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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

The fear of being in a bicycle crash in Boston is more than justified; in the first quarter of 2016, Boston streets saw 307 injuries and eight deaths related to bicycle crashes. This was a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

Most of these crashes would be easily prevented by the installation of protected bike lanes. In addition to separating bikes from motor vehicles, protected bike lanes also make pedestrians safer by keeping cyclists off sidewalks. Protected bike lanes are not just painted lines; they actually separate bicyclists from other traffic with solid barriers. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

44 Percent of Copenhagen’s Commuters Use Bicycles

When cyclists can ride without fear, more people use cycling as their main mode of transportation, children and seniors included. In addition to being better for the economy and environment, more cyclists means less cars on the road. And considering Boston’s traffic problem, this could be a very good thing for everyone. In Copenhagen, Denmark, for example, nearly half of all commuters use bicycles. This has resulted in reduced traffic congestion, air pollution and noise, and healthier residents.

In Copenhagen, in addition to having protected bike lanes, the city also prioritizes the maintenance of bike lanes over other thoroughfares. For example, when snow needs cleared, the city clears the bike lanes first, followed by pedestrian walkways and – lastly – motor vehicle lanes. The same cannot be said for Boston.

Boston’s painted bike lanes are not as highly respected. Delivery trucks double park in painted bike lanes, and cyclists have no choice but to drive into traffic to get around them. Instead of protecting bike lanes with solid medians and barriers, Boston posts signs urging cyclists and drivers to be friendly to one another, just get along. As a result, cyclists make up only 1.9 percent of Boston’s commuter traffic. This means that the more aggressive cyclists are the ones most likely to make up that 1.9 percent. Unfortunately, those who are brave enough to risk life and limb on Boston’s streets are also those who are more likely to provoke driver rage.

Boston Bikes

Mayor Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department have established Boston Bikes to combat this problem and make bicycling safer and more affordable for everyone. By 2030, there are projected to be more than one hundred thousand additional commuters in Greater Boston. By creating more protected bike lanes, Boston can reduce some of this economic and environmental strain, keeping everyone safer. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Bicycle Accident Facts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclists accounted for approximately two percent of all traffic-related deaths in 2014. Bicyclist fatalities are most common between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m., and occur most frequently in urban areas. The vast majority of bicyclist fatalities are young men between the ages of 20 and 24. Just over 20 percent of these fatalities involved a bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Continue reading

Whether you’re a leisure cyclist or you commute to work on your bike each day, it’s important to use safe cycling practices at all times. As cycling continues to grow in popularity, so do related accidents. Boston has taken numerous steps to improve bicycle safety, but we still have a long way to go. Read on for more information about bicycle safety and how to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a cycling accident.

Bicycle Safety Tips

In the United States, more than 700 people are killed in bicycle accidents each year. Of those accidents, about 30 percent involve a motor vehicle. Non-fatal but serious injuries are even more common, and the most frequently occurring of the serious cycling injuries is head trauma. Follow the safety tips below to avoid becoming a statistic. A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been involved in an accident.

 

  • Know the rules of the road, and obey them. As a bicyclist, you should follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles. Stop at stop signs, ride in the direction and flow of traffic, and yield to pedestrians. If there is a bike lane, use it. If not, make sure to use hand signals to tell other drivers which way you intend to turn, left or right.

 

  • Wear brightly colored clothing. When it comes to cycling, what you wear does make a difference. In addition to a good helmet, you should wear brightly colored clothing, and use lights and reflective gear when it’s dark. If you bike after dark frequently, consider purchasing a reflective jacket. You may also want to use a horn rather than a bell. Horns are louder and will attract more attention in an emergency situation. A MA injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

 

  • Understand that drivers may not know how to handle cyclists. Some drivers have no idea who has the right of way when they approach a cyclist. Assume all drivers are clueless, and drive defensively. Stay out of the blindspot of other vehicles, and avoid sudden swerving or pulling out in front of traffic.

