The Westwood Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee distributed 125 bicycle helmets to children at Westwood Day over the weekend. Despite the cold and rainy day, families turned out and the committee distributed the helmets in a little more than two hours.
Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.
Attorney David W. White is a Westwood resident and participated as a member of the Westwood Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee.
Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated 3,500 helmets this year and over 8,000 helmets since our first donation in 2013. Our goal is to encourage children and families to wear bicycle helmets and reduce the risk of serious head injury should they fall or be injured in a bicycle accident.
Watertown Faire on the Square: On Sept. 26th, the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee distributed 120 Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to children in the community at the 16th annual Watertown Faire on the Square.
Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward: Attorney David W. White will join Boston Bikes at the Old Colony public housing development in South Boston on Friday, Oct. 9th. Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward program provides refurbished bikes to city residents each year and returns for bike repair events. Breakstone, White & Gluck is donating 100 helmets and Attorney White will fit children who need one for the new helmets.
Patient beware: A new report says most of us will leave a doctor's office with a diagnosis which is either late or wrong at least once in our lives. This can be life-changing for some, leading to serious injury, handicap or even death.
The report, "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care," was released this week by the Institute of Medicine, which also published the landmark report, "To Err is Human" in 1999. The 1999 report exposed the fact that approximately 44,000 to 98,000 people were dying in U.S. hospitals each year as a result of medical errors.
The current report focuses on how doctors diagnose patients. The report shared the story of Carolyn, who believed she was suffering a heart attack and visited a hospital emergency room. When she asked her doctor questions, a nurse told her the doctor "doesn't like to be questioned." Told she was suffering acid influx, she was released a few hours later. But she was not better; she returned to the ER two weeks later. As she suspected, she had suffered a heart attack and needed surgery to unblock her artery.
The authors say they do not know how many Carolyns are out there. But some estimates are at least 12 million people are being incorrectly diagnosed like this year, or roughly 5 percent of adults who seek outpatient care each year.
They predict more bad news for patients too: Errors will likely increase because of the processes behind how patients are diagnosed, and how health care is being delivered today. The Institute of Medicine recommends health care organizations set up systems to identify diagnostic errors, adopt a non-punitive culture and work as a team.
A few highlights from the report:
- There are many causes to diagnostic errors, including poor collaboration among physicians, patients and their families.
- Physicians often receive limited feedback when they make a diagnostic error. In some cases, they never even learn about their error.
- The medical culture continues to discourage transparency and disclosure of errors.
- Doctors may still be struggling to learn electronic medical record systems which have been implemented to help eliminate medical mistakes. This may actually be contributing to mistakes.
Read more from the report and its recommendations.
Patient Resource: Our attorneys have also written an article called "Preventing Medical Errors at Hospitals" which discusses how patients can advocate for themselves and explains the Massachusetts Patients' Bill of Rights.
Attorney David White delivered bicycle helmets to the Waltham Police Department this morning. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets for police to give to children who need one in the community. We are very excited about this partnership because Waltham Police are actively working on bicycle safety in many ways.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for children. A properly installed child safety seat reduces the risk of injury by approximately 80 percent and of death by 28 percent, compared to children in seat belts alone.
Child safety seats are required in Massachusetts and every other state. They are one of the first steps a parent takes to protect a child when they leave the hospital and get in the car. But they are hard to use and many parents struggle even as children get older.
Nearly 3 out of 4 children are not properly fastened in their car seats, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey. If a child safety seat is not properly installed, it cannot fully protect a child in a car accident.
Child Passenger Safety Week
Child Passenger Safety Seat Week, sponsored by the NHTSA, began last weekend and runs through next Saturday, Sept. 19th, which is also National Seat Check Saturday. We encourage parents to have your child safety seat checked. Check your local newspaper or social media for car seat check events near you. Here are other resources:
Websites for Parents to Visit
Child Passenger Safety Week is also a good reminder to check if your child safety seat has been recalled and for parents to prepare for changes in routine. If someone else picks your child up at school or daycare, you must have a child safety seat available.
Massachusetts' Child Passenger Safety Seat Law
In Massachusetts, children must be secured in child safety seats for the first few years, then booster seats until they are eight years old or over 57 inches tall. Children should always be seated in the back seat of the car, as it is the safest place for them in case of an accident.
Infants. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old or reach the weight and height limit set by the car seat manufacturer.
Toddlers/Preschoolers. At this age, children should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the height and weight limits set by the car seat manufacturer.
School-aged Children. The next step is a booster seat. Children must sit in a booster seat in the back-seat until he or she is 8 years old or over 57 inches tall.
