Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Commercial truck collision with bicycleMassachusetts lawmakers have been asked to approve legislation to protect cyclists from serious and fatal injuries caused by large truck crashes.

“An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities,” would in part require state-contracted trucks to be outfitted with safety sideguards, crossover mirrors, convex mirrors and blind-spot decals to reduce the risk of cyclists being swept underneath the tall carriage of large vehicles. These sideswipe truck accidents are often fatal for cyclists and pedestrians. Meanwhile, the convex mirrors would help expand a truck driver’s view of cyclists. The version of the bill proposed in the House of Representatives would also require use of backup cameras. 

The bill numbers are  HD.1888 and SD.1613. More on the bill and others proposed this session can be found on the MassBike website. 

For Safety, Cities in Massachusetts and Other States Have Already Started Mandating Sideguards

This is not the first time truck sideguards have been proposed in the Massachusetts Legislature or local communities. In 2014, the City of Boston passed the first sideguard ordinance in the nation, requiring sideguards, crossover mirrors, convex mirrors and blind-spot awareness decals on city-contracted trucks. Somerville and Cambridge have also pursued their own bylaws and ordinances to protect cyclists, pedestrians and others against injury. The City of Cambridge initially approved an ordinance for city-owned trucks, then discussed extending the requirement to city-contracted trucks in 2019, after two fatal bike crashes the previous year, according to Wicked Local Cambridge. One of the cyclists was hit by a subcontractor working on a city paving project at the intersection of Monsignor O’Brien Highway and Museum Way. We do not have an update on whether the city changed its ordinance.

Beyond Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and Portland, Oregon have passed truck sideguard ordinances. Portland has had an ordinance in place since 2019, following the death of at least 22 people in heavy-weight truck accidents in the previous four years, according to the city website. 

On average, 26 pedestrians and 22 cyclists are killed in truck collisions with the left and right side of large commercial trucks in the U.S. This is according to a May 2020 report on truck sideguards published by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Association (U.S. DOT). 

But the dangers of large trucks are much greater when you factor in cyclists who survive serious truck crash injuries

Sideguards are just one step toward protecting cyclists. They may prevent a cyclist from being swept under a commercial truck, tractor trailer or trash truck. But sideguards cannot protect against all bicycle accidents. It is essential that drivers also operate with reasonable care, check for cyclists and use their mirrors. At intersections, commercial truck drivers have a responsibility to check left, right, front and back for cyclists. We can’t stress the importance of this.

While this may sound like an easy task, it is actually a unique sequence. Think about it. Drivers generally check front and back for other drivers who are traveling in the same lane and in nearby areas. By contrast, cyclists are usually traveling in the same direction, on the right side of the road or incoming from other parts of the intersection. They are often approaching trucks from behind, then meet parallel at an intersection or stop.

Cyclists are also allowed to travel in the center lane when they need to do so for safety, a common move at intersections. This is because of the chance a truck may overtake a cyclist making a right turn in the bike lane or on the side of the road. When this happens, cyclists can become trapped underneath in the absence of sideguards. Even with sideguards, a truck can collide with the cyclist from the side, causing a forceful and fatal collision sending a cyclist into sidewalks and curbs, vehicles parked on the side of the road or in the middle of the intersection. This is known as a right-hand hook crash.

In addition to sideguards and convex mirrors, backup cameras have become the leading safety tool for all drivers in recent years. The right one can also contribute to safer encounters with cyclists.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers Experienced in Representing Cyclists Injured by Large Vehicles and Trucks

The bicycle accident attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck have extensive experience pursuing financial compensation for cyclists injured in bicycle accidents involving large trucks and vehicles. If you have been injured, the cause may have been a driver’s negligence or a truck’s defective mechanical system. It is vital that you or a family member report the bicycle accident right away to police and consult with an experienced attorney.

Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented clients injured by negligence in Massachusetts since 1992, including in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville; Plymouth and Brockton; the South Shore, Cape Cod, Framingham, Worcester, and Lawrence, Danvers and Newburyport and Gloucester on the North Shore.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 (toll-free) or 617-723-7676. For your convenience, you can also use our contact form.

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Boston cyclist riding in snow

In Boston, drivers can take extra caution when traveling near a cyclist during winter.

Gone are the days when drivers only had to watch for cyclists during the warm weather in Massachusetts. Cyclists have become a fixture on our roads year-round in Boston, including in January and as the pandemic continues.

