George LaMarche Speaks to SENS Fitness Podcast

Posted On: April 2nd, 2019

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Albany Personal Injury Attorney George LaMarche Speaks Biker & Pedestrian Safety on Local Podcast

Attorney George LaMarche recently sat down with the SENS Fitness podcast to discuss the rights of runners and cyclists who’ve been hit by vehicles while training, their legal recourse, tips to make sure they’re getting the most possible coverage, and things runners, cyclists, and drivers can do to avoid crashes.

 

You can listen to the podcast via one of these links, or for your convenience we have provided transcript of the podcast below:

Apple Podcasts Link

Soundcloud Link

SENS Fitness Link

 


SENS Fitness Podcast with George LaMarche, Attorney and Advocate for Runners and Cyclists

 

JIM GAZZALE: Welcome to the SENS Fitness podcast. I am Jim Gazzale, and today we’re talking to George LaMarche, an attorney and advocate for runners and cyclists. We are at his offices in Albany, New York. So, George, thank you for having us, and this should be an exciting and informative conversation.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Well, thank you. Appreciate it.

JIM GAZZALE: So, first of all, you’re an athlete yourself which I imagine is probably how you developed this passion for, you know, having the backs of other runners and cyclists.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Yeah, I’d like to consider myself an athlete. I’ve definitely taken my lumps over the years in terms of my athletic career and, you know, now in my mid‑forties not as crazy of an athlete as I once was but, yeah, you’re exactly right, that’s where my passion has really generated from, being an athlete myself, a runner, and when my body couldn’t take the pounding anymore, becoming a cyclist and, you know, really seeing the dangers that exist for all of us that are out, you know, trying to compete, trying to train, exercise, stay fit, even for walkers, you know, people who aren’t high‑intense athletes, the dangers that exist on the roads today and that are, sadly, increasing and getting worse and trying to channel my career as an attorney and advocate in a way they can be most useful and beneficial to that community.

JIM GAZZALE: So you just touched on it a little bit. Kind of expand on what your law firm does and the types of people and cases that you represent.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Sure. We’re a litigation law firm. What that means is we’re advocates for clients in various types of legal areas. From the personal injury standpoint, we represent not only bicyclists and runners and pedestrians, but we represent workers who are injured on construction sites. We represent people who are injured in car crashes, car wrecks. We represent families of individuals who have suffered a loss of a family member because of some wrongful death. We represent, you know, a great cross‑spectrum of people who have all been harmed in some way because of someone else’s fault, someone else’s negligence. Separate from that we also represent individuals who are charged with significant offenses, crimes, in both state and federal courts.

 

Smart Phone Usage, a Leading Cause of Cyclist & Runner Vehicle Crashes

 

JIM GAZZALE: I know from my cycling and running the triathlon in general that the indoor culture of training is expanding. We have a ton of technology that basically makes it as close to an outside riding experience as possible, but you have the safety of being confined indoors, and that, that culture is growing as technology grows. Are you finding that the cases that you’re handling where pedestrians, runners, and cyclists are being hit by vehicles? Do you find that that is increasing?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Yeah, and the statistics actually do show that there are ‑‑ in 2018 there were more deaths than, I think, 1990 to cyclists and to runners. So, sadly, it is increasing, and I think ‑‑ I mean, there’s no statistics to say why it’s necessarily on the rise, but common sense and logic would tell us that it probably has a lot to do with smart phone use ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Yep.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ especially as those who have grown up with smart phones in their hands are now becoming drivers and they can’t take their eyes off of their cell phone, and when they’re not paying attention completely to the road, they’re half‑paying attention because they’re looking down at their phone and then looking up at the phone, there’s a sense that they’re seeing the big things on the road, you know, the big, giant truck in front of them, but they’re not seeing the pedestrian that’s running. They’re not seeing the bicyclist who’s right in the lane next to them.

