You see, New York bicycle law requires cyclists to follow the same rules of the road as cars and other vehicles. That means riding on the right side of the road. But some of those country roads out here around Geneva, NY, where I live, and Auburn, NY, where I work, have no paved shoulders. That means you have to ride on that white line (called the “fog line”) that delineates the edge of the highway. And that in turn means that cars passing me from behind at 55 miles per hour come too close for comfort. If they see me, they usually mosey on over to the left a bit. But what if they don’t see me because their eyes are glued to their cell phone? And what if they veer off just a little to the right . . .?
Well, excuse me for not wanting to end my life as a hood ornament.
Yes, I am paranoid. Not my fault: I am, among other things, a New York car and bicycle accident lawyer. My job representing victims of Central New York and Syracuse bicycle and auto accidents teaches me that, with all the electronic devices available these days, drivers are just not looking where they are going anymore! I have three police reports on my desk right now – one where the driver was texting and slammed into a car stopped and waiting to turn left into a driveway on Border City Road in Waterloo, NY. The offending driver was texting. The second involves a driver who was texting, veered into the oncoming lane, and hit the oncoming car head on in Geneva, NY. The third involves a pedestrian walking down Routes 5/20 in Junius, NY when a driver, who was texting, veered off to the shoulder and took her out.
With all that pain, suffering, injury and yes, death, weighing down my desk — and my mind — every day, can you blame me for wondering — as cars whiz past me from behind — whether I prefer cremation or burial?
New York bicycle law was written before the era of distracted driving. That law still makes sense, but not always. And there is a higher law – the law of survival. So I sometimes scoot on over to the other side of the road, in violation of the law! That way I can see the cars coming at me, which may give me time to avoid a collision — or at least to say a Hail Mary before I leave this world (hey – I was brought up Catholic and will probably end up, in that last nanosecond, where I started).
Please don’t tell anyone – it’ll be just our little secret.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.