Articles Tagged with “bicycle accidents”

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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Dooring bicycle accident

A passenger nearly causes a dooring accident by opening her car door, without checking for cyclists. By using the Dutch Reach method, drivers and passengers can reduce their risk of causing these injuries.

As April begins, so come more cyclists on the road. Drivers should consider each cyclist a reminder to use the Dutch Reach method and never open your car door without checking. You can cause serious and even fatal injuries to a cyclist. In Massachusetts, you may also be held financially responsible for the tragedy that follows.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our lawyers have represented many cyclists injured by dooring accidents and other bicycle collisions in Boston, Cambridge and across the state. We urge drivers to take a few minutes to learn about the Dutch Reach method to prevent injuries.

Lack of awareness causes many injuries. Many drivers park and open their car door automatically, heedless of its risk to passing cyclists or to themselves (or door!) even as the number of cyclists sharing our roads increases by the year. In Boston alone, the city’s bike counting program tracked nearly 40,000 bike trips each day in 2017. During 2019, the concern spreads beyond cyclists as dockless scooters arrive in the Boston area.

What is the Dutch Reach?

Dooring accidents happen after drivers park and exit their vehicles without checking. The Dutch Reach method attempts to slow the process down and give drivers more time to see cyclists and anticipate potential accidents.

The approach calls on drivers to park and then check their rear-view and side-view mirrors. If there are no cyclists or pedestrians nearby, drivers can turn to open the door with their far hand. In the process, they should get a good look at the road behind them. Both drivers and passengers are advised to follow this approach. By doing so, drivers can limit the risk for injuries to cyclists as well as pedestrians.

Watch this video to learn about the Dutch Reach method. The demonstration begins around the 1 minute mark.

The Dutch Reach method originated in the Netherlands. But Michael Charney, a Cambridge doctor, began campaigning for awareness in Massachusetts in 2016, after the devastating bicycle crash which killed Amanda Phillips in Cambridge’s Inman Square. The 27-year-old was hit by two vehicles, first an open door.

As a result of this campaign, Massachusetts updated its state driver’s manual in 2017, adding instructions for the Dutch Reach method. Dooring has been against the law in Massachusetts since 2009. You can be cited and fined up to $100 per offense for interfering with other traffic, including a pedestrian or cyclist. You can also face a civil claim from the victim seeking financial damages. For years, drivers and cyclists have learned the dangers of dooring crashes after a collision; but adding the Dutch Reach instructions to the Massachusetts driver’s manual now provides clear and concise instructions for how to prevent these crashes.

Following success in Massachusetts, Charney’s campaign has continued, resulting in two other states, Washington and Illinois, adding the Dutch Reach to the state driver’s manual.

Safety Reminders for Traveling Near Cyclists

  • Expect cyclists on the road. Many cyclists will travel in the bike lane or to the right of traffic, but remember that cyclists have the legal right to operate in the traffic lane when they need.
  • Slow down. When you travel fast, you have less time to respond.
  • Follow cyclists at a safe distance. Cyclists should have at least three feet of space when you pass them.
  • The further back you travel, the wider your field of vision.
  • Remember that cyclists may need to leave the bike lane. You need to make sure you can respond if they do.
  • Expect someone may stop unexpectedly, such as a delivery truck or an Uber or Lyft vehicle picking up a passenger.
  • Be careful not to startle a cyclist. Never honk.
  • Approach crosswalks and traffic signals with caution. Cyclists are supposed to stop, but expect there may be times they can’t due to traffic conditions.
  • Use your mirrors. Check for cyclists behind you and next to you, especially before turning or parking.
  • Finally, again, be careful when parking. Use the Dutch Reach method. Be cautious when parking in unfamiliar streets and avoid parking near traffic signals and crosswalks.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck represent cyclists who have been injured by the negligence of drivers. We also work to prevent bicycle accidents and improve safety through our sponsorship of bicycle clubs in the Boston area and our Project KidSafe campaign, which has donated more than 25,000 bicycle helmets to children across Massachusetts.

If you have been injured, Breakstone, White & Gluck offers a free legal consultation. Learn more about our attorneys.

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easthampton

Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign donated nearly 200 youth bicycle helmets in Westborough this year. Our attorneys are committed to preventing head injuries and for 5 years, have partnered with the Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee to bring helmets to children who need one. (File photo: From a May 2016 Project KidSafe event in Western Mass).

We are glad the weather held off!

For the fifth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign donated nearly 200 children’s bicycle helmets in Westborough. Last Spring, about 100 helmets were distributed by the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. The helmets went to children who needed one at the annual Healthy Kids Day. But thanks to Mother Nature, giving away the rest was more challenging.

First, unseasonable weather forced the the Rotary Club of Westborough to cancel the Spring Fest. On Saturday, it looked like the back-up plan – to hold a Fall Fest – was also in jeopardy. But we are happy to report the skies cleared enough for activities to go on. Our thanks to members of the Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, who were out fitting our Project KidSafe helmets for the kids and talking to families about the importance of wearing them.

