Posts Tagged ‘“personal injury”’
As the Days Get Shorter, Make Pedestrian Safety a Priority in Massachusetts
The majority of all pedestrian fatalities occur at night or in dark light conditions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is a significant point come October in Massachusetts, when the days get shorter and the walk home becomes darker.
As a driver, renew your commitment to travel safely near pedestrians this Fall. This is critical. In addition to shorter days, Massachusetts is seeing a rise in pedestrian fatalities as traffic volumes start to rebound. In August, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) reported traffic volumes had returned to just 5 percent below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
As of October 21, 2021, 58 pedestrians have died on Massachusetts roads this year, according to MassDOT crash data. 55 pedestrian fatalities were recorded in 2020, when traffic was lightest due to Covid 19 stay at home policies. Prior to the pandemic, there were 78 fatal pedestrian injuries statewide in 2019.
There have been 1,086 total pedestrian accidents reported in 2021 so far, including those involving fatal injuries, non-fatal injuries and property damage without injury, compared to 1,443 pedestrian crashes in 2020 and 2,198 pre-pandemic in 2019. (Source: MassDOT, 2017-2021 Pedestrian, Cyclist and Motorcyclist Crashes by Injury).
While helpful, the data is just a snapshot. A better resource: ask anyone who walks if driving patterns are still irregular due to the pandemic. Roads may be less congested, but drivers are picking up speeds at times. This endangers pedestrians, especially at night, when there is less visibility.
Reminders for Driving Safely Near Pedestrians and Reducing the Risk of Injury
Drive Slowly and Watch for Pedestrians
Drive slowly and always look for pedestrians. Take an extra moment to look in all directions before you step on the gas. Pedestrians are more likely to blend in at night, even in well-lit areas.
Yield and Stop at Crosswalks
Drivers have a responsibility to yield to pedestrians before turning at traffic signals and to stop or yield for pedestrians to safely walk through crosswalks. Many pedestrian accidents at night occur in intersections and crosswalks.
Once you start moving, you can attempt to break quickly but you really have less control, especially in short distance situations, such as when turning at an intersection or backing out of a parking space. Take a moment and take a good look for pedestrians first.
Give Yourself More Time When Getting in Your Car
Drivers can reduce their risk of hitting a pedestrian by giving their full attention to the road. To do this, give yourself time to get ready for the ride while you are parked: buckle your child up and set up your cell phone in hands-free mode if you plan to use it. Make sure you have directions typed into your GPS or you know where you are going.
When you are finished, then give yourself time to turn on the vehicle and look for pedestrians.
Drive at Night Without Distractions
The state of Massachusetts now allows drivers to use cell phones in hands-free mode, but this can be a dangerous distraction when driving at night. The best policy is to pull over in a legal parking space if you need to call someone and avoid causing a car accident or truck crash, resulting in pedestrian injuries.
Reduce Your Speed
During the day and at night, you give yourself more time to stop for pedestrians when you travel at the speed limit or below if necessary for safety conditions.
Look for Both Pedestrians and Cyclists
Pedestrians may or may not wear bright clothing, so you have to really check when you drive at night or in the early morning. Pedestrians may be hard to see, even when traveling through a well-lit intersection or parking lot.
Cyclists may be easier to see as they approach. In Massachusetts, cyclists must use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector at night, or specifically from ½ hour after sunset until ½ hour before sunrise under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B.
This means you may see a white light when a cyclist is approaching and red light (or reflector) from behind. You may also see reflective material on a cyclist’s pedals.
Consider the Impact of Darkness on Drivers
It is simply harder to see at night. Not just for senior citizens. Age-related vision changes can pay a toll much earlier than retirement age. For instance, a 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old, according to the National Safety Council. It is critical for all drivers to schedule an annual eye exam, get proper rest and set aside distractions.
Still, older drivers may struggle the most when driving at night. At 60 or older, drivers may not see as well at night and may suffer from a loss in color and depth perception, making it harder to judge speeds and distances, according to the American Optometric Association.
Safety precautions for older drivers traveling at night:
- Have an annual eye examination.
- Consider taking a driving class to brush up on your driving skills and learn about age-related vision changes. The AARP offers courses and other organizations may also.
