Quincy police officers and kids wearing bike helmets

Photo Courtesy: Quincy Police Department Facebook Page. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign recently teamed up with Quincy Police to donate 100 bike helmets to fifth graders.

On a bike, wearing a helmet is the most important step, Quincy police officers said yesterday.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and the Quincy Police Department teamed up to give away 100 new bike helmets on Monday, during the department’s annual D.A.R.E camp at Pageant Field. But first, Lieutenant Bina and other bike safety officers shared tips for riding safely.

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Attorney David W. White (center) with William G. Gross, Superintendent-in-Chief of the Boston Police Department (left) and Sgt. Gino Provenzano (right) of the Boston Police Department. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 200 bike helmets to the Boston Police Department this summer to help kids ride safely.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign are proud to partner with the Boston Police Department to keep children safe on bikes.

Our attorneys recently donated 200 brand-new bicycle helmets to the Boston Police Department. Over the summer, officers will give helmets away to children who need one as part of the department’s community policing efforts. So far, officers have put new helmets on children at the Villa Victoria Bicycle Safety Day, the Dorchester/C-11 Bike Rodeo and at the Condon Community Center in South Boston. These events are meaningful because kids get more than a new helmet. They get the opportunity to learn about bike safety and meet a police officer in their own neighborhood in a fun, relaxed setting, building trust and community relationships while learning how to ride safely and protect themselves from head injuries.

Attorney David W. White is interviewed by NBC Boston on the Dorchester building fire

Attorney David W. White is interviewed by NBC Boston on the next steps ahead for buyers after the Dorchester building fire tragedy.

(June 29, 2017) Attorney David W. White was interviewed by NBC Boston on the potential legal options ahead for buyers of condos destroyed by a massive blaze in Dorchester. The fire went up on Wednesday, just a day before a fire inspection was reportedly scheduled.

The six-story Treadmark building had 83 units, including 32 for home ownership and 51 for affordable rentals. It was located in the Ashmont section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

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Attorney David W. White and the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission donated bike helmets to kids at Westborough Spring Festival on June 10th. Helmets were donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign.

Summer is here and Breakstone, White & Gluck wants to remind children and families to wear your bicycle helmets.

Helmets are the most effective way to protect yourself from bicycle-related head injuries.  Helmet use reduces the chance for head and brain injuries by up to 88 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please wear your helmet every time you ride – and make sure family members do the same.

Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck recently donated children’s bicycle helmets at several community events. Children had the opportunity to receive a new helmet and have it fitted by an experienced cyclist or volunteer.

Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. Attorney David W. White joined the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission at Spring Festival on June 10. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated nearly 200 bicycle helmets in Westborough this year, at the Westborough Spring Festival and the Healthy Kids Day at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts (which was held in April). This is the fourth year we have partnered with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission on these donations.

The Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission was appointed by the Board of Selectmen five years ago. Since then, the commission has actively worked to make Westborough safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Over the past few years, they have advocated for crosswalk and rotary improvements. This year, construction began on the new Westborough multi-use path. The first phase is 1/3 mile and will connect the Westborough Shopping Center to the east side of town. Great work to the commission! This path is sure to make cycling safer in Westborough.

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Photo courtesy of Medford Bikes, which distributed 70 bike helmets to children at Medford Day on June 4, 2017. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bike helmets through our Project KidSafe campaign.

Medford Day. On June 4, the Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission gave away 70 helmets to children and teens at Medford Day at Andrews Middle School. This was our first time partnering with the commission. It was a home run. Members did a great job and are enthusiastic about teaching children and parents about bike helmet use.

“A helmet is one of the most important pieces of bike safety equipment you can wear, but if it doesn’t fit right, it’s not going to do what it’s designed to do when you most need it—which is protect your head from serious injury after a crash,” said Patrick Bibbins, chair of the Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission.

Bibbins, an instructor with the League of American Cyclists, has written about bicycle safety for families. He recently published this article: “Bike Safety 101: A Guide for Parents.”

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Photo courtesy of The Kiwanis Club of Somerville Facebook page. Bike Safety Day was held on June 10, 2017. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate helmets for the kids.

Kiwanis Club of Somerville. For the past five years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been pleased to donate bicycle helmets to the Kiwanis Club of Somerville and its annual Bike Safety Day. This is always a fun event which teaches kids fundamental bicycle safety skills in their own community.

