Articles Tagged with “Boston bicycle accident lawyers”

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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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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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently gave Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign a nice mention. In 2019, our campaign donated over 4,000 bicycle helmets to children throughout the Boston area with help from more than 30 community partners and police departments. We look forward to continuing our work to protect children in 2020.

Read the article on the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly website (subscription access required).

Helmet head (but in a good way)

Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck founded Breakstone, White & Gluck in 1992. This year, our partners and our associate Reza Breakstone continued our practice, delivering superb and meaningful results to our clients in injury cases:

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Interviewed About Lynnway Auto Auction Indictments

In March, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by WHDH TV about the criminal indictments returned against the Lynnway Auto Auction and its company president. Each was charged with five counts of manslaughter in the 2017 crash killing five people. Attorney Breakstone is representing one of the families who lost a loved one.


Attorney David W. White Interviewed by NBC Boston on E-Scooters

Attorney David W. White was interviewed by NBC Boston for a segment called, “Are You Protected in a Scooter Crash? Experts Say Read the Fine Print.”


Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Negotiates $1.6 Million Settlement for Client Who Suffered Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck negotiated a $1.6 million settlement for a client who suffered a concussion and mild traumatic brain injury. Attorney Gluck discusses his work for clients in this area:


Project KidSafe and Community Outreach

david-dedham-1200-highlightsIn April, Breakstone, White & Gluck launched our 7th annual Project KidSafe campaign with a bike helmet giveaway at Framingham Earth Day. We recently concluded another successful year, donating more than 4,000 bicycle helmets to children across Massachusetts. To reach children and families, our firm partnered with more than 35 community organizations, including 12 police departments, schools and bicycle committees, along with MassBike and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School.

With this year’s donations, our attorneys have now given away more than 25,000 helmets, with a goal of protecting children on bicycles, preventing head injuries and saving lives.

As we made our last helmet donation of 2019, we were especially touched by kind words from Boston Police Commissioner William Gross:

Outside our Project KidSafe campaign, we supported many bar and community organizations, including the Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. In January, we supported and participated in the Equal Justice Coalition’s Walk on the Hill, when lawyers across the state advocate for increased state funding for civil legal aid.


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Published in MATA Journal

In May, Attorney Marc Breakstone was published in the MATA Journal, with an article called, “Assessing bias in voir dire after ‘Williams.’


Attorney Ronald E. Gluck Successfully Resolves Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Case Caused by Heavy Snow Collapse

In May, Attorney Ronald E. Gluck announced he had successfully resolved a mild traumatic brain injury case for our client, who was injured when heavy snow collapsed from a commercial warehouse roof onto her vehicle.


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Wins $1.1 Million Verdict in Rhode Island Case

In May, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone won a $1.1 million verdict for our client who was injured in a car accident.


Awards: Best Lawyers in America© 2020

In August, Attorneys Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck were selected for inclusion to the Best Lawyers in America© 2020. Our attorneys were recognized for their excellent work in personal injury, medical malpractice, professional malpractice and insurance law cases.


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Reaches $2.15 Million Settlement in Fatal Crash Caused by Unsafe Parking Lot

In October, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone announced a $2.15 million settlement in a case where a car had accelerated onto a sidewalk at a strip mall and killed his client.


Awards: 2019 Super Lawyers

In October, Attorneys Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck were all recognized in the 2019 Super Lawyers rankings. Our firm honors included Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Massachusetts Super Lawyers recognition in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. Our attorneys were recognized for the 16th year.


Awards: Best Law Firms of America© 2020

In November, Breakstone, White & Gluck was recognized in the 2020 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” Our firm received rankings as a Tier 1 Boston law firm in personal injury litigation representing plaintiffs and a Tier 1 Boston law firm in medical malpractice litigation representing plaintiffs.


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone Published in MATA Journal

In November, Marc L. Breakstone was published in the MATA Journal, with an article called, “Establishing Liability: Through the Defendant.”


Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck – Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has more than 100 years combined experience representing clients in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, head injuries, construction accidents, premises liability and product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact our attorneys for a free legal consultation and learn your legal rights: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston was recently mentioned in a Dedham Times article about the Dedham Bike Rodeo in August. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign participated for the seventh year and donated more than 100 helmets to the kids. Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to helping children ride safely on bikes and protect against head injuries. Founded in 1992, our firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases across Massachusetts.