As a driver, we urge you to slow down this winter and look for cyclists. Also give cyclists extra room so they can respond to a traffic situation without wiping out or being struck in a bicycle accident.

While most cyclists try to avoid stormy weather, there are times when cyclists still find themselves riding in slippery or snowy situations.  Also remember that days after a snow fall, snow plows can make another pass at roads and parking lots, which can interfere with a cyclist’s path as well as pedestrians, cars and delivery trucks.

If you fail to check for cyclists, you could cause a cyclist a life-threatening injury and be held financial liable by the victim. Do all you can to avoid causing a cycling accident. Take a few minutes to ask a cyclist about the challenges they face on the road, continuously check for cyclists while you drive and always assume there will be cyclists on the road.

This blog shares safety reminders to help Massachusetts drivers travel safely near cyclists this winter.

Massachusetts Bicycle Laws. In Massachusetts, cyclists have rights and responsibilities. One of the first rights concerns where cyclists can ride. Under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B, cyclists are allowed to ride in a bike lane, on the side of the road or in the main traffic lane. Up to two cyclists can ride abreast in the main traffic lane. Cyclists should travel in the same direction as traffic.

When you see a cyclist, remember they can switch lanes or turn at any time. They may not always be able to safely use hand signals. Likewise, if you find yourself behind a bicycle and they are blocking traffic, you should practice patience or take another route.

Common Bicycle Injuries. Cyclists are vulnerable on the roads, traveling between motorized cars, trucks and other vehicles. A cyclist can be injured when a driver makes an error at an intersection or cuts the cyclist off when turning.

When a truck turns at an intersection, the driver has a responsibility to check for a cyclist before turning right. Truck drivers who neglect this step can cause a fatal crash injuring a cyclist. This is often called a “right hook” crash.

Another type of bicycle crash is called a “left hook” accident. This type of collision happens when a vehicle travels straight or turns left at an intersection, cutting off or colliding with a cyclist at an intersection. The cyclist is usually traveling in another direction.

By simply remembering to check for cyclists at intersections, truck drivers and motorists can make a big difference in preventing an accident or fatality. As you wait for a red light, try to look several times for cyclists: front, right, left and back. Many drivers neglect to fully check their blindspots, which is where cyclists are likely to be.

Darkness and Storms. The majority of fatal bike crashes in 2018 occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Darkness falls earlier during the winter and there are also snow and rain conditions. Be patient if you see a cyclist pedaling in snow conditions.

As a driver, another step you can take is to look for well-lit roads. You can also look for the light. As a driver, if you see a flicker of color ahead, this is likely a cyclist or pedestrian.

Under Massachusetts law, cyclists are required to use bike lights when riding from thirty minutes after sunset until thirty minutes before. Bike reflectors are also required. Cyclists must have reflectors wrapped around both pedals or around their ankles. The bike lights should be visible from distances of 500 to 600 feet.

See the Cyclist From A Distance. In addition to checking for cyclists at intersections, always look ahead for cyclists. Scan the side of the roads. Cyclists should be traveling on the same side of the road as you in the same direction, but they may not always do so, especially if they are displaced by snow conditions. By taking time to look ahead, you give yourself more time to respond.

Read more tips on cycling safety in our article, “Facts About Massachusetts Bicycle Laws.”

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has extensive experience representing cyclists who have been injured in bicycle accidents by negligent drivers in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts. Our attorneys are skilled at investigation and negotiation with insurance companies to help our clients obtain the compensation they need for their recovery.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. Call Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 for a free legal consultation. You can also use our online contact form.

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View from Inman Square, Cambridge

View from Inman Square, Cambridge, once ranked the top bike crash site in Massachusetts, according to MassDOT crash data. Photo: 2017, after installation of new bike lanes.

With strong encouragement from local cyclists, the Cambridge City Council voted to expand and update the Cambridge Cycling Safety Ordinance this week. The council approved the original ordinance last year, drawing national attention with an ambitious commitment to build 20 miles of protected bike lanes.

But cyclists felt there was more work to do. They recently asked the Cambridge City Council to prioritize areas for protected bike lane development, add new roads and establish a deadline for improvements.

