Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclist riding in Boston

Safety reminders for drivers as cyclists return to the road in Boston.

In Boston, many cyclists take a winter break. As this nears an end, drivers should get ready to commute alongside cyclists again.

Drivers must remember that cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Here, we share a few safety tips for drivers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Obey the speed limit. 
  • Drive defensively. Cyclists may need to leave their lane for safety reasons and may not give you much notice.
  • Yield to cyclists just as you would another motor vehicle. 
  • When turning right on a red light, check for cyclists to the right and behind you. Stop completely and look in both directions – left, right, left and behind.
  • Provide cyclists with adequate space. 
  • Pass cyclists with care. Do not pass too closely and only do so if you would pass a motor vehicle in the same situation.
  • Check before you pull out or back up in parking lots.
  • Check for cyclists when at stop signs. Expect that a cyclist may come up behind you while you wait for your turn to go.

Driving Safely Near Bicyclists in Massachusetts

Gone are the days when drivers rarely saw a cyclist on the road. It’s critical for drivers to be informed about their responsibilities near cyclists, particularly in intersections, and the potential for bicycle crashes.

As a driver, if you are near a bicyclist, the best approach is to slow down and give them room. Do not take your eyes off the cyclist or the road. Leave the bicycle lane for cyclists – this is the law in Massachusetts and if you neglect to follow it, you could hit a cyclist, causing serious injury and confusing other drivers. And this could lead to domino-effect collisions with other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians in the area. 

Expect cyclists will be traveling in front of you, as well as behind you. In fact, they are more likely to be behind you, to the right (though they are allowed to travel in the center of the lane in Massachusetts if they need to). Checking your mirrors is essential, as is left-right-left and behind checking. This is true even after you park because cyclists could be riding by and by opening the door at the wrong time, you could cause a bicycle dooring injury.

Finally, remember cyclists may not be visible behind commercial trucks and other traffic. The cyclist may be out of your view, but just approaching the large vehicle behind you.

For more information, read our articles, “Facts About Bicycling Laws in Massachusetts,” or “Tips for Safe Bike Commuting in Boston.”  You can also visit the MassBike website, which explains more about cyclist and motorist responsibilities or the NHTSA web page on bicycle safety.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Bicycle Accident Attorneys

Breakstone, White & Gluck has extensive experience handling personal injury cases involving bicycle injuries in Boston and across Massachusetts. After a bicycle accident, our attorneys are here to provide clients with thorough investigation and aggressive representation. We understand the stakes are high when you have been injured on a bicycle because medical bills can mount quickly and no one expects to suffer an injury. But we have attorneys who are experienced as lawyers and as cyclists. We are committed to partnering with our clients to obtain the best financial result in every case.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently gave Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign a nice mention. In 2019, our campaign donated over 4,000 bicycle helmets to children throughout the Boston area with help from more than 30 community partners and police departments. We look forward to continuing our work to protect children in 2020.

Read the article on the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly website (subscription access required).

Helmet head (but in a good way)

Child receiving a new bicycle and new bicycle helmet.

Give the gift of safety. Always give a helmets to go with new bicycles, scooters and other riding toys.

It is a lot of fun to select a new bicycle or scooter for a child during the holiday season. But when you buy, remember to pick up a new helmet, too. This is a critical tool in protecting against head injuries and under Massachusetts law, children 16 and younger are required to wear helmets on bicycles, scooters, skateboards and inline skates.

Massachusetts Bicycle Helmet Law: Children 16 and younger are required to wear bicycle helmets when they ride bikes in Massachusetts, under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B.

Massachusetts Scooter Helmet Law. M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B1/2 states children 16 and younger must also wear safety helmets on scooters, skateboards and inline skates, as well as other manually-propelled wheeled vehicles.


Helmet Buying Tips: Spotlight on Bike Helmets

Buy a bicycle helmet which meets the safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 C.F.R. part 1203). This standard is specifically designed to protect a child’s head with shock-absorbent material in bicycle accidents or falls. It requires chin traps be strong enough to keep the helmet in position on the head. 

