July 21, 2014

Pool Safety Starts with Your Pool Fence

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As a pool owner, you have a responsibility to secure your pool with a strong, adequate fence. Many property owners do so because it is the law and to prevent neighborhood children or trespassers from breaking in. But they may have a false security when it comes to friends, families and young children they invite over.

Many pool accidents and drownings actually involve invited guests, people we may know well and have over regularly. Let them enjoy your home, but block unrestricted and unsupervised access to your pool.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a survey of swimming pool accidents in Arizona, California and Florida. Data showed drowning was the leading cause of accidental death in and around the home for children under age 5. Most of these children - 75 percent - were between 1 and 3 years old.

Fewer than two percent of pool accidents resulted from children trespassing on the property. More often, children knew the pool owner, with 65 percent of accidents occurring in pools owned by an immediate family member. Another 33 percent happened in pools owned by relatives and friends.

More telling is what happened before these accidents:

  • Most of the children were being supervised by at least one parent when they drowned
  • Nearly half of the children were last seen in the house before the pool accident occurred
  • Another 23 percent were last seen on the porch or patio, or in the yard
  • Some 77 percent of children had been missing for 5 minutes or less when they were found

Adding an extra layer of fencing may make a difference in preventing these accidents.

Pool Fence Recommendations

Self-Closing. A pool fence should be self-closing and self-latching. It should open from the pool side and should be maintained so it can easily latch.

Fence Height. A pool fence should be at least four feet tall and four feet above the grade of the ground outside the fence.

Release Mechanism. You want to prevent children from reaching the latch. When the release mechanism is less than 54 inches above the grade, the release mechanism for the gate should be at least 3 inches below the top of the gate and installed on the side facing the pool. Also, make sure there is no opening greater than ½ inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism.

Bottom of the Fence. If your fence stands on a concrete surface, the clearance between the bottom of the fence and the ground should not exceed four inches. For fences on softer surfaces, such as grass, the maximum clearance is two inches.

Fence Spacing. The space between the vertical fence slats should not exceed four inches.

Chain Link Fences. For chain-link fences, the diamond-shaped openings should be no larger than 1 ¾ inches.

Decorative Fences. Fencing with decorative openings should follow the same standard as chain link fences and not exceed 1 ¾ inch.

Backyard Doors. Massachusetts requires pool alarms when doors from a home open into a pool enclosure area. For instance, if there are three sides of fencing around the pool and the home serves as the fourth side.

Pool Alarms. Purchase a pool alarm even if you are not required to by law. Pool drownings happen quickly and often silently. A pool alarm interrupts that process and provides you warning if someone is entering the gate.

Above Ground Pools. For above ground pools, build a fence on top of the structure as a barrier. Remove or lock the pool ladder when not in use. For another layer of protection, you can also add a fencing structure around the ladder and lock that when not in use.

Pool Covers. Consider a power pool safety cover to add another layer of protection. Purchase one which conforms to the specifications in ASTMF 1346-91.

Related:
Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools, Consumer Product Safety Commission

Continue reading " Pool Safety Starts with Your Pool Fence" »

July 2, 2014

Talk to Your Loved Ones About Supervising Children by the Pool. This is the Most Important Job of Summer.

The long and lazy days of summer are finally here and many of us are spending them by the pool. We hope you enjoy these times with your friends and family. And please remember to think about safety.

Each year in the U.S., nearly 5,000 children under age 15 are treated for pool- or spa-related injuries at hospital emergency rooms, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nearly 400 children under age 15 are killed in swimming pool and spa drownings. More than 75 percent of these children are under the age of 5 and the majority of these deaths occur at private residences. But injuries can happen at any pool where someone stops paying attention or is negligent, including hotel swimming pools, community centers and other places.

Prevent injuries this summer by talking about the rules of safety with your family and friends.

