Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign recently supported the Everett Police Department’s work to protect children on bikes. In June, our lawyers donated roughly 100 bicycle helmets to Everett Police Chief Steve Mazzie and his officers. Attorney David W. White was there to deliver the helmets.

This is the fifth year we have partnered with Everett Police so we know their commitment to children and bike safety runs deep. But we were really inspired this year. Officers wasted no time. They began distributing the bicycle helmets right away and found many children who could benefit from our donation. Great job to Everett Police again!

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers specialize in representing those injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Our attorneys are advocates for safe cycling and encourage all cyclists to wear bicycle helmets to protect against head injuries. To promote safe riding, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated 30,000 bicycle helmets across Massachusetts through our Project KidSafe campaign.

Breakstone, White & Gluck has also been recognized as a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists. To learn more about our firm, visit www.bwglaw.com.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck recently teamed up with a new partner, The Bike Connector in Lowell, on our Project KidSafe campaign. About 18 months ago, a Lowell high school teacher and Wade Rubinstein, a local cyclist and businessman, came up with the idea to introduce at-risk high school students to bicycles, also teaching them valuable mechanical and life skills. The Bicycle Academy was born, offering earn-a-bike and DIY bike workshops right at Lowell High School Career Academy. This started to open new doors for students who needed reliable transportation to school or wanted to try cycling.

The Bicycle Academy has now grown into The Bike Connector, a not for profit corporation which makes bicycling safe and accessible for Lowell residents. To date, The Bike Connector has given away 100 refurbished bicycles. Despite the challenges of 2020, The Bike Connector partnered with Lowell Career Academy on July 2nd and gave away 20 refurbished bikes to high school students and families. As a COVID-19 precaution, the event was planned a little differently. Rather than a gathering, students scheduled times to pick out bikes and be fitted for bikes.

Attorney Ron Gluck

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck writes about the risk of right hook accidents in this month’s WheelPeople, the Charles River Wheelers‘ newsletter.

Attorney Gluck has extensive experience representing Boston-area cyclists who have been injured when truck drivers make unsafe “right hook” turns at intersections or driveways. In this month’s article, he discusses a truck driver’s responsibility to yield to cyclists in Massachusetts. He also writes about his own experience investigating right hook crashes for his clients. Then he offers safety reminders for cyclists, urging them to “keep a watchful eye” on large trucks.

“My experience tells me that right hook “accidents” are almost always avoidable if both the driver and cyclist keep a watchful eye out on the other,” he says.

Read the article, “Watch Out! Trucks and Right Hooks.”

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Attorney David W. White and Wade Rubenstein, executive director of The Bike Connector in Lowell. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated free bicycle helmets as part of its Project KidSafe campaign to prevent head injuries.

Attorney David W. White and Wade Rubenstein, president of The Bike Connector in Lowell.

Attorney David W. White was pleased to deliver 100 bicycle helmets to Wade Rubinstein of The Bike Connector in Lowell this morning. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets as part of our 2020 Project KidSafe campaign for bike safety.

This was our first donation to The Bike Connector and it was a real pleasure to meet Wade and learn about his work. The Bike Connector provides bikes to income-disadvantaged youth and immigrants throughout the city of Lowell. This summer, The Bike Connector is working with the city’s high school summer programs to distribute 100 free refurbished bikes. Now, each cyclist will also receive a free Project KidSafe bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck.

The bicycles are important donations. In Lowell, there is no school bus service for high school students. Students can ride the Lowell Regional Transit Authority, walk or get a ride. Bicycles open up new opportunities for students to stay connected and on track with school activities.

“These helmets are really going to help keep kids in Lowell safe,” Wade said. “I want to thank Breakstone, White & Gluck for providing us these helmets. They are going to go a long way.”

Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign.

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In June, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign were pleased to donate children’s bicycle helmets to the Quincy Police DepartmentBrockton Police Department and the Braintree Police Department. 

Read about our donation to Quincy Police in the Quincy Sun newspaper.

Quincy, MA Police Officers with Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck, which donates children's bicycle helmets to the department each year.

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 200 children’s bicycle helmets to the Quincy Police Department, for distribution to local children in 2020. Pictured (L-R): Officer G. Hartnett, Atty. David White, Officer Whedbee and Officer Mar. Photo Courtesy Quincy Police Dept.

 

Boston Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck donates children's bicycle helmets to Brockton Police, as part of Project KidSafe campaign.

PHOTO COURTESY: Brockton Police Facebook– (From left:) Attorney David W. White, with Brockton Police Lt. Brenda Perez and Sgt. Will Schlieman

 

Boston lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck give Braintree Police free bike helmets for children.

