Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Bills Protecting Massachusetts Bicyclists Among Top Discussions at Statehouse this Week

There seem to be more bicyclists on Boston’s roads every year. Considering the health and environmental benefits of bicycling, this is great news for everyone. But there is a flip-side. Unfortunately, there is as much controversy surrounding bicyclists as there is praise for their healthy way of life.They often get little respect from car and truck drivers who feel that they intentionally take up extra space on the road, leaving drivers no choice but to drive slowly behind cyclists or swerve into oncoming traffic to maneuver around them. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

Certainly there are rude bicyclists on the road, but the vast majority are extremely respectful of drivers, other cyclists, and road rules in general. In order to mitigate the risk to cyclists, several new bills aimed at protecting them will be the focus this week at the Statehouse’s first public hearing of the year. According to Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike, the bicycling advocacy group hopes to hear testimonies from “the families and friends of victims whose lives and limbs may have been spared if these laws had been in place,” at Wednesday’s hearing before the Legislature’s Transportation Committee.

Side-guards on Large Trucks May Save Lives

In 2014, Boston passed an ordinance that requires the installation of side guards on large vehicles such as tractor-trailers. According to bicycle safety activists, over half of all bicyclists involved in fatal collisions with large trucks are swept underneath after first hitting the truck’s side. The installation of side guards may help to reduce fatalities by blocking cyclists from being pulled beneath the wheels of a large truck.

Bicycling advocates want to see more steps taken to ensure the safety of cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians alike. They are pushing to see the introduction of a bill at Wednesday’s hearing that would require drivers to leave 3 feet of space between their vehicle and a bicyclist, even if doing so requires crossing the center-line. This bill would add bicyclists to the category of “vulnerable users,” which includes police and other emergency personnel, pedestrians, and construction workers.

Bill Proposes Fine for Parking in Bike Lanes

Another bill on the table would impose a $100 fine on drivers who stop or park in any designated bike lane. These lanes are typically marked with painted lines on the street. When drivers block these lanes, it can force bicyclists to veer into traffic to avoid hitting a parked car.

 

At Wednesday’s hearing, in addition to the above bills, cycling advocates hope to see a fourth bill come up that will require motorists to yield to pedestrians and cyclists who are in the crosswalk section of a bicycle path. The current law states that bicyclists should get off their bikes and walk through bicycle path crosswalks with other pedestrians. However, cycling advocates claim this is unrealistic.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Bicycle Accident Attorneys Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

Although Boston is typically considered to be relatively safe and welcoming to bicyclists, there are definitely risks. In fact, several cyclists were killed in MA in 2015, including a-38 year-old Swiss surgeon who was hit by a tractor-trailer over the summer, and a 54-year-old Shrewsbury man who was killed last week on Route 9. If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of cycling accident, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our skilled injury lawyers have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for over 50 years, including those injured in cycling accidents. We have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.