Articles Tagged with Massachusetts

Baby swimming lesson

A media report explores whether swim lessons actually reduce the risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children should not start lessons until age 1. Previously, the AAP’s recommendation was not before age 4.

Swimming lessons have certainly changed over the years. Parents are signing children up earlier, as young as 6 months old, to get them used to the water. A recent WBUR report explored whether this is all for fun or if children in today’s swim lessons are actually learning enough to reduce their risk of drowning.

As a parent, ask your child’s swim instructor about their goals. Experts interviewed by WBUR said the goal should be water survival and broader pool safety skills.

man riding bicycle in mountains

Cyclist on vacation in Massachusetts wearing a helmet but not using bike lights

Fireworks are lighting up spectacular skies this week. All the color makes us think about bike lights. If you are a cyclist, are you lighting up the road this summer? Are you using bike lights and wearing bright colors to stay visible to drivers?

Whether you are commuting to work or enjoying a leisurely ride on vacation, bike lights are essential to preventing bicycle accidents. And many cyclists don’t realize this, but bike lights are required by law in Massachusetts.

We encourage you to buy yourself bike lights as soon as possible. If you already have lights, please check to make sure they are working properly. Bicycle accidents have risen in the U.S., reaching a 25-year high in 2016, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The majority of accidents happened between 6 and 9 p.m. The second peak time was 9 p.m. to midnight.

Massachusetts Law
Under Massachusetts law, cyclists are required to use bike lights if they ride after dark. The law is M.G.L c.85 § 11B.

Bicycles must be equipped with a white light facing forward and a red light facing backward. These lights must be in use from thirty minutes after sunset until thirty minutes before sunrise. The white light must be visible from at least five hundred feet away. The red light on the back must be visible for at least six hundred feet. Reflectors on both pedals facing front and back are also required. If a cyclist has no reflectors, they can wear reflective material around their ankles.

Plan
If you have your own bike, buy your own lights now. You can buy them online or at a local store for a few dollars. For everyone else, if there is a chance you may ride, purchase some small bike lights. They pack neatly in your work bag or travel luggage.

There are many different types of lights available. When you purchase lights, take note of the size, battery type and battery life and if they are designed for day or night use. Remember that lights are required for the front and back of your bike. Attaching lights to your helmet or other parts of your bike are helpful for safety, but are considered extra under the law.  Here is an article about bike lights to help you get started.

There is good news for Boston commuters. There are built-in lights on the rental Blue Bikes in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline. 

Stay Visible
Don’t stop at bike lights. Purchase a neon reflective safety vest, tape and any other clothing to help drivers see you. Amazon is full of ideas.

Know Your Bike Route
Before you ride at night, plan your route. Choose areas which are well lit and have clearly marked bike lanes. Travel the route during the day before you go at night.

Stay Informed
Monitor social media accounts for local police departments and bike committees which serve the area. Sign up for the newsletters offered by bike committees. Cyclists write these newsletters specifically for other cyclists and their experience is invaluable, especially when riding and making decisions at night.

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We want to mention the volunteers from Highrock Church in Arlington, Grace Chapel in Lexington and the East Arlington Livable Streets Alliance, which recently organized a bike safety day in partnership with the Arlington Housing Authority. Volunteers gathered in early June, tuning up 65 bikes to help residents from Menotomy Manor ride safely.

The law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign sent along 25 helmets for children who participated.

child in Arlington wearing a bike helmet donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign child in Arlington wearing a bike helmet donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign Volunteers who held a bike tune up event for Arlington Housing Authority residents in June 2018 (Arlington, Mass.) Arlington volunteers at bike tune up event

 

 

Quincy, MA police officers with kids' bicycle helmets donated by Boston law firm

Attorney David W. White with members of the Quincy Police Department Bike Patrol: Officer White, Officer Whedbee and Lieutenant Bina.

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Attorney David W. White and Lieutenant Bina of the Quincy Police Department.

As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to make a donation of 200 bicycle helmets to the Quincy Police Department this year. Attorney David W. White visited Quincy Police Department headquarters on June 14th and had a nice opportunity to speak to members of the Quincy Police bike patrol.

swimming poolYour swimming pool is your backyard oasis, a fun and refreshing place to beat the heat. To keep children and others safe this summer, we urge Massachusetts property owners to secure and properly maintain pools at all times. Take these steps now to help prevent injuries and drownings:

Secure your pool. In Massachusetts, pool owners are required to have fencing which stands at least 48 inches tall. Openings in the fence must be less than 4 inches in diameter. All doors to pool areas must have self-latching and self-closing devices. Homes with doors which open into the pool area must use pool alarms.

