Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign donated nearly 200 youth bicycle helmets in Westborough this year. Our attorneys are committed to preventing head injuries and for 5 years, have partnered with the Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee to bring helmets to children who need one. (File photo: From a May 2016 Project KidSafe event in Western Mass).

We are glad the weather held off!

For the fifth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign donated nearly 200 children’s bicycle helmets in Westborough. Last Spring, about 100 helmets were distributed by the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. The helmets went to children who needed one at the annual Healthy Kids Day. But thanks to Mother Nature, giving away the rest was more challenging.

First, unseasonable weather forced the the Rotary Club of Westborough to cancel the Spring Fest. On Saturday, it looked like the back-up plan – to hold a Fall Fest – was also in jeopardy. But we are happy to report the skies cleared enough for activities to go on. Our thanks to members of the Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, who were out fitting our Project KidSafe helmets for the kids and talking to families about the importance of wearing them.

Wearing a helmet is critical for cyclists of any age. A helmet can limit the impact if a cyclist falls and significantly reduce the chances of a head injury. In Massachusetts, cyclists under 17 are required to wear helmets when they ride. The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck began our Project KidSafe campaign to put helmets on more children and to encourage children and families to wear one at all times. Our lawyers have represented many cyclists who have suffered head injuries in bicycle accidents over the years, and we know that cyclists can protect themselves by wearing a helmet, which is in good condition, meets safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and properly fits.

That’s why Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013. As we near the end of 2018, our attorneys are proud to have donated over 20,000 bicycle helmets across Massachusetts. We have partnered with more than 40 organizations over the years and it’s one of our priorities to support local bicycle committees, which are making Massachusetts safer one project at a time. In Westborough, the committee has worked to improve pedestrian and bike signals and supported construction of bike paths. The Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s website provides resources for cyclists who want help getting around.

Read about the Westborough rotary’s Fall Fest in the Community Advocate newspaper.

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Dooring bicycle accidentA recent New York Times article on dooring injuries shows the risks to cyclists continue, even after advocacy efforts in Boston and other cities.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys represent cyclists who have been seriously injured in dooring accidents. While many dooring accidents happen in urban areas such as Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, dooring can happen in any community in Massachusetts. When drivers or passengers open doors without checking, cyclists can suffer devastating injuries, including broken bones, facial fractures and head injuries. Dooring crashes can be fatal.

Dooring crashes do not always make the news in Boston. But they are happening, more than any other type of bicycle accident. In fact, in November 2016, The Boston Globe reported cyclists faced a 225 percent higher risk for dooring than any other bicycle accident injury.

As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck has worked to promote safe cycling across the state of Massachusetts. We have been especially active in the city of Boston, donating our Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to a number of organizations. One of these organizations is Boston Bikes, which is part of the City of Boston’s Transportation Department. Over the past six years, our attorneys have given roughly 1,200 helmets to Boston Bikes’ programs, including women’s cycling classes, Roll It Forward and youth cycling in city schools.  Roll It Forward is a retired program, but it used to fix up used bikes for city residents who needed one.  Meanwhile, the youth cycling programs teach safety as soon as children start riding.

Thanks to Boston Bikes for sending these photos from the youth cycling programs. Looks like another great year!

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About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Our Project KidSafe Campaign

Bikes Not Bombs' Earn-a-Bike Class Wearing Bicycle Helmets donated by the Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign donated new bicycle helmets to students participating in Bikes Not Bombs’ Earn-a-Bike class. This is the sixth year we have made this donation and these riders certainly deserve them. Through the class, the students learned how to fix up these used bikes and are now riding them. Photo credit: Bikes Not Bombs on Instagram.

For the past six years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated bicycle helmets to the Earn-a-Bike program at Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain. And the teens who participate definitely “earn” their helmets. During the class, each cyclist is taught how to fix up a used bike and participates in bike safety rides.

Breakstone, White & Gluck donates 160 bicycle helmets each year, part of our Project KidSafe campaign, encouraging children and teens to wear helmets EVERY time they ride. But our support for Bike Not Bombs goes back many more years. Our attorneys represented a cyclist connected to Bikes Not Bombs. During this time, we learned that Bikes Not Bombs reclaims thousands of used bikes across New England each year, distributing them to young adults and teens – locally and around the world. The organization works to teach job skills and provide workers with a sustainable means of transportation.

If summer must end, we like to squeeze in some last fun at the Tierney Learning Center’s Back to School BBQ. The Tierney Learning Center is a resource for many in South Boston, working to help low-income families achieve their goals for education, finances and health and well being. And it hosts one of the best summer BBQs in Boston, with good food, games, music and the opportunity to see friends.

For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate bicycle helmets for the children and teens as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Attorney David W. White fit the helmets and as you can see, he had a great time. It was nice to spend time with the kids before they head back to school. We have met some of the families at past events, so it was a pleasure to see them again.

Attorney David W. White fitting bicycle helmets for kids at the Tierney Learning Center in South Boston.

Attorney David W. White helping a young cyclist select a bicycle helmet.

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High five after Attorney David W. White fits a helmet for a young cyclist. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bicycle helmets to the Tierney Learning Center's Back to School BBQ.

Attorney David W. White fits a helmet for a teenager at the Tierney Learning Center.Attorney David W. White fits a bicycle helmet for a young girl at the Tierney Learning Center in South Boston.