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: So, sadly, despite all of the technology and the ability that exists to make things safer, it’s not translating that way.

JIM GAZZALE: Yeah. Where I live in Troy, two‑lane road with a double yellow in the middle, so it’s a fairly busy street, and it’s about a mile or so for me to get out to the roads that are a little bit quieter and less traffic, and even in that one mile, you know, I’m pretty fearful of somebody coming up behind me, not seeing me, or whatever. You know, just being in the triathlete community, you hear of this far too often; and, you know, even just right outside your offices here when I was driving in, somebody was kind of weaving in the lane and, you know, it’s noon. Can this person be drunk already? And, you know, sure enough, they’re on their cell phone.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Yeah, and there’s a ton of different reasons that people are distracted, but I think there’s really just a sense that motorists control the roadways, and there’s just a lack of respect for runners and bicyclists who are on the roadways; that, despite the fact that the runners and the bicyclists have as much right to use the road as the cars, that mentality really doesn’t exist ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and, yet, there’s real efforts that are being made throughout the country to try to make roads safer. It takes a lot of work and a lot of advocacy because we’re really pushing a boulder uphill when it comes to trying to justify why roads should be made a little bit smaller for a bicyclist or a runner because there’s more people, there’s more cars, and that just trumps the amount of runners and bicyclists that there are out on the roads, but people are hearing the cries and the efforts by the advocacy groups to recognize these huge safety concerns. Bike lanes are starting to pop up not only in Albany but in Troy ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and throughout the Capital District, throughout the state. More efforts like that hopefully can continue to create, you know, safer streets for all of us but, yeah, whether it’s a cell phone or somebody putting makeup on or somebody trying to light a cigarette or whatever it is, there’s a ton of distractions, and people just get comfortable in their vehicles. Even now with technology, you know, you’re not supposed to be using your cell phone, but as soon as you get into your car, in the newer vehicles you’re plugging your phone in ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ it’s popping up on the screen. You have all of the various options on your screen so that you can receive text messages, and it’ll read it to you ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Yep.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ or, you know, you can use your maps to, you know, get directions and where you’re going, but your attention is drawn away from the road to the screen while you’re driving.

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: So technology’s a great thing, but it’s also a dangerous thing, especially for motorists, despite these efforts seemingly to try to make it safer.

JIM GAZZALE: Now, what could runners and cyclists themselves do to be better protected on the roads?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Well, certainly make yourself seen. I mean, I think everybody who’s out running, riding, you know, appreciates the importance of reflective gear, lights, making yourself seen. Although, I’ve got to say, it’s certainly not unusual, especially in the areas where I run and train, to see other people out in the road wearing gray shorts and a black shirt.

JIM GAZZALE: Yeah.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: It’s a bad idea. You know, sometimes you just pop out of bed, you want to go for a run, and you go, and suddenly you find yourself on a 45‑mile‑an‑hour street and, you know, you’re dressed in gray shorts and, you know, a dark shirt, and you blend in. So I think really being aware of the fact that, as a runner, as a cyclist, you have a responsibility first and foremost to make yourself visible because a motorist, if there’s a crash, is certainly going to look to blame, and to the extent that you’re not well seen, that’s going to be some fault attributed to the runner or the cyclist.

So, you know, bicycling at night is not a great idea unless you have some kind of a headlight, even reflectors. You know, they’re not great. They’re not perfect. You know, trying to use roads that aren’t super high traffic unless there are bike lanes is important, you know, just really taking steps to be sure that you’re being as safe as you can possibly be because, against a 3,000‑pound vehicle, you know, you lose.

