Attorney Ronald E. Gluck is speaking about the video footage of the 2015 truck crash that killed his client, Dr. Anita Kurmann.
Twenty months after the fatality occurred, the Boston Police Department completed its investigation and concluded that the truck driver was not responsible for the cyclist’s death. The video footage, which came from a traffic camera at the intersection where the tragedy occurred, was in the hands of the police the day the incident occurred. Yet, the Kurmann family and their attorney had to wait twenty months to see the video and to obtain any witness information from the police department, Gluck said. Multiple subpoenas sent to the police were met with a refusal to produce the information until the police concluded it investigation.
“One of the most difficult aspects of the case was that Anita’s family had to wait twenty months to obtain the video footage showing how the incident occurred…Families should have the right to know the facts in these situations,” he said.
Gluck said his own investigation found that the truck driver was responsible for Kurmann’s death.
“Once we were able to obtain a copy of the video and have it analyzed by a highly qualified expert, that expert provided compelling evidence that the conclusion reached by the Boston Police Department was wrong,” Gluck said.
Within 2 months of obtaining the video and witness accounts of the fatality, Gluck was able to demonstrate that the tragedy was caused by the truck driver’s negligence and negotiated a financial settlement with the truck driver and his insurance company on behalf of Kurmann’s estate. The settlement was reached in June 2017.
Gluck added, “I have great respect for the Boston Police Department, but we believe they got it wrong in this case. The truck driver caused the fatality, ending the life of a talented surgeon and devoted family member.”
MassBike also conducted an investigation into the case and concluded that the death resulted from the truck driver’s negligence.
Dr. Kurmann, a 38-year-old endocrine surgeon from Switzerland, was a leading research scientist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. She was hit on an August morning on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. The truck driver kept going, but was located out of state later that day.
Gluck has represented plaintiffs in personal injury cases for more than 35 years. He specializes in cases involving catastrophic injury and death resulting from trucking and motor vehicle collisions, bicycle and motorcycle accidents and pedestrian injuries.
These are the days when children just want to be outdoors, riding their bikes. We want them to enjoy the experience and always, always wear a bicycle helmet.
Breakstone, White & Gluck recently made bicycle helmet donations in Westborough, Lexington and Dorchester as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. We are committed to protecting young cyclists and are now in the fourth year of our campaign. Along the way, we have donated over 10,000 bicycle helmets to children who need one, with support from community groups, bicycle safety organizations, police departments and schools which organize bike helmet giveaways.
Wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet is the best way for cyclists to protect themselves against head injuries from falls and bicycle accidents. Under the law, anyone who is 16 years of age or younger in Massachusetts is required to wear one while riding.
Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Attorney David White and Bruce Tretter, Westborough Selectman and Chair of the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, with fellow committee members Ellen Gugel and Glenn McLeod, at Spring Festival in Westborough on May 7, 2016.
We recently partnered with the Westborough Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for a third year and distributed nearly 200 bicycle helmets over two weekends.
On April 30th, 120 children’s bicycle helmets were distributed to families at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. The giveaway was part of Healthy Kids Day. On May 7th, Attorney David White joined committee members and together distributed about 80 helmets at the Spring Festival, a three-day event sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westborough.
Discovery Day in Lexington
Over Memorial Day, Lexington held its 37th Annual Discovery Day, a chance for residents to enjoy music, food and learn about local businesses and town government. Families also had the opportunity to learn about bicycle safety at the Lexington Police Department tent. Police officers gave away 100 of our Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to children, while also showing them and their parents how to properly fit the helmets.
This was the third year Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated children’s bicycle helmets in the Lexington community. The donations have been arranged by the Friends of the Lexington Bikeways.
UP Academy Dorchester
The UP Academy Dorchester wanted to start a conversation with middle school students about bicycle safety. To help, Breakstone, White & Gluck recently donated bicycle helmets and provided safety literature. The UP Education Network is a non-profit management organization which works to turnaround low-performing schools. It operates three tuition-free schools in Boston and two in Lawrence, serving 2,600 of the state’s historically underserved students. A new academy will open in Springfield next Fall.