Article courtesy of The Dedham Times. Click link for full 2-page article.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support the Mattapan on Wheels event this weekend. We only wish the temperature had been more forgiving for cyclists riding for such a good cause. This ride is a terrific cause in our book!

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition organizes Mattapan on Wheels each year to encourage physical activity, as well as safe cycling on Mattapan streets and the Lower Neponset River Trail. Many Mattapan children take their first ride at this event and receive their first bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. Our law firm donates 100 bicycle helmets each year to encourage safety. More experienced cyclists help children and others fit the helmets and get them ready to ride.

This event gives cyclists access to other key safety resources too. Boston police officers and community volunteers come out to lead the ride and follow in back. There are all skill levels here and cyclists can choose their ride and challenge themselves with a new route each year. Other community groups are on hand to do ABC checks – air, brakes and chain. Then, the ride usually wraps up and everyone heads over to the Annual Scoops and Hoops event nearby.

The event is the group’s primary fundraiser. More than 50 cyclists still turned out this weekend, despite the heat and raised over $3,200 for bike-related activities. But this is roughly a third of the typical participation and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition is still collecting donations. You can learn more from the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition’s website. The website is under construction, but you can find the contact information and social media sites at the bottom of the page.

Photo credits: Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Facebook page.

 

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements have been recognized on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to encourage children to wear helmets every time they ride to prevent head injuries in bicycle accidents.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Attorneys’ Project KidSafe Campaign Gives Away 400 Children’s Bicycle Helmets in First Week of Community Events

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Breakstone, White & Gluck donated more than 120 free bicycle helmets to children and families at Framingham Earth Day on April 27, 2019. Above: Attorney David W. White with young cyclists who received helmets.

Breakstone, White & Gluck kicked off our Project KidSafe campaign in April, continuing on with our commitment to put bicycle helmets on Boston-area children who need one to prevent head injuries.

We always look forward to this time of year, giving away the helmets, talking to children and families about riding a bike (some of the kids are pretty excited!) and working with our community partners.

This year, our attorneys are partnering with more than 40 community organizations, including police departments, schools and bicycle committees. While our attorneys donate the helmets, these groups are critical in getting the helmets to children and encouraging helmet use. Many of these groups organize community events, where children can receive a free helmet, have it fitted specifically for them and ask questions about bicycle safety and traffic laws. These events are a lot of fun, teaching core bicycle skills and giving children the chance to interact with other cyclists, police officers and the community in a positive way. Children also have the opportunity to see others wearing bicycle helmets, which reinforces our message that helmets are essential.

Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of protecting children on bikes. This is our 7th year in 2019 and we plan to donate more than 4,000 bicycle helmets to children in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and other communities. To date, we have now donated more than 25,000 bicycle helmets to protect children.

These were the first few Project KidSafe helmet giveaways, most taking place on Saturday, April 27th:

Arlington Pierce School

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 60 Project KidSafe helmets to fifth graders at Pierce School in Arlington, as part of its annual bike safety day during the week of April 22nd. This was the third year of the donation and our fifth year of supporting bike safety events in Arlington Public Schools. Our attorneys, MassBike and Arlington Police usually come out to talk about Massachusetts laws for cyclists, safety tips and just why wearing a helmet is important. Our attorneys were unable to participate this year due to scheduling, but we are told it was another event filled with valuable information and the students asked many good questions.

Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee

Watertown Little League Bike Helmet Giveaway. Helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck.

The Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee were out on Saturday, April 27th, giving away roughly 70 bicycle helmets to children at Little League Opening Day. This marks the fifth year we have partnered with the committee to get helmets to local children. In the past, committee members have reached out to children with helmets at other community events, but this was their second visit to Little League Opening Day and they hope to continue on with this giveaway. Terrific work by the committee! Read more.

Westborough Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Westborough families turned out strong for Healthy Kids Day at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, which also took place on April 27th. Members of the Westborough Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee had a busy day, fitting more than 90 children for free bicycle helmets. This is familiar ground for committee members, who have volunteered their time for the past 5 years giving away the bicycle helmets and talking to families about safe riding. We thank them for their time and dedication each year.

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The Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission (also known as Medford Bikes) gave our Project KidSafe helmets to children who needed one the Medford Indoor Bike Rodeo, which was held at the city’s recreation center. The April 27th event was put on in partnership with the Medford Recreation Center and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School. Pat Bibbens of Medford Bikes led the children through skills training. This was the third year Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe have donated bicycle helmets in partnership with Medford Bikes.  In past years, the committee has also distributed our Project KidSafe helmets at community events at the Medford Public Library and the town’s annual Medford Day. Great work this year!