Pool Owners. You have a responsibility to keep your pool area safe for family and invited guests and to secure it from others. You must keep your pool behind a fence which is at least four feet tall and secures with a self-latching and self-closing gate. But we encourage you to go a step further. Try walking around your fenced-in pool area. Are there areas where a young child could easily get in on their own? If so, make adjustments.

If you have questions, a good resource is your town's local building department.

Drain Covers. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings which could cause entrapment.

Home Spa Safety. If you have a home spa, install and use a child-proof locked safety cover to keep children out.

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Watch Children Closely. Before the swimming season, learn CPR. Then when you head to the pool, set aside all distractions and watch the children. Avoid distractions such as reading, cell phone calls, and texting--supervision should be treated like a job.

When supervising young children, swim with them and practice "touch supervision." For older children, watch them and be involved with them even if you are not swimming. Talk to them and let them know if they are doing something they should not be. If you are part of a group of adults watching children swim, designate someone the "pool watcher" so that the children are supervised at all times. But still supervise your own children at all times.

Likewise, at hotel and community pools, do not rely on lifeguards to watch your children.

Dress Children Appropriately. Make sure children are not wearing swimming suits or hair accessories that can get caught in pool drains or other openings.

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Poolside Toys. Many pool accidents involve diving board, sports equipment, rafts and pool slides. Always look before you use. If something looks unsteady, do not use it.

Many pools no longer have diving boards because homeowner's insurance companies have stopped providing coverage for them. But if you are going to dive, make sure the water is at least 10 feet deep.

Avoid portable pool slides, inflatable toys and using backyard trampolines with the pool. These products may not be designed for use with a pool or may be defective. In one Massachusetts case, a Colorado woman visiting the state died in 2006 after she slid down a Banzai brand inflatable slide at a backyard pool. It partially deflated, causing her to strike her head on concrete by the pool. The Consumer Product Safety Commission later recalled 21,000 of the Banzai brand inflatable slides and continues to recall unsafe pool toys and equipment each year.

Broken Glass. Do not bring beer bottles and glass out to the pool. Serious accidents can happen if the glass breaks in or near the pool and someone steps in it. If there is broken glass in the pool, it will be invisible and therefore impossible to find safely. Beyond injury, you will have a lot of clean-up. First you will have to drain the pool and then you will have to sweep it thoroughly.

Continue reading "Talk to Your Loved Ones About Supervising Children by the Pool. This is the Most Important Job of Summer." »

June 27, 2014

Breakstone, White & Gluck Makes Bike Helmet Donation to Somerville Schools

We want to share articles from the Somerville News Weekly and BostonNewsGroup.com about the CYCLE Kids program and our bike helmet donation to the Somerville elementary schools. CYCLE Kids is a Cambridge organization which provides curriculum that teaches riding skills, bike maintenance, road safety and nutrition. Locally, the curriculum is offered in Cambridge and Somerville schools as part of physical education classes.

Earlier this week, attorney Marc Breakstone attended a graduation ceremony for children finishing the curriculum at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School in Somerville. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 325 helmets to Somerville schools.

"Our firm is honored to be associated with CYCLE Kids which does such an incredible job educating kids in bike safety and healthy lifestyle choices," Breakstone said. "The energy, excitement and elation in that gym were inspiring and many people should be recognized. Our firm looks forward to continuing to support this effort for years to come."

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Attorney Marc Breakstone, Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra and Somerville Deputy Police Chief Michael Carbral with a graduate. Photo credit: The Somerville News Weekly.

group.jpgFifth-graders at Somerville's Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School graduating from CYCLE Kids program, joined by community officials.

See a video of attorney Marc Breakstone leading the children through a pledge to ride their bikes safely.

Participating in the event were Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Superintendent of Schools Anthony Pierantozzi, Deputy Police Chief Michael Cabral, Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra and CYCLE Kids Founder Julianne Idlet.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is donating bike helmets to cycling organizations throughout the Boston area in 2014. It is the second year we have made these donations and expect to donate 2,000 helmets by year's end. We have donated helmets to Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward, CYCLE Kids, the Kiwanis Club of Somerville and Worcester Earn-a-Bike along with other organizations.