- Limit or avoid driving at night.
- Reduce your speed and expect pedestrians.
- Be cautious at intersections, taking extra care to yield to pedestrians.
Limit Teen Driving at Night
As a parent, let your teen drive during the day, but consider limiting their driving hours at night this Fall. Teens are still learning and driving safely at night takes practice. And right now, traffic is even less predictable and your teens may be driving alongside more trucks and delivery vans as we approach the holidays.
This is a suggestion. But remember under the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law, teens are not permitted to drive at all between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm. With more than 100 years combined experience, our attorneys provide thorough and aggressive representation to those injured by negligence across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Cambridge, Winthrop, Arlington, Somerville, Everett and Chelsea. We also serve clients across the state, including in Quincy and the South Shore, Hyannis, Barnstable and Cape Cod, Framingham, Worcester and the Danvers and the North Shore.
Our firm specializes in representing pedestrians and cyclists who have been injured in auto accidents, truck accidents and bus crashes, including MBTA bus accidents in the city of Boston.
For a free legal consultation, contact our firm at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Breakstone, White & Gluck Receives Tier 1 Personal Injury Ranking from U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2019 Edition of “Best Law Firms”
We are pleased to announce that Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston has received a Tier 1 ranking from the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2019 edition of “Best Law Firms.” The firm received the Tier 1 ranking in the specialty of personal injury litigation for plaintiffs in Boston.
Breakstone, White & Gluck and our attorneys have been selected for U.S. News – Best Lawyers® and “Best Law Firms” rankings this year and in the past. In this year’s Best Lawyers ratings, Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck were selected for individual recognition in various areas of our practice, including personal injury litigation – plaintiffs, insurance law, medical malpractice and professional malpractice.
The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes client and lawyer evaluations, peer reviews from other attorneys and other information provided by law firms.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm with over 100 years combined experience and record-setting awards and settlements. Across Massachusetts and New England, our lawyers are known for our unwavering commitment to reach the best financial outcome for every client. We have earned recognition from “Best Law Firms” and Best Lawyers, along with Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Our attorneys hold top professional and ethical ratings from Martindale-Hubbell.
Our firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, including those involving catastrophic injuries and traumatic brain injury, including:
- Personal Injury Law
- Medical Malpractice
- Wrongful Death
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Construction Site Accidents
- MBTA Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Gas Explosions
- Dog Bites
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability Accidents
- Product Liability
Free Legal Consultation
Boston Personal Injury Lawyers – Worcester Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have been injured, it is important to consult an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer or Worcester personal injury lawyer to learn your rights. You may have the right to obtain financial compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys represent those injured across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Waltham, Framingham, Cape Cod, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, the North Shore, the South Shore and Western Massachusetts.
For a free legal consultation, call our firm at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Breakstone, White & Gluck Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© 2019
Breakstone, White & Gluck announces that our partners have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019. Best Lawyers© is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world, providing a resource for those searching for legal services for more than 30 years. It ranks lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners.
Best Lawyers© compiles its annual list of attorneys based on a peer-review process. Nominations can be submitted online by members of the public, clients and other attorneys. But attorneys alone provide evaluations. Nearly 87,000 lawyers around the world are eligible to participate. For the ninth year, lawyers in the Boston region chose to rank Breakstone, White & Gluck. Our rankings:
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was selected for inclusion in the fields of Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs and Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.
Attorney David W. White was selected for inclusion in the fields of Insurance Law, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs and Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.
Attorney Ronald E. Gluck was selected for inclusion in the field of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been widely recognized for our work representing clients in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. We bring more than 100 years combined experience to clients who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. At the same time, we are committed to reducing injuries through our Project KidSafe campaign and by advocating for the rights of accident victims. Our attorneys have held leadership roles at statewide legal associations, including the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.
In addition to Best Lawyers©, our attorneys have been recognized on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list, along with the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Top 100 New England Super Lawyers. Our partners have each received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest professional and ethical rating available for lawyers.
Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured in all types of personal injury cases, with a commitment to provide our clients with aggressive representation and experienced, expert investigation. Our attorneys represent those injured in car accidents, commercial truck crashes, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Following bus and subway crashes, we have brought claims against the MBTA, winning at trial and appeal to the state’s highest court. We have specialized experience handling product liability, premises liability and construction accident cases. We work for the best financial result for our clients. When other attorneys may settle for unfair offers, we are committed to pursuing a just result at trial and appeal if necessary.
