As we continue our journey through 2023, stepping back and examining the state of bicycle safety is essential. This topic grows more relevant as more people turn to bicycles for commuting, exercise, or leisure activities. For our clients at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers, we explore recent trends, contributing factors to accidents, and potential strategies for improving safety on the roads.
Our goal is to shed light on the latest information shaping the landscape of bicycle safety. These trends are complex and multifaceted, driven by a myriad of factors, such as the evolution of urban design, the increasing density of bike lanes, and the advent of new safety technologies. They also reflect changes in public policy and societal attitudes towards cycling and outdoor activities.
We’ll further dissect the contributing factors to bicycle accidents. This examination is crucial, not just for identifying the causes but also for understanding the nuances of these incidents. The factors contributing to bicycle accidents are often intertwined, ranging from infrastructural issues like poorly designed roadways and bike lanes to behavioral aspects such as lack of cyclist awareness and unsafe driving practices.
Bikers are the most vulnerable drivers on the road and, as a result, are the most susceptible to serious injury in a collision. Massachusetts recently passed a new law, M.G.L. c. 90, §14, to reduce motor vehicle and biker accidents. The law requires motor vehicles to provide at least four feet of space between them and bikers on the road when passing, and they also must pass the cyclist at a reasonable and proper speed. Despite the new law, crashes are bound to happen. As a cyclist, knowing your rights is essential when the unthinkable happens.
Cyclists Have Up to 3 Years to File a Bile Accident Claim
In Massachusetts, there is a limited amount of time to file a claim for damages following a bike accident. If you were injured in a bike accident through no fault of your own, you have three years to file a lawsuit in court for injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The “Red Solo Cup” synonymous with “barbeques, tailgates, fairs and festivals” are now being associated with bicycling rights awareness and Boston bike crash reduction.
Image Courtesy of Peter Cheung
The #redcupproject is an international movement, coordinated in memoriam of Washington D.C. cyclist Dave Salovesh, an advocate recently killed in a bicycle crash when the driver of a stolen van barreling down the road at twice the posted speed struck him and a pedestrian. The #redcupproject in Boston took off with the help of cycling advocates like Peter Cheung, organizer of the Boston Bike Party and leader of Boston’s ghost bicycle project, which honors cyclists who died in Boston bicycle accidents.
As explained in The Boston Globe, the red cups are filled partially with water and lined in a row within existing or makeshift bicycle lanes, alongside traffic where most cyclists ride. At every location – from here to San Francisco and in countries as Spain, Denmark, Australia and Mexico – the cups were smashed within minutes.
The message: How incredibly vulnerable bicyclists are riding alongside moving traffic, separated only by a painted road line.
A fatal bicycle crash in Fenway killed a much-loved children’s librarian from Cambridge, sparking renewed calls to action for city leaders to take the lead on better cycling safety throughout Boston.
As our Boston bike attorneys understand it, 69-year-old Paula Sharaga was struck by a cement truck driver near the same area where a 24-year-old Boston University student bicyclist was killed in November by a dump truck.
Tragedy in Fenway: Bicyclist Dies in Crash With Truck
According to a recent news article from 25 News Boston, police in Newton are investigating an incident in which a bike rider suffered a blowout caused by dozens of thumbtacks that appear to have been maliciously placed in a bike lane. Authorities are saying this was not the first time this had occurred as there have been a series of similar incidents in recent months.
A spokesperson for the Newton Police Department has said they are not sure whether someone is on foot when placing the tacks or they are dropping them out of a car window. Police are relying on potential witnesses and other members from the community to provide them with any information that could help identify the person or persons responsible for this concerning series of attacks on bike riders in the Greater Boston area. Continue reading
Bicycle helmets lower the risk of head injuries to cyclists – in some cases quite substantially. Yet consumers have long been short on information to help them choose the best protection. In fact, a new analysis, the result of a joint project with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, revealed standard bicycle helmet testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission falls far short in identifying key potential helmet defects. Meanwhile, bike riders have been led to believe they’re all virtually the same, and they’re not.
One of the biggest discoveries of the new study is the surprising revelation that the so-called “urban-style” helmets assumed to provide more protection because they cover more of the head are actually riskier than so-called “road helmets” when it comes to head injuries. Researchers urged manufacturers of these urban-style helmets to initiate design improvements to bolster rider safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports approximately 81,000 people were treated for bicycle-related head injuries in a single recent year. That’s more than for any other sport. It’s also likely a low estimate because it omits those who may have sought treatment at a private doctor’s office. There were also 840 cyclists killed in 2016 crashes involving motor vehicles – the most we’ve counted since 1991.