It is our second year partnering with CYCLE Kids. Last year, we partnered with the organization and donated 300 helmets to fourth-graders in the CYCLE Kids program in Cambridge.

While CYCLE Kids is based in Cambridge, it is a national organization that promotes healthy lifestyles for youth and families. CYCLE Kids uses the bicycle as the vehicle to teach the importance of adopting healthy, active lifestyles. The CYCLE Kids curriculum teaches riding skills, bike maintenance, and road safety. In addition, the curriculum provides practical skills based on a child's existing knowledge of nutrition such as portion control and how to balance a meal. The CYCLE Kids curriculum is present in 8 states, with 38 programs and reaches 3,000 children a year.

Continue reading "Breakstone, White & Gluck Makes Bike Helmet Donation to Somerville Schools" »

June 23, 2014

MassBike Video Answers Safety Questions for Cyclists and Drivers

MassBike recently released a new training video which answers many common questions about the laws for cyclists and drivers. The video is very well-done and offers some good re-enactments. We encourage you to watch it.

The 11-minute video is called Shifting Gears: Bicycles & Public Safety and was developed by MassBike in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Boston Police Department and Boston Police Academy. The video was developed to train police officers on how to enforce the law.

The video explains M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B and M.G.L. c. 90, § 14, the laws regarding a bicyclist's rights on the road and the obligations of motorists. A few topics covered: where a bicyclist is allowed to ride, the illegal practice of dooring a bicyclist, and how drivers must yield to cyclists. It also touches on sidewalk riding, red lights and stop signs (cyclists have to stop too) and other areas of the law.

Continue reading "MassBike Video Answers Safety Questions for Cyclists and Drivers" »

June 16, 2014

Breakstone, White & Gluck Supports Bike Safety Events in East Boston and East Arlington

Boston has some hard-working community bike programs which help children and their families learn the rules of safety. We recently supported two of these community groups, Boston Bikes and East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition.

Boston Bikes Bike Giveaway in East Boston. On June 12, the Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward program gave away 40 bikes to children at the Orient Heights Boston Housing Authority Development. Children ages 5-7 were invited to sign up to receive a bike. Boston Bikes collects and repairs used bikes to distribute through its Roll It Forward program, which serves Boston residents who do not have access to a bike.

Children who participated received a new bike along with a new bike helmet. Attorney Sam Segal of Breakstone, White & Gluck helped fit the children for new helmets and spoke to them about the importance of wearing one while riding. Then, the Boston Bikes staff and volunteers taught the children safe riding techniques. Afterward, each child received a certificate showing they had completed safety training.

sam-500.jpgAttorney Sam Segal of Breakstone, White & Gluck helps fit bike helmets at a Boston Bikes event at Orient Heights Boston Housing Authority development.

boston-500.jpgBoston Bikes event at Orient Heights Boston Housing Authority development.

littleboy-500.jpgBoston Bikes event at Orient Heights Boston Housing Authority development.

Thompson School in East Arlington. On June 4, the East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition organized a bike safety training for 98 fourth- and-fifth graders at Thompson elementary school. A representative from MassBike spoke to the children about safe riding techniques, proper helmet fitting and bike maintenance. Phil Goff of the East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition also spoke to the children about wearing bike helmets and safety. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bike helmets to children who showed up without one or needed one that properly fit.

east-arlington-500.jpgEast Arlington Livable Streets Coalition event at Thompson School in East Arlington.

Learn more about Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward and East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition.

Continue reading "Breakstone, White & Gluck Supports Bike Safety Events in East Boston and East Arlington" »

June 9, 2014

Bike Helmet Donations in Worcester and Lexington

worcester-earnabike-200.jpgThis spring, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bike helmets to children in several Massachusetts communities, including Boston, Arlington, Framingham, Westborough, Worcester and Lexington. We write about two events here.