Our lawyers are known across New England for our work standing up for clients who have been injured or killed by medical malpractice. Our attorneys offer extensive medical malpractice experience over 30 years, from surgical malpractice to paramedic malpractice, failure to diagnose and medication errors. We handled one of the most devastating cases of medical malpractice in the Boston area, representing the patient left behind when a surgeon at Mount Auburn Hospital left the operating room to cash a check. No one expects to step into a hospital and be injured as a result of medical negligence. When an accident happens, we know victims and their families struggle with heavy emotions and questions. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of medical malpractice victims.
Boston Personal Injury Lawyer – Free Legal Consultation
If you have been injured by wrongdoing or negligence, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Breakstone, White & Gluck Kicks Off 2018 Project KidSafe Campaign, Donates Bicycle Helmets to Children at Arlington Elementary School
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone helped deliver new bicycle helmets to Arlington fifth graders this week. He asked them to make a promise: to ride safely and always wear their helmets when riding to prevent head injuries.
“Now I’m not here to scare you. I’m here to inspire you, okay? … I want you all to be safe bicyclists,” Breakstone said.
The bicycle helmets were a surprise gift for the 50 students at Pierce Elementary School’s bike safety training. MassBike, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School and the Arlington Police Department participated.
During his talk, Attorney Breakstone spoke to the students about the impact of concussions and his experience as a personal injury lawyer who has represented cyclists who have suffered head injuries.
“A concussion can affect you for your entire life,” he said.
Tom Francis, of MassBike, also urged students to wear their new helmets. “If it’s in your garage or hanging on the wall, your helmet is not doing any good. It has be to on your head.”
Francis covered a number of safety topics, including riding on sidewalks near pedestrians, hand signals and developing a routine.
“Be predictable when you ride your bike,” he said.
Since 2013, Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign has donated more than 20,000 bicycle helmets to children in eastern Massachusetts. We kicked off the 6th year of our safety campaign in Arlington this week. It was our fifth year supporting Pierce Elementary School, where there are no school buses. Students walk, ride bicycles or are driven by their parents.
Through Project KidSafe, we are committed to helping children and families put on bicycle helmets. From our experience as attorneys and cyclists, we know helmets are critical to preventing concussions, traumatic brain injuries and deaths. We want to prevent injuries. For the next few months, we will be working with community partners throughout the Boston area to donate bicycle helmets and educate families about bicycle safety. Each helmet meets safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and will be fitted by one of our attorneys or community partners.
Read about the donation in The Arlington Advocate.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers fight for justice for those who have been seriously injured or killed by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. Please visit our website to learn more about our Project KidSafe campaign and our attorneys, Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White, Ronald E. Gluck and Reza Breakstone.
Photos, left to right: Mary Alice Vallarino, parent and event organizer, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, Tom Francis of Mass Bike, Nicole Edmonds of Massachusetts Safe Routes to School and Macon Lockery, of The Bike Stop in Arlington.
Breakstone, White & Gluck Donates Over 300 Children’s Bicycle Helmets in Westborough, Lexington and Dorchester
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!
Panel Voir Dire Embraced by Judges and Attorneys in First Year
A front page story in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported that judges in the Commonwealth have embraced attorney-panel voir dire. The process was introduced in February 2015 and in the first year, lawyers conducted panel voir dire in 14 percent of Superior Court jury trials.
There was a pilot project for a group of judges to use panel voir dire in most cases, except for life-felony matters or cases with good cause not to use it. While 15 Superior Court judges were part of the program, 38 of the 80 judges ended up trying panel voir dire.
“…The response of judges is extremely encouraging,” said Attorney Marc L. Breakstone.
While plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking to use panel voir dire, defense attorneys and prosecutors requested it more frequently in criminal cases this first year. There was some form of attorney participation in voir dire in 81 percent of criminal impanelments and 54 percent of civil ones, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Attorney Breakstone predicted judges and attorneys will use panel voir dire for more cases going forward.
