Good news for Massachusetts bicycle riders! Legislative changes have finally come which help protect bicyclists, and which place greater requirements on drivers of cars and trucks to prevent injuries to bicycle riders.
Bicycle riders are at risk when riding on the road for a number of reasons. First, motorists are often not looking for bicycles when driving; they are looking for larger vehicles, such as other cars or trucks, and they often simply fail to see bicycles (and the same is true, or course, for motorcycles). The risk is magnfied because cyclists are largely unprotected from serious injury if there is a crash.
The new law targets the most common types of accidents, and places new, explicit requirements on drivers to prevent these accidents. These are some of the most common accidents:
- Drivers try to pass a bicycle when there is not enough room
- Drivers cut back into the lane where the bicycle is operating, cutting off the cyclist
- Drivers overtake cyclists, then turn right, right in front of them, cutting them off
- Drivers fail to recognize that bicycles are traveling to the right of traffic–which is perfectly legal–and turn left in front of them, failing to yield the right of way
- Drivers fail to recognize the cyclists passing them on the right, and move to the right or turn to the right without checking blind spots or mirrors
- Drivers and passengers fail to recognize approaching bicycle riders, and open their doors directly in the path of the bicyclist
The new laws, which are part of Chapter 525 of the Acts of 2008 (click for full text of enacted statute), prohibit all of these acts, and create fines for drivers who fail to follow the law.
Hopefully the new legislation will help reduce the incidence of serious injury and wrongful death caused by collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles.
For more information on the legislative changes, please see our article, Good News for Bicyclists in Massachusetts: Important Changes in Massachusetts Statutes Favor Cyclists–Drivers Must Use Greater Care.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?
Massachusetts affords several protections to bicycle riders who have been injured or who have suffered wrongful death in accidents involving motor vehicles. The insurance on the motor vehicle which was involved in the collision will provide no fault benefits, known as Personal Injury Protection beneifts (PIP) without regard to fault. In addition, your insurance on your motor vehicle may provide medical payments benefits. On top of that, bodily injury coverage on the responsible automobile, and uninused or underinsured motorist coverage on your vehilce, or on a household vehicle, may provide insurance coverage.
After getting appropriate treatment, we urge you to promptly seek legal advice from an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Please contact us for prompt, throrough, and the personal care you deserve. Initial consultations are always free. Call us toll free at 800.379.1244, or use the contact form to send us an email. We look forward to helping you.