Attorney David W. White fits a bicycle helmet for a young girl at the Tierney Learning Center in South Boston.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is proud to support Massachusetts Safe Routes to School each year. For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 400 bicycle helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School distributed the helmets to children who needed one and participated in their bicycle safety training. This is our largest donation each year and one we are proud to make. From Boston to Western Massachusetts, Massachusetts Safe Routes teaches elementary and middle school students skills to walk and bike to school safely. The bicycle safety training focuses on the fundamentals of traffic laws, the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet and for many, how to balance on their first ride. The program is also well known for its bike rodeos, a fun way for students to practice their new-found skills.

Massachusetts Safe Routes offers programming in over 800 schools in 200+ communities in Massachusetts. The staff tells us our Project KidSafe helmets went to children at these events:

Holyoke Roll n’ Stroll

Quincy police officer fits a helmet

Quincy Police Officer Hartnett fits bicycle helmets at the city’s DARE camp. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign donated helmets for the 106 students. Photo: Quincy Police Department.

For the second year, Breakstone, White & Gluck has teamed up with the Quincy Police Department to help children ride safely on bikes. Our lawyers donated 200 bicycle helmets to the Quincy Police Department as part of our 2018 Project KidSafe campaign. Officers been distributing helmets across the city.

More than 100 helmets went to fifth graders at the Quincy Police Dare camp. Another 35 helmets went to students from the Germantown Neighborhood Center, who participated in Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s Basketball Camp. This camp was held in partnership with the South Shore YMCA.

Little boy riding bike at Mattapan on Wheels 2018

Photo courtesy: Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition/Mattapan on Wheels Facebook page.

We were pleased to hear cyclists came out strong for the 8th annual Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-thon last weekend. Breakstone, White & Gluck was a supporter, donating 130 bicycle helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign for cyclists who needed one. This year, 165 cyclists came out and explored Mattapan and the Neponset Greenway Trail, which offers some spectacular views of Boston. This was record participation for the event.

The Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-thon is organized by the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Vigorous Youth (MFFC Vigorous Youth). The goal is participation; to encourage residents of all ages to come out, enjoy the bike trail and learn more about cycling for transportation, health and recreation. This is a lot of fun because cyclists get to meet up with other cyclists, families and the Boston Police Department, which provided a bike patrol escort.

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Cyclist on vacation in Massachusetts wearing a helmet but not using bike lights

Fireworks are lighting up spectacular skies this week. All the color makes us think about bike lights. If you are a cyclist, are you lighting up the road this summer? Are you using bike lights and wearing bright colors to stay visible to drivers?

Whether you are commuting to work or enjoying a leisurely ride on vacation, bike lights are essential to preventing bicycle accidents. And many cyclists don’t realize this, but bike lights are required by law in Massachusetts.

We encourage you to buy yourself bike lights as soon as possible. If you already have lights, please check to make sure they are working properly. Bicycle accidents have risen in the U.S., reaching a 25-year high in 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The majority of accidents happened between 6 and 9 p.m. The second peak time was 9 p.m. to midnight.

Massachusetts Law
Under Massachusetts law, cyclists are required to use bike lights if they ride after dark. The law is M.G.L c.85 § 11B.

Bicycles must be equipped with a white light facing forward and a red light facing backward. These lights must be in use from thirty minutes after sunset until thirty minutes before sunrise. The white light must be visible from at least five hundred feet away. The red light on the back must be visible for at least six hundred feet. Reflectors on both pedals facing front and back are also required. If a cyclist has no reflectors, they can wear reflective material around their ankles.

Plan
If you have your own bike, buy your own lights now. You can buy them online or at a local store for a few dollars. For everyone else, if there is a chance you may ride, purchase some small bike lights. They pack neatly in your work bag or travel luggage.

There are many different types of lights available. When you purchase lights, take note of the size, battery type and battery life and if they are designed for day or night use. Remember that lights are required for the front and back of your bike. Attaching lights to your helmet or other parts of your bike are helpful for safety, but are considered extra under the law.  Here is an article about bike lights to help you get started.

There is good news for Boston commuters. There are built-in lights on the rental Blue Bikes in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. 

Stay Visible
Don’t stop at bike lights. Purchase a neon reflective safety vest, tape and any other clothing to help drivers see you. Amazon is full of ideas.

Know Your Bike Route
Before you ride at night, plan your route. Choose areas which are well lit and have clearly marked bike lanes. Travel the route during the day before you go at night.

Stay Informed
Monitor social media accounts for local police departments and bike committees which serve the area. Sign up for the newsletters offered by bike committees. Cyclists write these newsletters specifically for other cyclists and their experience is invaluable, especially when riding and making decisions at night.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to celebrate the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Partnership today. Attorney David W. White joined a gathering at the State House which recognized schools for outstanding work in teaching children critical skills, how to walk and bike to school safely. The ceremony was a nice opportunity to learn about Safe Routes’ work over the past year and get a preview of what’s ahead.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign have supported Safe Routes’ work for the past four years. Wearing a bicycle helmet is one of the first lessons Safe Routes teaches children. We donate 400 bicycle helmets each year to help Safe Routes reach as many children as possible. 

We make the donation, but Safe Routes’ coordinators choose which communities receive helmets, based on their unique knowledge of the communities. The program’s coordinators work all over the state, from Boston and Cambridge to Martha’s Vineyard to Western Massachusetts.  In some cases, helmets are given to an entire class. In other cases, a Safe Routes coordinator will send a few helmets as needed.