The UP Education Network was founded in 2010, the year Massachusetts passed education reform to re-start low performing schools. Once a school district, city or state identifies a school needs a restart, the UP Education Network can take on full management for the school. The academies operate inside – not independent of – school districts.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which is committed to the safety of all bicyclists in Massachusetts. We have over 100 years combined experience representing bicyclists injured by the negligence of others. If you, or a member of your family, has been injured in a bicycle incident, please feel free to contact us for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. Thank you and RIDE SAFE!
The family of Dr. Anita Kurmann, who was tragically hit and killed by a truck last summer in Back Bay, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver and the trucking company. Attorney Ronald E. Gluck of Breakstone, White & Gluck filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family in Suffolk Superior Court. The Boston Globe reported on the case on May 19, 2016.
The Westwood Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee distributed 125 bicycle helmets to children at Westwood Day over the weekend. Despite the cold and rainy day, families turned out and the committee distributed the helmets in a little more than two hours.
Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.
Attorney David W. White is a Westwood resident and participated as a member of the Westwood Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Committee.
Through our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated 3,500 helmets this year and over 8,000 helmets since our first donation in 2013. Our goal is to encourage children and families to wear bicycle helmets and reduce the risk of serious head injury should they fall or be injured in a bicycle accident.
Watertown Faire on the Square: On Sept. 26th, the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee distributed 120 Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to children in the community at the 16th annual Watertown Faire on the Square.
Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward: Attorney David W. White will join Boston Bikes at the Old Colony public housing development in South Boston on Friday, Oct. 9th. Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward program provides refurbished bikes to city residents each year and returns for bike repair events. Breakstone, White & Gluck is donating 100 helmets and Attorney White will fit children who need one for the new helmets.
Breakstone, White & Gluck recently joined the fifth graders at West Somerville Neighborhood School as they graduated from the CYCLE Kids program. Our firm was proud to donate 400 bicycle helmets this year to Somerville elementary school students participating in CYCLE Kids. We made the donations as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.
Attorney Ronald Gluck handed out new bicycle helmets to the 34 students who received certificates of completion at the West Somerville school. The certificates were handed out by Somerville Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra and physical education teacher Neil Holloway, who coordinate the program.
Photo: Attorney Ronald Gluck hands a helmet to a fifth grader who completed the CYCLE Kids program at the West Somerville Neighborhood School.
Photo: A hand-written message from a fifth grader at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, where Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets
Photo: A Thank You from the fifth graders at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bicycle helmets to the children for completing the CYCLE Kids program.
Photo: Another note from a student at the West Somerville Neighborhood School.
CYCLE Kids is a curriculum which teaches children about bicycle safety, literacy and nutrition. It is developed by the non-profit CYCLE Kids organization, based in Cambridge. In Somerville, the curriculum is offered to fifth graders as part of physical education class.
Students are taught how to ride a bicycle, use hand signals and that they must always wear a bicycle helmet while riding. For many students, it is their first experience riding a bicycle. They learn in class and through essay writing and take-home activities. Here is an excerpt from one student’s essay:
“At first, I didn’t have confidence but after talking with my friends in my homeroom with Ms. Carafotes, they all encouraged me to have confidence. That was the most important lesson because in the beginning I was afraid that I might fall. I fell twice but I just got right back up again and tried until I didn’t fall anymore. That would be my advice to anyone learning is to have confidence in yourself because if you don’t, you won’t accomplish your dreams.”
This student ended his essay with this note: “The best part of this program was getting a free Helmet at the end of our experience. I hope this continues every year for kids who don’t know how to ride a bike.”
About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Project KidSafe
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a personal injury law firm. We have partnered with the CYCLE Kids program for three years, proving bicycle helmets in the Cambridge Public Schools in 2013 and the Somerville Public Schools in 2014 and 2015.
Our Project KidSafe campaign works to keep children safe and encourage safe bicycle riding. Since 2013, we have donated over 4,500 bicycle helmets to children who need one in eastern Massachusetts and worked with organizations such as Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward, the Somerville Kiwanis Club, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, Bikes Not Bombs and local bicycle committees.
Photo: Students reading their essays about learning to ride a bicycle in the CYCLE Kids program. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 400 bicycle helmets to the Somerville public schools for fifth-graders who completed the CYCLE Kids program.