 

Tips to Make Sure Bikers & Runners Are Getting the Most Possible Coverage

 

JIM GAZZALE: Right. From a legal standpoint, what are some of the most common struggles that runners and cyclists face in the event of an accident?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Oftentimes it’s limited coverage. Sadly, in New York the minimum amount of coverage that you need to carry on your vehicle is only $25,000 of liability coverage. So especially young drivers who don’t make a lot of money, are new in their careers will find the cheapest insurance they can find to be able to drive, and the coverage of $25,000 is nothing. So, if someone is seriously injured, that quickly gets swallowed up, and there is a lack of fairness. Often I hear from clients who say, “Yeah, but I suffered horrific injuries. Why is there only $25,000 of coverage, and why is that all I can get?” because oftentimes, you know, the people who hit them are judgment‑proof; they don’t have any assets.

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: You can’t sue them for anything more often than what exists in terms of insurance coverage. So that’s a huge challenge, and there’s a way that you can solve that problem, and that is, if everyone goes and takes a look at their own insurance policy, and the cover page is called the declarations page. If you take a look at that, you’ll see what your coverage limits are, and if you’re an exercise enthusiast, you’re a cyclist, you’re a runner, you absolutely should be carrying the most supplementary underinsured, uninsured coverage you can carry. It’s called S‑U‑M, SUM, coverage, and you do need to increase your own liability coverage to be able to increase your SUM coverage, your S‑U‑M coverage, but if you’re out on the road, it’s absolutely crucial that you do this because, if you are involved in a crash with somebody who is underinsured or uninsured, you then can go into your own policy under the SUM provision, and that will kick in to cover you for the injuries that you’re inevitably going to sustain from the crash.

So, for instance, if someone carries a $25,000 policy, a minimum policy, and they get in a car crash with you, they strike you when you’re riding your bicycle and you suffer, God forbid, horrific injuries, and you happen to carry a $500,000 of SUM coverage on your own policy, then you can tap into your own policy for the difference of whatever the liability coverage was and what your policy is. So in this example you would be able to tap into your own policy for an additional $475,000 of coverage. So that’s crucially important, and I’ve been singing this song for a long time to clients. Unfortunately, oftentimes it’s too late because they’ve come to me after they’ve been seriously injured, but if we can get the message out now before something bad happens to look at your own policy and get the coverage that you need to protect you from some underinsured individual, it’s really important, and the other thing I’ll say is that we live in a No Fault state in New York where, regardless of fault, an insurance policy will kick in a minimum of $50,000 to pay for your medical expenses, travel to and from medical appointments, and a portion of your lost earnings, up to $50,000.

So, even if you’re a cyclist and you run into a car, not likely, but let’s say something like that were to happen, then, regardless of your fault, an insurance policy would kick in up to 50,000 to pay for your medical treatment and a portion of your lost earnings and travel to and from medical appointments.

So there are things out there to help protect runners and bicyclists, but there’s always more that we can try to do to get as much coverage as possible, and I think the most crucial part would maybe be looking at the SUM coverage and looking at additional personal injury protection, that APIP, so that, instead of just the 50,000, you can get more.

JIM GAZZALE: Right. So that SUM coverage, how much does that spike premiums typically?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Believe it or not, not a lot.

JIM GAZZALE: Not a lot?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: No, but for whatever reason, insurance brokers don’t talk about it ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and don’t push it, and they should. One question that I get is, when I talk about SUM coverage, and if someone comes in and they do have SUM coverage and I say, “Well, we need to get your information about your own policy,” and often the question is, “Well, is it going to make my premiums go up?”

If you use your own policy and an insurance company has to pay out, it’s not unusual at some point later to see your premiums go up, but you’ve been paying a premium for however long you’ve been paying a premium for, and you have the coverage for a reason, and if you need it, you absolutely have to take advantage of it and not worry about the fact that, you know, in a few months maybe your premium ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ payment’s going to go up 10 bucks or 20 bucks or something. The key is to get it and have it, hopefully you never have to use it, but to use it if you do have it.