Worcester Earn-a-Bike. On May 31, attorney David White pitched in at the Worcester Earn-a-Bike's 4th Annual Kids Bike Sale. Worcester Earn-a-Bike is a community program which teaches fun and affordable bike repair to neighborhood youth and community members. It operates a bike shop which repaired many of the bikes on sale.

At the sale, families got to purchase refurbished bikes for children for just $5! We donated helmets to children who needed one at the sale. Visit the Worcester Earn-a-Bike website to learn more about their work.

lexington-boys-200.jpgFriends of Lexington Bikeways. On May 24, we donated bike helmets to children through the Friends of Lexington Bikeways and Discovery Day in Lexington.

If you live in Lexington, you are probably familiar with the Friends, who work to preserve and maintain the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway and other shared use paths. They work closely with the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee and each winter, they clear the bikeway of snow for cyclists, cross country skiers and others.

By the way, congratulations to the Friends, the Lexington Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Town of Lexington!

In May, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Lexington as a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community. The League has recognized 303 bicycle friendly communities in the U.S. Massachusetts now has seven communities on the list, including Lexington, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Arlington and Northampton.

Lexington's application was coordinated by Bicycle Advisory Committee chair Peggy Enders, who also coordinated our donation to the Friends of Lexington Bikeways. Read what she told the Lexington Patch about town's new recognition.

Visit the Friends of Lexington Bikeways' website to learn more about their work.

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Continue reading "Bike Helmet Donations in Worcester and Lexington " »

May 30, 2014

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Safety Reminders and Our Experience Representing Injured Riders

motorcyclist-20140530.jpgBefore June begins, we have a final thought for May, which was Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Motorcycle use continues to grow in the U.S. but so do motorcycle accidents. For 15 years now, we have seen an annual increase in motorcyclist fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The one exception was 2009. When motorcyclists survive, they are also suffering more non-fatal injuries. In 2012, 93,000 motorcycling injuries were reported, 12,000 more injuries than in 2011.

A few safety reminders for drivers:

  • Remember motorcyclists have all the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as other motorists.
  • Allow motorcyclists a full lane width.
  • Give motorcyclists extra following distance when you are behind them.
  • Before you switch lanes, always check your vehicle's mirrors and your blind spot for motorcyclists.
  • Make sure you signal your intention to change lanes or merge with traffic.

  • Do not rely on a motorcyclist's flashing turn signal. The rider may have forgotten to turn it off or it may not be self-cancelling.

A few safety reminders for motorcyclists:

  • Remember to wear your helmet and do not let any passengers ride without one. In 2012, overall motorcycle helmet use fell to 60 percent. Passenger helmet use dropped to 46 percent.
  • Wear reflective tape whenever possible.
  • Do not consume alcohol when you are operating.
  • Obey traffic laws. You must have a special license to operate a motorcycle in Massachusetts and that is important. Some 24 percent of all riders who are involved in fatal motorcycle crashes are operating with invalid licenses.

Our Experience Representing Injured Riders
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience handling automobile and motorcycle accident cases.

Read about one case attorney Ronald Gluck handled for an injured motorcyclist. Gluck's client was seriously injured when a negligent driver cut into his lane and struck his motorcycle. He suffered numerous injuries, including facial fractures, concussions, blindness in one eye and a shoulder injury and had to undergo surgeries. Gluck negotiated a $3.75 million settlement.

Read about the case on our website.

Read the client's review on Avvo or below.

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Continue reading "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Safety Reminders and Our Experience Representing Injured Riders" »

May 23, 2014

General Motors' $35 Million Fine Starts Years of Investigations, Wrongful Death Lawsuits

General Motors (GM) has been fined $35 million for waiting a decade to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The defects have now been linked to 13 deaths.

Attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck appeared on Fox 25 TV in Boston last week to discuss the fine, GM's recent bankruptcy proceedings and his thoughts about handling recall notices.

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This is an important topic because we have seen many auto recalls in recent years, but 2014 may set the record, according to this Los Angeles Times article.

White said the fine is the first step in a long process ahead.

