Articles Tagged with Boston bicycle accident lawyer

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The meteoric rise of bike share has transformed the streets of Boston in many positive ways with many more bikes on the streets thanks to bikeshare programs like Hubway, now Bluebikes, but they have not been without their share of problems. In the grand scheme, these are good problems to have, but they still must be addressed. Specifically right now, Boston and surrounding communities are being inundated with dockless bikes. This is in addition to the tremendous growth of the city-backed bike share program.

Boston bike accident lawyer

 

Since the the launch of Hubway (now BlueBikes) which expanded from a starting fleet of 610 bicycles and 60 docking stations in 2011, Boston’s bikeshare program has continued to grow to now 1,800 bicycles at more than 200 stations in Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline.

Now, neighboring towns like Arlington and Newton have added their own bikeshare programs, but with the cheaper dockless bicycles of LimeBike, Spin and other dockless bikeshare companies. Along with Arlington and Newton, bikeshare programs now exist in Bedford, Belmont, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Revere, Waltham, Watertown and Winthrop. The bikes cost $1 for every 30 minutes of use, and unlike bikeshare systems used in Boston and other cities, riders don’t have to find a dock to park their rented bikes.

More bicycles in Boston is NOT a bad thing! The question is how these bike access services are going to co-exist and whether the city will embrace the private dockless biking companies (or at least their model) or resist them.

The new bikeshares have created a real problem. Millions of dollars have been invested in the standard bike-share system, with the bright blue bicycles and stationary docking areas growing ubiquitous throughout Boston. Although extremely popular, two issues have arisen that could impact Boston bike share’s future growth:

  • Lagging bike share equity;
  • Swelling numbers of dockless bicycles from private companies sprouting up in communities like Arlington, Medford and Newton, served by Blue Bikes (formerly Hubway).

The sudden explosion of dockless bicycle companies in cities have taken communities like Boston by surprise as they burst onto the stage, and the long-term impact is unclear.

Less concentration (or total lack) of bike share docking stations in outlying communities has been a long-standing problem since the program’s inception. It was always intended to be addressed gradually as the program grew. However, the issue of private companies swooping in with a dockless bike share option seems to have taken everyone by surprise. It’s not just the fact that there is competition. The problem is private investors like Blue Cross Blue Shield have invested in the bicycles, and the docking stations and ant to protect their investment, putting city officials who granted the docked bikeshare programs an exclusive contract in an awkward situation. The question is whether Blue Cross and other companies that have invested in a docked system will have incentive to continue that investment if they are deprived of market exclusivity.

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials the most recent annual bike share report was the first wherein dockless bicycles were counted, dockless bicycles are used in just 4 percent of rides, but account for 44 percent of all bicycles on the ground in cities, nearly doubling the U.S. bike share footprint. The close of this year will give us a sense of whether these bike companies will crash and burn or adapt and thrive. Continue reading

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An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities, a broad and sweeping bill directed at improving bicyclist safety in Massachusetts has survived its latest hurdle in the State House but now needs your support.

Boston bike injury lawyer

The bill, S.1905 and H.2877, covers a comprehensive range of critical traffic safety issues, including several pertaining directly to the rights and safety of bicyclists in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

The bill includes provisions relating to bike path crossing, a pet project of our own BikeAttorney.com attorney Andrew Fischer, a three-foot law and increased fines for double parking in bike lanes. Each section addresses current hazards cyclists face and impediments to damage recovery from negligent motorists.

Several elements of the bill have been floated in some form or another during prior legislative sessions. These efforts always stalled, typically an unfortunate victim of warring political interests. This bill presents a vital opportunity to protect Massachusetts bicyclists in a comprehensive manner, underscore their rights on the road and allow meaningful recourse against those who disregard their lives.

The Act (which we also credit in large part to the efforts of state and local Vision Zero coalitions and cycling advocacy groups like MassBike) would help reduce overall traffic deaths in the Commonwealth through a host of changes, including:

  • Amending the state’s texting-and-driving law;
  • Improving signage for bicyclists and pedestrians;
  • Requiring side guards on trucks contracted with the state;
  • Raising awareness of drowsy driving;
  • Introducing a traffic safety curriculum in public schools.

State senators and representatives need to hear from constituents that now is the time to act. The deadline for legislative action was extended, meaning voters have from now until March 2nd to contact their lawmakers and voice support for S.1905 and H.2877. 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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Advocates for Boston bicycle safety are applauding the new statewide measure that bans drivers from “standing” or parking in established bike lanes. As our Boston bicycle injury lawyers know, this practice puts cyclists in grave risk because it forces them into moving traffic in order to avoid the stationary vehicle in their path. bikelane

The measure was initially part of a larger bill that had numerous other bicycle safety components. Unfortunately, this larger bill didn’t pass, but bike advocates know this is a start. Safe biking can’t be achieved simply by creating bike lanes. Those lanes have to be policed and the laws enforced so that it’s safe for cyclists to use them.

Boston Attorney Andrew Fischer Bikeattorney.com was part of that team of advocates who helped to draft the bike land protection law, as well as other proposed legislation.  Continue reading

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Nearly one quarter of all Boston bicycle accidents that result in injury are caused by vehicle drivers or passengers opening their doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist. It’s called “dooring,” and in addition to accounting for a significant number of the total number of bicyclist injuries in Boston, it’s blamed for 40 percent of all cases where a driver is at-fault for injury to a bike rider. It’s also illegal, per Mass. Gen. Law Ch. 90, Section 14. This statute makes it clear that it is the vehicle occupant’s job to wait to open the door until it’s safe to do so without interfering with other moving traffic – which includes both cyclists and pedestrians. bicycle9

And yet, these incidents continue to happen, as as bicycle safety advocates note, it has largely to do with the fact that bicycle traffic is still something of an afterthought – if it’s a thought at all – to many American drivers. In the Netherlands, as noted in one New York Times article, it’s far different. Cycling is ingrained into the culture. Everyone cycles. While many cities in the U.S. – including Boston – have dedicated bike lanes for safer bicycle travel, in the Netherlands, bicycles are truly seen as equal vehicles, with not just dedicated lanes, but dedicated traffic lights, parking garages and depots.

