Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injury and death in the United States.  In 2020 alone, injuries occurred in 1,593,390 crashes and 35,766 crashes resulted in fatalities. These accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, but speeding and drunk driving rank high on the list of causes.

Motor vehicle accidents can lead to a range of injuries that vary in severity, having a significant impact on the lives of those involved. Serious and chronic injuries often lead to physical pain, costly medical bills, a decrease in the enjoyment of life, and emotional trauma.

Understanding the potential long-term effects of common car accident injuries emphasizes the importance of obtaining comprehensive medical care and legal assistance. Read on to explore some of the most common injuries in car accidents and their long-term effects, and if you’ve been injured, seek immediate legal counsel to ensure that your medical and financial needs are met.

Bicycling in Boston is a wonderful way to explore the city, stay active, and reduce your carbon footprint. However, like any other mode of transportation, riding a bicycle carries some inherent risks, and accidents can happen. If you find yourself in a bicycle accident in Boston, it’s essential to know what steps to take to protect yourself and your legal rights.

Seek Medical Attention

Following any type of accident, your health and safety should be your top priority. After a bicycle accident, even if your injuries seem minor, it’s critical to seek medical attention. Adrenaline can sometimes mask the full extent of your injuries, and getting a medical evaluation will ensure that any hidden or delayed injuries are detected and treated promptly. Furthermore, certain serious injuries, including internal bleeding and soft-tissue damage, often take days to produce symptoms. And medical records will be vital if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.

E-bikes now make up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electric vehicle economy, according to ABC10. Along with the increased popularity, however, come reports of crashes, injuries, fires, and other hazards. In 2022, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced multiple recalls related to electric bicycles.

While electric bikes have been recalled for a variety of mechanical failures and battery problems, one of the biggest e-bike recalls of the year was due to defective tires. In November, Rad Power Bikes recalled over 29,000 RadWagon 4 Electric Cargo Bikes after receiving 137 reports of tires blowing out, deflating, and separating from the sidewalls. Eight reported injuries occurred, including broken bones, road rash, and cuts and/or bruises.

Rad Power Electric Bike Recall

Which U.S. state ranks as the best for cyclists? According to the League of American Bicyclists, that honor goes to Massachusetts. In 2022, the Commonwealth topped the list of Bicycle Friendly States, scoring “A” grades for “infrastructure and funding,” “education and encouragement,” and “policies and programs.” One area where Massachusetts didn’t excel: “Traffic laws and practices,” a category in which the state received a disappointing “D” grad

So while Massachusetts is generally considered a good place for cyclists, work remains to be done in terms of safety. In the past five years, the state averaged around seven fatal bicyclist accidents and over 900 non-fatal injury crashes per year (MassDOT crash portal data).

Where Do Most Boston Bicycle Accidents Occur?

After a long, cold winter, spring invites Massachusetts cyclists outside again. Unfortunately, as the warm weather increases, so do bike-related accidents. The number of incidents involving bicycles in Boston tends to jump up in May and remain high into the fall.

In addition to increasing in summer, bicycle ridership appears to be increasing year to year. According to the City of Boston, participation in the Bluebikes bike share program rose 17% from 2019 to 2021. September 2021 was the busiest month ever, with nearly 435,000 bike trips that month alone.

With more cyclists on the road, it seems more bike accidents are inevitable. And the dangers multiply in cities: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that nearly 80% of bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas.

Cycling is among the most popular ways to get around within the city, especially on the highly bike populated streets of Cambridge and the surrounding Greater Boston Area. However, cyclists must share the roads with motorists at all times, even if they are safely biking in bike lanes. Sometimes, when a motorist isn’t paying attention, they may open their car door right in the path of an oncoming cyclist. These incidents are known as “dooring” or being “doored,” which can result in horrendous injuries to cyclists. If you have been involved in a dooring incident, contact the Cambridge personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP right away to see if you may be able to file a personal injury claim.

Being doored is more common than you may think. One study of Cambridge bicycle accidents found that being doored accounted for about one in five cycling accidents, and the injuries sustained from these incidents can be quite severe, since they often involve high speeds and harsh impacts. Injuries from dooring incidents can include:

  • Deep skin lacerations
  • Road rash
  • Broken bones or teeth
  • Concussions or other brain injuries
  • Coma and death

Who is responsible for a dooring incident?

Massachusetts, along with many other states, has specific laws that are intended to protect cyclists from dooring incidents. In Massachusetts, passengers and drivers in automobiles are required to check their surroundings before opening their doors, and should not be distracted (for example, by a cell phone) when they do open their door.

These laws mean that, in the vast majority of dooring cases, the individual who opens the door without first adequately checking their surroundings will be at fault for any injuries that occur as a result. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind after being injured in a dooring incident in Massachusetts, due to how the state handles injuries from events that are covered by mandated personal insurance.

In Massachusetts, such incidents may first have to be covered by the “no fault” provision of insurance, which means a minimum of up to $8,000 of medical expenses can be covered by the at fault individual’s insurance. However, this provision may not always apply, especially if the dooring incident caused especially damaging injuries – like permanent scarring or debilitation. An experienced personal injury attorney from Altman & Altman LLP will be able to assess whether it makes more sense to go through personal insurance claim or to pursue a separate personal injury claim following your dooring incident. Continue reading

Is wearing a helmet while cycling as effective at preventing serious injuries and death as we’ve been lead to believe? A new study says yes; in fact, helmets are even more important than previously thought. This might not seem like groundbreaking news, but some cyclists have argued that helmets offer little protection in serious collisions with motor vehicles.

According to a recently-published study in Accident Analysis & Prevention, it has been determined that “the most commonly injured body region [in bicycle accidents] is the upper extremities, followed by the lower extremities, face and head and neck.” As such, “wearing a helmet while riding a bike is the best way to decrease the risk of serious injuries,” said Dr. Lara McKenzie, one of the study’s senior authors. A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Approximately 11 percent of injuries suffered in cycling accidents include a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and many of those involve younger patients under the age of 15. For this reason, helmets are especially important for children. To prevent serious head injury or death in a cycling accident, parents should ensure that children (even those in their teens) always wear a helmet.

How to Prevent Serious Cycling Injuries

By following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can dramatically reduce the risk of serious injury to you, or to your child.

  • Ensure that your bike is the proper size. A bike that is too big or too small can be difficult to control.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic at all times. Approximately 25 percent of cycling collisions occur when the cyclist is riding against traffic.
  • Always use hand signals to alert motor vehicles to your intended move.
  • Children should never ride alone after dark.
  • Never cycle without a helmet. Ensure that your helmet is in good shape and that it fits properly.

A MA cycling accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Cycling Accident Statistics

There is no denying that cycling is a healthy, economical, and environmentally-conscious form of transportation. That doesn’t mean it’s not without risks. The statistics below illustrate the dangers of cycling. Awareness is key to reducing these risks.

  • In 2015, 818 cyclists were killed in collisions, and 45,000 were injured.
  • Among those injured, 5,000 were children.
  • Among those fatally injured, 37 were children.
  • The vast majority of injuries and fatalities occurred in men (87 percent for injuries, 83 percent for fatalities).
  • Fatal accidents occurred almost evenly during daylight and nighttime hours.
  • Approximately 70 percent of the fatal crashes were in urban areas, 61 percent were in locations other than intersections, and three percent occurred in bike lanes.
  • Cyclist deaths accounted for 2.3 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015.
  • Among the fatal accidents, more than one-quarter involved alcohol (either cyclist, motor vehicle driver, or both).

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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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