This year’s event was held on June 10th at East Somerville Community School. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 120 helmets for the kids. In addition to the Kiwanis Club of Somerville and Breakstone, White & Gluck, the event received donations and support from Belmont Wheelworks, Shift Community Bicycle Collective, the Greater Boston Young Professional Kiwanis, the Somerville High School Athletics and the staff at the East Somerville Community School.

View the Facebook photo album.

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Cyclists may now ride safer near parked cars, after a recent update to the Massachusetts driver’s manual. On page 109, there is a new title, “The Danger of Open Doors to Bicyclists,” and instructions for the Dutch Reach method of exiting a car.

A common practice in the Netherlands, the Dutch Reach method calls on drivers to park and take three simple steps:

  • Check your rear-view mirror.
  • Check your side-view mirror.
  • Open the door with your far hand, the hand farthest away from the door.

This last step forces drivers to turn their bodies, so they can see cyclists and pedestrians coming from both directions.

A Cambridge man campaigned for the change, which was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on May 30th. According to The Boston Globe, Michael Charney launched the website dutchreach.org following the death of Amanda Phillips, a 27-year-old barista at Somerville’s Diesel Café. Phillips was riding her bicycle in Inman Square in Cambridge when she struck the open door of a parked Jeep. As a result, Philips was pushed into the street and collided with a dump truck.

This is known as a dooring accident or a car-dooring crash. We have represented numerous cyclists in these accidents, which can cause very serious injuries and are more common than you may realize. According to the City of Boston, dooring accidents accounted for up to 13 percent of all bicycle crashes between 2009 and 2012.

Massachusetts is one of 40 states which have passed dooring laws, according to the League of American Cyclists. Under M.G.L. c. 90 § 14, “No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Drivers can be fined $100 for each violation. But the greater penalty is drivers may have to pay compensation to injured cyclists. Read about a recent settlement we obtained for a cyclist injured in a dooring accident in Brookline.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 330 bicycle helmets to Somerville fifth-graders from our Project KidSafe campaign. Attorney Ronald E. Gluck is shown above, giving a young cyclist a helmet at the West Somerville Neighbhorhood School on June 15, 2017.

For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate bicycle helmets to every fifth-grader in Somerville who completed the CYCLE Kids bike safety training. We donated 330 helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign this month, in partnership with the Somerville Public Schools, Somerville Police Department and CYCLE Kids. 

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck was on hand today as fifth-graders at the West Somerville Neighborhood School graduated from the CYCLE Kids program and received their new bicycle helmets. Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra handed out certificates of completion while Attorney Gluck handed out the new helmets. Somerville Police Chief David Fallon, Somerville Police Captain Jim Donovan, Neil Holloway, a physical education teacher at West Somerville Neighborhood School, and Steve Simolaris, supervisor of health and physical education for the schools, helped congratulate the kids and say “Great Job.”

And from all of us here at Breakstone, White & Gluck, “Great Job Somerville Fifth-Graders.”

CYCLE Kids is a curriculum which teaches safe bike riding, helmet use and nutrition. It is taught in Somerville as part of fifth-grade physical education class. For the past four years, we have tried to encourage these lessons by giving each child who completes the CYCLE Kids program a helmet. It was worth our donation this year. At West Somerville Neighborhood School, the students learned about the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet and were even fitting their own! 

To the fifth-graders of Somerville and your parents, Breakstone, White & Gluck wishes you a safe and healthy summer! Don’t forget to wear your helmet every time you ride.

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Bicycle Helmets are the Law for Children in Massachusetts
Helmets are required for cyclists who are 16 years of age or younger. For more information, read M.G.L. Chapter 85 Section 11B.

Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Support for Cycling Safety in Somerville
Breakstone, White & Gluck is active in supporting cycling safety in the Somerville community. In addition to the public schools, our law firm recently donated 120 bicycle helmets to the Kiwanis Club of Somerville for its annual Bike Safety Day, which was held last weekend. We have made this donation for the past five years and are pleased to see the Kiwanis Club continue with it each year, giving children an opportunity to receive a helmet, learn bike repair and practice safe riding in the Somerville community.

Our other partners in Somerville are Shift Bicycle Collective, a community organization which promotes bicycle safety, and Groundwork Somerville, which teaches teens agricultural skills. The teens wear the helmets as they ride around between work sites across the city of Somerville each summer.

To learn more about Project KidSafe and bike safety, visit www.bwglaw.com/bikes. To learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck and our work for clients, visit www.bwglaw.com.

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little girl swimming in poolBy now, many children are ready to trade in school days for pool days. Who can blame them? Summer in New England is the best time of year.