Stunning footage of a cyclist in Queensland, Australia being wiped out by a full-grown kangaroo mid-leap had many riders feeling a bit jumpy, especially given that this was supposed to be a quiet ride along a quaint country road. The Courier Mail, which posted the video, reports the unsuspecting cyclist was laid out when the kangaroo seemingly went on the offensive, leaping from the bush, knocking the cyclist onto her side before hopping away unscathed into nearby tall brush. The entire thing was captured on camera by a fellow rider.
News outlets reported the cyclist was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and released with stitches on her knee and sling for her right arm.
Barring any mass marsupial breakouts from the Franklin Park Zoo, a kangaroo “attack” on any Boston cyclist is highly unlikely. However, other animals – primarily, dogs – have proven problematic for regular riders. In these situations, our Boston bike injury attorneys know to help you recover damages.
It seems almost every bicyclist has at least one story of a close call involving a canine. Many cyclists can outrun even a fast dog, but too often, riders are often caught unaware when the dog ambushes from the side or gives chase uphill. These incidents most frequently occur on suburban or rural roads – including those crossing through Lincoln, Concord, Sudbury or Dover, Sherborn, Medfield or Essex, Ipswitch and Hamilton. Conflicts or other incidents with dogs are also more likely to occur on “bike paths,” which are technically multiple user recreational paths. People ride on these paths because they feel safer, but they are also used by joggers, people with pets and small children. A pet owner with a dog leash stretching across the width of the path is akin to a dangerous tripwire for a cyclist. Dog-related incidents are much more likely to happen in this setting than on a bustling Boston street.
It’s important for riders to watch for dogs and ride cautiously to outrun them if one gives chase. Most bicyclist injury claims that are dog-related aren’t the result of an attack or a bite. Injury is typically the result of a chasing dog getting caught in the bicycle spokes or wheels, causing the bike to crash. If a cyclist is injured after a dog gives chase or collides with a bike, it is often negligence by the dog’s owner – more precisely, the failure to exercise control over that dog – that is to blame. Through our years of experience as bike attorneys, we know what type insurance coverage may be available and how to secure you damages caused by an unleashed dog.
Comparative negligence in bicycle accidents involves a rider who is partially to blame for the cause of a collision. In Massachusetts, comparative negligence is not necessarily a bar to recovery, but it may limit the amount of damages one can collect. So even if you are cited in a bike crash that resulted in serious injury, do not assume you don’t have a case until you speak with an injury attorney.
According to a recent news article from the Newburyport Daily News, a man from Chelsea was airlifted to the hospital following a serious bicycle crash involving a car. Authorities have said the 41-year-old bike rider was riding along with a woman at around 10 p.m.
The couple was riding their bicycles when the bike crash victim collided with a motor vehicle that was traveling in the same direction. The driver of the vehicle immediately came to a complete stop and waited for first responders to arrive. Continue reading
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, held on the third Sunday of November each year, had special significance for us at BikeAttorneys.com this year.
That’s because last year, in October 2015, a former client and talented musician, David Tasgal, was killed when he was struck by a pickup truck while bicycling near his home in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Tasgal, agiftedand accomplished musician on numerous instruments and a beloved teacher of music, was killed in the bicycle accident at the age of 72.
On November 20th, human-shaped silhouettes were installed throughout Boston and carried along the memorial ride, representing the lives of those lost too soon to traffic crashes. Each of these deaths – including Tasgal’s – was 100 percent preventable. In each case, it is the negligence and general carelessness by motorists that results in needless, tragedies like this one. Continue reading
Authorities in Canandaigua, NY are reporting that two bicyclists were seriously injured – one of them suffering a broken neck – when they were struck by a 49-year-old drunk driver plowed into them from behind while they were riding on the road’s shoulder.
It happened around 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday. The female bicyclist was diagnosed with a broken neck, and although she was expected to survive, she was only listed in fair condition and it’s believed her recovery time will be extensive, according to The Democrat & Chronicle.
The vehicle driver was charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated vehicular assault, reckless driving, failure to keep right and aggravated driving while intoxicated. Because he had two prior felony convictions, he was being held without bail. The aggravated vehicular assault charge stemmed from the fact that his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.18 or higher. Continue reading