 

  • Focus on the road at all times. Make eye contact with vehicles before you cross their path at an intersection, and never, ever ride distracted. Keep your cell phone and any other distractions safely out of reach. If you need to make a call, send a text, or check directions, find a safe place to stop before doing so. And listening to music while you cycle may make your ride more enjoyable, but it also dramatically increases your risk of being involved in an accident. Keep the headphones at home.

 

Who is Most at Risk of Being Injured in a Bicycle Accident?

  • People between the ages of 50 and 59 have the highest rate of bicycle-related fatalities.
  • Children between the ages of five and 19 have the highest rate of non-fatal injuries involving bicycles.
  • Male bicyclists are six times more likely to die in bicycle accidents than their female counterparts.
  • More than one-third of all bicyclist deaths involved alcohol with either the bicycle rider or motor vehicle driver, or both.
  • The majority of cyclist deaths occur in urban locations.

Continue reading

Although we may have to endure another April snowstorm or two, the flowers will be blooming shortly and better weather is on the way. With the emergence of spring also comes the emergence of the bicycling season, as thousands of cyclists dust off their bikes and repopulate the crowded commutes all around the state.

There is no doubt that cycling is an efficient, healthy and environmentally-friendly way to get around, especially in the busy hubs of Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding metropolises. Unfortunately, what makes a big city ideal for cycling is also what makes these places the most dangerous to ride a bicycle.

Tight streets overpopulated with vehicles driven by impatient, often-distracted drivers is a recipe for disaster for any cyclist. Crashes involving one party on a bicycle and the other party in a car will never fare well for the cyclist. Proper awareness, attention to the rules of the road and hyper vigilance of surrounding commuters is essential to staying safe while cycling.

Motorists, too, must be aware of cyclists. Motorists must observe and obey bike lanes, not crowd them or obstruct them or otherwise use them in an inappropriate way. Many cities are implementing strategies to make cycling easier and safer, and all of these strategies hinge on the notion that car drivers and cyclists must share the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,376 pedestrians and 818 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2015.The following safety tips should be employed to ensure safety as cyclists head back onto the roadways.

Cycling safety tips

  • Make sure your bike is prepared for a commute
    • Make sure your tires are properly inflated
    • Make sure your brakes are working and that your reflectors are in good shape
    • Adjust your seat height and positioning so it is comfortable to both sit and stand
  • When possible, avoid riding at night
    • If you must ride while it’s dark, wear reflective tape, bands or bright colored clothes
    • Visibility is your best method to avoid accidents
  • Always maintain control with at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
  • Avoid road hazards such as construction or precariously small, highly-trafficked streets when possible
  • Follow all traffic rules
    • If you are riding on the street, obey all signs and traffic lights as if you were in a car
    • You must alert other commuters of left and right turns with hand signals
  • If riding on the sidewalk, you must alert pedestrians that you are passing by with a bell or a verbal call
    • In some areas, cycling on the sidewalk is prohibited
  • Never cross the street unless at a pedestrian crossing
    • Emerging from in-between parked cars is dangerous and gives motorists little time to react
  • Do not ride sporadically or weave in and out of traffic
    • Maintain straight lines and be predictable
  • Keep an eye out for parked cars. Crashes often occur when a motorist opens their door without looking behind them. Give enough space between yourself and parked cars to avoid this.
  • Avoid listening to music while riding. Being able to hear oncoming traffic or a car horn may save your life.

Continue reading

Bicycling with your kids is healthy, good for your wallet, good for the environment, and it can be a wonderful family bonding experience. When children are too young to ride on their own, some parents still choose to bring them along for the ride, using either a rear-mounted bicycle seat or trailer. Although both options can provide countless hours of family enjoyment, they also come with risks. Read on for more information about how to choose the best option for your family, and how to keep your child safe.

Which Option is Safest?