Seatbelts. Children can then move into a seat belt in the backseat if they are big enough. They should use both lap and shoulder seat belts.
To learn more, visit this guide on child safety seats in Massachusetts.
As students head back to classes, this is a good time for families to talk about cell phones and distracted driving.
There are now 46 states which ban texting while driving, including Massachusetts, which banned the practice in 2010. Junior operators are not allowed to use cell phones at all in Massachusetts.
No Cell Phone Rule. Lead by example. Put your cell phone away while driving your children to school. Tell them to put theirs away too because it creates a distraction for you on the roads. Make this a rule for school drop-offs and pick-ups. If you can, extend it to other travel times.
Drop-Off Zone. After you drop your child off at school, resist the urge to immediately check your cell phone in the drop-off zone. Drive away and check later.
Children and Teens
No Cell Phone Use While Commuting. Keep telling your children the cell phone is not for use while commuting to school. Even if they are young and many years away from driving, they can learn now how distracting any cell phone use can be in the car.
Children should not use cell phones while walking or riding bikes to school, either. They can check in with social media, e-mail and text messages at home. If they must, tell them to step several feet off the sidewalk. Make it clear it is not safe to stop in a parking lot.
School Bus. Encourage your child to keep their cell phone packed on the ride so they can be aware of what is going on around them.
Reward Your Child For Not Using a Cell Phone. When your children do as you ask and leave the cell phone packed up, let them know you noticed.
Talk to Your Teen Drivers. Take some time to remind them not to use their cell phone behind the wheel. They could seriously injure someone or be stopped by police and face fines and a temporary loss of license.
No Passengers. Do not allow them to carry other teenage passengers with them until they become experienced drivers, and even then they should limit the number of passengers in their cars. Your teenager needs all their energy to focus on the roads and avoid car accidents.
Your teenager may not be happy with your rules, but younger drivers under 25 are two to three times more likely to text or e-mail while driving than others, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You want to protect your teenager and help them develop safe habits.
Share Safety Materials. Do not be your teen's only source of information. Occasionally share safety campaign information or news articles about texting while driving with them. One resource is the AT&T It Can Wait campaign.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to be donating children's bicycle helmets again this year through our Project KidSafe campaign. As part of this work, we get to go out and meet children and families at community events. Over the years, we have been asked some great questions about bicycle helmet use. Here are some of our answers:
Do I Have to Wear a Bicycle Helmet?
Yes! Massachusetts law requires cyclists 16 years old and younger to wear bicycle helmets when they ride. If you want to learn more, the statute is M.G.L. c. 85 § 11B.
While the law does not require parents to wear helmets, we encourage you to do so. If you wear one, your children will follow your lead and take the message to heart. Wearing a bicycle helmet is the most effective step you can take to prevent a serious head injury if you are involved in a bicycle accident. This is a good lesson for your children to learn early on.
What Else Should I Know About the Law on Bicycle Helmets?
M.G.L. c. 85 § 11B states helmets must be secured to a person's head by straps and meet the safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
When Should I Replace a Helmet?
Always replace helmets after a fall or bicycle accident, even if it does not appear damaged. Also replace the helmet if it no longer fits or the straps have worn. If the helmet is over three years old, it should be replaced.
Can Helmets be Handed Down from Child to Child?
Unlike bicycles, it is probably a better practice to not pass helmets down to younger siblings, unless they are still in excellent condition. If you are still considering re-using a helmet, think about how long the first child wore it and if they had any cycling accidents or falls. It is hard to know how many times a child has fallen, so the safe bet is to get a new helmet.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, launched our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of encourage safe bicycling. We have donated over 7,000 bicycle helmets to children throughout eastern Massachusetts and have worked with organizations such as Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward, Massachusetts Safe Routes to Schools, Bikes Not Bombs and local bicycle committees and police departments.
Our attorneys have published safety and other informational materials for cyclists on our website:
What Every Massachusetts Cyclist Should Know About Car Insurance Many cyclists are unaware they can purchase coverage for bicycle accidents through their car insurance policies. This is important because many drivers are underinsured or uninsured and many injured cyclists have to recover medical costs and other damages through their own car insurance policies. Read more.
Massachusetts Bicyclists' Rights and Responsibilities
Read a summary of the responsibilities of cyclists and motorists in Massachusetts.
Breakstone, White & Gluck returned to the Dedham Bike Rodeo yesterday for the third year in a row. We were happy to donate 120 new bicycle helmets to the kids at the rodeo.
Photo: Attorneys Ronald E. Gluck and David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck with Dedham police officers, including Neil Cronin and Bob Nedder.