Photo: Students at the West Somerville Neighborhood School with their certificates of completion for the CYCLE Kids program, which provides instruction on how to ride a bicycle safely.
Photo: A student wearing a Project KidSafe bicycle helmet. For the second year, Breakstone, White & Gluck partnered with CYCLE Kids and the Somerville Public Schools and donated these helmets for students.
Photo: Community Police Officer Marianne Manfra, Attorney Ronald Gluck and students who completed the CYCLE Kids program at West Somerville Neighborhood School.
Our attorneys partnered with the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to bring helmets to the community.
Photo from left to right: Officer Garret Coffin, Det. David Loureiro, attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck, and Ed Kross, member of the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Crowds packed the Framingham High School gym for the fourth annual Framingham Earth Day Festival on Saturday. There were 70 vendors offering products and services related to promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Breakstone, White & Gluck participated by donating 150 bike helmets to help children ride safely.
Breakstone, White & Gluck worked with the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to coordinate the donation. Attorney David White participated in the event, along with Bill Hanson, chair of the advisory committee and committee members Ed Kross, Stacy Lee and Ben Gustafson. Police Officer Garret Coffin and Detective David Loureiro of the Framingham Police Department also helped distribute the helmets.
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, is donating bike helmets to children through a number of cycling organizations this year. This is the second year we have made these donations. Our goal is to provide local children access to bike helmets which properly fit to reduce the risk of head injuries.
Of all cyclists, children are most at risk for injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, children ages 5-14 and young adults ages 15-24 have the highest rates of non-fatal bicycle related injuries. They account for 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
We offer several cycling safety resources on our website. Visit www.bwglaw.com/project-kidsafe/ for information on a cyclist’s rights and responsibilities under Massachusetts law.
We have also written an article about how cyclists can protect themselves by purchasing extra coverage on their car insurance policy.
Boston celebrates the return of the nation’s premier bike-sharing program, Hubway, which is celebrating its third season in town. The program has now expanded from Boston to Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. And today, to celebrate opening day for the Red Sox, Hubway is having a Rolling Celebration ride through the cities.
If you are a Massachusetts bicyclist, now is a good time to review some important rules and regulations, as well as some important insurance tips:
Roads. You can travel on the side of the road or in the middle of the lane. Up to two cyclists can ride abreast in a lane. Many communities also offer designated bike lanes and shared lanes. Turns to the left can, and should, be made from the left-most lane.
Cars. Cars must give you the right of way; they cannot turn left in front of you unless it is safe to do so; they may not make a right turn in front of you if they have just passed you; they must pass at a reasonably safe distance, or wait until it is safe to do so.
Sidewalks. You are allowed to ride on sidewalks outside business districts, unless prohibited by local regulations.
Pedestrians. Remember to give pedestrians the right of way and warn pedestrians you are overtaking or passing them. You should have a bell or horn on your bicycle, and there is nothing wrong with a friendly “Passing on your right.”
Bike Helmets. Helmets are required for cyclists ages 16 and younger in Massachusetts, but they are also an important tool for riders of all ages. Head injuries are among the most serious injuries a cyclist can sustain in a bike accident. In 2009, 630 cyclists died in the United States and 91 percent were not wearing helmets, according to the Insurance Highway Safety Institute.
Bike Lights and Reflectors. If you ride in the dark (one-half hour after sunset or one-half hour before sunrise), make sure your bike has lights and reflectors. You must have a white light facing forward and a red light facing backward. Cyclists must have reflectors on their pedals or reflective material around their ankles. You can have as many lights as you like.
Bike Maps. Bike lanes and bike paths may offer safer travel options. Call your local town or city hall and ask if they produce a bike map so you can plan your route. These two are available online: Somerville Bicycle Map and the Boston Bicycle Map.
Bike Parking. You are allowed to park your bike in a bike rack or anywhere on a sidewalk or road, but your bike cannot obstruct pedestrians or motor vehicle traffic. See this map for Boston Bike Parking.
Bike Accidents. If you are in an accident, the most important step is to obtain medical care, even if you do not initially think you are seriously injured. If you are able, take pictures of the position of your bike and the car at the accident scene. Later, file a report with the local police department. Under the law, you must notify the police for any accident involving serious injury or over $100 or greater in property damage.
