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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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.

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.

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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

As commuters become more health conscious, and environmentally and financially-minded, bicycling to and from work is growing in popularity. Of course, with more bikes on the roads, there are also more bicycle accidents. Depending on the circumstances of a bicycle accident, you may find yourself filing an insurance claim or even a personal injury lawsuit.  Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Attorney Today.

If you are seriously injured in a bicycle accident involving a motor vehicle, you should consult with a Boston personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Time is of the essence with personal injury claims. If you have visible injuries, they should be photographed and documented before they fade away. Memories often fade just as easily. Document every detail you possibly can; photograph the location of the accident from multiple angles, and write down witness statements and contact info. It’s also important to exchange insurance information with other parties involved, even if you don’t suspect property damage or injuries. It may take several hours, or even days, for injuries to become apparent.

Auto Insurance Personal Injury Protection

In most places, bicyclists don’t need to purchase insurance the way motor vehicle drivers do. However, cyclists are not without coverage options. Insurance policies designed specifically for bicyclists exist, as do bicycle-accident provisions in some automobile and homeowner’s insurance policies. If, for example, you live in a no-fault state, you can obtain bicycle-accident coverage through auto insurance personal injury protection. You are also likely covered for injuries under your existing health insurance policy, but that coverage may come with an excessively high deductible. If, for example, your health insurance plan has a $10,000 deductible, you may not have any coverage for medical expenses until you’ve reached that threshold. For many people, this can spell financial disaster.

Bicycle Insurance Coverage Options

Two companies that have designed insurance coverage specifically for bicyclists are Spoke and Velosurance. Policyholders can choose from basic options, such as coverage for damage to the bike itself and rental reimbursement, as well as up to $10,000 of coverage for medical payments and $100,000 of coverage for liability. These policies can provide a significant benefit to avid cyclists, but what if you’re seriously injured? Insurance coverage isn’t always enough. If another party was at fault, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, and other associated costs. Continue reading

With the arrival of spring, more bicyclists will be on the roads. Although bicycling is an extremely healthy, cost effective, environmentally sound mode of transportation, it is not without risks. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people who commute to work by bicycle in the U.S. rose from 488,000 to 786,000. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicycle accidents involving a motor vehicle were responsible for 743 cyclist deaths and 48,000 fatalities in 2013 alone. In crashes involving motor vehicles, the cyclist is the most likely to be seriously injured or killed. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Attorney Today.

Bicycle Accident Statistics

  • In 2012, cyclists accounted for about 2% of total traffic fatalities.
  • About 48% of bicyclist fatalities take place between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight.
  • Approximately 69% of bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas.
  • Nearly 1/4 of bicyclists killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%.
  • The vast majority of cyclists killed are male (88%).
  • The top three states for bicyclist fatalities are: California (141), Florida (133), and Texas (48).
  • The average age of those killed in bicycle / motor vehicle crashes is 44.
  • The most common causes of bicyclist injuries are: being hit by a car, falling, roadway conditions, rider error, crashing, and an animal running out.
  • Bicycle Safety Tips

By following the safety tips below, you can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a bicycle accident.

  • Always ride with traffic, on the right side of the road.
  • Use bike lanes whenever possible.
  • Obey traffic signals and signs.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Wear bright clothing.
  • Don’t ride at night.
  • If you must ride at night, make sure your bike is equipped with reflectors and a light, and wear reflectors on your clothing.
  • Even if you have the right of way, yield to other vehicles if there’s any doubt about a car or truck driver’s next move.
  • Avoid riding when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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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. Continue reading