promote bike safety in New York.

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: What does it take to get riders to sign up for an advocacy group like NYBC?

JIM: That’s our greatest challenge – how to make it clear to riders that we are relevant to them. That’s easy for local advocacy groups. They can point to things happening in their backyard. But we are trying to affect policy on a statewide level. There’s no question the local groups are great, and they do many tremendously helpful things. However, there are certain things, such as a statewide law, that the statewide group can actively work on. There’s a great example right now in New York. The local advocacy groups have said what we really need in New York is a three-foot passing law, but none of them are working on that. At NYBC, we’ve taken that on, and we’ve just gotten sponsorship in both the Assembly and the Senate to address New York’s “safe passing” law to make it a three-foot passing law.

BIKE LAW: As a bike lawyer, is that the 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.

BIKE LAW: If you had a week off to cycle anywhere in New York, where would you spend it?

JIM: I bike every week of the year, even in the middle of the winter. I’m in the Finger Lakes region, and I’d say they are absolutely the prime jewel of bicycling in New York. Whether it’s short or long rides, it’s an amazingly beautiful area between the lakes and the challenging hills and valleys that surround them, with quiet rural roads. The Finger Lakes National Forest is right in my backyard, and there is both off-road riding and gravel riding there. We have lots of wineries here, and that means you can get done with your ride and enjoy a tour of one of the hundreds of vineyards here. We’ve also seen a lot of breweries open; the Seneca Lake beer trail is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s just a tremendously beautiful area to ride.

BIKE LAW: We have to ask – are you a one bike kind of guy?

JIM: (laughs). I have a fleet of bikes. I’m blessed that my childhood best friend owns a local bike shop in Elmira, Kingsbury Cyclery. He just called me the other day and said, “You need a fattie [bike], you can’t live without a fattie.” I don’t have one yet, but my wife and I have two tandems, as well as cyclocross, road bikes, single speeds, racing bikes, mountain bikes.

BIKE LAW: Do you have great hope for the next generation of bikers?

JIM: I do. I just met with some bike advocates in Ithaca. One of the guys I met with runs a racing program at a high school. We were both saying – and this ties in with the Bike Law article on the Lost Art of the Group Ride — that this generation of kids has not grown up riding their bikes to school.   They’ve lived in an environment where parents herded them everywhere rather than them riding their bikes everywhere. He was of the opinion that it almost requires a mentor for them to understand they can get on their bikes and ride 10 miles or 20 miles someplace. He is opening their eyes to that idea. So my take away from that is that you need bicycle mentors teaching the art of the group ride – how to do it, and how to do it safely. What I love about this generation and the folks in their 20s is that they do embrace the idea that cycling is something you can do to get around cities. They are being exposed to bike shares, where they can walk out the door, go two blocks and pick up a bike, ride it 15 bikes to someplace else and drop it off. So they are seeing bicycles in a whole different way than I did growing up.

bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer, New York bicycle accident, New York bicycle accident lawyer, Elmira bicycle accident, Elmira bicycle accident lawyer, Jim Reed


Bruce Hagen Jul 17, 2018

On July 11, 2018, a very experienced rider and friend to many in the Rockdale County area, Albert “Ab” Roesel, was killed while out on a rural road doing a ride that he no doubt had done many times before.  Ab was 75 years old.   The police investigation concluded that Ab had been headed Southbound, […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Jun 04, 2018

At sea a boat under power must give way to a more vulnerable craft.  The law requires that a power driven vessel give way to a sailing vessel.  A sail boat must give way to a craft engaged in fishing. These simple rules are consistent with the maxim that with greater power comes greater responsibility. […]

Read More
Commuter Bike
Bruce Hagen May 29, 2018

Recently, my wife and I moved into a new home that’s closer to my office, which has allowed me to start commuting by bike.  I rode my bike to and from my office 4 consecutive days before my schedule forced me back into the car. My hope and plan is to commute by bike at […]

Read More
Pat Brown May 10, 2018

Strength, ambition, and courage are just a few words that come to mind when we think of Anthony Lue.  Growing up, Anthony enjoyed playing competitive sports such as baseball, volleyball, basketball and mountain biking, but his true passion was discovered on his high school track.    After winning gold for 100m hurdles at the provincial championships […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 30, 2018

Following a horrific bicycle crash in 2016, Dr. Michael Rifkin has become a new type of bicycling advocate — one who is deeply committed to ending distracted driving. Read his op-ed on Making Distracted Driving in Maine Taboo here. Dr. Rifkin’s piece reminds us that we can be distracted by our phones and other electronic devices even […]

Read More
Brian Weiss Apr 26, 2018

On November 21, 2017, I saw a TV news story about how the Broomfield District Attorney’s Office was routinely offering lax plea deals to drivers that injure cyclists.  In bicycle crash cases with injuries, the DA was offering plead deals to “broken headlight” or “defective vehicle” charges. A “defective vehicle” sentence is one of the […]

Read More
Atlanta's Bike Czar
Bruce Hagen Apr 19, 2018

Who is looking for a great job in a dynamic city with a great opportunity to make bicycle advocacy not just a passion, but a full time, rewarding and well-paying job?   The City of Atlanta is in search of a a new Chief Bicycle Officer to replace the outgoing CBO, Superstar Becky Katz, who after […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Apr 04, 2018

Piscitello Law – Bike Law PA is pleased to share highlights from the third annual Vision Zero conference, held March 17 in West Philadelphia.  The event was hosted by Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition and opening remarks by the Executive Director Sarah Clark Stuart encouraged 250 participants to “listen, learn and be inspired….”   Mayor James Kenney […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Apr 03, 2018

The first issue is that many bicycle crashes are not being reported into the State of Maine Crash Database, which leads to incomplete and inaccurate state-wide crash reporting data and arguably also leads to uninformed priority setting and budgetary decisions.  The crashes that are unreported and/or underreported on a state level are sometimes, but not […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Mar 25, 2018

Foundational Principles Bicycles are Traffic and Belong on Maine’s Roadways In Maine, bicycle riders are included within the definition of “traffic” and should be treated as part of Maine’s traffic system.  See 29-A M.R.S.A. § 101 (82).   Rights and Responsibilities In general, a person riding a bicycle in Maine has all of the rights […]

Read More
Joe Piscitello Mar 20, 2018

Vision Zero (VZ) is multi-nation initiative with a guiding principle that death and serious injury should not be an acceptable outcome of transportation.  Vision Zero plans often draw attention to flaws within the transportation system such as dangerous traffic patterns, speeding and a lack of sufficient protected bike/pedestrian lanes.  VZ action plans utilize data to […]

Read More
Danny Feldman Mar 15, 2018

I will not pretend to speak for all cyclists, but I feel pretty confident in saying that being passed by cars on the road is a primary area of concern. Most of the time there is no problem and the vehicle passes safely. Nevertheless, I personally have been “buzzed” more times than I wish were […]

Read More
Load More