Protect Yourself With Adequate Insurance. Believe it or not, insurance on your own car may protect you if you are in an accident. Your car insurance may provide uninsured or underinsured coverage for serious injuries. Read our article, What Every Massachusetts Bicyclist Needs to Know About Car Insurance. Your homeowner’s policy may provide coverage for property damage.
As it finally cracks 50 degrees and Massachusetts residents get their first taste of spring, everyone is heading outside. Enjoy the nice weather tending to the yard and pedaling your bike, but don’t forget to avoid personal injuries. Here are some ways you and your family can avoid personal injuries:
On a hot humid Boston day, a swimming pool can be an oasis. However, swimming pools can be hazardous for young children. Adults should keep a close eye on children, whether in or near the water. Home pools should be surrounded by a fence that is at least 5 five feet high and self latches. When not in use, the pool fence should be locked. Keep the area around the pool free of clutter that can cause someone to trip. Poolside rescue equipment- such as 10-12 foot rescue pole and a ring buoy with line-should be kept close by. Keep a life vest close by and outfit all poor swimmers with a life vest. Be aware that the suction from pool drains can entrap swimmers underwater. Finally, keep pool chemicals in a safe place, out of reach of children.
Lawnmower safety starts with the proper shoes. Although it feels great to slip into sandals after months in boots, always wear sturdy shoes when operating a lawnmower along with eye and hearing protection. The next rule of lawnmower safety is to survey the yard for sticks, stones, and other objects that can go flying when struck by a lawnmower blade. Use a mower that will stop moving forward and will stop the blades’ movement if the handle is released. Wait for the blades to stop before crossing a street or trying to remove the grass catcher or discharge chute. Start and refuel motors outside on the yard, rather than in the garage. Finally, never let children under 12 operate a handheld mower or under 16 operate a ride-on mower.
Adults and children alike should wear helmets when riding bikes. Helmets prevent serious injuries and can keep a bike accident from being a fatal accident. Helmets should be worn level on the head with the chin strap secured so the helmet cannot move. Also, when purchasing a bike for your child, make sure the bike is the right size for the child. An oversized bike can be hard to control and dangerous.
Anyone who has ever fallen off a slide or slipped off the monkey bars knows there are significant risks for personal injuries at the playground. Always keep a watchful eye on children. If putting together playground equipment, make sure the equipment is assembled according to instructions and weighted to the ground. Periodically check for loose, rusted, or sharp pieces. Install safety padding, mats, or soft fill material beneath playground equipment, extending out six feet on all sides. Do not allow children to attach ropes to the playground equipment to avoid strangulation hazards and accidents if the rope comes loose. Make sure walls and fences are at least six feet away from all playground equipment.
For more tips on keeping your family safe this spring and summer, see the following websites:
Home Safety Council (Pool Safety)
US Consumer Product Safety Commission (Pool Safety)
Department of Transportation (Bike Safety)
HealthyChildren.Org (Lawnmover Safety)
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.
Rising gas prices have led to an increased in bicycle use around the country. Unfortunately, that trend has led
to an increase in bicycle accidents as well.
Statistics are not available for the current year, but bicycle traffic is up dramatically in Massachusetts
metropolitan areas. In other areas, there is an increase as well. For example, in one California city, bicycle traffic was up 14% but accidents increased by 40%. Fatal accidents in Chicago and New Jersey were also noted to be
significantly increased this year.
The most recent crash statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHSTA), through 2005, indicate that the highest rates of injury are in the 10-19 year old range, but the highest rate of fatalities is in males 35-54. Death rates were approaching historical highs in 2005. The most common causes of bicycle accidents are left-turning vehicles which fail to yield the right of way, and vehicles which overtake a cyclist, and then turn in front of the cyclist.
In a city like Boston, where bicycle transportation has historically received little attention from transportation officials, Mayor Menino has promised to make Boston more bicycle-friendly. This means the city will be adding more bike lanes to major streets. But Boston has a long ways to go, if the ratings from Bicycling Magazine are any indication. Boston has been rated the worst city for bicycling for three years. Mayor Menino’s promise is to move Boston to the “Best” column for cyclists.