  • The Cambridge City Council approved a May 1, 2026 deadline for building out Cambridge’s network of protected bike lanes (now 22.6 miles), using either permanent construction or quick-build approaches (Source: Cambridge Bicycle Safety announcement dated October 6, 2020).
  • Protected bike lanes will also be added in more areas, including Broadway, between Harvard University and Kendall Square, and Garden Street, according to according to StreetsBlog Mass.
  • City councilors also voted to prioritize bike lane development in the area north of Harvard Square, directing city staff to develop a detailed plan by May 2021. Hampshire and Cambridge streets, near Inman Square, will also now move up on the work list (Source: StreetsBlog Mass).

The vote comes several weeks after a cyclist was killed in Harvard Square. In August, a large tractor-trailer struck and killed the male cyclist on Massachusetts Avenue, near Brattle Street. Just a year ago, in September 2019, another bicycle accident resulted in a female cyclist’s death in the area.  A devastated family member later wrote a guest column in a local newspaper, urging the city to make safety improvements in Harvard Square.

The City of Cambridge has been studying traffic in congested Harvard Square. After the cyclist’s death in August, a city official stated Cambridge will add a separated bike lane and reduce travel lanes on Massachusetts Avenue, between the Harvard Square Kiosk and Harvard Square (Source: The Boston Herald, August 26, 2020).

Harvard Square is known for historic buildings and iconic shops, such as The Coop, the Harvard University bookstore. Adjacent to Harvard Yard and Harvard University, the square is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street and John F. Kennedy Street. The MBTA red line stops there and pedestrians and cyclists are in close proximity to motor vehicle traffic, buses and trucks.

Other Cambridge Bicycle Accidents

The Cambridge Bicycle Safety, a volunteer group, has led the effort for expanding protected bike lanes across the city. Its announcement noted this was the first mandatory timeline for building a bike lane network in the United States.

Safety is a leading concern for cyclists in Cambridge. Between residents and commuters, Cambridge has a high number of cyclists. When cyclists have been injured or killed in traffic accidents, many people have felt the impact. There has been a strong response in each case.

In June 2016, a 27-year-old cyclist was tragically hit and killed in a bicycle crash in Inman Square. The woman was struck by a Jeep Cherokee’s open door, then pushed into the travel lane, where she was ultimately struck by a moving dump truck, according to Wicked Local Cambridge. She was pronounced dead a short time later at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Then, in October 2016, a cyclist was fatally injured in Porter Square. The cyclist was struck by a tractor-trailer and a sedan during a morning ride. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

After these crashes, a Cambridge resident campaigned to encourage drivers to use the Dutch Reach method before exiting their vehicles. This method encourages drivers to take a full look at the road from their seat, so they do not risk “dooring” a cyclist.

As a result of his campaign, the state of Massachusetts added instruction on the Dutch Reach method to the state driver’s manual to educate drivers.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston and Cambridge Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm which specializes in the representation of cyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers. Our attorneys offer more than 100 years combined experience handling all types of bicycle accidents, including truck crashes injuring cyclists, intersection bike accidents, right hook crashes and dooring. We help cyclists obtain compensation for recovery, including for medical care, lost wages and pain and suffering.

But our attorneys do more than represent cyclists. We are committed to improving safety for cyclists in the Boston area. We have long supported local cyclist clubs. And through our Project KidSafe campaign, we have donated 30,000 bicycle helmets to children across Massachusetts, including in partnership with the Cambridge Police Department. The League of American Bicyclists has honored us as a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, call our Boston bicycle accident lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston at the Waltham Police Department Donating Children's Bike HelmetsOne of our longest-running partnerships through our Project KidSafe campaign is with the Waltham Police Department. For the 6th year, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 100 bike helmets for officers to distribute to children who need one. Attorney David W. White delivered bike helmets to Captain Jeff Rodley (far right) and Officer Chris Benson (far left) at the Waltham Police Department last week.

We are pleased to make the donation as Massachusetts schools begin to re-open. We know more children and families have been riding bikes since the COVID-19 closures last March. We also know there may be more children riding to school and it is critical that they protect themselves – every time they ride. Wearing a helmet makes good sense and is the law in Massachusetts for children 16 and younger.

Learn more about our Project KidSafe bike safety campaign: www.bwglaw.com/bikes. Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm. To learn about our work and our attorneys, visit our website.

boston-bike-to-work-2019-trio-1200

From 2019 Bike Month: Attorney David W. White (center) with Lee Toma (left) of Milton Bike and Galen Mook, executive director of MassBike.

Cyclists have something to look forward to this month. A long-time tradition will continue in Massachusetts: Bay State Bike Month. The schedule began on Sept. 1 and runs through the end of the month.