For parents, grandparents and caregivers, the transition to summer comes with responsibilities. Talk to each other and your children about the rules for pool safety now. Make your plan for watching children and keeping them safe. 

This is the most important of all planning. Drowning can occur quickly and silently, within a matter of seconds. Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1-14, claiming the lives of three children every day in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are others who survive but are left with severe brain damage and long-term disabilities.

Make sure your family is ready for the pool:

  • Pool Fence and Lock. If you have a pool of your own, there are state requirements you must meet. First, your pool fence should be at least four feet tall and be self-closing and self-latching. It must open outward. Read more tips on keeping a safe pool fence.
  • Pool Alarm. Another idea is a pool alarm that notifies you about activity near your pool. A pool alarm is required for pools that are surrounded by three walls of fencing and a house serves as the fourth.
  • Layers of Protection. Think how you can slow down young children heading to your pool, beyond just your pool fence. You could add an extra lock, an extra fence or shrubs.
  • Never Leave a Child Unattended In or Near Water. Supervising your child in the pool is your most important job this summer. Bring your cell phone to the pool in case of emergency, but set it aside and focus solely on your child. Buy a watch you can keep with you at the pool to check the time.
  • Watch for Fatigue. Make sure your child does not become tired and vulnerable to drowning or injuries. Take a few minutes of rest or leave the pool for a while.
  • Swim With Your Child. For young children, keep them in your arms and just let them get exposed to the water. As they get a few years older, you can practice “touch supervision” with them, where they are never more than an arm’s length away. Put a life jacket on young children who do not know how to swim.
  • Swim Lessons. Sign your kids up for swim lessons so they are familiar with the water and learn the important life-saving skills they need to protect themselves. At the same time, sign yourself up for a CPR training course.
  • Baby Pools. Empty and turn over baby pools after use. If you don’t, a young child could easily climb and fall in.
  • Inspect Pool Area. If you have a home pool, glance around. Is the fence in good condition? Is there any glass out (glass bottles or even glass furniture) that could break and cut someone? Also look for broken equipment, such as pool ladders. Make it a practice to walk around the entire pool area at the end of each day and remove any hazards. 
  • Keep Away from Pool Drains. Keep children away from all pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments. Make sure your children are not wearing any loose jewelry, hair accessories or clothing that could get caught in a pool drain.
  • Diving Boards and Slides. Diving boards and slides cause a large number of swimming pool injuries. Do not install them and consider uninstalling them to make your pool safer. If you have them, make sure you have the recommended level of water in your pool to support them. Put out traffic cones around them and tell kids they are only for certain times, such as when you have more adults at the pool.
  • Friends’ Pools. If you drop your child off at a friend’s house, always ask if the family has a pool that is fenced off and look around at neighbors’ homes. Tell the parents who are supervising your child that you prefer the kids play in the sprinkler when you are not there.

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Boy at a crosswalk, holding a grown-ups' handAs we approach summer, the message for Massachusetts drivers is to please slow down. Last month, in a matter of days, several car accidents seriously injured or killed pedestrians, some in crosswalks.

On May 19, just after 7 a.m., an Acton 8th grader was struck by a van in a crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and Hayward Road. She suffered serious injuries, leaving the scene by medical helicopter.

On May 22, a minivan crashed into two elderly women in Sandwich. The women, ages 70 and 88, went into cardiac arrest and later died at Cape Cod Hospital. At the time of impact, the women were in the crosswalk at the intersection of Route 6A and Merchants Road.

As we continue our 2017 Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck wants to share a few recent bike helmet donations and some bicycle safety tips for children over the Memorial Day weekend.

norwood-police-2017Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 100 bicycle helmets to the Norwood Police Department for the third year. Attorney David W. White delivered the helmets to Norwood Police Chief William G. Brooks III in early May. The Norwood Police Department now plans to distribute the helmets at a bike safety event being planned for June. If you live in Norwood, watch local community calendars.

It was also our pleasure to donate 170 bicycle helmets to Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain. Founded in 1984, Bikes Not Bombs works to repair used bikes locally and internationally to help individuals. This was the fifth year we have made this donation.

In Boston, Bikes Not Bombs offers a popular Earn-A-Bike program, which teaches children and teenagers how to ride in the city and repair bikes during a six-week session. Students are taken on group rides and get to help refurbish a bike to take home. Each graduate also takes home a new bicycle helmet from our Project KidSafe campaign.

In addition to Earn-A-Bike, Bikes Not Bombs offers other programs for teenagers in the Boston area, aimed at helping them learn safe cycling skills and bike repair. These programs include Girls in Action and BOCA, a program which combines cycling and community action.