This bike-friendly culture is the reason Dutch drivers are taught in driving school that when you are about to exit a vehicle, you reach for the door handle with your right hand. Why? It forces the driver to reach around his or her own body, causing the shoulders and head to turn – which makes it much easier to see if a bicyclist is approaching from behind. Now, as The Boston Globe recently reported, a 70-year-old retired medical doctor and Cambridge cycling advocate is pushing for Bostonian drivers to do the “Dutch Reach.”  Continue reading

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The Lexington Department of Public Works has announced it will be paving a section of the popular Minuteman Bikeway that runs between Hancock Street and Bedford Street.biketrail2

Beginning today, this section of the bike path will be closed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to dusk. However, it will still be open for bike traffic in the evenings and on weekends until further notice. Officials with the agency, who offered this map of the paving work, speculate it will be completed before the end of the month.

Riders who would otherwise use the path aren’t going to be completely without options. Those traveling north will exit the trail on the left onto Harrington Road and then swing out onto Bedford Street. They can remain on that path, past Lois Lane, Carol Lane and Larchmont Lane, to hook a left back onto the trail just past Sunny-Knoll Avenue. This initiative should make the bike trail a safer place for riders. Continue reading

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not require bicyclists over the age of 16 to don a helmet when they take to the streets. Furthermore, the law is very clear that lack of a helmet on an injured rider is not grounds to find contributory negligence (see M.G.L. ch. 85, section 11B). bicycling1

That said, it’s generally a very good idea for all bicyclists to wear a helmet. We know that more head injuries occur in biking than in any other sport. A bike helmet may not prevent a bicycle accident, but it can help to significantly reduce injuries and protect riders against concussions and traumatic brain injury. There were reportedly 287,0000 bike-related head injuries in the U.S. between 2007 to 2011. By comparison, there were 220,000 head injuries attributed to football and 132,000 to basketball.

Recently, Consumer Reports touched on this in two different articles. The first involved finding the best bicycle helmet and the second involved analyzing the anatomy of a bicycle accident and how helmets can help play a role in reducing injuries.  Continue reading

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Hit-and-run accidents have been on the rise in major cities in recent years, spiking more than 13 percent in a recent three-year time frame. In some places, like Los Angeles, it’s so bad that half of all crashes in the city involve at least one driver who fled the scene. In total, these accidents kill about 1,500 people a year – disproportionately affecting pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, 60 percent of hit-and-run fatalities are pedestrians.bicycle9

Just recently in New York City, friends and family gathered in Brooklyn to remember the 35-year-old founder of a company called Bikestock, a bike repair vending machine business and avid bicycling advocate, who was riding home form his night job when a black Chevrolet Camero with tinted windows struck him around 2:30 a.m. He was dragged for a distance. The driver didn’t stop. He was later pronounced dead. It was the 12th cycling fatality in New York City this year, compared to five this time last year. Said a police investigator, “Most of the time, it’s errant and lawless motoring that is to blame.”

Several states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona and Colorado have increased criminal penalties for hit-and-run drivers. In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24 makes failure to stop after a collision a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of up to 2 years in jail, a $200 fine and between 60 days and 1 year of license loss. Of course, that assumes the driver got caught. So here does all this leave Boston bicycle accident victims?  Continue reading

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Should new bike lanes be added to Massachusetts Avenue? sharetheroad

The question has sparked a heated debate, as many fear that the precious few parking spaces that exist along the road will evaporate if we prioritize pedalcyclists.

But bike safety advocates say it’s simple: “Save Lives, Not Parking.”

Massachusetts Avenue has seen more fatal crashes than anywhere else in the city, and bicycle accidents are a top concern. The city has vowed to be create a more bike-friendly atmosphere, and that means making sure that bicyclists are safe to ride where it’s legal for them to do so. That’s the driving force behind the initiative to install protected bike lanes along Mass. Ave. That’s going to mean posts being installed between car lanes and cyclist lanes.  Continue reading

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May is National Bike Month, and whether you bike to work or school or just for fun, you deserve to be safe. Bike lanes are one of the best roadway features we have to ensure that. bikerace

There has been some debate nationally about whether bicycle lanes are worth the time and effort. Fortunately, there is ample evidence to support the argument that bicycle lanes are cost-effective, promote cycling and help protect bicyclists from the many roadway hazards posed by motor vehicles. Here, our bike accident lawyers in Boston wanted to outline some of the bike lane research and what it could mean for Boston to have more bike lanes.

The City of Boston in its 30-year Boston Bike Network Plan has called for a comprehensive network of cycling routes – including on-road bicycle lanes – across 356 miles. The goal is to have 195 of those miles in place by 2018. The plan specifically states that when it comes to the primary routes – those that are the “spine” of the network and which provide long-distance routes across the city – leaders are prioritizing a separation from traffic in order to provide a low-stress, comfortable experience for cyclists of all ages. On secondary routes, which connect to schools, neighborhoods, parks, and transit hubs, the city is largely focused on installation of bike lanes, contra-flow lanes and priority shared lanes.  Continue reading