"Really this is just a slap on the wrist for the corporation," White said. "It's a civil fine. It's the maximum civil fine that they could be exposed to at this point, but GM is looking at years of investigation and probably... maybe even billions of dollars of fines down the road."

The federal government is sending a strong message that companies need to act within 5 days of learning of safety defects, as required by law, White said.

"Hopefully other automakers get this message and they tune into the need for greater safety, greater attention to safety," he said. "When they do find a defect, they come right out and say here's our defect, here's our concern so consumers can get notice of it promptly and get it fixed."

Continue reading "General Motors' $35 Million Fine Starts Years of Investigations, Wrongful Death Lawsuits" »

May 21, 2014

Unsafe Magnet Toys Buckyballs are Finally Recalled

Buckyballs We have written in the past about Buckyballs, a dangerous magnetic desk toy which has injured too many children. Last week came another development, which we hope finally removes this unsafe product from circulation.

On May 12, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for all Buckyballs and Buckycubes. The recall settles an administrative case filed by the CPSC in July 2012. As part of this, Craig Zucker, the former chief executive officer of Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, agreed to establish a Recall Trust. Consumers will be able to request a refund from this fund, which will be controlled by the CPSC. The agency also urges the public to stop using these defective products immediately and look for loose pieces.

Maxfield & Oberton Holdings began selling Buckyballs in 2009. The company said the magnetic desk toy was intended for adults. The problem is if a child starts playing with the tiny magnets, they can swallow them. The magnets can attract inside a child and cause painful intestinal injuries. Surgery is often required and there can be serious longstanding health consequences, such as children having to consume food through a feeding tube.

The CPSC first worked with the company to improve warning labels. The products were marketed for children "Ages 13+" and the CPSC said they should have been marketed for age 14 and up. The company agreed to recall 175,000 magnetic toys and made the change. But the injuries continued. In July 2012, the CPSC filed a lawsuit asking the company to stop sales altogether, a rare legal action the agency has only taken four times in 11 years. The agency alleged that Buckyballs and Buckycubes contained, "a defect in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury to the public."

Maxfield & Oberton refused to recall Buckyballs and Buckycubes and in December 2012, the company went out of business. But it was vocal about disagreeing with the CPSC and posted this message on its website:

"Due to baseless and relentless legal badgering by a certain four letter government agency, it's time to bid a fond farewell to the world's most popular adult desk toys, Buckyballs and Buckycubes. That's right: We're sad to say that Balls & Cubes have a one-way ticket to the Land-of-Awesome-Stuff-You-Should-Have-Bought-When-You-Had-the-Chance."

In April 2013, six retailers voluntarily recalled Buckyballs and Buckycubes while the CPSC kept trying to raise awareness about the dangers of Buckyballs and other magnetic toys. It established the Magnet Information Center as a consumer resource. Between 2009 and 2011, the CPSC estimates there were 1,700 ER-treated magnet ingestion cases related to high-powered magnet sets.

Zucker will have to eventually fund a website, where consumers can apply for a refund.

Related:
Buckyballs and Buckycubes High-Powered Magnet Sets Recalled Due to Ingestion Hazard; Craig Zucker To Fund A Recall Trust, Settles With CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Continue reading "Unsafe Magnet Toys Buckyballs are Finally Recalled " »

May 12, 2014

Nearly 50 Massachusetts Workers Lost Their Lives on the Job in 2013

masscosh-report-2014.jpgA new report shares hard numbers for Massachusetts workers. In 2013, 50,000 workers were seriously injured on the job and 48 others were killed in workplace accidents. An estimated 480 workers also died from occupational disease, such as cancer from workplace exposure to hazardous materials.

The 2014 "Dying for Work in Massachusetts" report has been released by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, which organize the annual Workers' Safety Memorial Day. On April 28, workers, families of victims, advocates and state officials gathered at the Massachusetts State House for the 26th annual observance.