You may see a Bikes Not Bombs tent at local community events this Spring and Summer. The organization collects and rehabs bikes for people without access to transportation in Africa, Latin America and Caribbean. Bicycles provide a means of transportation and help individuals fight political oppression and rebuild communities. If you have an extra bike, consider making a donation. Learn more on the Bikes Not Bombs website.

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Graduates of Bikes Not Bombs’ Earn-A-Bike program in April 2017. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate new bike helmets.

Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated over 10,000 bicycle helmets to children in the Boston area since 2013. During the fifth year of our campaign, our goal continues to be to encourage children to wear a helmet every time they ride.

Study after study has shown wearing a helmet is the most effective way to protect you or your child from a head injury if you fall or are in a bicycle accident. Yet studies also show children are not always wearing helmets, even though many states have laws requiring helmet use for children. In Massachusetts, the law says children who are 16 years old and younger must wear helmets.

Earlier this month, the Today Show reported more than 400,000 kids are hurt each year while riding bikes, scooters, skateboards and skates or roller blades. Of the children injured on bikes, only 68 percent were wearing bike helmets, according to their parents.


As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, here are some reminders for helping young cyclists ride safe:

  • Wear a bicycle helmet. Select a helmet for your child which meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission standard. Properly adjust it so it has a snug fit and will provide protection in case of a fall or a bicycle accident. If you need help, there is an instructional video on our website. Then, tell your child it is important to wear a helmet every time they ride. Be sure to wear your helmet, too. These last two steps are the most important.
  • Wear neon and bright colors. Stock your child’s drawers up with neon t-shirts and other clothing. You want to help your child stand out to traffic, pedestrians and other cyclists. Search “neon clothing” on Amazon.com for ideas.
  • Ride with your children. Enjoy cycling with your children and teach them safe riding techniques at the same time.
  • Control your bicycle. Keep both hands on your handlebars and tell your child to do the same. Keep school backpacks light or use a bike basket. Encourage children to always look ahead and not turn around to talk to you or other cyclists while pedaling.
  • No cell phone use. Do not let your child ride with their cell phone. If they must, make sure it is packed away in a backpack and turned off.  Cell phone use is likely to lead to a bicycle accident.
  • Check equipment. Before they ride, check your child’s bike. Make sure tires are properly inflated and that the brakes work.
  • Avoid riding at night. Children should not ride at night until they are older and have more experience on the roads. If you ride at night, be aware that you are required to use lights and reflectors under Massachusetts law.

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25 mph speed limit sign in Boston, MassachusettsOver the past year, Boston, Cambridge and several other communities have lowered default speed limits from 30 to 25 mph, with a goal of creating safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Now it is Quincy’s turn.

Last week, the Quincy City Council passed a measure establishing a speed limit of 25 mph, unless another speed limit is posted. The previous speed limit had been 30 mph. Once Mayor Thomas P. Koch signs the new law, officials will decide on an effective date.

In January 2017, the City of Boston dropped its default speed limit from 30 to 25 mph.

Lowering the speed limit was a key part of the Vision Zero Boston campaign, which was launched by Mayor Marty Walsh in 2015. The goal is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in the City of Boston by 2030, through a combination of efforts, such as reducing speeds, eliminating distracted driving, and improving infrastructure for safer riding, walking and cycling.

While lowering speed limits was a critical step, the City of Boston was unable to act right away.

First, the city had to obtain approval from the state Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker. Baker signed the Municipal Modernized bill in August 2016, which gave Boston, as well as cities and towns across the state, authority to reduce the default speed limit on local roads. 

So far, these communities have reduced speed limits:

  • Boston
  • Cambridge
  • Somerville
  • Arlington
  • Newton
  • Randolph
  • Scituate
  • Quincy (approved by City Council)

Source: The Boston Globe.

Benefits to Slower Speed Limits
There is strong evidence that slower traffic means safer streets. An excellent example is New York City. In 2014, the city lowered speed limits to 25 mph on 90 percent of its streets. Over three years, traffic fatalities have decreased 23 percent and fell to the lowest number in the city’s history in 2016.

Boston city officials say that when crashes happen, faster vehicles are likely to cause the most serious injuries and fatalities. According to the City of Boston website, at 20 mph, there is a 17 percent likelihood that someone will be seriously injured or killed. At 40 mph, there is a 79 percent likelihood. Slower vehicles can be stopped more quickly, and the slower speeds allow for longer reaction times.
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