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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists’ Rights [Yeah, Steve Magas!]


Christian Hansen for The New York Times
ON THE JOB Steve Vaccaro, a lawyer at Rankin & Taylor, biking from his office on Broadway to Midtown to meet with a community organization that has taken a stand against cyclists.


AT the law firm Rankin & Taylor, everybody’s a cyclist.

One recent day, the lawyers there parsed bike-law issues, like “dooring zones” and when is it legally acceptable to ride outside a designated lane, while downstairs, each of their bikes were expertly locked to a scaffold along Broadway in TriBeCa.
The small firm is preparing to bring a class-action suit against New York City on behalf of cyclists over summons handed out for what it contends are phantom violations — bike behavior that it says is not illegal in the city. It is another sign that New York’s bike fights are moving from the streets to the courtroom.
When it comes to bike law, it seems, the wheels of justice no longer grind slowly. Since a ticketing blitz early this year, cyclists in New York have faced stepped-up police enforcement of red-light and other, less-obvious rules, like having adequate lights or not riding with earphones in both ears.

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