Bike Law Workshop Explains Rules of The Road


With stats attributing more deaths to traffic than guns in New York, confusion over cyclists’ rights, and continued criticism of the NYPD’s handling of bike accidents, many bikers probably want to know: what are the rules of the city’s roads?

Well, Steve Vaccaro — a daily cyclist, lawyer who works with cyclists, and Transportation Alternatives ally — has some answers for you!

At 6:30 p.m., Vaccaro will explain your rights on the road at workshop taking place in the REI Community Room (295 Lafayette Street).

Runnin’ Scared caught up with Vaccaro to find out what you can expect from the course.

Runnin’ Scared: Have you ever given a workshop like this before?

Steve Vaccaro: I’ve given presentations to specific bike clubs but this one is more formal. It’s the first of its kind with a PowerPoint Presentation and some other stuff like that.

Runnin’ Scared: What prompted you to host a workshop?

Vaccaro: I think that there’s incrasing interest in these issues. There’s been a lot of attention paid to the work our firm has done in terms of the NYPD’s reaction handling of crashes, and in light of the Lefevre case. There’s also been more attention paid to cyclists, with heightened level of policing that’s been going on now for over a year. And those are two of the main topics, though there are others also. We thought the cycling community would be interested in hearing about them in an organized presentation.

Runnin’ Scared: What can attendees expect to learn?

Vaccaro: I’m going to cover the basics. I’m going to give an overview of the law that applies to traffic crashes so that people have a sense of what to do in a crash. I’m going to talk about some of the novel and cutting edge stuff that our firm is doing in respect to traffic crashes, in respect to claims against vehicle manufacturers, and what we’ve been doing with the NYPD’s investigation of crashes. And then there’s going to be a fun segment that’s modeled on a gameshow format, where people will have to look at activities and video clips and guess what’s illegal. It’s called ‘name that ticket!’

Runnin’ Scared: Any idea what the turnout and reaction will be like?

Vaccaro: There’s no RSVP. I mean, on a certain level, I think I will be preaching to the converted. They will be the people who are more interested and conscientious about the traffic laws and aspects of cycling, (though) I do think that the traffic laws are pretty complicated.

It’s not straightforward. It’s not simply a matter of ‘do what the cars do,’ and there are numerous rules that the cars don’t know. I’m hoping that everyone will leave with a better understanding about how to ride safely and respectfully.


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