Helping Injured Bikers for Over 30 Years
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A bicycle-car crash eight years ago cost one man his ability to move from the shoulders down. Now, with assistance from a number of cutting edge technologies employed by neurologists and neuroengineers at Massachusetts General Hospital, he is able to use both his hands and arms once again. hand1

The researchers used something called a “neuroprosthesis” – which is a device that either supplements or supplants the input or output of the nervous system. This type of technology can restore a degree of sensory, motor and autonomic functions by stimulating or simulating the nervous system, including nerves, muscles, spinal cord and brain.

The lengths to which this bicyclist had to go to regain even a modicum of movements highlights the severe injuries that can result from bicycle accidents, and why you need an experienced attorney to ensure you recover all the damages to which you are entitled.  Continue reading

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Two years ago, Shane Snowdon, a non-profit health educator and consultant, lost one of her good friends to a fatal bicycle crash in Cambridge. Her 65-year-old friend, a songwriter and social activist, was struck by a vehicle while on her bicycle. sadness

For Snowdon, it was 1997 all over again. That was the year Snowdon says she struck and killed a bicyclist in Boston. Writing for WBUR 90.9, she notes that she was not found at-fault for the fatal crash that night. She was not speeding or distracted and she was completely sober. However, she says she’ll never forget the look of the cyclist, staring wide-eyed at her as he crossed in front of her vehicle just as she was rounding a curve. His body flew into her windshield and over her car. She stopped at the scene, as required, and got out to find him motionless.

“You do not want to be me,” she writes. “No destination, no text, no drink, no glance away from the road is worth knowing that you have killed another human being.”

She went on to add that it’s agony living life knowing that whatever you accomplish isn’t going to matter because you caused the death of someone else. Whatever happiness you may enjoy could only serve as a reminder of the happiness you stole from the person whose life was lost, and their family and friends.
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If you follow this blog at all, you’ve likely heard us reference the term, “Complete Streets.” It’s a concept that involves taking into account the equality of all road users – not just those who drive a motor vehicle. boston

Most streets in the country in existence today were constructed with a single road user in mind: Motorists. People moving on foot or by bike – and even public transportation – were largely left out of the equation. What this means is we have so many cities – and even still locations within our own progressive city, Boston – that simply aren’t safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. The Boston Complete Streets initiative aims to improve that a little bit at a time by retrofitting older streets with certain bike-friendly features, like bike lanes and sharrows, as well as reducing speed limits, narrowing roads and creating more sidewalks, crosswalks and comfortable bus stops.

But meanwhile, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) – sometimes referred to as “the Bible” of American street engineering, still don’t recommend these kinds of designs that promote bicycle safety. What this means is traffic engineers across the country are slow to follow designs we know have been proven to reduce bicycle crashes resulting in injuries and deaths. For example, protected bike lanes are known to lower the risk of a bicycle-versus-car accident because creating a barrier between bicycles and cars means there is less of a chance the two will collide. Yet even this very basic point is not included in the MUTCD.  Continue reading

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The number of bicyclists killed in 2015 rose by 12.2 percent from the year before. That’s according to the most recent final statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which annually releases national traffic safety facts.bike1

This report specifically analyzed bicycle-car crashes, in which a motor vehicle collided with a bicycle causing injury or death. The report did not include incidents wherein a bicycle defect may have contributed to a single-rider crash into a fixed object, such as a tree or pavement. It also excluded incidents that occurred in private property – including parking lots and driveways.

So once we understand that we’re actually discounting a number of fatal crashes, we know the figures about which we’re talking are low to begin with. That means the rate of bicycle crashes and bicycle injuries is actually quite a bit higher than these statistics suggest.  Continue reading

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Bicycle manufacturer Advanced Sports International has announced it is recalling at least 650 Fuji road bikes for a defect that reportedly can cause a component to slip while pedaling, increasing the risk of a fall. bicycle up close

As the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports, the issue has to do with the rear wheel freehub. For those who are unfamiliar with the various bicycle components, the hub is the center part of the bicycle wheel, that is affixed with axle, bearings and hub shell.  A freehub bicycle is a specific type of design that incorporates a ratcheting mechanism. Freehubs have largely replaced freewheel designs in many mid-range and high-end bicycles. The primary benefit of the freehub/ freewheel system is that a rider can stop pedaling, even as the bike is still in motion.