A study published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine reported that trailers are safer than mounted seats. According to the study’s authors, “When compared with bicycle-mounted child seats, there were fewer reported injuries to children associated with the use of bicycle-towed trailers. Motor vehicle involvement and need for hospital admission were similar among injured children in both groups, and the head or face was the most common site of injury.” So, while there were more reported injuries linked to mounted seats, the extent of injuries suffered seems to be about the same for trailers as for mounted seats. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident.

Tips to Keep Your Child Safe in a Bicycle Seat or Trailer

As the parent, it is up to you to decide which bicycle seat option is best for your family. By following the tips below, you can help ensure that your child stays safe while riding in a mounted seat or bicycle trailer. If your child was injured due to a defective bicycle seat or trailer, a Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine the next steps.

  • Never put your child in a mounted bicycle seat until they are at least one year of age. Prior to one year, a child’s skull is too soft and can be easily damaged, especially on bumpy roads.
  • Pull-behind trailers should be adequately padded for shock absorption. A very young child can suffer brain damage from too much jostling around while seated in mounted seats and trailers.
  • Whether inside a trailer or in a mounted seat, children of all ages should always wear a helmet.
  • Due to a bicycle trailer’s low profile, they can be hard for drivers of motor vehicles to see. To call attention to the trailer, equip it with a high-visibility orange flag.
  • Avoid riding after dark, but if you must, make sure your trailer and bicycle are equipped with lights.
  • Do not ride on the shoulder of the road if you have an attached trailer.
  • If purchasing a mounted seat, make sure your bike is compatible with your seat of choice.
  • Always follow the same rules of the road that motor vehicle drivers use when bicycling.

Continue reading

Bicycling has seen a massive increase in popularity over the last decade, namely due to its health, environmental, and economic benefits. This is especially true in cities, where riding a bike reduces traffic congestion during the daily work commute. Boston is no exception. Miles of designated bike lanes, new legislation protecting bicyclists, and pro-cycling campaigns have had an immensely positive impact. But what about during the winter months? No Boston winter would be complete without sub-zero temperatures and snow-covered, icy, or slushy roads and walkways. Is winter bicycling safe?

If bicycling was solely a sport, it would probably have a season. And that season probably wouldn’t be winter. But cycling is no longer only a sport. More and more people use the bicycle as their main mode of transportation, and we are all better off for it. That being said, bicycling in Boston in the winter does have some drawbacks. But with the proper safety measures, winter cycling can still be a safe means of transport. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

It’s All About the Gear

A new cyclist safety website is striving to help give cyclists a better way to report motorists who illegally park their cars in bike lanes.

The site, carsinbikelanesboston.com, uses GPS technology to populate a real-time map that encompasses the entire Greater Boston area, displaying violating motor vehicles with a big, red “X” on the map and listing their license plate information and the area that they are located in the same window.  The data is all submitted by users of the site, who can take pictures of the violating vehicle and upload the info directly, where it is then available for all to see and be aware of. The creators of the site hope that it will enable cyclists to be more aware of what routes are problematic, and enable legislators to study which areas of Boston are consistently popping up on the site to potentially make signage adjustments to make more people aware.

When dealing with a tightly-populated, confined metropolitan area like Greater Boston, protecting pedestrians and cyclists is paramount to creating a safe commute and an overall safe atmosphere. It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people cycle to work every day in Boston, and many more thousands enjoy at least some bike riding activity throughout the week.  In Cambridge, a few fatal accidents involving cyclists in recent months has upped the populace’s awareness of cyclist safety and making motorists more aware of how to properly share the road with their less-protected fellow commuters.

Cyclists must always be aware

When taking to the streets of Boston on a bicycle, one must always be hyper aware of their surroundings. These streets are as unforgiving as they are congested and confusing. City administrators are conscious of cyclists, and are enacting more and more measures each year to protect them, but at the end of the day, the only thing truly preventing a cyclist from suffering a tragic accident is their own awareness.