48 Workers Killed in 2013. The construction industry remains one of the most dangerous, with 11 workers killed in construction accidents in 2013. Workplace falls killed nine workers, causing one-fifth of all occupational fatalities in Massachusetts. Nine other Massachusetts workers were killed by machines and equipment. Workplace violence took the lives of five more workers, including a teacher, a police officer, a livery driver and two store workers.

Commercial fishing accidents killed two fishermen. MassCOSH considers this to be the most dangerous single occupation in Massachusetts. Since 2000, 60 people have died in this work.

The figure also includes nine firefighters who were killed by work-related cancers and heart disease and three servicemen who died in the War in Afghanistan.

Occupational Disease. MassCOSH reports on occupational disease which can develop after an employee is exposed to hazardous materials and dangerous dust. Because symptoms do not immediately present, some conditions are left untreated. Statewide, 480 workers died from occupational disease last year, while another 1,800 were diagnosed with cancers for the first time.

Immigrant Workers. More immigrants died at work last year. In 2012, nine percent of on-the-job deaths were immigrants. In 2013, this figure increased to 19 percent - or nine workers. MassCOSH reports the state's immigrant workers come from all over the world, including Sir Lanka, El Salvador, India, Angola, Vietnam, Ireland, Cape Verde and Algeria.

Older Workers Face Greater Risk. Workers over age 40 were also at greater risk. The average age of workers who died was 49. The majority - 56 percent - were age 50 or older. Workers over age 60 accounted for 17 percent workplace deaths and construction accident deaths.

OSHA Would Need 123 Years to Fully Investigate in Massachusetts. MassCOSH says OSHA lacks proper funding to investigate and with current resources, would need over 123 years to investigate every Massachusetts workplace under its jurisdiction.

Fines Are Too Small. MassCOSH says fines do little to deter companies from taking safety risks. In 2013, OSHA investigated the deaths of four workers in Massachusetts. All but one settled for $10,000 or less, with an average fine of $6,577.

Related Resources
To learn more, read the MassCOSH annual report, "Dying for Work in Massachusetts: The Loss of Life and Limb in Massachusetts Workplaces." Page 9 is an "In Memoriam" tribute to the workers who died in 2013.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck support MassCOSH in its work to strengthen laws for worker safety. Our attorneys have over 100 years combined experience representing injured individuals in Massachusetts, including those who have been seriously injured or killed in construction accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1277 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

May 7, 2014

Breakstone, White & Gluck Donates 100 Bike Helmets, Partners with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Cycling safety became a fun lesson in Westborough last weekend, as 100 children learned a few basics about the road and got to take home new bike helmets.

blog-1.jpgThe Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and attorney David White handed out the bike helmets on Saturday at the Westborough Spring Festival and the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts.

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets and will donate more at several other events in the Boston area this year. Our goal is to encourage bike helmet use to reduce the risk of head injury among children. This is the second year we have donated bike helmets to children and our first year working with the Westborough community.

"It was a pleasure to work with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the Westborough Rotary, and the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts," attorney David White said. "We were able to quickly fit 125 bicycle helmets on young kids--and an occasional parent too!"

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Each year, 26,000 children and adolescents sustain traumatic brain injuries related to cycling and are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. In 2010, children and teenagers under the age of 20 accounted for about half of all 515,000 bicycle-related injuries in the U.S.

The Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee's mission is to explore ways Westborough can become safer for pedestrians and cyclists, work to develop a rail trail along an old trolley line in town and advise the Board of Selectmen on roadway safety issues and preventing bicycle accidents. In addition, the committee is working to encourage private and community investment in bike racks and signage.

Photos: Top: Bruce Tretter and members of the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck at the Westborough Spring Festival. Bottom: Attorney David White at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts.

Visit our Bike Safety Outreach page to learn more about our bike helmet donation events.

You can also read about the event in the Westborough Patch.

View photos from Westborough Spring Festival.

