If you owned a car at some point, you probably know the special dance you do whenever you get in an accident: trade insurance info, get some contact numbers, try to talk the person you hit out of calling your parents, etc. Cars are for chumps here in the city, so what do you do when you’re on your bike and you get hit by a car? Josh Zisson, a Boston lawyer who specializes in bike law, said he was seeing too many clients who were hit by cars but didn’t gather any important information from the scene. “They’d say, ‘Oh no, the guy drove off,” Zisson said. ” ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to get the number’ ”
That’s why Zisson created these handy bike accident report cards: wallet-sized cheat sheets that guide you to all the information you have to collect at the scene, and even point you to lawyers who will help your case. This week, they became available for free in a few NYC bike shops. If all goes according to plan, Zisson will help create a newly empowered class of cyclists across the country who no longer let cars get away with being oblivious jerks.
The cards also contain an illustrated version of the NYC’s bike laws. But the real key is the referral number that helps set you up with a local lawyer who will take your case. Zisson, who practices almost 100 percent bike law in Boston and bikes the three miles to his office, says he won’t just refer you to any lawyer looking to make a quick buck either.
“I’m in this business and I can sort of tell when people are full of shit, when lawyers don’t really know what they’re doing,” he said. “I can tell pretty easily over the phone even, if it’s a general practice lawyer who just wants to pick up a few bucks, or if they actually ride bike themselves.”
That’s his one requirement so far: that the lawyer rides a bike. So far his NYC affiliate isAdam White, a Manhattan personal injury lawyer and cycling advocate.
Zisson also donates a portion of his case fees in Boston to local bike advocacy. The report cards are free and the printing is sponsored in New York by Article, an art collective. Cards are also available in New Jersey, Michigan, California and Ohio, with plans to expand to Calgary, Canada soon.
To get one, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
487 Myrtle Ave #62
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Or pick one up at these locations:
453 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222
171 Park Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
244 & 250 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012
Follow Tim: @timdonnelly.