Photo: Attorney David W. White with 4-year-olds from the Courtyard Learning Center in Dedham.
The Dedham Bike Rodeo was one of the first events we participated in after starting our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 and we always look forward to it. It is an annual event organized by the Dedham Police Department and Dedham Parks & Recreation Department. Local children are invited to ride around at the Endicott Estate, then offered a free lunch. The Dedham Police Department raffles off free bicycles to a few lucky children. For the finale, the Dedham Fire Department brings in the hose truck and lets the kids run under the water to cool down. That was much needed yesterday, with the temperature over 90 degrees!
Attorney David W. White fitted the children for new bicycle helmets and talked to them about the importance of always wearing one. A child who wears a helmet significantly reduces their chance of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a bicycle accident. In Massachusetts, wearing a bicycle helmet is also the law for children and teenagers 16 years old or younger.
David has fitted some of the Dedham kids two or three times now over the years and it was nice to see them back, willing to wait in line on such a hot day. A lot of helmets from years past were still being worn by other kids.
Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign, which we launched in 2013. To date, we have donated over 5,000 helmets and expect to reach 8,000 by year's end.
Our goal is to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets and ride their bikes safely. Even though it is widely known that bicycle helmets can protect cyclists, many children still do not wear them or use ones which do not fit properly or are in poor condition.
It is important for children to wear helmets which fit properly and meet safety standards. Children are especially vulnerable to bicycle-related injuries and deaths, accounting for half of all cyclists who are treated in emergency rooms each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 26,000 children are treated for traumatic brain injuries related to bicycling accidents.
We also encourage parents to always wear their helmets too. When children see their parents consistently wearing helmets, the use of helmets by children increases dramatically.
As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck recently supported the Boston Bikes' Get Biking Challenge, a city-wide biking competition for children in the Boston Public Schools. Boston Bikes, which is part of the City of Boston, hosted this first-time event in May to celebrate National Bike Month. Students were challenged to ride their bicycles every day of the month and track how many minutes they rode.
Boston Bikes had strong results. Eleven city schools accepted the challenge, which meant more than 3,500 students were invited to participate. Nearly 1,400 students rode their bikes in May. On average, students rode 12 days of the month.
- Students biked more than 597,760 minutes combined
- Some 766 students biked more than 4 hours throughout the month
- They covered 79,700 miles, or the equivalent of traveling around the Earth's equator three times
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe
The Boston personal injury law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck launched Project KidSafe in 2013 and has donated 8,000 bicycle helmets to children who need one in eastern and central Massachusetts. Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward was one of our first partners and we continue to donate to the program, which fixes up used bikes and donates them to children who need one in Boston.
Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe Donates 400 Bicycle Helmets to Somerville Public Schools
Breakstone, White & Gluck recently joined the fifth graders at West Somerville Neighborhood School as they graduated from the CYCLE Kids program. Our firm was proud to donate 400 bicycle helmets this year to Somerville elementary school students participating in CYCLE Kids. We made the donations as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.
Attorney Ronald Gluck handed out new bicycle helmets to the 34 students who received certificates of completion at the West Somerville school. The certificates were handed out by Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra and physical education teacher Neil Holloway, who coordinate the program.
Photo: Attorney Ronald Gluck hands a helmet to a fifth grader who completed the CYCLE Kids program at the West Somerville Neighborhood School.
Photo: A hand-written message from a fifth grader at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, where Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets
Photo: A Thank You from the fifth graders at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets to the children for completing the CYCLE Kids program.
Photo: Another note from a student at the West Somerville Neighborhood School.
CYCLE Kids is a curriculum which teaches children about bicycle safety, literacy and nutrition. It is developed by the non-profit CYCLE Kids organization, based in Cambridge. In Somerville, the curriculum is offered to fifth graders as part of physical education class.
Students are taught how to ride a bicycle, use hand signals and that they must always wear a bicycle helmet while riding. For many students, it is their first experience riding a bicycle. They learn in class and through essay writing and take-home activities. Here is an excerpt from one student's essay:
"At first, I didn't have confidence but after talking with my friends in my homeroom with Ms. Carafotes, they all encouraged me to have confidence. That was the most important lesson because in the beginning I was afraid that I might fall. I fell twice but I just got right back up again and tried until I didn't fall anymore. That would be my advice to anyone learning is to have confidence in yourself because if you don't, you won't accomplish your dreams."
This student ended his essay with this note: "The best part of this program was getting a free Helmet at the end of our experience. I hope this continues every year for kids who don't know how to ride a bike."