Continue reading "Breakstone, White & Gluck Donates 100 Bike Helmets, Partners with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee" »

May 5, 2014

22 Years and Counting!

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Founded in May 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck celebrates its 22nd anniversary this week. Our law firm has been guided by a commitment to provide consistently excellent representation to individuals and families who have been seriously harmed by the negligence of others. We feel honored to help our clients not only obtain full and fair financial compensation, but also the best possible medical and personal end-results. We are grateful to the innumerable referring attorneys who have entrusted their clients' cases to us. We are thankful to our own families for their love and support. We look forward to continuing to serve our community and our clients in the future. Thank you.

April 28, 2014

Breakstone, White & Gluck Participates in Framingham Earth Day, Donates 150 Bicycle Helmets to Children


Our attorneys partnered with the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to bring helmets to the community.

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Photo from left to right: Officer Garret Coffin, Det. David Loureiro, attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck, and Ed Kross, member of the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Crowds packed the Framingham High School gym for the fourth annual Framingham Earth Day Festival on Saturday. There were 70 vendors offering products and services related to promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Breakstone, White & Gluck participated by donating 150 bike helmets to help children ride safely.

Breakstone, White & Gluck worked with the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to coordinate the donation. Attorney David White participated in the event, along with Bill Hanson, chair of the advisory committee and committee members Ed Kross, Stacy Lee and Ben Gustafson. Police Officer Garret Coffin and Detective David Loureiro of the Framingham Police Department also helped distribute the helmets.

Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, is donating bike helmets to children through a number of cycling organizations this year. This is the second year we have made these donations. Our goal is to provide local children access to bike helmets which properly fit to reduce the risk of head injuries.

Of all cyclists, children are most at risk for injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, children ages 5-14 and young adults ages 15-24 have the highest rates of non-fatal bicycle related injuries. They account for 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

We offer several cycling safety resources on our website. Visit www.bwglaw.com/bikes for information on a cyclist's rights and responsibilities under Massachusetts law.

We have also written an article about how cyclists can protect themselves by purchasing extra coverage on their car insurance policy.

April 25, 2014

Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward Program Kicks Off A New Season of Helping Children Ride Safely

The Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward program has kicked off another season of important and fun work. On Tuesday, Roll It Forward gave away 59 refurbished bikes to children ages 5-7 who needed one. The donation was part of "Bike Day" at the West Broadway housing development in South Boston and is one of many Boston Bikes will organize this year.

Children at the housing development were asked in advance if they wanted to receive a bike. On Tuesday, they waited in line, got to choose a new bike helmet, and then were presented with a bicycle refurbished just for them. They also got to meet Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who helped hand out bikes and played basketball with the kids.

From there, the children got to practice on an obstacle course with help from volunteers, as their parents, grandparents and friends cheered them along. There was plenty of activity for other cyclists too. Boston Bikes was selling $5 subsidized memberships for the Hubway bike share program and provided free safety inspections for 31 cyclists. Another 10 residents used the event to give back, by donating their own bikes to help Roll It Forward.

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Photo: Attorney David White shown volunteering for the Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward event on April 22, 2014. He helped children select bike helmets and made sure they properly fit.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is in its second year of supporting Boston Bikes' Roll It Forward. This year, we are donating bike helmets for children, along with bike locks and bike lights. Cyclists are required to use bike lights if they cycle at night (defined under the law as thirty minutes after sunset until thirty minutes before sunrise).

"We are so happy to support Boston Bikes," attorney David White said. "The program does an amazing job gathering, fixing, and giving away the bicycles. The kids know this is a special event and they really pay attention, including to when we explain the importance of always wearing a bike helmet to help prevent head injury."

group-500.jpgPhoto: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh with Nicole Freedman, Director of Boston Bikes, Jenny Duquette, community programs manager, and Boston Bikes staff and volunteers, including attorney David White. April 22, 2014.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, is pleased to partner with Boston Bikes. Our attorneys encourage all cyclists to wear bike helmets to reduce the risk of serious head injuries while riding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injuries than drivers and occupants of motor vehicles. Children ages 5-14 and young adults ages 15-24 account for 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

In 2013, we were proud to donate over 1,000 bike helmets to children in the Boston area. We are donating even more helmets this year. To learn more about our bicycle safety outreach, visit www.bwglaw.com/bikes. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page.