“Ultimately, judges will see its utility in every case as a time-saver and as a justice-enhancer. Lawyers and judges have a very steep learning curve,” Attorney Breakstone said.
About Attorney Marc L. Breakstone
Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has established a reputation as one of the top medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts and New England. Attorney Breakstone has represented seriously injured clients in medical malpractice and personal injury cases since 1986. He is a founder and principal at Breakstone, White & Gluck since 1992. Attorney Breakstone works tirelessly to ensure that his clients receive full and fair compensation as well as achieve the most favorable medical result. He has been recognized as a Top 100 New England Super Lawyer, a Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyer and a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston personal injury attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing clients who have been seriously injured by negligence in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
DiCarlo: SJC tells Workers’ Comp Insurers: You Can’t Get What You Don’t Pay For
In a major victory for the rights of injured workers, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that pain and suffering damages, to which injured workers are entitled in their accident cases, are not subject to liens from workers’ compensation insurance companies. As a result of the ruling, workers will be able to keep more of their personal injury settlements and verdicts.
Until today, there was confusion over the relationship between workers’ compensation liens and damages paid by a third party to employees for worksite injuries. If an employee gets injured, he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other specific damages. But workers’ compensation insurance does not pay for pain and suffering damages.
If the worker collects workers’ comp, then successfully sues a third party (not his employer) for those injuries, he or she has a duty to reimburse the insurance carrier up to a point. The mechanism to regulate reimbursement to the insurance company is General Laws c. 152, § 15. The statute provides that an employer can recover its workers’ compensation payments to its employee, if that employee recovers money from a third party.
But, as mentioned above, workers’ compensation pays for lost wages and medical expenses. In a tort lawsuit, an injured party is entitled to more than that, including damages for pain and suffering. In the case where an employee simply recovers lost wages and medical expenses from a third party, there is no dispute that that money is returned to the workers’ compensation insurer in the amount that was paid. Any excess, the employee keeps. But, what about when an employee also gets money for pain and suffering? Does the workers’ compensation insurer get that money back, too?
Today, the SJC said, in no uncertain terms, no. They didn’t quite say “you can’t always get what you want.” But, they did say, you get can’t what you don’t pay for. Workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering. So, if an employee gets a recovery that specifically sets aside damages for pain and suffering, that employee keeps that set-aside amount. Anything else is liable to go back to the workers’ compensation insurer for the amount that was paid (minus its fair proportionate share of attorney’s fees and expenses).
The cases were DiCarlo v. Suffolk Constr. Co., SJC docket no. 11854; Martin v. Angelini Plastering, Inc., SJC docket no. 11853 (both decided February 12, 2016).
For a more detailed analysis, click here.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing motorists, pedestrians and cyclists who have been seriously injured in car accidents. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
The 10 Worst Toys of 2015
The annual list is compiled by W.A.T.C.H. This year’s list includes:
Skipit’s Wheely Cute Pull Along
Every child loves a cute puppy, but this toy has hub caps which come off the wheels and pose choking hazards for young children. This product is marketed to children six months and older and is made by Bunnies By The Bay. Certain lots of this product were actually recalled on June 16, 2015. However, W.A.T.C.H. reported a similar toy was purchased online after the recall, so this risk may still be on the market.
Foam Dart Gun
This gun is manufactured by G.D. Jiefeng Toys and is marketed to children ages 3 and up. It is sold on Amazon.com and Ebay. W.A.T.C.H. says, “In today’s world, there is no excuse for outfitting children with realistic toy weapons designed to produce potentially dangerous and unnecessary thrills. Existing regulations addressing the hazards associated with such ‘toys’ are inadequate.”
Stats 38″ Quick Folding Trampoline
Toys R Us manufactures and sells this trampoline, which is marketed to age 6 and older. Trampolines are associated with spinal cord injuries and this one even has a warning stating, “Landing on the head or neck can cause serious injury, paralysis, or death, even when landing in the middle of the bed.”
Splat X Smack Shot
This $10 toy looks fun, but it actually poses the potential for serious eye injuries to the child using the toy and others around him. The toy, which is made by Imperial Toy LLC, comes with ammunition with can fire up to 100 feet away. It is sold at Walmart, Amazon.com and Kmart.