This new website is a valuable tool to help cyclists be informed about potential hazards in their path, but dangers exist that cannot be accounted for. If a motorist accidentally veers into a bike lane, or a car opens its door unexpectedly close to the path of a cyclist, the cyclist is mostly at the mercy of forces outside their control.  Sometimes, an accident cannot be avoided, and in these moments you should know that you have the right to receive financial compensation for an accident that was incurred through no fault of your own. This compensation can help pay medical bills, make expenses and help you maintain the quality of life you deserve. Continue reading

Walking and biking are two modes of travel that, as traffic times bubble and motor vehicle accidents continue to pose large threats to public safety, are increasing in popularity. Especially in Massachusetts, where scenic towns and accessible streets give plenty of reason to take things a little more slowly.  But as with anything else when you venture out in the world, regardless of your transportation method, there are inherent risks. Pedestrians and cyclists are incredibly vulnerable when walking in even moderately-populated areas, since the slightest mistake made by somebody in a car can mean life-threatening consequences for anybody without a protective, metallic shield around them.

Fatal accidents involving pedestrians thankfully do not happen with alarming frequency, but when they do happen they are often catastrophic. A 65-year-old Watertown resident was just killed, and another 70-year-old was seriously injured, when an SUV hit them while walking through a pedestrian crosswalk. Two cyclists have been killed in Cambridge since June while passing through a highly-populated area.  According to the Boston Globe, between 2010 and 2012 there were nearly 5,000 people injured or killed by cars while walking in Massachusetts (meaning nearly five accidents a day), based on MassDOT records. However this number is most certainly on the low end of an estimation, since large municipalities like Boston have been criticized in the past for not properly reporting pedestrian accidents.

MassDOT keeps detailed records of all recorded accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, including an interactive map that can be filtered for more specific data. According to MassDOT data, Cambridge had the highest fatality total for pedestrian accidents between 2004 and 2013 with four deadly accidents occurring. There were 136 other nonfatal accidents involving pedestrians in Cambridge.  According to crash cluster data by MassDOT ranging from 2004 to 2013, 8 of the top 10 most dangerous spots to be a cyclist in Massachusetts were found to be in Cambridge or Somerville, accounting for one death and 884 total crashes. Continue reading

Living in a beautiful city such as Cambridge or Boston or any of its surrounding boroughs comes with many benefits, and one that thousands of people take advantage of every day is being able to ride their bicycles as a form of efficient, green and healthy transportation.  The Boston Globe reported in 2015 that an estimated 8,100 people cycle to work every day, more than triple the amount estimated in 2005. The actual number of cyclists riding in Boston on a day-to-day basis is essentially impossible to accurately predict, but there’s no doubt that the number is much, much higher than just those 8,100 commuting to work.

There are over 150 “Hubway” bicycle rental stations peppered throughout the Boston metropolitan area, where anyone can rent a bicycle and return it to any other Hubway station once they are done. There are numerous bike paths, bike lanes and cyclists are welcome on all public Boston streets and even the sidewalks, so cycling is a very popular mode of transportation in a city that’s notoriously hard to drive in.  Cambridge was listed in 2006 by Bicycling magazine to be one of the friendliest cycling cities. Boston, however, has been noted in the past as one of the most dangerous cities for cyclists, though it is making strides to improve. More and more projects are being completed with “complete streets” initiatives, which puts an impetus on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Still, no matter of safety measures or precautions can prevent accidents from occurring, such as a deadly accident that just happened in Porter Square in Cambridge on Oct 5. Boston Emergency Medical Services records showed that an average of 520 fatal and nonfatal cycling accidents occurred annually in Boston between 2010 and 2014.  Accidents that involve cyclists can obviously be much more damaging to an individual, and potentially deadly, than accidents merely involving two cars. It is imperative for cyclists to observe local ordinances and also use common sense when heading out into an automobile-dominated, urban environment.