Walk around your pool fence now to look for areas which have been damaged. Make repairs right away.

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.

As National Bike Month ends, we finish a busy May for our Project KidSafe campaign. Six years have passed since we began our campaign and each year, Bike Month and Bay State Bike Week, get better and engage more people in Massachusetts. A few of our donations:

Framingham Earth Day. This event was held on April 28th. But it’s always the unofficial start of Bike Month for us. This was our fifth year participating in Framingham Earth Day and donating bicycle helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign to the kids. Attorney David W. White and Framingham Police Officer Garrett Coffin fit 150 helmets over the first two hours of the event. The rain stayed away so this year, we got to enjoy being out on the Framingham Center Common. Dozens of vendors came out, including several organizations for cyclists. We have to add: this is always a worthwhile event for cyclists. Friends of the Natick Trails, the Natick Cochituate Rail Trail and the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail participated, giving cyclists a way to learn about the latest developments before riding.

We want to offer a special thanks to Officer Coffin of the Framingham Police Department. Garrett comes out each year. He is patient, good with people and has to be one of the best bicycle helmet fitters in Massachusetts.

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Clinton Community Safety Rodeo. On May 5th, we were pleased to donate bicycle helmets at the Community Safety Rode in Clinton. This is the second year the town of Clinton Park & Recreation Department has organized the event. We are told last year, many children showed up with bikes, but were unable to participate because they didn’t have helmets. In Massachusetts, it’s not just good sense to wear a helmet. It’s required under the law for children (up to age 16). And as we said, it is important and good sense for all cyclists.

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High school students on bikes

Students from Career Academy in Lowell riding new bikes and wearing new helmets.

Though snow fell this week, students from Career Academy in Lowell still managed to make the most of school vacation, fitting in a bike ride to Heart Pond in Chelmsford. This was a special ride because students were pedaling new bikes – and wearing new helmets. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate the helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign.

The idea for the bike ride began with Bernice Chandler-Petrovick, who teaches biology. Some of her students needed bikes to get to school and travel more independently. She began teaching students about bicycle safety while also setting out on another goal: finding bikes for her students.

Boston is in the middle of a mighty building boom, with no sign of a slowdown ahead. As new condos, college dorms and office buildings go up, the companies making a financial profit must protect construction workers.

Workers are not always protected. As ribbons are cut on new buildings, the number of workers killed on the job stands at a 10-year high in Massachusetts, according to MassCOSH. During the past month, construction accidents have injured two workers and killed one in the Boston area.

A 56-year-old Seekonk man was found dead last week at the Wynn Boston Harbor resort in Everett. According to WBZ, the worker was in the cab of an excavator, taking apart a trench box when he was struck. The cause of the impact was not reported and the accident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The man worked for J. Derenzo Companies of Brockton. The company is a subcontractor of Suffolk Construction of Boston, which is building the casino.

The Boston Globe reported that OSHA has conducted previous inspections at the Wynn construction site. One involved an employee who was hit by an excavator bucket. Another worker was injured when he fell down a shaft. A third employee was injured by a scissor lift.

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Kidde Smoke Alarm Recall 2018

Kidde recalled nearly a half million smoke alarms which may have a dangerous yellow cap left inside. (Recall date: March 21, 2018; Photo: CPSC website)

Please check your smoke alarms when you get home. Kidde has recalled nearly half a million smoke alarms, urging consumers to check devices for yellow caps potentially left on during the manufacturing process. According to the company’s recall notice, the cap would be on one of two sensors inside the smoke detector, compromising the device. Consumers have to do this inspection carefully. You will be looking for the yellow cap through the opening on the side of the device, as shown in the photo. Be careful not to open the smoke alarm or take it apart.

Because Kidde is one of the largest manufacturers, every consumer should check their smoke alarm.  If you have a Kidde device, you will need to take it off the wall or ceiling to check the date code on the back. The recalled smoke alarms were dated September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017. They were sold through January 2018 at Home Depot, Walmart and other retailers. They were manufactured in China, by Fyrnetics Limited, of Hong Kong.