This $4.99 toy was included in W.A.T.C.H.’s list because it only has an allergy notice on part of the packaging.
This is basically a plastic board marketed as a “skateboard without wheels.” The packaging shows pictures of children using the Kick Flipper as they would a skateboard, but they are not wearing helmets or safety gear.
Leonardo’s Electronic Stealth Sword
This toy can cause facial and other impact injuries. It is manufactured by Playmates international Company Ltd and marketed to children ages 4 and up. It is sold by Toys R Us, Amazon and Ebay.
Kid Connection Doctor Play Set
This $5 play set is sold at Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Ebay. It is recommended for children ages 2 and up, but includes a small “tongue depressor,” which is 4 ¾ inches in length and could cause a choking hazard.
Pull Along Zebra
This toy poses a strangulation risk. It has a 21-inch cord and is marketed for children 12 to 36 months old. The toy is made by Early Learning Centre and sold at Amazon.com, Kmart, Brookstone and Village Toy Shop. It carries this warning: “Remember babies and young children have no idea what is dangerous or potential harmful, so supervision is important…”
Jurassic Word Velociraptor Claws
This $19.99 toy is marketed to 4-year-olds who want to “claw like a raptor!” The packaging warns there is a choking hazard and small parts will be generated. There are no warnings about potential facial or eye injuries. The claws were manufactured by Hasbro and are sold by Target, Amazon.com, Toys R Us, Walmart and Kohl’s.
Safety for Pedestrians, Cyclists and Drivers
Safety for pedestrians and drivers was in the spotlight this winter, as Boston endured a record snow fall and everyone stood divided by the tallest of snowbanks. Now, as the snow starts to melt, cyclists are back out too and we want to take a moment to share a few safety reminders.
Safety was a priority this winter because Massachusetts saw many car accidents, even though state officials called multiple snow emergencies, and many schools closed, to keep the roads clear. We also saw at least two fatal pedestrian accidents. In Weymouth, a woman was hit and killed by a snow plow as she walked in the parking lot of her condominium complex. A 60-year-old employee at a Medford Whole Foods store also was killed, hit by a snow plow in the parking lot, leaving after his work shift.
Safety advocates made progress on protecting cyclists and pedestrians in 2014. This will serve as a strong foundation as we dig out from this harsh winter. In Boston, the city has implemented a truck safety ordinance, requiring that city-contracted trucks use sideguards and other protections aimed at protecting pedestrians and cyclists.
MassBike and other safety advocacy groups have also proposed new legislation which may get attention after this hard winter. If passed, the Bike Lane Protection Bill would make it illegal to block established bike lanes. The Vulnerable Road Users Bill would define pedestrians, cyclists, emergency personal and others as vulnerable road users and define a safe-passing distance for them.
Here are a few safety tips and facts to remember for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers:
- Pedestrian accidents are too common. On average, in 2013, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Walk on the sidewalks whenever possible. If a street only has sidewalks on one side, cross over.
- If you have to walk on the street, walk so you are facing oncoming motor vehicle traffic. Walk as close as you can to the curb to increase the space between you and traffic.
- Use crosswalks whenever they are available.
- Limit use of cell phones, iPods and music players.
- A common misperception is most pedestrian accidents happen at intersections. That is not true. Some 69 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred at non-intersections in 2013, according to the NHTSA.
- Some 10 percent of pedestrian accidents happened off the road, in areas such as parking lanes/zones, bicycle lanes, shoulders/roadsides, driveway access and similar areas.
- In the Spring of 2013, most pedestrian fatalities, 25 percent, occurred between 9 to 11:59 p.m., according to the NHTSA. Another 22 percent occurred between 6 to 8:59 p.m.
- If you walk at night, purchase a neon glow vest so you stand out to traffic. Even if you never wear it, it pays to be prepared.
- Wear a bike helmet which meets the safety standard of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and properly fits.
- Cyclists follow different rules than pedestrians. Go with the flow of traffic, traveling in the same direction as cars, on the right side of the road. Up to two cyclists can ride in the middle of the traffic lane abreast if necessary to stay safe, but you should move back onto the side of the road single file when you can safely do so.