Buy a helmet separately from your bike. You may find it helpful to buy a helmet separately. To get started, measure around your child’s head with a cloth tape measure. Measure just above your child’s eyebrows. Start looking now online or visit your local bicycle shop.

Stick to traditional bike helmets. The CPSC discourages parents from buying helmets with decorative and costume pieces, such as horns or parts which protrude from the helmet. These will interfere with the helmet’s ability to protect a child’s head should they ever hit the ground.

How long has your child been wearing that helmet? If your child has been wearing a helmet for three years, this is a good time to buy a new one. But depending on your child’s growth and wear and tear, you may want to replace it sooner. Carefully inspect the helmet on the inside and outside.

Buy an adjustable helmet. Because children grow fast, we suggest an adjustable helmet which can be tightened or loosened in the back.


Helmets Designed for Other Activities

Safety helmets are designed for certain purposes. Each sport and activity involves a different impact.

But bicycle helmets can often be used for recreational in-line skating, roller skating or manual kick scooters, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) helmet guidelines. Check these guidelines whenever you buy a helmet.

Talk to your child’s sports coach about helmet guidelines for football, hockey, lacrosse and baseball. 

Get your helmets ready for the winter. Helmets are recommended for skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and snow tubing. Many skiers say helmets interfere with their peripheral vision and response time. If this is your thought, consider reading this New York Times blog on just how much protection they can provide.

Before we close, another point is there are times when children should definitely NOT WEAR HELMETS, including at the playground or when playing at home. Helmets and straps can get caught and strangle a child on staircases and step ladders. 

CPSC Guide – “What Helmet for Which Activity”
Helmets are essential to protecting your child. Here is the CPSC’s Guide, “Which Helmet for Which Activity.” This guide provides you with recommended safety standard guidelines for different activities, so it’s definitely worth bookmarking. Another helpful site is the CSPC recalls website, which you can search for product recalls before you make a purchase.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Boston Personal Injury Lawyers – Toy Safety Lawyers

kidsafe-fb-1200At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our lawyers are consistently recognized for their awards for clients in personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability cases. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we work to promote bicycle safety and the well-being of children in Massachusetts. To date, we have donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children across the state.

If you are shopping for a child, we invite you to read more of our holiday toy safety series.

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20 mph speed limit

Drivers, double check your speed next time you visit Cambridge. In mid-November, the city plans a slow down to 20 mph on most city-owned streets. The city says, when in doubt, go 20 mph. 

The City of Cambridge announced the new 20 mph speed limit this week, a decision made in response to residents’ concerns about speeding vehicles and the risk for pedestrian accidents and injuries to cyclists. Cambridge follows Boston and Somerville in pursuing 20 mph speeds on certain city streets. Each city has a VisionZero safety campaign and is working to eliminate traffic fatalities. 

Cambridge first lowered speed limits from 30 to 25 mph on most city-owned streets in December 2016. The Massachusetts Legislature granted cities and towns this authority earlier that year with passage of the Municipal Modernization Law. Specifically, communities were given the authority to lower speeds from 30 to 25 mph in locally-owned thickly settled areas.

In response, dozens of communities adopted 25 mph speed limits to reduce the risk of accidents. Few have pursued 20 mph – yet.

But according to the City of Cambridge’s announcement, the law allows communities to establish 20 mph “safety zones” in the interest of public safety. Cambridge will be installing 660 new “safety zone” signs. 

The City of Somerville has also taken advantage of this provision of the law. Last we knew, the City of Boston – which was the first to pursue 25 mph, then 20 mph speeds – was still working on the issue. Here is our last update on Massachusetts speed limits  (though please note: there may have been additional action since then).

Check a street: Not every street in Cambridge will be impacted. Larger streets like Brattle Street and Cambridge Street will stick with current speeds. Roads under state management – such as Memorial Drive – will not change. You can check out the map here: www.cambridgema.gov/20mph.