Cycling safety tips

  • Make sure your bike is prepared for a commute. Check to make sure your tires are properly inflated, that your brakes are working and that your reflectors are in good shape. Adjust your seat height and positioning so it is comfortable to both sit and stand
  • When possible, avoid riding at night. If you must ride while it’s dark, wear reflective tape, bands or bright colored clothes. Visibility is your best method to avoid accidents
  • Always maintain control with at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
  • Avoid road hazards such as construction or precariously small, highly-trafficked streets
  • Follow all traffic rules. If you are riding on the street, you must obey all signs and traffic lights. You must signal all left and right turns with hand signals.
  • If you are riding on the sidewalk, you must alert pedestrians that you are passing by with a bell or a verbal call. In some areas, cycling on the sidewalk is prohibited.
  • Never cross the street unless at a pedestrian crossing. Emerging from in between parked cars is incredibly dangerous and gives motorists little time to react
  • Do not ride sporadically or weave in and out of traffic. Maintain straight lines and be predictable
  • Keep an eye out for parked cars. Crashes often occur when a motorist opens their door without looking behind them. Give enough space between yourself and parked cars to avoid this
  • Although it is tempting, avoid listening to music while riding. Being able to hear oncoming traffic or a car horn may save your life.

Continue reading

The benefits of bicycling are hard to deny. This form of transportation is great for your health, your pocket, and the environment. But if you live in a major city, such as Boston, it can also be dangerous. With proper equipment, training, and safe-riding practices, you can dramatically reduce your risk of injury or death in a bicycle accident. The two scenarios below are responsible for a significant number of serious bicycle accidents every year. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Dooring

If you’re not an avid cyclist, you probably have no idea what the term ‘dooring’ means. But cyclists, especially those who frequently ride in cities, know exactly what dooring is. In Boston, most cyclists are required to ride in specified bike lanes or on the right-hand side of traffic. This requirement often places bicyclists dangerously close to parked cars. Because motor vehicle passengers and drivers are required to look for bicyclists prior to opening a door, the door opener is typically liable in a dooring accident.

Dooring occurs when a cyclist crashes into an open car or truck door. However, it’s rarely an open-and-shut case (no pun intended). Depending on the circumstances, the door opener can argue multiple reasons why the dooring wasn’t his or her fault. For example, if there was no other traffic at the time of the accident, the door opener might claim that the bicyclist had ample time and space to avoid the open door. Although it may sound like a ‘freak accident’, dooring is actually quite common. In fact, about 10% of all motor vehicle-bicycle crashes are due to dooring. Also, dooring accidents can be very serious, head injuries and spinal injuries can occur from this type of accident. If you have just parked your car make sure you look out your mirrors to see who and what may be driving by.  Continue reading

The Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative was launched by the U.S. Transportation Department to help communities develop safer walking and bicycling networks. The department is conducting research and providing new resources to pedestrians and bicyclists so that everyone can have a safer, more enjoyable experience. For example, field offices for the department are working with various transportation agencies to assess the safety of roadways across the country. As bicycling continues to rise in popularity, accidents rise right along with it. Bicycling and walking are healthy, environmentally-friendly activities, and we should encourage their growth. Let’s work together to make the roadways safer for everyone, non-motorized travelers included. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Fewer People are Getting Behind the Wheel

Millennials use motorized vehicles significantly less than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Young people drive fewer miles, use public transportation frequently, and often postpone getting their driver’s licenses. That means more people on the roads, biking and walking. In fact, annual ‘miles driven’ statistics are lower than they’ve been in decades. With ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and apps such as Uber, people are much less reliant on cars and trucks to get them from here to there. This trend is likely to continue.

The good news is, walking and bicycling are excellent forms of exercise. They also save money, and are much better for the environment than driving. The bad news? Since 2009, pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths have steadily risen. Due to high populations and heavy traffic in cities, urban areas see the most accidents. In 2012, 73% of pedestrian fatalities and 69% of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas. Sadly, the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur in lower-income sections of urban areas. This is often due to poorly maintained roadways, uneven walkways, and other ‘environmental’ issues that typically plague low income areas. Continue reading