Wearing a helmet is critical for cyclists of any age. A helmet can limit the impact if a cyclist falls and significantly reduce the chances of a head injury. In Massachusetts, cyclists under 17 are required to wear helmets when they ride. The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck began our Project KidSafe campaign to put helmets on more children and to encourage children and families to wear one at all times. Our lawyers have represented many cyclists who have suffered head injuries in bicycle accidents over the years, and we know that cyclists can protect themselves by wearing a helmet, which is in good condition, meets safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and properly fits.

That’s why Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013. As we near the end of 2018, our attorneys are proud to have donated over 20,000 bicycle helmets across Massachusetts. We have partnered with more than 40 organizations over the years and it’s one of our priorities to support local bicycle committees, which are making Massachusetts safer one project at a time. In Westborough, the committee has worked to improve pedestrian and bike signals and supported construction of bike paths. The Westborough Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s website provides resources for cyclists who want help getting around.

Read about the Westborough rotary’s Fall Fest in the Community Advocate newspaper.

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Dooring bicycle accidentA recent New York Times article on dooring injuries shows the risks to cyclists continue, even after advocacy efforts in Boston and other cities.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys represent cyclists who have been seriously injured in dooring accidents. While many dooring accidents happen in urban areas such as Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, dooring can happen in any community in Massachusetts. When drivers or passengers open doors without checking, cyclists can suffer devastating injuries, including broken bones, facial fractures and head injuries. Dooring crashes can be fatal.

Dooring crashes do not always make the news in Boston. But they are happening, more than any other type of bicycle accident. In fact, in November 2016, The Boston Globe reported cyclists faced a 225 percent higher risk for dooring than any other bicycle accident injury.

For the fifth year, Somerville 5th graders have met our challenge. Our lawyers are pleased to send 370 students into summer with a free bicycle helmet from Project KidSafe, our campaign to encourage safe cycling and prevent head injuries.

The students earned the helmets by completing the CYCLE Kids curriculum, which teaches bicycle safety fundamentals. CYCLE Kids is offered as part of physical education classes at Somerville public schools. Through CYCLE Kids, some students in Somerville learn how to ride a bicycle for the first time. Others gain valuable experience or take other cycling firsts – such as riding with friends for the first time or their first ride on the Somerville Community Path.

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to participate in Boston’s Bike to Work Festival on May 18, 2018. The City of Boston organizes this event each year to encourage and celebrate cycling. Cyclists can ride right into City Hall Plaza and enjoy a free breakfast and vendor tables. Our attorneys have participated in this event for the past few years and it’s always a fun way to close out Bay State Bike Week and Bike Month. This year, we set up our Project KidSafe tent and fit 70 free bicycle helmets for cyclists who needed one.

If you missed this year’s event, you can learn more on the City of Boston’s website. Read more about our Project KidSafe campaign on our website.

Here are a few photos from the event:

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Cyclist after a hit and run crashNational Bike Month is a time to celebrate and champion cycling. If you live in Massachusetts, you know the cycling spirit is stronger than ever. But that doesn’t mean conditions are always safe.

In fact, cyclists and pedestrians are at a higher risk now than ever. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports cycling deaths increased 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. Pedestrian deaths rose 9 percent. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently weighed in with a report on hit and run crashes. The numbers show the toll on pedestrians and cyclists, as well as others on the road.

mother fits daughter's bike helmetBoston saw 70 degrees in February last week. Naturally, many of us are now ready for Spring. If you are a cyclist or have a child who rides, now is the time to get ready for a safe cycling season.

The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have long represented cyclists who have been injured by negligent drivers in Massachusetts. We are committed to preventing these bicycle accidents and reducing injuries. In a few weeks, we will begin the 6th year of our Project KidSafe campaign, donating bicycle helmets to children in Boston and other communities. Bike helmets are critical to preventing concussions and traumatic brain injuries. And they are most effective when cyclists start wearing them at an early age with positive reinforcement from parents and other family members.

We will share more on our campaign soon. For now, we have a few bike safety tips from our attorneys and the League of American Bicyclists to help you get ready for a safe cycling season.

Cyclists riding through Inman Square now have a safer ride home. The City of Cambridge has recently installed separated bicycle lanes on Cambridge Street, from Inman Square to Quincy Street. The lanes are clearly marked, with flex posts creating a barrier between cyclists and drivers.

These lanes should have many benefits. We hope one is to reduce dooring crashes, such as the one that killed Amanda Phillips in Inman Square in 2016. The 27-year-old Somerville resident was riding a bike and collided into a Jeep door which was left open. The impact pushed her into the travel lane, where she was hit and killed by a landscaping truck. The accident happened near Hampshire and Cambridge streets.

Dooring has been against the law in Massachusetts since 2009. M.G.L. c.90 § 14 states, “no person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”

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Quincy police officers and kids wearing bike helmets

Photo Courtesy: Quincy Police Department Facebook Page. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign recently teamed up with Quincy Police to donate 100 bike helmets to fifth graders.

On a bike, wearing a helmet is the most important step, Quincy police officers said yesterday.

Breakstone, White & Gluck and the Quincy Police Department teamed up to give away 100 new bike helmets on Monday, during the department’s annual D.A.R.E camp at Pageant Field. But first, Lieutenant Bina and other bike safety officers shared tips for riding safely.