 

Legal Rights of Runners and Cyclists Who’ve Been Hit By Vehicles

 

JIM GAZZALE: So, again, you touched on this a little bit, but what sorts of rights do runners and cyclists have on the road more than just New York being a No Fault state.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Runners and bicyclists have as much right to the road as vehicles have. Everybody has to act reasonably and be respectful. Bicyclists have to ride with traffic. Runners go against traffic. You know, if you’re a cyclist and, you know, you encounter a roadway that has a shoulder that’s not safe, that has potholes in it, you know, certainly you can enter into the roadway to avoid, you know, some injury to yourself because of the road defect, but you have to be cautious and you have to be careful, and obviously you can’t just shoot out into the middle of the road. You know, it’s important, I think, to have mirrors on your bike so that you can see if there are vehicles that are approaching, but ultimately everybody has equal use to the roads and everyone has to be respectful of each other in terms of use of the roads.

JIM GAZZALE: Do you know ‑‑ I know when you’re driving, I’ve done this before, mostly if I’m in a bad mood, and I’ll be driving and I’ll see somebody on their cell phone or, you know, swerving all over the road and, you know, I’ll pick up the phone and call police and say, “Hey, here’s the license plate. This person is driving like a moron. You know, maybe you want to do something about that.” I guess it would be the same for runners and cyclists if, you know, they’re feeling threatened on the road by a particular driver or along a particular stretch road. You know, police will take the call obviously, but do you know if those calls are acted upon and if it’s just a dead end or if something actually comes of those.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Sometimes things come of it, especially if more people are responding that way. So, if you see an aggressive driver or an erratic operator and you call it in and someone else sees the same thing and they call it in, if police are receiving multiple calls about a distracted or erratic driver, it’s more likely that they’re going to act on it. So, if the message can be, if you see it, report it, then police will respond to it. I think part of it is how busy is the police officer ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and what are the emergencies that are going on ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Sure.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and the fires that they’re trying to put out for other cases. Certainly police have an obligation to enforce the law, and if someone is breaking the law, then they have an obligation to go out and stop that crime or offense from occurring but, you know, towns, villages, cities, the police departments, State Police, whether it’s sheriff’s department or local police department or State Police, they have limited resources, and we can’t expect that, if we make a call, that there’s some action that’s going to be taken immediately ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ but certainly a report would be generated. If you call in a license plate as an erratic driver, a report would be generated. A record is made. Certainly you could follow up on that and see if anything was done, but at the very least there’s a record of that individual having done something illegally or improperly on the road. If police start getting calls about the same driver over and over, they’re probably more likely to respond as well.

JIM GAZZALE: And I imagine this is something that would probably come up in a case file; if, you know, they did end up hitting somebody, you know, there would be a record three months ago somebody called about them, and that would come across your desk at some point I’d imagine.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Yeah, we could do a Freedom of Information Law request ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ to try to obtain any records regarding any reported incidents involving that license plate or that driver who was later involved in a crash. So reporting it is really important. Even if the police don’t immediately take action, it’s creating a record and, you know, the more people that do it, the more likely that some action is going to be taken against that driver.

JIM GAZZALE: What sorts of penalties are out there for these drivers, if you know? You know, they hit a cyclist, they stop, they do all the right things other than, you know, being distracted on the road and hitting somebody, you know, what punishment is out there for these types of drivers?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Sadly, there’s not a lot in the Vehicle & Traffic Law. I mean, it’s the Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1122‑a says a motor vehicle that’s overtaking a bicyclist has to do it in a safe way. Well, what does that mean?

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Police aren’t issuing many tickets, if any, for overtaking a bicyclist in an unsafe way. There’s been a push over the last few years, and it’s a real hot‑button issue for many cyclists that we need a more defined, clear law when it comes to passing cyclists and overtaking cyclists on the roadway. The New York bicycling coalition is an advocacy group here in Albany that’s made a push to impose a three‑foot rule that says, clearly defined, if you’re going to overtake a cyclist, you have to give them three feet when you do it ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ because what’s safe to me may be different than what’s safe to you.