Left to right: Braintree Police Deputy Chief Michael Want receives Project KidSafe bicycle helmet donation and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck & Project KidSafe

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm serving all of Massachusetts. Our attorneys founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of protecting children from head injuries. Toward that goal, we have now donated 30,000 bicycle helmets to children in the Boston area, with help from more than 50 community partners.

Under Massachusetts law, cyclists who are 16 and younger are required to wear helmets to protect themselves. To learn more, we have posted a video and other materials on our website: www.bwglaw.com/bikes.

Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign.

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Boston Lawyers' Project KidSafe Campaign Mentioned at Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Virtual Ceremony June 8, 2020
For the 6th year, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign are pleased to support Massachusetts Safe Routes to School. Once again, our attorneys have committed to donating 400 bicycle helmets to Safe Routes. From there, the Safe Routes coordinators will give the helmets to low-income children who want to participate in bike safety training and bike rodeos.

This morning, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School held its annual awards ceremony to honor schools and teachers which have excelled in reaching their walking and biking goals for children. Stephanie Pollack, secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), was the featured speaker. Before announcing the awards, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School thanked Breakstone, White & Gluck for our donation.

This is Massachusetts Safe Routes to School’s 15th anniversary. For those who don’t know, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School is a federally funded initiative of the MassDOT. Over 15 years, it has offered biking and pedestrian safety program to children in 237 communities and reached more than 420,000 students. Schools are committed to the programming. Safe Routes now has 920 partner schools. View this year’s awards list.

Massachusetts Safe Routes to School virtual awards ceremony June 8, 2020About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Commitment to Bike Safety

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are committed to safety and preventing head injuries. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we have donated 30,000 children’s bicycle helmets across Massachusetts. We founded our campaign in 2013 and have since partnered with Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, local police departments, bicycle committees and community groups. Our goal has been to work with community partners who really care and are committed to bicycle safety and preventing head injuries.

In Massachusetts, cyclists under age 17 must wear bicycle helmets. But every cyclist is encouraged to wear a helmet. We hope you are never injured on a bike, but you can recover from many injuries. Head injuries can be fatal and it is important to protect yourself.

Commit to wear a bicycle helmet every time you ride. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the chances of head injury by 50 percent and the chances of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Damaged bike and helmet after a bicycle crash in Boston

Over the past year, distracted driving accidents have seriously injured cyclists in Massachusetts and other states.

During the past few months, you may have noticed more bicyclists and fewer cars out. Massachusetts bike shops have confirmed that sales are way up since the COVID-19 emergency began. And during an uncertain time, it has been nice to see people enjoy bikes.

But now, as Massachusetts slowly re-opens the economy, driving patterns are changing again. More cyclists are out, but increasingly, so are cars. Coincidentally, traffic laws have also changed. As of April 1st, the Massachusetts hands-free driving law took effect, banning all hand-held cell phone use. Going forward, drivers must connect to voice-activated technology.

This is an important new law for cyclists, who often travel to the immediate right of a vehicle in the bike lane or roadside. When a driver doesn’t pick up a phone, this takes away an unexpected movement, a layer of danger to cyclists.

But several other layers remain. The reality is many drivers do not even realize cyclists are nearby. But cyclists are close and are vulnerable to your quick, unpredictable movements, such as when you pick up a cell phone, reach into your glove compartment or open a fast-food bag as you drive. Or when you tend to your children or other passengers.  

If you are a Massachusetts driver, now is the time to set up your vehicle for hands-free cell phone use. Commit to follow the new law and drive safely.  

Also commit to check for cyclists. When you stop at a traffic light or stop sign, check in front of you, to each side and behind you. Bicycle accidents often happen because cyclists are approaching from behind cars. Many drivers neglect to look there. Drivers are less likely to look if they are focused on their cell phone or texting while driving

Many communities are expanding sidewalks or changing traffic patterns to make room for social distance. This means you may encounter cyclists in new areas. Approach slowly, with caution and patience.

Recent Cases: Distracted Driving Accidents and Injuries to Cyclists

Over the past year, there have been several news stories about distracted driving, leading to cyclist injuries and deaths. Even as states such as Massachusetts and Maine have strengthened laws, the number of distracted accidents continues to rise. 

Ipswich Texting While Driving Crash Kills Cyclist

On March 26th, just days after the Massachusetts stay at home advisory took effect, there was a tragic crash on an Ipswich Road. According to the The Boston Globe, a 43-year-old driver fatally struck a cyclist in the North Shore community, also injuring two other family members on bikes. Ipswich Police and the Essex County District Attorney’s office announced the driver has been cited for motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, marked lanes violation and composing, sending and reading an electronic message. A clerk magistrate will decide whether a criminal complaint will be issued.