The recent recall involves 2017 Fuji bicycles with Oval Concepts Rear Wheels, which come in numerous colors. There are two main hub models (numbers printed on the drive-side hub flange of the bikes – 3LLR and 3NVR), but a total of 14 different bike models – all Fuji. Thus far, the Pennsylvania-based importer/ distributor ASI has gotten four reports of the freehub slipping while the rider is pedaling. The good news is there haven’t been any crashes or injuries reported.  Continue reading

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A much-loved scientist was killed in a bicycle accident recently when she crossed into the path of a light rail train in Houston.rail

The Houston Chronicle reported the Rice University professor, who had been on staff since 1980, was a nationally-renowned leader in the scientific field of particle physics. In her line of work, she sought answers to questions like, “Why is there so much less anti-matter in the universe than matter?” She was interested in delving into discovery of what makes our universe. The 66-year-old was killed on her bicycle when she crossed over the southbound tracks of a a Metro light rail train around 8:15 one Friday morning, right near the Houston Zoo. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was the second time a person on a bicycle collided with the Metro light rail in Houston that week – a scenario that has occurred here in the Boston area as well. In the second Houston crash, a bicyclist reportedly collided with a moving METRORail train just before the start of the Super Bowl. He was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery, but ultimately died of his injuries.

Although authorities in both cases have said initial investigation indicates the victims did not have the right-of-way, a local biking advocacy group has released a statement calling on city officials to launch an investigation into these deaths and determine whether the designs of the roads and intersections may have in any way contributed, and whether improvements can be made or alternative routes provided.  Continue reading

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Bike riding is becoming increasingly popular nationwide, with a growing number of cities launching bike-friendly initiatives, including bike share programs, Complete Streets road design and safe cycling education campaigns. bicyclelane

Minneapolis-St. Paul, also referred to as the “Twin Cities,” has joined the bandwagon too, installing bicycle lanes throughout the city, which has a number of bicycle clubs, meet-ups and annual sponsored rides.

However, a lawmaker has recently caught heat after introducing a bill in the state legislature that would make bicycling more expensive. House File 499, introduced by Republican Duane Quam, would require cyclists who want to use public bicycle lanes to purchase a permit, pay a $5 fee and complete a bicycle safety education course. Additionally, all bikes being used on public streets would need to be registered with the state public safety commissioner. Additionally, riders using bicycle lanes would need to be at least 15-years-old, making no provision for where school children commuting to class are supposed to ride. Continue reading

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It’s one of those cases where simply no amount of money is going to alter the circumstances or make it right. Still, it’s an action that matters for one Illinois man and his five children, who lost the woman who had been the center of their family. It’s particularly important for the two youngest children, who both have special needs and had relied on their mother to ensure their daily nbicycleeeds were met.

Now, local media reports, decedent’s widower has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sport utility vehicle driver who struck his wife, who was on a bicycle in a crosswalk, last summer. Plaintiff and his children gave emotional testimony in October when a county judge issued a $150 fine to the driver of that SUV in connection with the crash for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The penalty was pittance compared to the magnitude of the losses suffered by the family, and their attorney noted it was important for the driver to hear from them about what her carelessness had caused.

An attorney for the driver explained her client was deeply shaken by the crash, and has been unable to return to work. Remorse can be healing, but it doesn’t ease the burden now borne by the family, particularly with regard to the care of the two youngest children with special needs.  Continue reading

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Last year, when actress Carrie Fisher of “Star Wars” fame suffered a heart attack near the end of her flight to Los Angeles, the first crews to respond to the health emergency on the ground did so via bicycle. It was medics on bikes who helped to revive the actress. bikes

That emergency rescue medic team is employed by the Los Angeles Fire Department. It’s one of hundreds in larger cities, including Boston and Philadelphia. It’s even been picked up in some smaller cities. The idea is that in an emergency, every second is critical. Ambulances are technically faster than a bicycle, but that’s only if they can get through the traffic in a reasonable amount of time. In congested urban areas like Boston, that can be an impossibility, especially at rush hour.

Medics and firefighters on bicycles can quickly weave their way in-and-out of traffic. They can get through large crowds quickly. They can cut through parks and yards and parking lots much quicker than an ambulance.  Continue reading

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Boston University’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, reports that the Boston Transportation Department is now accepting applications for itroundabouts upcoming 2017 Neighborhood Slow Streets Program. The intention is to implement traffic calming measures that will help bolster road safety in residential areas, which could be especially beneficial for people on bikes.

A spokeswoman for the transportation department explained that the program uses a number of different approaches to help reduce the overall speed of traffic, which in turn curbs the danger.

For example, physical cues may include speed humps, traffic circles or narrower lanes, while visual cues might use include posted signs or strategic landscaping.  Continue reading