Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Bicycling in and around Boston  is fun, healthy, environmentally sound, and good on the wallet. As such, cycling—as both a recreational activity and a mode of transportation—is skyrocketing in popularity. This pollution-free, cheap alternative to gas-guzzling cars and trucks is not, however, without risks. In fact, without adequate knowledge of bicycle safety, cycling can be even more dangerous than driving. And without the four-walled protection of a motor vehicle, bicycle accidents frequently result in serious injury, and even death.

Although the most serious cycling injuries typically involve a motor vehicle traveling at 40 MPH or more, accidents can happen anywhere, and at any speed. Cycling injuries often include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and internal injuries. If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident, there are certain steps you should take immediately. These include:

  • Report the accident to police. If you are unable to call yourself, ask if someone else can. As soon as the crash is reported, both police and paramedics will be dispatched to the scene. In addition, police will investigate the accident, creating an official police report and collecting witness statements, both of which may be invaluable if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident.
  • Obtain immediate medical attention. Even if you do not have obvious injuries or feel pain, it is important to seek medical attention after a cycling accident. Internal injuries can take days or weeks to present symptoms, and some of these injuries can be extremely serious. Further, medical records can prove quite valuable in an injury lawsuit.
  • Consult with a lawyer. If you have been involved in a serious cycling accident, a MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other costs. Not all bicycle accidents lead to injury claims, but a serious crash may warrant legal assistance.

How to Prevent Having a Bicycle Accident in the First Place

Unless you are riding only in bicycle lanes and on trails, you will be sharing the road with motor vehicle drivers. As a result, you must follow the same rules. The steps below will help you protect yourself, and everyone with whom you share the road.

  • Always ride with the flow of traffic, and remain to the far-right of the lane.
  • Obey all traffic signals, and use hand signals to indicate turns.
  • Always wear a helmet when cycling, and dress in brightly-colored clothing.
  • If you ride at night, wear reflective gear and affix a headlight to the front of your bike.
  • Wear proper shoes when cycling.
  • When riding past a parked car, give yourself as much distance as possible to prevent “dooring.”
  • Use extra caution at intersections.
  • Never expect that a driver will use his/her turn signal.
  • Proceed slowly when exiting a driveway, and always look left and right.
  • Avoid listening to music, texting, or talking on the phone while riding.
  • Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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According to a recent report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), serious injuries involving cyclists and pedestrians have seen a steady increase in recent years. Obviously, cycling (and walking) are healthy forms of exercise and good for the environment, but we need to increase awareness about the risks of cycling—especially on busy Boston streets—if we want to see these statistics reverse, and begin moving in a positive direction.

In Boston, as in other cities across the country, cyclist safety is a top priority of city planners. However, the rate at which this development is occurring is not keeping pace with the rise in the number of cyclists on the road. According to a Washington Post article, there has been an increase in bicycle accidents simply because there are more people cycling today than ever before. Today, bike share programs have added 42,000 bikes to our nation’s roads, and most of those are in congested cities, like Boston.

According to the GHSA, “pedestrians and cyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in traffic crashes: when a faster moving vehicle meets a pedestrian or a bicycle, the vehicle always wins.”  The association recommends the installation of “more marked bike lanes, more clearly defined bike lanes that separate riders from cars, bike boxes at traffic signals . . . and traffic signals that provide an advanced green signal specifically designed for cyclists,” in cities across the country. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident.

Bicycle Accident Statistics

Bicycling can be a safe, healthy form of exercise, but it can also be deadly. By familiarizing yourself with the risks involved, and learning how to avoid them, you can dramatically reduce your chance of being injured or killed in a bicycle accident.

  • In 2015, 840 cyclists were killed in traffic collisions;
  • The average age of cycling fatality victims is 45;
  • More than 70 percent of all fatal cycling accidents occur on open roadways, not in intersections;
  • Approximately 50 percent of cyclists who were killed in traffic collisions were not wearing a helmet.
  • Distracted drivers were a factor in nearly 10 percent of all fatal bicycle-motor vehicle collisions;
  • Fatal bicycle accidents are evenly distributed across daylight and evening hours;
  • Alcohol was a factor in approximately 37 percent of all fatal cycling accidents.

A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident.

Follow these Tips to Avoid a Deadly Bicycle Accident

  • A bicycle should always be appropriately sized for the rider;
  • Always wear a helmet;
  • Follow the same traffic laws as motor vehicles;
  • Whenever possible, ride in residential areas rather than congested roadways;
  • Wear highly-visible, reflective gear when riding at night;
  • Ensure that your bike’s brakes are in good working order before riding;
  • Always maintain a safe distance from parked cars to prevent dooring;
  • Never assume that a motor vehicle driver sees you, ride defensively.

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Spring is only days away, and with warmer weather comes more bikes on the roads. Bike accidents can occur for many reasons, but when motor vehicles are involved, crashes are often deadly. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 818 bicyclists were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. Thousands more were injured.

To dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death on a bicycle, follow the tips below.

Always Wear a Helmet

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. In fact, according to the Snell Memorial Foundation, “the number of bicycling head injuries requiring hospitalization exceeds the total of all the head injury cases related to baseball, football, skateboards, kick scooters, horseback riding, snowboarding, ice hockey, in-line skating, and lacrosse.”