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: What’s safe to somebody driving in, you know, a big truck is different than what’s safe to somebody who’s driving in a Mini Cooper ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and what’s safe to a cyclist is probably much different than what’s safe to somebody who’s driving in a big truck. We want clearly defined distances that say give us enough room so that, when you’re passing us, we’re not going to feel that we’re in danger, and we’ve all been on the road and a car goes whipping by us at 30, 40, 50 miles an hour, and you feel that gush of wind ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ and you rock a little bit, and the closer that they are the more significant that gush of wind is and the more unsteady it makes you feel, but having a clearly defined three‑foot rule that says, you know, bicyclists need that distance when you’re passing them, I think, even if it’s not enforced by police, is crucial to educating young motorists, because if you just tell them when you’re passing or overtaking a cyclist, you’ve just got to be safe nobody, knows what that means ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE:  ‑‑ and it’s subjective, but teaching young drivers early on, if you see a cyclist on the road that you’re going to overtake, you’ve got to give him three feet, that’s clear. It’s understandable, and that’s where I think this change in the law would make a big difference is in the education piece of it because we get it, and officers aren’t there typically. They don’t see the crash. There’s probably going to be competing stories about what happened. If there aren’t witnesses to what happened, you’re not going to get a complete story, but maybe these crashes happen less if there’s clearly defined rules about how to overtake a cyclist.

 

Examples of Runner/Cyclist Accidents, Legal Process, & Past Settlements

 

JIM GAZZALE: Right. Can you give us some examples of cases that you’ve worked on recently where a runner or cyclist has been hit and what the process looks like from the time of the accident to the time that there’s a potential settlement or penalties for the driver?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Sure. You know, sadly, a lot of these cases are in many ways the same, but each individual client has his or her own unique story that I like to spend a lot of time with each client to get that story and really understand the life impact that this crash has had on them from an employment perspective, from training perspective, to family perspective, to, you know, just life perspective, to tell that story in court if these cases go to trial, but the process generally is, you meet with the client. Sadly, it often happens at the hospital because these injuries are often very horrific and long‑term, and there’s usually long hospital stays at the beginning of these cases. So, when we first meet the clients, we try to reassure as much as possible that they can only focus on the healing part, and let us do all the legal part. They don’t need to deal with insurance companies. They don’t need to deal with the other driver. We’ll take care of all of that.

We gather all of the medical records, and we follow the course of treatment for the client. We reach out, as I mentioned, to the SUM carrier, their own carrier, to see if there’s insurance coverage that’s in excess of the liability coverage. So we send letters of representation out to the driver, to his insurance company, to our client’s own insurance company. We gather information about the accident itself. We talk to witnesses. We talk to the police. We obtain the Accident Report. In some of these really horrific crashes there’s an accident reconstruction that’s often done that’s conducted by the police. Unfortunately, those reconstructions can take months, sometimes up to a year to complete because there are just so many individuals who are involved in the reconstruction team who are doing different parts of it, but once we have all the information gathered ‑‑ and that process can take anywhere from a few months to six, eight months to gather all of that information and, if we’re waiting on accident reconstructions, even a little bit longer, and then eventually we’ll come to a point where we’ll say, okay, can we resolve this case without having to go to trial, or is it a case that we need to litigate? And litigation just means we file a formal claim, an action against the other driver and his insurance company, and then we begin the process of exchanging information with the other lawyer who represents the driver.

We conduct depositions, which is just a question‑and‑answer opportunity where we can question the driver of the other vehicle, where the other attorney can question the cyclist and the cyclist family, any witnesses, and if we still can’t resolve the case, ultimately we’ll have a trial in front of a jury. In a civil case there’s six jurors who would decide whether or not the other driver was at fault and then determine what the value of the harm is to the cyclist or the runner and determine what amount of money should be paid to compensate that person for not only economic loss that they suffered, you know, out‑of‑pocket stuff for work or medical expenses that weren’t covered, but also pain and suffering, both past pain and suffering and future pain and suffering.