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a personal injury law firm. We have partnered with the CYCLE Kids program for three years, proving bicycle helmets in the Cambridge Public Schools in 2013 and the Somerville Public Schools in 2014 and 2015.
Our Project KidSafe campaign works to keep children safe and encourage safe bicycle riding. Since 2013, we have donated over 4,500 bicycle helmets to children who need one in eastern Massachusetts and worked with organizations such as Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward, the Somerville Kiwanis Club, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, Bikes Not Bombs and local bicycle committees.
Photo: Students reading their essays about learning to ride a bicycle in the CYCLE Kids program. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 400 bicycle helmets to the Somerville public schools for fifth-graders who completed the CYCLE Kids program.
Photo: Students at the West Somerville Neighborhood School with their certificates of completion for the CYCLE Kids program, which provides instruction on how to ride a bicycle safely.
Photo: A student wearing a Project KidSafe bicycle helmet. For the second year, Breakstone, White & Gluck partnered with CYCLE Kids and the Somerville Public Schools and donated these helmets for students.
Photo: Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra, Attorney Ronald Gluck and students who completed the CYCLE Kids program at West Somerville Neighborhood School.
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Says Clients Feel Former New England Patriots Player Brandon Spikes "Got Off Lightly" With Probation
Former New England Patriots player Brandon Spikes pled guilty yesterday to criminal charges in the hit-and-run car crash which injured a family of three on I-495 in Foxborough. He was sentenced to one year probation and loss of license.
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone of Breakstone, White & Gluck represents the family.
"They feel that he got off lightly for engaging in conduct that could have killed them frankly," Breakstone told WCVB.
Early on June 7, Spikes was driving his Mercedes-Benz Maybach on I-495 in Foxborough and struck the Nissan Murano carrying Breakstone's clients. He was traveling without headlights and hit the family's car at a high-speed, but never stopped.
They were treated at a local hospital. Police found his vehicle abandoned nearby, after his on-board navigation company reported the driver stated he had hit a deer. Spikes, who had just returned to the New England Patriots a month earlier, was released by the team shortly later.
Yesterday in Wrentham District Court, Spikes was found responsible for speeding and a marked lanes violation as well. He also admitted prosecutors had sufficient facts to convict him on charges of negligent operation and driving an uninsured vehicle. Those charges were continued without a finding for one year and Spikes could avoid conviction if he stays out of trouble.
Breakstone told The Boston Herald his clients are, "very lucky not to have been killed. They're still traumatized by this incident. This guy, hopefully, learned a lesson that will change his behavior going forward."
Driving without auto insurance is against the law in Massachusetts and punishable by a fine or up to one year in a house of correction.
"This is a trifecta of irresponsibility; no insurance, reckless driving, leaving the scene in a cowardly fashion," Breakstone told Fox 25 TV.
Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston
Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign recently donated bicycle helmets in Arlington, Cambridge and Ashland. This has been our busiest year yet and we have been enjoying working with our friends, old and new.
Windsor Street Health Center in Cambridge. We recently gained a new partner, the medical students at the Windsor Street Health Center in Cambridge. The helmets will be donated to children who visit the center and need one. Many families served by the health center will not or cannot purchase bicycle helmets on their own, even after doctors explain the risk of a head injury, said Jonathan Blake Watson, a fourth-year Harvard Medical student who works at the clinic.
"It is a wonderful feeling knowing that we will be able to send our young patients home with something that will keep them safe," Watson said.
Pierce School in Arlington. The elementary school's students were focused on being active this year, with monthly "Walk to School Days." Many students participated. When the school set up a bicycle rack, many also started biking. For National Bike Month, the students received a bike safety lesson and guidelines for following the rules of the road. Project KidSafe helmets were distributed to children who needed one and participated in a raffle.
Ashland Farmers Market. We returned to the Ashland Farmers Market for a second year and fitted bicycle helmets for 60 young children. We attended on Sustainability Day and were joined local farmers and other vendors, such as the Massachusetts Sierra Club and community members updating the public on the Upper Charles Rail Trail, a bike path which will pass through Ashland when complete.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe
Breakstone, White & Gluck launched Project KidSafe in 2013, with a goal of providing bicycle helmets to children who need one. Since then, we have donated more than 5,000 bicycle helmets and worked with organizations such as Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward, CYCLE Kids, Bikes Not Bombs and Massachusetts Safe Routes to Schools.
Wearing a bicycle helmet is the most effective way for cyclists to prevent head injuries and young children are the most vulnerable. Visit our Bike Safety page and watch the video on how to properly fit a bicycle helmet.