It’s worth noting Cambridge’s squares – including Harvard Square, Lechmere Square and Porter Square – won’t see any change. The city lowered speeds to 20 mph back in early 2018.

Cambridge’s Influence on Traffic Safety

Cambridge has been ambitious in making traffic safety improvements. In addition to lowering speeds, the city announced a new City Safety Ordinance earlier this year. The city made the commitment to add permanent separated bike lanes whenever it reconstructs roads identified in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan. With full build out, this would give the city an impressive 20 miles of protected bike lanes. Cambridge Bicycle Safety, a local group, said this could reduce 40 percent of Cambridge bicycle accidents, the one which occur outside intersections.

The city, while committed, does concede there may be cases when these bike lanes aren’t possible due to road conditions.

The bottom line is Cambridge has such a strong influence on transportation in the Boston region, just by virtue of its geography. It borders Somerville, Boston, Arlington, Belmont and Watertown. And because it’s one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, its work to promote safety will be watched across the state and nationally.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Pedestrian Car Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented accident victims in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts since 1992. Our attorneys are dedicated to our clients and our results. We provide the prompt and thorough investigation required after pedestrian car accidents and bicycle crashes

If you have been injured by a driver, we offer a free legal consultation to advise you on whether you may pursue a financial claim for your injuries and other losses. Consult one of our personal injury attorneys today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Cyclist after a hit and run crashNew federal data shows a 2.4 percent reduction in overall traffic deaths last year. But that’s not the full story. The roads were not any safer for pedestrians and bicyclists last year. These groups saw an increase in deaths, now making up nearly 20 percent of all traffic deaths. Many say it’s time to accelerate the conversation on safe road design.

The Washington Post recently reported on the new data, which comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

It shows nearly 36,600 people died in traffic accidents in 2018, a 2.4 percent decrease from 2017, according to The Washington Post. Traffic experts cite several areas of progress. There were fewer deaths caused by speeding and drinking and driving, and a 10 percent reduction in children’s fatalities. Motorcycle fatalities also declined about 5 percent.

What remains troublesome is bicyclists and pedestrians are at high risk. Bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents are claiming more lives than ever – about 20 percent of all traffic deaths combined. This is a sharp rise, particularly in pedestrian deaths. Just 10 years ago, pedestrians made up 12 percent of all traffic deaths. They now represent 17 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The data shows that 6,283 pedestrians were killed in 2018, a 3.4 percent increase. Another 857 people were killed on bikes or similar non-motorized vehicles, a 6.3 percent increase.

With this new data, many are considering our nation’s antiquated roads, which the Governors Highway Safety Association says were not designed to accommodate so many pedestrians and bicyclists. Over the past decade, cities have encouraged walking and biking as a way to beat the traffic congestion. But use has far exceeded the visions of planners, especially when you considered developments, such as bike-shares, e-scooters and self-driving cars.

The Governors Highways Safety Association further stated that a combination of initiatives would be necessary to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, from road engineering to educational approaches.

Pedestrian and Bike Safety in the Late Fall in Massachusetts

This is a challenging time of the year for bike commuters and pedestrians in Massachusetts. The days are getting shorter and darker. And you have to be aware of the statistics. According to the NHTSA data, about 76 percent of pedestrian traffic fatalities occur after dark.

If you walk, consider keeping a neon safety vest in your work bag. Wear it when you go to work and as you leave work. Continue to use crosswalks with traffic signal buttons. Cross with other people.

If you ride your bike, wear your bike helmet and use bike lights. Bike lights are required under Massachusetts law. You must have a white light in front of your bike and a red light in back. Read our article, Facts About Massachusetts Bicycle Laws, to learn more.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Lawyers
With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck is a leading personal injury law firm in Boston. Our attorneys specialize in representing those injured in motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrians and bicyclists, in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking financial compensation for your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

 

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Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston was recently mentioned in a Dedham Times article about the Dedham Bike Rodeo in August. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign participated for the seventh year and donated more than 100 helmets to the kids. Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to helping children ride safely on bikes and protect against head injuries. Founded in 1992, our firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases across Massachusetts.