We encourage everyone who commutes to work to check out the schedule. Breakstone, White & Gluck usually participates in Bike Month activities in the Boston area and we have a lot of fun. We donate bicycle helmets to various events as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Last year, Attorney David W. White was fitting helmets for commuters at Boston’s Bike to Work Festival at City Hall Plaza.

This is always a worthwhile opportunity to connect with other cyclists and learn about safe riding techniques. But we give cyclists a little more of a nudge this year, after so many of us have been isolated due to COVID-19.

Now in its 26th year, Bay State Bike Month is organized by MassBike, MassCommute and the Massachusetts Coalition of Transportation Management Associations. The goal is to promote cycling for commuting, fitness and recreation, and also introduce the activity to new riders. This year, the event was postponed from May to September due to COVID-19.

The schedule is lighter this year, but small and online events are being added daily. The signature event, MassCommute Bicycle Challenge, will still be held – though virtually – from Sept. 19 to 27. Get ready to log your miles.

While fewer cyclists may physically gather at events, we know many are interested in cycling and concerned about the risk for accidents. That’s why we want to share this video, “Safer Trucking in Changing Cities,” which was recently shared in the Somerville Bicycle Committee’s monthly newsletter. The video was funded by the Joe Lavins Fund for Bicycle Safety.

We encourage anyone interested in cycling on the road to watch this video and hear from local cyclists and safety advocates. They expertly describe safety conditions for cyclists in the Boston area and explain how truck drivers can reduce the risk for bicycle accidents. One topic was infrastructure. If you are new to cycling, it may be valuable to hear the cyclists explain some of the safety infrastructure cities have built in recent years. The cyclists explained how bike lanes, separated bike lanes and bike boxes at the top of intersections can protect cyclists – if truck drivers take the time to learn their responsibilities and give cyclists adequate space in these areas.

SAFER TRUCKING in Changing Cities from FOV videos on Vimeo.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Attorneys

Breakstone, White & Gluck is an award-winning Boston law firm which specializes in personal injury law. With more than 100 years combined experience, our firm has represented drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians injured by negligent driving in Massachusetts.

We have made a special commitment to bicycle safety in Massachusetts. Each year, we donate bicycle helmets to children as part of our Project KidSafe campaign, working in partnership with local police departments, bicycle committees and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School.

We proudly support MassBike as a business member. Our attorneys also work with MassBike to distribute our bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.

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We are pleased to share an update from Lowell, where our partner, The Bike Connector, had a strong start-up year getting bikes and safety materials to students, despite the many challenges of COVID-19. We hope interest and momentum is building around The Bike Connector’s work.

As of mid-August, The Bike Connector had distributed 93 new refurbished bikes to local students (which is a big accomplishment, even in non-COVID times). Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to support the organization’s bike safety initiative. Our attorneys gave each student a new bicycle helmet, as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.

The Bike Connector had to relocate from its classroom due to COVID-19. It ended up working out of a storage container at Career Academy in Lowell Highlands, which is part of the Lowell Public School system. But the organization made the set-up work. They even enjoyed a few benefits, such as being able to work with students outside, having bikes and safety gear nearby and shade from the hot sun.

The organization identified youth who needed bikes by partnering with the Lowell Public Schools and other educational, non-profit and social services agencies across the city. These organizations included Brigid’s Crossing; Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. Other partners: the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell; UMass Lowell Freewheelers; Elevate New England; and New American Center.

If you were in Lowell this summer, you may have seen The Bike Connector giving away refurbished bikes and helmets. You may have seen the students and their families having a lot of fun as they received new bikes. If you looked closer, the excitement extended beyond students and their families. Word of events spread quickly in neighborhoods.

Behind the scenes, what you didn’t see was The Bike Connector also offered a four-week online summer bike academy to incoming freshmen at Lowell High School this summer. This program introduced students to bike safety, bike maintenance, the rules of the road, Lowell geography and urban planning. Each student who participated earned a bike, helmet and light. We hope this course proves to be a guide as students return to school and want to travel safely on bikes.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents clients who have been seriously injured by negligence or wrongdoing. In 2013, our lawyers founded our Project KidSafe campaign, with a goal of encouraging children to wear helmets every time they ride. By wearing a properly-fitted helmet, children and other cyclists can protect against head injuries. In Massachusetts, children age 16 and younger are required to wear helmets. But children need more. They need a strong encouragement from their families and others in the community. If you are a parent, we encourage you to wear a helmet along with your child.

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

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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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