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Responds After State Police Announce Former Patriots Player Brandon Spikes Will Be Charged With Leaving Scene of Personal Injury Crash
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone spoke to Fox 25 News Boston after State Police issued a citation charging former New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes in the hit-and-run accident that injured a family of three. Breakstone is representing the family.
"It's surprising to them that Mr. Spikes would drive so recklessly and then just leave the scene," Breakstone told the news station. "It will affect them for a long time. This could have been a story with a tragic ending."
Spikes will be charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury crash, operating a motor vehicle negligently to endanger, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes. He was cut by the New England Patriots after State Police opened the investigation.
Attorney Marc Breakstone Speaks for Clients in Hit and Run Accident With Possible Link to Former Patriot Player's Mercedes
As State Police investigate a weekend hit-and-run car crash in Foxborough, attorney Marc L. Breakstone spoke on behalf of his clients who were injured. Breakstone told The Boston Globe there is "overwhelming evidence" that his clients' vehicle was struck by the Mercedes-Benz Mabach registered to ex-New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Breakstone, a personal injury attorney at Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston, is representing the Billerica family who was struck in the early Sunday morning crash. The parents and child were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after their Nissan Murano was struck suddenly.
Breakstone said the car that struck his clients was likely traveling at least 80 to 85 miles per hour and that his clients never saw any headlights.
"It is an extraordinary act of negligence for one vehicle to strike another vehicle that's traveling 60 miles an hour on the highway," Breakstone told the Globe. "I suspect that whatever that driver was under the influence of is the reason that the driver left the scene."
Around the same time, State Police were notified the 2011 Mercedes-Benz Maybach registered to Spikes had been abandoned nearby in the median strip of Interstate 495 in Foxborough. A Mercedes roadside assistance service operator contacted State Police, telling them the driver of the vehicle reported hitting a deer.
State Police say the investigation is ongoing and they have not established who was driving the Mercedes-Benz Maybach or whether the Maybach hit the other car.
Spikes was released by the Patriots on Monday. He played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2013, then joined the Buffalo Bills for the 2014 season. He had recently returned to the Patriots on a one-year deal which would have been worth up to $2 million.
Breakstone told the Globe his clients are working to move past the hit-and-run accident.
"They want their normal lives back," he said. "They want their good health and their comfortable state of mind. ... They're alarmed, first, that they could have been killed. They're alarmed that it may have been an NFL player behind the wheel, and they would just [prefer to] not be in the spotlight and just have a return to normalcy."
Accident Blindsided Family, Lawyer Says, The Boston Herald.
Wearing a bicycle helmet is the most effective way to prevent a serious head injury on a bicycle. It is most important for young children who are still in development and building their strength.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is continuing its commitment to bicycle safety by donating children's bicycle helmets through our Project KidSafe campaign. Here are a few recent and upcoming events:
Kiwanis Club of Somerville. For the third year, we partnered with the Kiwanis Club of Somerville at Bike Safety Day on May 16th. Each year, the Kiwanis holds the event in a different neighborhood; this year's event was held at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School at Lincoln Park. There was a great turnout and the Kiwanis and Attorney David W. White donated nearly 120 bicycle helmets. Children were also offered free bike inspections, reflectors, safety information and the chance to test out their skills on bicycle obstacle courses. Read more about the Kiwanis Club of Somerville.
Photo: Bike Safety Day in Somerville, Massachusetts. Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra and Attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.
Worcester Earn-a-Bike. This community bicycle shop teaches local residents the basics of bicycle maintenance while letting them work to earn a free bicycle. If you are under 17 years old, you must volunteer for 5 hours to receive a free bicycle and anyone over age 17 must volunteer for 10 hours.
Worcester Earn-a-Bike is also known for its popular annual Kids Bike Sale. This year's event will be held on June 6th. This is a fun event because every child's bicycle is on sale for just $5. Breakstone, White & Gluck participates by donating free bicycle helmets to children who need one. This is the second year we have partnered up with Worcester Earn-a-Bike. Read more about Worcester Earn-a-Bike.
Friends of Lexington Bikeways. The Friends of Lexington Bikeways donated bicycle helmets from Project KidSafe to children at Discovery Day on May 23. The group showed children how to properly fit the helmets and spoke about safety with parents and children. This is the second year we have partnered up with the Friends of the Lexington Bikeways, which is active in promoting and supporting safe cycling and development of bike routes. Read more about the Friends of Lexington Bikeways.
Photo: A volunteer helps a child adjust a bicycle helmet at Discovery Day in Lexington, Massachusetts.