Article courtesy of The Dedham Times. Click link for full 2-page article.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support the Mattapan on Wheels event this weekend. We only wish the temperature had been more forgiving for cyclists riding for such a good cause. This ride is a terrific cause in our book!

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition organizes Mattapan on Wheels each year to encourage physical activity, as well as safe cycling on Mattapan streets and the Lower Neponset River Trail. Many Mattapan children take their first ride at this event and receive their first bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. Our law firm donates 100 bicycle helmets each year to encourage safety. More experienced cyclists help children and others fit the helmets and get them ready to ride.

This event gives cyclists access to other key safety resources too. Boston police officers and community volunteers come out to lead the ride and follow in back. There are all skill levels here and cyclists can choose their ride and challenge themselves with a new route each year. Other community groups are on hand to do ABC checks – air, brakes and chain. Then, the ride usually wraps up and everyone heads over to the Annual Scoops and Hoops event nearby.

The event is the group’s primary fundraiser. More than 50 cyclists still turned out this weekend, despite the heat and raised over $3,200 for bike-related activities. But this is roughly a third of the typical participation and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition is still collecting donations. You can learn more from the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition’s website. The website is under construction, but you can find the contact information and social media sites at the bottom of the page.

Photo credits: Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Facebook page.

 

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements have been recognized on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to encourage children to wear helmets every time they ride to prevent head injuries in bicycle accidents.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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quincypolice-merrymount-2019-400-3Quincy Police officers visited Merrymount School last week, speaking to children about bicycle safety in the city, and making the critical commitment to wear a bicycle helmet every time they ride. Quincy police officers talked to students at all grade levels, then gave away 100 bicycle helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign.

We are pleased to make this donation just in time for summer. This is the third year Breakstone, White & Gluck has partnered with the Quincy Police Department to encourage children and families to wear bicycle helmets to protect against head injuries. Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of helping children ride safely. Our attorneys have since given away more than 25,000 bicycle helmets to help children in the Boston area and across Massachusetts.

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Photos are courtesy of the Quincy Police Department.

Attorney David W. White fitting helmets at Framingham Earth Day 2019. Part of Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign to prevent head injuries.

Attorney David W. White fitting helmets at Framingham Earth Day 2019. Part of Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign to prevent head injuries.

While many people enjoy cycling, very few enjoy the process of selecting and fitting a bicycle helmet. The challenge is even greater for parents who have to find helmets for their children.

Breakstone, White & Gluck launched our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to help children and families, along with other cyclists, overcome some of the challenges. Read some of our tips for getting started with a bicycle helmet which fits and protects:

  • Before you shop, find a flexible tape measure and measure around your head. Measure from about an inch above your eyebrows.
  • Rather than shopping online, try to purchase a helmet at a local bicycle shop. Ask the staff to help you fit it properly.
  • Before you purchase, ask if the helmet meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Don’t share bicycle helmets. Each cyclist should have their own helmet.
  • Store your helmet inside and avoid exposing it to heat in sunlight unless you are wearing it. Don’t leave it in your car for any extended period.
  • Replace bicycle helmets when they become worn or if you or your child outgrow yours. You may want to consider buying a new helmet every three years. From the outside, your helmet may appear to be in good condition. Yet the protective material inside can deteriorate without any visible signs.
  • Immediately replace bicycle helmets which hit the ground in a bicycle accident or fall.
  • Carry your bicycle helmet if you want to use a bikeshare. Make it a rule not to rent a bike without a helmet.
  • Plan ahead: Keep an extra bicycle helmet at work or at home.
  • Remember, parents who wear helmets encourage children to wear helmets.
  • Take children to bicycle safety events in the community to encourage their interest in cycling and safety.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents those injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others across Massachusetts. After more than two decades of representing cyclists who have been injured, the firm’s partners launched the Project KidSafe campaign to help prevent injuries on bikes and encourage children to wear helmets throughout their lives. The firm specializes in all areas of personal injury law.