April 24, 2014

Amazing Kids Learn Important Cycling Skills at iCan Shine Camp in Arlington

This blog is about a special bicycle camp that is being held in Arlington this week. Breakstone, White & Gluck was happy to donate bike helmets to support the iCan Shine Bike Camp, which fills a very important need and teaches children with disabilities how to ride bicycles. Please read about the camp, its organizer Nina Fischer and all the energetic and skilled instructors and volunteers.


This April school vacation was not a traditional break for two dozen children in Arlington. These children with disabilities spent their time off hard at work, learning how to ride bicycles at the iCan Shine Bike Camp at the Ottoson Middle School.

Children with disabilities do not have as many options for learning to ride and it is especially important in communities near Boston where cycling is so popular, said Nina Fischer, the camp's organizer. Fischer tried to get her daughter who has cerebral palsy into bike camps for three years (including one as far away as New Jersey) before being approached to organize an iCan Shine Bike Camp locally. iCan Shine is a national non-profit organization which teaches children with disabilities how to ride bicycles. Each year, it hosts nearly 100 camps in 32 states.

Fischer said the children come ready to learn from professional instructors from the iCan Shine national organization. Add in supportive parents and volunteers who agree to guide the children on bikes five days in a row, and the combination all proves very successful.

"This is a skill they have for life," Fischer said. "Most of these kids don't have to come back."

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bike helmets for the camp and attorney Marc Breakstone attended and got to meet the young cyclists. He said, "We are so pleased to give helmets to these courageous kids to help make sure that they ride safely."

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Fischer organized the first Arlington camp last year and her daughter participated. But this year, her daughter decided she had learned enough not to come back.

"That's what is great," Fischer said. "Once you have it, you pretty much have it down."
But she added, "I'm totally hooked. I can't imagine not doing it. Someone has to do it."

According to the national organization's website, about 80 percent of the children can successfully ride bikes independently by the end of the five-day camp. Nationwide, about 35 percent of the participants have Down Syndrome, 35 percent are on the Autism Spectrum and the rest have other diagnosis, Fischer said.

We attended on Tandem Tuesday, when the national instructors gave each child a turn riding on the front of the tandem bike. An instructor sat on the back seat to assess the child's steering ability and strength.

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We also got to see the children make their way around the school gym with the specialized adaptive rear wheel equipment. These wheels are developed from research by Dr. Richard Klein at the University of Illinois. They are now made by his company Rainbow Trainers, Inc.

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To help the children learn cycling, over the course of a few hours, the iCan Shine instructors change the strength of the bicycle rear tires up to 8 or 10 times. The children are not supposed to know about the change and are encouraged to get a cup of water or take a short break while the change happens.

While using these special rear wheels, children are riding bikes provided by the national iCan Shine organization. These bikes have no brakes. The children rely solely on their own steering and the volunteers to guide them.

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By mid-week, the children progress to two-wheel bikes with brakes. Later in the week, the instructors will start to work with Belmont Wheelworks and the children's parents on ordering bikes which will best suit each child. They then take the bikes to the gym to practice with the iCan Shine instructors.

"Sometimes that transition is difficult, rocky," said Andrea Patrick, floor supervisor for the national iCan Shine program. "That's why we try to do it at camp, where they have learned the skills and it is a safe environment."

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, encourages all cyclists to wear bike helmets to reduce the risk of serious head injuries while riding.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injuries than drivers and occupants of motor vehicles. Children ages 5-14 and young adults ages 15-24 have the highest rates of non-fatal bicycle related injuries and account for 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

In 2013, we were proud to donate over 1,000 bike helmets to children in the Boston area. We are donating more helmets this year. To learn more about our bicycle safety outreach, visit www.bwglaw.com/bikes. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page.