Pennsylvania Driver Accused of Texting in Cyclist’s Death

In April 2019, a Pennsylvania woman was accused of texting while driving. Penn Live, a local news website, reported she struck a male cyclist in Mount Joy Township. Forensic analysis determined she had sent a text message a minute before the crash. She received a message, then tried to call 911, as a neighbor also called in. 

The cyclist died from multiple traumas nine days later. In this case, the driver was charged with felony homicide by vehicle, misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter, and cited with traffic citations in the crash, according to Penn Live.

Florida Distracted Driving Case Ends in Fine, Community Service

In January 2020, a Florida woman pleaded no contest in a fatal crash which killed two cyclists and seriously injured several others. In November 2018, the woman had struck the group of 14 cyclists with her vehicle. They were members of a local bicycle club riding in Davie, a community in Broward County.

According to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, the woman admitted to reaching into her glove compartment for her cigarettes. She also said she was temporarily blinded by sun glare. Police allege the woman was also traveling 70 mph on a 55 mph road when she struck the cyclists. This was a horrific crash and many involved were deeply upset with the outcome. In this case, local prosecutors maintained the woman’s actions did not warrant a criminal charge of motor vehicle homicide, according to the Sun Sentinel. So the driver pleaded no contest to careless driving, leaving court with orders to pay a $1,000 fine and complete 120 days of community service. She also lost her driver’s license for six months.

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Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers – Distracted Driving Injuries to Cyclists

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston bicycle accident attorneys have more than 100 years combined experience. We represent cyclists and others who have been injured by distracted driving, including a driver’s negligent use of a cell phone.

Distracted driving accidents can seriously injure cyclists. We urge you to act right away if you suspect a driver’s cell phone use may have caused your injuries. If you or a loved one was injured, it is important to consult an experienced lawyer to learn your rights. You may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other financial losses. 

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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Driver stops for pedestrians in Boston

In Massachusetts, traffic is lighter during the COVID-19 emergency, but drivers are being warned to slow down.

During the COVID-19 emergency, Massachusetts residents are getting an unprecedented look at life without traffic congestion. With fewer cars out, there have been fewer accidents. But the drivers who are out have been speeding down open streets. State transportation officials say the high speeds are contributing to traffic fatalities.

The rate of traffic fatalities doubled in April, when traffic dropped by 50 percent on some highways, according the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (or MassDOT). The Boston Globe reported that 28 people died in April, compared to 27 during April 2019, when there was no disruption to traffic.

Speeding and distracted driving have contributed to fatal accidents. According to MassDOT, the fatal crashes resulted in the deaths of drivers, passengers, two motorcyclists and three pedestrians. In Boston, a cyclist was killed by a large truck near Massachusetts and Harrison avenues.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh urged drivers to slow down during his briefing last week. News briefing posted May 1.

“With less traffic, what we’re starting to see is increased speed,” Walsh said. “So the crashes that do happen have been more severe due to the high speed impacts. Even an increase of four to five miles per hour can make a big difference in terms of injuries and possible death.”

The MassDOT did not provide overall crash data for last month. Preliminary data shows two-thirds of crashes happened on local roads.

When traveling in their communities, drivers must remember that they share the road with cyclists and pedestrians. Right now, there are more people out, of all ages. It is essential to stop at crosswalks, yield to pedestrians and drive slowly.

It is also essential to watch for cyclists and practice situational awareness, especially when turning at intersections. Remember that cyclists are allowed to travel in bike lanes, on the right side of the road or in the middle of the lane if necessary for safety. Because cyclists may need to change their lane (for example, to avoid an illegally parked car), it is important to provide cyclists with ample room to make safe decisions.

Just How Slowly Should You Drive?

As a first step, commit to follow the speed limit or travel even slower when necessary. By doing so, you leave yourself more time to stop and prevent a crash before it happens.

It is important to remember that you control your speed and research has found fatal injuries are less likely at lower speeds.  Consider a driver who was traveling at 40 mph and hit a pedestrian. There is a 73 percent likelihood that the driver will cause the pedestrian severe injury or death, according to the Vision Zero safety campaign. At 30 mph, the risk for severe injury or death is reduced to 40 percent. At 20 mph, there is a 13 percent likelihood of causing severe injury or death.

Fewer Drivers, Fewer Tickets and Fewer Car Accidents

The Boston Globe reported on Massachusetts traffic activity on April 30th. As the state responds to COVID-19, there has been a dramatic decline in traffic, citations and accidents.

From March 23 to April 26, more than 2,600 car accidents were reported across Massachusetts. 12,000 car accidents were reported during the same period in 2019.

