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A Reminder for Safer Summer Biking

With the summer in full force and more bicyclists on the roads than ever in Massachusetts, Altman & Altman would like to send out some friendly tips to both cyclists and drivers to stay safe on the roadsthis season.

According to the NHTSA‘s July edition of Safety in Numbers, in 2012 most bicyclist fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight (48%) and in urban areas (69%). One in four bicyclists (24%) who died in crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, the illegal alcohol level in all states.

To prevent deaths and injuries, the NHTSA offers up the following tips for both bikers and drivers:

BICYCLISTS SHOULD ALWAYS:

– Wear a properly-fitted helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
– Ride focused and alert: don’t use electronic devices, and never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs.
– Be visible: wear bright colors, and use reflective materials and lights on your bicycle at night.
– Check your bike before heading out: check all equipment and parts for proper fit and function, including tires, brakes, handlebars and seats.
– Ride as a vehicle on the road; always travel in the same direction as traffic. Drivers do not expect bicyclists to come from the opposite direction.
– Obey traffic signs, signals and lane markings; signal all turns; and follow local laws.
– Be predictable by riding in a straight line, check over your shoulder for traffic when changing lanes, and always signal every lane change or turn when in traffic. Look ahead for traffic and obstacles.

DRIVERS SHOULD ALWAYS:

– Be predictable and signal your intentions to others.
– Obey the speed limit, drive defensively, watch for others, including bicyclists, and be prepared to stop.
– Turn off cell phones.
– Allow enough room when passing bicyclists, as you would when passing another vehicle.
– Yield to bicyclists as though they were a motorist.
– Stop completely before making a right turn on red and in addition to looking left-right-left, look behind to check for bicyclists approaching from the rear.

According to statistics obtained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500,000 people are treated for serious bicycle-related injuries each year, and more than 700 individuals die each year in bicycle accidents. A majority of these injuries are head injuries attributed to not wearing a helmet. Though many people dismiss the idea of wearing a helmet because of atheistic reasons, or because they feel their short commute does not warrant wearing one, wearing a helmet could make all the difference, and could even save a life. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that bicycle helmets are 85-88% effective in preventing severe head and brain injuries. Other types of injuries commonly sustained in bicycle accidents include concussions, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations, paralysis, and death.

The aftermath of a bicycle accident is overwhelming and can be devastating to a victim or family. Victims and their families often wonder who is responsible for any medical bills, therapy, lost wages, and any other costs associated with the accident, especially if the accident was a hit-and-run. Those involved in a bicycle accident are advised to immediately contact an experienced bicycle attorney.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman our seasoned Massachusetts Bicycle Accident Attorneys have handled bicycle accident cases for nearly fifty years. We understand that no two cases are the same, and we have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and recovering damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs associated with a client’s accident. We also recognize the emotional toll an accident can cause and we practice with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism, while aggressively advocating on our clients’ behalf. If you or a loved one was the victim of a bicycle accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have about your case, and all initial consultations are free and confidential.