One of the most unique things I would say about representing a cyclist or a runner is that we’re built kind of weird. You know, we all have this sort of ‑‑ not all of us but a lot of us have this go hard kind of mentality ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ where we push ourselves beyond our limits whether it’s cycling, whether it’s running. We accomplish feats that, you know, when we first set out to do them, we may have thought in our mind we couldn’t do them, and that translates over to someone who’s been in a serious crash, and the mentality that you see from clients who have gone through what they’ve gone through is so tremendously inspirational. They’re some of the best clients you can ever represent because they’re not the kind that sit around. They’re the kind that work as hard as possible in therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, whatever it is, to try to get back as quickly as they can and, you know, within a year I’ve seen clients who have been in horrific crashes back out running in a 5K race or running in a 10K race ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ or doing a bicycle race, and it’s unbelievable to see how hard this group of people works to get back to what they were before.

JIM GAZZALE: Could that potentially alter a prior outcome from a court case or your conversations with the the other party if, you know, this person is, you know, recovered enough within a year or a certain specific time frame that they’re able to do events like that again?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Yes and no. I mean, there’s always a duty to mitigate your damages. You know, you can’t just sit around and try to collect money, and people don’t typically ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE:  ‑‑ do that kind of thing, but oftentimes, sadly, it’s never the same as it was before. You know, if you suffer a serious, you know, femur or tibia or fibula fracture and you require what the medical community terms open reduction, internal fixation, they cut you open, they stick some plates and screws in there, and they patch you back up, and then they close you back up again. Maybe in a year you’re going to be running again, but it’s never going to be probably pain free.

JIM GAZZALE: Right.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: You’re always going to have a piece of hardware in your body. You’re certainly going to suffer from traumatic arthritis as the more years go on. So, yes, if you’re out, able to do that again, to some extent I think an argument could be made that, you know, maybe you’re not as hurt as you were, but I don’t think that’s a very good argument that the defense can make because the hardware in your body is there and anybody who’s been through an injury knows what it’s like to come back from that and then ultimately what that impact is on the life that you led before and what your life is going to be in the future. It’s just never the same.

JIM GAZZALE: Right. So your advocacy for runners and cyclists involved in accidents like this, what sorts of stuff have you done ‑‑

GEORGE LaMARCHE: I will say ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: ‑‑ that we never call them accidents.

JIM GAZZALE: Okay.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: We call them crashes because oftentimes it’s not an accident. It’s not an accident because the driver was distracted in most instances or wasn’t paying attention or was driving too quickly, and that’s a choice that a motorist makes when you drive too quickly, you choose to look at your cell phone instead of looking at the road, and so when you cause an injury to someone, that’s not an accident. It’s a choice that you made, and you screwed up, and as a result of your choice to not pay attention and to observe that which is there to be seen, the other cyclists on the road, the runners, you’ve caused an injury, a serious injury to somebody, and that’s not an accident. So that’s why ‑‑

JIM GAZZALE: Yeah, fair enough.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: That’s why we don’t call it that.

 

The Road Sharing Alliance: Not-For-Profit for Motorists, Cyclists & Runners

 

JIM GAZZALE: That’s good. That’s good. So locally what are you doing to get your advocacy message out to the active community?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: You know, more and more I’m becoming involved in these running groups, biking groups. We’ve supported various police organizations, police departments. We have started a not‑for‑profit. The Road Sharing Alliance, which is in its very infancy stages, to draw attention to some of the important issues that exist between motorists and cyclists and runners. You know, we hand out informational material to runners and cyclists that is just meant to remind them about the rules of the road and give them knowledge. We blog. We’ve started a PedBikeLaw site. It’s called PedBikeLaw.com, which really focuses on this area of our practice. We blog as frequently as we can about important issues in the running and biking community, about safety concerns, about new efforts that are being made to increase safety in local communities, you know, in terms of bike lanes or three‑foot. I’m active in not‑for‑profit groups like the New York Bicycling Coalition to, you know, really try to focus on these important safety issues. I’ve spoken at a number of different events where people have come to learn not only about the rules of the road but what kind of advocacy we’re all trying to do to make the roads safer. So it’s a lot of different things that we’re trying to do just to increase knowledge, increase awareness, and increase safety for everybody’s who’s on the roads.