- State law prohibits biking on sidewalks in business districts. Not every city and town has a designated business district. But assume you are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk or ask the local police department for guidance.
- Cyclists must use hand signals to communicate to drivers, unless it would be unsafe to do so. You can view this video to learn the proper hand signals. Cyclists should also use a bell to let pedestrians know they are approaching.
- Watch out for dooring. This is when a car parks and the driver opens their door and hits you as you pass through. It is against the law, but it happens often.
- You are required to use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if you ride anytime from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise.
- If you ride at night, consider purchasing a neon safety vest or clothing so you are more visible drivers..
- If you are involved in a bicycle accident, file a police report, even if you do not think you are seriously injured at first.
- Many drivers may not stop after cycling accidents. If you are hit and the driver does not stop, immediately contact police and file a police report.
Motor Vehicle Drivers
- Look for cyclists and pedestrians at every intersection and yield to them.
- Drivers must pass bicyclists at a safe distance. If you cannot, you must wait until it is safe to do so or change lanes.
- Obey all traffic laws and signals. Look for areas designated as school zones. Reduce your speed and take extra care on these roads.
- Do not park in bike lanes.
- Do not use your cell phone in the car. It is against the law in Massachusetts for drivers to text and drive, but the best practice is not to use it for telephone calls or other reasons either. It only takes a few seconds to cause a distracted driving car accident.
- A very dangerous practice is dooring. This is when a driver parks their car and opens the door without looking and hits an oncoming cyclist. It is against the law and violators can be fined. But drivers may also face a steeper penalty, a personal injury lawsuit, because cyclists can be seriously injured and the injuries can require months of recovery and hospital bills.
More Cycling Safety Resources
These are just a few rules of the road. To learn more, visit:
Shifting Gears: Bicyclists and Public Safety. Produced by MassBike, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Police Department.
Bike Safety in Massachusetts, Breakstone, White & Gluck.
What Every Massachusetts Bicyclist Needs to Know About Car Insurance, Breakstone, White & Gluck.
Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward Program Kicks Off A New Season of Helping Children Ride Safely
The Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward program has kicked off another season of important and fun work. On Tuesday, Roll It Forward gave away 59 refurbished bikes to children ages 5-7 who needed one. The donation was part of “Bike Day” at the West Broadway housing development in South Boston and is one of many Boston Bikes will organize this year.
Children at the housing development were asked in advance if they wanted to receive a bike. On Tuesday, they waited in line, got to choose a new bike helmet, and then were presented with a bicycle refurbished just for them. They also got to meet Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who helped hand out bikes and played basketball with the kids.
From there, the children got to practice on an obstacle course with help from volunteers, as their parents, grandparents and friends cheered them along. There was plenty of activity for other cyclists too. Boston Bikes was selling $5 subsidized memberships for the Hubway bike share program and provided free safety inspections for 31 cyclists. Another 10 residents used the event to give back, by donating their own bikes to help Roll It Forward.
Photo: Attorney David White shown volunteering for the Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward event on April 22, 2014. He helped children select bike helmets and made sure they properly fit.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is in its second year of supporting Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward. This year, we are donating bike helmets for children, along with bike locks and bike lights. Cyclists are required to use bike lights if they cycle at night (defined under the law as thirty minutes after sunset until thirty minutes before sunrise).
“We are so happy to support Boston Bikes,” attorney David White said. “The program does an amazing job gathering, fixing, and giving away the bicycles. The kids know this is a special event and they really pay attention, including to when we explain the importance of always wearing a bike helmet to help prevent head injury.”
Photo: Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh with Nicole Freedman, Director of Boston Bikes, Jenny Duquette, community programs manager, and Boston Bikes staff and volunteers, including attorney David White. April 22, 2014.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, is pleased to partner with Boston Bikes. Our attorneys encourage all cyclists to wear bike helmets to reduce the risk of serious head injuries while riding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injuries than drivers and occupants of motor vehicles. Children ages 5-14 and young adults ages 15-24 account for 60 percent of all bike-related injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
In 2013, we were proud to donate over 1,000 bike helmets to children in the Boston area. We are donating even more helmets this year. To learn more about our bicycle safety outreach, visit www.bwglaw.com/project-kidsafe/. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page.