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April 7 2014 by Barbara Bike Security Quesiton

Hi Barbara, we checked in with NYC bike lawyer Steve Vaccaro to find an answer to your question. Here's what Steve had to say:

The ornamental fences around street trees are usually installed by building owners, neighborhood associations, or business improvement districts, rather than the City. Therefore they are private property as to which the installer has obtained permission from the City to install in a public place. It is a violation of the rights of the owner of the property to lock your bike to it, just as if you locked your bike to a car that is legally parked in a parking spot. The owner of the fence would legally be permitted to clip the lock and remove your bike from the property. 

This comes up often with bikes locked to scaffolding, which are also private property. Note that in the case of bikes locked to street fixtures owned by the City, the City is not permitted to remove them without advance notice to the owner or some reasonable means to retrieve the bike, if removal without notice is deemed necessary for public safety (e.g., security measure for Presidential motorcade).

Been in a bike crash? Contact Vaccaro & White for a free consultation.

Disclaimer: the legal information presented on this site is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements in this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

April 6 2014 by Mark Legal Question

Hi Mark, here's what NYC bike lawyer Steve Vaccaro had to say about being ticketed for turning right on red while on your bike:

"The turning restriction referred to is a city rule, not a state one. City turning restrictions are applicable to the operator of a "vehicle." Under the City traffic rules, a "bicycle" is not a "vehicle." So the turning restriction does not apply to cyclists. (Note that there would be a different outcome if the turning restriction came from state law, because state law provides that bicyclists are subject to most of the same responsibilities as the operator of a vehicle.) 

Putting aside the legal technicalities, turning restrictions that are in effect only during certain times of day are almost always anti-congestion measures aimed at big, bulky motor vehicles. Due to the smaller footprint and superior agility of a cyclist, I doubt that a cyclists' disregard for the turning restriction at issue would cause the harm (congestion) that the restriction is intended to avoid (although there is the concern that a cyclist turning in a "no turn" scenario is acting unpredictably). But I'd say that as a matter of both technical legal interpretation, and common sense, the restriction doesn't apply to cyclists, and you should plead not guilty."

Been in a bike accident and need legal representation? Contact Vaccaro & White for a free consulation. 

Disclaimer: the legal information presented on this site is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements in this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

March 25 2014 by Josh Legal Question

Hi Josh, that's harsh! We've never heard of anyone being issued a disorderly conduct ticket for running a red on a bike, so we decided to check in with NYC bike attorney Steve Vaccaro. Here's what Steve had to say:

"Merely running a red light should not result in a disorderly conduct summons. Disorderly conduct in the traffic context requires a significant obstruction of traffic, accomplished with either an intent to cause public inconvenience or an awareness that a public inconvenience might well result. The obstruction must be more significant than a brief delay in the passage of other traffic. Unless you dallied in the intersection blocking traffic -- or engaged in any of the other behavior constituting disorderly conduct -- I recommend that you go to court, make sure your court-appointed attorney understands the circumstances in the very brief period of time you will have to explain them to him or her, plead not guilty, and ask that the charges be dismissed for facial insufficiency. But make sure you first read the "information" -- the brief factual statement of the officer supporting the charge, that is available only at court. It may state that you did dally in the intersection or otherwise appear to intend to cause inconvenience. In that case, you will have to go back to court for a trial, and it will be your word against the officer's."

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Disclaimer: the legal information presented on this site is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements in this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

March 20 2014 by Elmieni Route Question

Hi Elmieni, sounds like an awesome ride! It is possible to leave NYC by bike, but not always advisable. While there are good bike paths that connect the city to the north and east, the westbound route leaving New York through the I-95 corridor can get pretty hairy for cyclists. That said, it's not unheard of for experienced cyclists to ride due east out of NYC on longer rides. 

There are a few resources we'd advise you to check with while planning your ride: 1.) New York State DOT and New Jersey DOT both print regional bike maps; 2.) Adventure Cycling Association has the most extensive selection of bike touring maps in the U.S.; and 3.) By selecting cycling as your mode of transit on Google Maps, and panning out to a regional view, you can sometimes find extensive bike paths and routes you might not have found otherwise (though it doesn't mean the areas connecting those paths will be great for biking).

Cycle safe, enjoy the ride and let us know how it goes!

March 21 2014 by Jodie J. Citi Bike Question

Hi Jodie, Transportation Alternatives advoctes for the expansion of Citi Bike throughout Manhattan and the outer boroughs and will be raising the call for more funding in 2014.

Before bike share in New York City can grow to include the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, it needs additional resources. You can help T.A. get support for Citibike's expansion by reaching out to your local council person and pledging your support for Citi Bike in your district. (Find out how to contact your local elected official here.) 

 

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