JIM GAZZALE: As you look into the future, what does your ideal vision look like for runners, cyclists and their relationship and coexistence with drivers as technology continues to grow and, you know, places either more distractions in our hand or unintentionally inside the vehicle?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: I mean, in a perfect world there would be designated lanes for bicyclists to ride that had barriers so that cars couldn’t hit them.

JIM GAZZALE: M‑m h‑m‑m.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: There would be designated areas for runners similarly that were protected. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, certainly not in rural areas. It’s just too cost prohibitive to do it. You know, sadly, I think as technology continues as it has been growing, unless we are really focusing on the education piece of this and bringing to light the serious issues and the dangers that exist between runners, bicyclists, and vehicles on the road, the statistics will continue to rise, and we need to do whatever we can do to keep educating people to respect the roads. They’re not just for cars. They’re not just for trucks. They’re for pedestrians. They’re for, you know, cyclists. We need to change that mentality, and it’s going to be just a group effort by anybody who cares enough to speak up who’s using the roads for anything other than driving a car to just talk about it and to make it known that it’s dangerous, and we just have to be safe and be careful and talk about these issues so that people don’t forget.

JIM GAZZALE: How can people reach out to you if they’ve been the victim of a crash and they need some legal assistance? What’s the best way to get in touch with you?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: E‑mail can always reach me, [email protected], g‑l‑a‑m‑a‑r‑c‑h‑[email protected] That’s my e‑mail. My phone, my office phone number, (518) 463‑7784. There’s an answering service 24 hours a day. So during normal business hours someone answers the phone, and then after hours we have an answering service that’s 24 hours a day. Visit our PedBikeLaw site, PedBikeLaw.com, and you can always reach us on our website. There’s a page that you can go to just to send us an e‑mail as well. Most of my clients end up having my cell phone. Ever since I started my practice and have grown my business, I’ve developed often caring, deep, friendly type relationships with my clients, and inevitably my cell phone gets out there, and most everybody these days has my cell phone. So I’m not ashamed to give it out. It’s (518) 469‑9292. Anybody can reach me directly anytime over my cell phone or text message.

So anything I can do to try to help anybody who’s a part of this community either from the advocacy standpoint, the knowledge standpoint, or, sadly, if you need help because you’ve been involved in a crash or been a victim of a crash, you know, feel free to reach out, and I’ll do everything I can to try to help out this community.

JIM GAZZALE: Cool. Anything else that I didn’t ask you that you feel is important enough to share?

GEORGE LaMARCHE: You know, I’m looking forward to ‑‑ here it is, you know, end of March. We’re starting to get some warm weather. We’re seasonal up here in the northeast, so I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the roads and enjoying the spring. Hopefully that’s to come. So that’s it. Drive safe, ride safe, run safe, and I hope to see everybody out on the roads.

JIM GAZZALE: Cool. Well, George, thank you very much. This was informative for me and hopefully for our listeners. I think we all have a couple of good takeaway points from our conversation, so thank you.

GEORGE LaMARCHE: Thank you.

[The podcast concluded.]

Consult With An Attorney for Free

If you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, contact the personal injury attorneys at Dreyer Boyajian LaMarche Safranko for a free consultation, or call (518) 463-7784. We have law offices in Albany, Clifton Park, Saratoga and Plattsburgh NY, and we are available to take your call 24 hours a day.

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Ped Bike Law

Ped Bike Law