Another measure of driving activity is usually traffic citations or moving violations, such as speeding and parking violations. But during the first three weeks of April 2020, as residents stayed home and law enforcement responded to COVID-19, Massachusetts police departments issued 95 percent fewer tickets for moving violations compared to the same period in 2019.

While traffic remains light overall, Massachusetts State Police have also observed a “significant surge” in drivers speeding more than 100 mph, according to the Globe. Specifically, drivers have also complained about speeding on the MassPike. Now, the agency plans to increase patrols at random times and places.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

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Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those who have been injured by the negligence of others in Massachusetts. Our personal injury attorneys provide experienced representation after motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, truck crashes, pedestrian accidents and bicycle collisions.

Learn your legal rights after an accident. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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man riding bicycle in mountains

Massachusetts safety groups share COVID-19 advisories for cyclists and pedestrians.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys encourage you to follow the Massachusetts “stay at home” advisory. When you go out for essential errands, the CDC advises you to wear a face mask and follow social distance guidelines, staying at least 6 feet apart from other people.

Yet it is also important to get outside for a few minutes of fresh air each day, even if you just stay in your own yard or walk down the street. With many of us so distressed, this can be hard to do, but if you are healthy and able, we have compiled these safety tips from the CDC, the Massachusetts Covid-19 website and bike and pedestrian groups we support.

Massachusetts Stay at Home Advisory

State officials have advised light exercise, such as a walk or run around your neighborhood, is acceptable but you have to follow social distancing and other guidelines. Playing close contact sports with others is against the state guidelines. Mass DPH Health Advisory: Stay at Home (March 24, 2020).

MassBike

MassBike issued a COVID-19 safety update, dated April 19, 2020, saying its response has generally been to follow the Massachusetts Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control. Cyclists can ride, “But MassBike certainly agrees with, and wants to reiterate, the official message of #StayHomeSaveLives. We encourage you all to stay home as best you can.”

MassBike’s safety tips included:

  • Never ride if you are ill or are experiencing of COVID-19.
  • Ride solo or only with others you live with.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Carry your supplies so you can avoid stopping and and interacting with people.
  • Look for a place where others are not riding.
  • Ride with caution.

The CDC recommends people stay at least six feet apart, but how can you measure distance when you are moving? That’s a good question and in its post, MassBike mentioned a Belgium study on social distancing on bikes. The study advises people to walk about 12-15 feet away to maintain safe social distancing or about 30 feet for running and slow biking. When cycling fast, bicyclists should keep at least 60 feet apart.

Boston Cyclists Union

The Boston Cyclists Union says yes, cyclists can still ride. If you do, the organization recommends riding alone or only with others in your home. It also suggests wearing a mask to protect yourselves and others. Read the Boston Cyclists Union advisory, April 1, 2020.

WalkBoston

WalkBoston released an update on March 27, 2020. It also warned the public to practice social distancing when walking. The organization, active in Boston and across Massachusetts, offers a weekly email newsletter.

Massachusetts City and Town Advisories on Expanded Recreation Areas 

Some communities are talking about opening up roads so pedestrians and cyclists have more room to exercise and follow social distance guidelines. In Brookline, the Transportation Board removed parking and traffic lanes and opened up parts of Beacon Street, Brookline Avenue and Harvard Street to pedestrians.

The City of Boston also closed three Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) parkways to traffic, giving pedestrians and cyclists more room. These include the William J. Day Boulevard, Francis Parkman Drive and Greenough Boulevard.

In Cambridge, the City Council was also considering closing roads along Memorial Drive.

Final Note:

In addition to taking COVID-19 safety precautions, cyclists must remember to follow fundamentals, such as always wearing a properly-fitted helmet and using rear and front lights on your bike. If you need a new helmet, supplies or a tune-up, local bike shops are considered “essential businesses” and are allowed to open. Finally, both cyclists and pedestrians can protect themselves by wearing brightly colored clothing or a neon safety vest to stand out. While traffic has decreased on many roads, there are still many drivers out and it’s important to be vigilant about safety.

If you are interested in learning more about bike safety, consider checking out our articles:

Quick Facts About Cycling in Massachusetts

Tips for Safe Bike Commuting in Boston

Other COVID-19 Resources
CDC Advisory on Protective Face Masks
State of Massachusetts COVID-19 Updates
Consumer Reports, “Bike Riding Safety During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” April 10, 2020

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck supports cycling and pedestrian safety in Massachusetts. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we are committed to protecting children on bicycles from concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured by negligence and recklessness throughout Massachusetts, including in car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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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. Everyone should be aware of the risks for bicycle accidents at intersections. These include right hook accidents, which occur when a driver fails to yield to a cyclist while turning right.

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. If you don’t see a cyclist, take the opportunity to look.

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. If the vehicle behind you is obstructing your view, take an extra few seconds.

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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