Framingham Earth Day

At Framingham Earth Day, Attorney David W. White and our volunteers, Attorney Denise Murphy (who happens to be David’s wife) and Framingham cyclist Bill Hanson fit more than 120 bicycle helmets for children on Saturday, April 27th. We set up next to the Bruce Freeman Trail tent, so cyclists had the opportunity to learn about the developing trail and the importance of wearing a helmet in one stop. Thanks to both of our volunteers!

Check out more of our photos from our Framingham Earth Day donation and follow our Project KidSafe campaign on Facebook.

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As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate bicycle helmets in Watertown over the weekend. The Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee set up outside the Little League fields and reached out to children and parents, answering safety questions and fitting free helmets for children who needed one.  Committee members gave away roughly 70 of our Project KidSafe helmets.

This is the fifth year Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated bicycle helmets in partnership with the Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee. Over the years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has given more than 500 Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to children in the Watertown community.

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(Photo credit: Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee Facebook)

Breakstone, White & Gluck launched its Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of keeping children safe on bikes in Massachusetts. We have since donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children in partnership with local bicycle committees, police departments, schools and other community organizations. Bicycle committees are a key part of our campaign, helping children and families select and fit helmets at fun and casual gatherings alongside friends and neighbors.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents individuals who have been injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. With more than 100 years combined experience, our lawyers are recognized throughout Massachusetts and New England for their work representing those injured. We are committed to supporting bicycle safety, supporting MassBike, Boston Bicyclists Union and other Boston-area bicycle clubs.

To learn more, visit Breakstone, White & Gluck’s website or our Project KidSafe campaign.

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Bike lanes in Inman Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Bike lanes in Inman Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo credit: www.bwglaw.com.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing sense of excitement about safer cycling in Cambridge. With a vote this week, the Cambridge City Council has signaled there is more to come.

The City of Cambridge has many bike lanes, but in 2017, city officials accelerated development of protected bike lanes, which place a physical barrier or extra room and road markings between cyclists and traffic. The city did this with a heavy heart, after fatal bicycle crashes claimed the lives of two cyclists in 2016. One of the cyclists was killed in Inman Square in a dooring crash; the other died in a bicycle collision with a truck in Porter Square.

Then, during 2017, the City of Cambridge rolled out new bike lanes in key travel corridors, including Brattle Street in Harvard Square and Massachusetts Avenue, near Cambridge Rindge & Latin, more than a mile altogether. The city finished the year with 25.8 miles of bike lanes, including 4.2 miles of separated bike lanes, according to a report by Wicked Local Cambridge.

Since then, cyclists and safety groups, such as Cambridge Bicycle Safety, have urged the Cambridge City Council to do more. This week, the City Council approved the Cycling Safety Ordinance, paving the way for more protected bike lanes.

The ordinance calls on the city to add protected bike lanes when roads identified by the Cambridge Bicycle Plan are reconstructed. Once complete, the bicycle plan will create an impressive 20-mile network of protected bike lanes.

The ordinance means residents no longer have to lobby for protected bike lanes when roads are rebuilt. Until now, city officials have had to grant permission on a street-by-street basis or not at all.

There may still be some debate though. The city manager can ultimately veto construction of a protected bike lane based on factors such as a street’s physical layout or the costs. If this happens, the manager must document the reason in writing.

Cambridge officials say they are unaware of any other communities in Massachusetts or across the U.S. which have adopted such a far-reaching policy to create protected bike lanes.

We suspect bicycle committees and planners far and wide will be watching. Protected bike lanes improve safety for cyclists, but the impact goes further by giving everyone on the road clear markings to follow. For drivers and their passengers, these markings are visual reminders not to drive, park or open vehicle doors in bike lanes or they could cause a bicycle crash in Cambridge or any other U.S. city.

StreetsBlog reported on a 2012 study on bike lanes published by the American Journal of Public Health. The study found cyclists on streets with bike lanes had a 50 percent lower chance of injury over streets without bike lanes. Meanwhile, protected bike lanes had the potential to reduce injuries by as much as 90 percent, which is a tremendous figure. Even multi-use paths and off-street trails had a lesser impact, reducing injury by 60 percent compared to roads with bike infrastructure.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston and Cambridge Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured by the negligence of drivers and rideshare vehicles in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, the most important step you can take is to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact our Cambridge bicycle accident attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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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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