If a traffic enforcement sting came to your community, how many drivers would be stopped and cited for unsafe driving? Would you be among them?
We ask these questions as students head back to school across Massachusetts, in communities from Boston and Cambridge to Plymouth and Brockton to Worcester and Springfield.
Police departments across the state have set up traffic enforcement over the past few weeks, focusing on drivers who are not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and school buses. A few of the communities include New Bedford, Attleboro and South Boston.
In South Boston, the surveillance followed the tragic death of a 2-year-old in a traffic crash. The child was being pushed in a stroller on the sidewalk, when a van and car collided. The van plowed onto the sidewalk, injuring and ultimately killing the young boy. A day after the crash, the Boston Police Department and Massachusetts State Police set up a traffic enforcement initiative focusing on crosswalk enforcement, speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors. Within a few days, officers had issued approximately 500 citations for traffic violations. This is a very telling number, one Massachusetts drivers can’t ignore.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm which specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice and car accident cases. Our firm is committed to safety for children, giving away over 20,000 bicycle helmets to children in Massachusetts through our Project KidSafe campaign. With experience representing clients who have been injured in pedestrian crosswalk accidents and other traffic crashes, we offer these tips for safe driving:
Slow down at crosswalks. Students who walk to school may have a crossing guard help them across the street. Always slow down as you approach crossing guards and children. Make eye contact with the crossing guard and assume you should stop. The crossing guard will wave you through when it’s safe to go.
But even when there is no crossing guard, drivers must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk when there is a “Walk” or green signal. Other times, drivers have a responsibility to yield the right of way by slowing or stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This includes times when pedestrians are in the crosswalk on the same side as the driver and when pedestrians are approaching from the other half of the lane and within 10 feet. There is a $200 fine for crosswalk violations in Massachusetts.
The best thing to do is approach crosswalks slowly and stop if you see anyone even near the entrance of the crosswalk. If you can, make eye contact with them, then wave for them to go. Depending on whether other cars stop, they may not be able to immediately cross. You may need to be patient for a few moments.
M.G.L. c.89 § 11 is the law governing pedestrian rights in crosswalks in Massachusetts. Read more about the law.
If summer must end, we like to squeeze in some last fun at the Tierney Learning Center’s Back to School BBQ. The Tierney Learning Center is a resource for many in South Boston, working to help low-income families achieve their goals for education, finances and health and well being. And it hosts one of the best summer BBQs in Boston, with good food, games, music and the opportunity to see friends.
For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate bicycle helmets for the children and teens as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Attorney David W. White fit the helmets and as you can see, he had a great time. It was nice to spend time with the kids before they head back to school. We have met some of the families at past events, so it was a pleasure to see them again.
Attorney David White visited the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center in South Boston on July 7th and fit over 60 children and teenagers for brand-new bicycle helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. We set up our Project KidSafe tent as part of the center’s summer party, which was a lot of fun, with a DJ playing music, water balloon tosses and other summer games.
This is the second year Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated bicycle helmets to families served by the Tierney Center, which provides educational support and programming to youth and families in South Boston. The center’s goal is to leverage its neighborhood resources to ensure that each individual who walks through its doors has the tools to achieve his or her highest potential both in the classroom and within the community. To that end, it works with more than 30 other Boston agencies to bring resources to its residents. Nearly 60 percent of the households served by the center are non-native English speakers and 90 percent are single-parent households.
Claire Kaiser, the teen programs coordinator for the Tierney Learning Center and Attorney David White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.
To learn more about bicycle safety, fitting a helmet and the laws in Massachusetts, visit our bike safety page.
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/bikes. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page.