Learn more about our attorneys.

Learn more about the Project KidSafe campaign.

Watch a video demonstrating how to fit a bicycle helmet.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support bicycle safety during Bay State Bike Week and Bike Month again in 2019. All three of our partners – Attorney David W. White, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck – participated, giving away bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Our goal: to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets at all times to protect against head injuries. Now in our seventh year, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children in Massachusetts.

Boston Bike to Work Day

Attorney David W. White and Attorney Marc L. Breakstone were back on Boston City Hall Plaza on May 17th, as Boston celebrated Bike to Work Day. This was our 5th year out on City Hall Plaza during Bike Week. Attorney White fitted about 70 helmets for cyclists over two hours and we got a special surprise – getting to meet Tim Wakefield! He was nice enough to sign one of our Project KidSafe helmets. We also got to visit with other friends, including Lee Toma of Bike Milton and Galen Mook, executive director of MassBike.

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Attorney David W. White and Attorney Marc L. Breakstone with Tim Wakefield, World Series Champion Pitcher for the Red Sox ’04 and ’07. Now NESN studio analyst for the Red Sox. Boston Bike to Work Day, May 17, 2019.

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Attorney David W. White (center) with Lee Toma of Bike Milton (left) and Galen Mook, executive director of Mass Bike (right). Boston Bike to Work Day, May 17th, 2019.

Our reminder to cyclists: Inspect your helmet regularly to make sure it’s in riding condition. As a rule, replace your helmet at least once every three years; you may need to do this sooner, especially if you ride every day. And always replace your helmet immediately if you are involved in a bicycle accident or fall. Please visit this website for more bicycle helmet safety tips.

Cambridge Police Department

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 200 bicycle helmets to the Cambridge Police Department for the fourth year. Attorney David W. White and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck recently visited with Cambridge police officers who work to educate the public about bicycle safety laws on a daily basis. The City of Cambridge works to promote bicycle safety and has been recognized as a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. More than 100 Cambridge police officers – or more than one third of the city’s 282 sworn in officers – have been trained on bike patrol to help keep roads safe.

The City of Cambridge announced our donation during Bay State Bike Week.

Quincy Police Department

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Attorney David W. White with Quincy police officers. From left, Officer Greg Mar, Lt. Robert Bina, Officer Matthew Miller and Officer Greg Hartnett.

For the third year, Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to partner with the Quincy Police Department to encourage bike safety in the city. Quincy Police announced our donation of 200 bicycle helmets during Bay State Bike Week. Officers will use the helmets to benefit children through community programming. Each year, some of the helmets are given away through programs such as the annual DARE camp for 5th graders. Other helmets are given away at smaller gatherings, such as Coffee with a Cop, a program that allows residents to meet police officers and share their concerns and questions in an informal setting. Read the announcement on the Quincy Police Department website.

Everett Police Donation 2019

For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated more than 100 children’s bicycle helmets to the Everett Police Department. Officers gave away the helmets free to children and families at the Kids to Park Day at the Swan Street Park on May 18th.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has been recognized as one of the best personal injury law firms in Boston, by our clients, other lawyers and attorney rating services, such as Super Lawyers, U.S. News Best Lawyers and Martindale-Hubbell. Our attorneys have also been recognized for our Project KidSafe campaign by the League of American Bicyclists, which has named Breakstone, White & Gluck a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business. This is a special recognition. Just 36 businesses have been earned recognition in Massachusetts and just two law firms across New England.

We have also been recognized by the City of Boston, where we have donated helmets to various programs, including Boston Bike to Work Day, along with Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward, Boston Bikes’ youth instruction programs and the Boston Police Department. Attorney David W. White has volunteered his time fitting helmets and Boston Bikes has recognized him as a Volunteer of the Year.

Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in all areas of personal injury law. We hope you are never injured, but if you are, it is important to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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