Stay Visible

Wearing bright clothing and gear will help motorists see you, even from blocks away. At night, you should ride with a headlight and tail light and wear a white helmet and clothing. If you don’t frequently ride at night and don’t want to outfit your bike with lights, you can adhere a temporary blinking red or white light to your clothing if you happen to be out after dark. But the absolute best way to stay safe is to avoid riding after dark, whenever possible. A MA bicycle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle.

Tips for Drivers

Unfortunately, drivers of motor vehicles can occasionally get aggressive with cyclists. This is especially true in the spring, when bike traffic spikes. Although road rage is never a good idea, it’s even worse when a cyclist is involved. The lack of a safe enclosure can be deadly in a car-bicycle collision. Follow the tips below when you are driving this spring / summer season.

  • When you pass a cyclist, give them several feet and pass quickly.
  • Never honk at a cyclist. This can scare them, resulting in a serious accident. Don’t worry, cyclists can hear a car approaching, there is no need for your horn.
  • Before opening your car door, always check to see if a cyclist is approaching. It is known as “dooring” when a cyclist crashes into a just-opened car door. Dooring can be deadly.

A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a motor vehicle driver.

Bicycle-motor vehicle collisions commonly involve one of the following situations:

  • A motor vehicle turning in front of a cyclist;
  • A motor vehicle pulling out of a driveway or parking spot directly in front of a cyclist;
  • A motor vehicle failing to yield at a stop sign or red light;
  • A distracted motor vehicle driver;
  • A motor vehicle driver’s failure to look both ways;
  • A motor vehicle driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Spring is only days away, and with warmer weather comes more bikes on the roads. Bike accidents can occur for many reasons, but when motor vehicles are involved, crashes are often deadly. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 818 bicyclists were killed in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. Thousands more were injured.

To dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death on a bicycle, follow the tips below.

Always Wear a Helmet

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. In fact, according to the Snell Memorial Foundation, “the number of bicycling head injuries requiring hospitalization exceeds the total of all the head injury cases related to baseball, football, skateboards, kick scooters, horseback riding, snowboarding, ice hockey, in-line skating, and lacrosse.”

Stay Visible

Wearing bright clothing and gear will help motorists see you, even from blocks away. At night, you should ride with a headlight and tail light and wear a white helmet and clothing. If you don’t frequently ride at night and don’t want to outfit your bike with lights, you can adhere a temporary blinking red or white light to your clothing if you happen to be out after dark. But the absolute best way to stay safe is to avoid riding after dark, whenever possible. A MA bicycle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle.

Tips for Drivers

Unfortunately, drivers of motor vehicles can occasionally get aggressive with cyclists. This is especially true in the spring, when bike traffic spikes. Although road rage is never a good idea, it’s even worse when a cyclist is involved. The lack of a safe enclosure can be deadly in a car-bicycle collision. Follow the tips below when you are driving this spring / summer season.

  • When you pass a cyclist, give them several feet and pass quickly.
  • Never honk at a cyclist. This can scare them, resulting in a serious accident. Don’t worry, cyclists can hear a car approaching, there is no need for your horn.
  • Before opening your car door, always check to see if a cyclist is approaching. It is known as “dooring” when a cyclist crashes into a just-opened car door. Dooring can be deadly.

A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a motor vehicle driver.

Bicycle-motor vehicle collisions commonly involve one of the following situations:

  • A motor vehicle turning in front of a cyclist;
  • A motor vehicle pulling out of a driveway or parking spot directly in front of a cyclist;
  • A motor vehicle failing to yield at a stop sign or red light;
  • A distracted motor vehicle driver;
  • A motor vehicle driver’s failure to look both ways;
  • A motor vehicle driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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In 2015, Peter Godefroy was seriously injured when his bicycle struck a pothole in Sherman Oaks, California. Godefroy sued the City of Los Angeles, saying that he suffered a “severe traumatic brain injury,” and that poor maintenance and lighting turned the pothole into a dangerous trap.

Last week, the L.A. City Council voted 11- 0 to approve a $6.5 million settlement in the case. Earlier this year, the council settled for $4.5 million with the family of a man who was killed in a cycling accident involving the city’s uneven pavement.

Bicycle Accident Statistics

In 2015, more than 800 people died and about 45,000 were injured in bicycle accidents. As high as these numbers sound, they are probably an underestimation; hospital records show that only a small percentage (as low as 10 percent) of bicycle accidents are even reported. According to the National Safety Council, bicyclist injuries and fatalities cost more than $4 billion annually.

What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

Cycling accidents are generally treated like auto accidents; if another party was involved in the accident, you should exchange insurance information, document and photograph injuries and property damage, and contact the police if injuries or property damage are severe. Keep records of any associated medical bills, bicycle repairs, and lost wages as well. If the cause of the accident was related to poor roadways or bike lanes, the fault might lie with the city or municipality.

When is the City Liable?

When poor maintenance of city streets, sidewalks, or bike lanes contributes to a cycling accident, the city may be liable for any resulting damages. Obtaining experienced legal counsel can help you determine if the city is liable, and will help to ensure that you file an injury claim or civil lawsuit within the allotted time frame. Cities and municipalities have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in maintaining roadways, bike lanes, and sidewalks. When they fail to do so, they may be on the hook for your injuries and property damages. Proving that the city knew about  – or should have known about – the dangerous condition, however, can be challenging. For this reason, among others, hiring a skilled MA personal injury lawyer is crucial to the outcome of your case. Continue reading

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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