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Watkins welcomes Lime Bikes,
but let's ride/drive safely

The following is the seventh in a series of Odessa File columns by Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm, regarding news of a legal nature that readers might find timely in this ever-changing world.

By Jim Reed
Managing partner
Ziff Law Firm, Elmira

Lime is a popular color this summer in Watkins Glen.

Lime Bikes, a bike-sharing company, has caught on in a big way with local residents and visitors. I am seeing the short-term bike rentals all over Watkins Glen, which is great. If it cuts down on the summer road congestion and reminds more people about the joys of bike riding, I'm all for it.

But with more bikes on the roads during the busy summer season, it is critically important that both bicyclists and motorists remember the important rules of the roads that are designed to make it so bikes and motor vehicles can peacefully (and safely!) co-exist.

So here are some simple rules everyone should know:

--Bicycles have the legal right to ride in the road and even have the right to use the full lane when turning left or when it would otherwise be unsafe to ride to the right of the road.

--Riders 14 and younger must wear a helmet.

--At this time, unlike some other local cities, Watkins does not have a law prohibiting bicycles from riding on the sidewalk, so legally, bikes may be operated on sidewalks. However, both bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the sidewalks must be respectful of one another and should walk/ride safely so they don't endanger others.

--Motorists are legally required to treat a bicyclist like any other vehicle (i.e.. yield the right of way to a bicyclist already within an intersection, yield to a bicyclist coming toward you if you are making a left turn across their path).

--Motorists need to observe a "safe passing distance" when passing a bicyclist.

--Bicyclists are required to have front and rear lights if they are riding at night.

Unfortunately, I have already seen bicyclists and motorists violating these simple rules. I have seen adults riding on sidewalks and young kids riding without helmets. I have seen drivers passing dangerously close to bicyclists.

So while I congratulate Watkins Glen for adding these bikes, we need both riders and drivers to observe New York state laws and keep an eye out for one another.

So, yes, go Lime this summer and rent a bike and see Watkins Glen by bicycle. It will give you even more appreciation for the beautiful community we live in. A great resource for Watkins bicycling info is here.

The Odessa File has a great primer on Lime Bikes in the community here. You can also learn more about Lime Bikes here.

If you'd like a free copy of my primer on NY bike laws, please email me at

Thanks for reading,



To see Jim Reed's first column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's second column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's third column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's fourth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's fifth column, click here.
To see Jim Reed's sixth column, click here.
To read Adam Gee's first column, click here.

© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869