Articles Posted in Bike Accidents

A new Massachusetts law designed to reduce traffic deaths gives increased protection to “vulnerable users” sharing the road with motor vehicles. Signed in January, the legislation requires drivers to stay at least four feet away from bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, wheelchair users, horseback riders, and other vulnerable road users when passing them. It also requires motor vehicle operators to maintain a “reasonable and proper speed” while doing so.

The law makes additional safety changes, including mandating rear red lights for cyclists, requiring backup cameras and other protective features on large state vehicles, clarifying the process for municipalities to modify speed limits, and standardizing reporting on crashes involving vulnerable road users. The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) says the safety bill passed after 10 years of advocating for “An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.”

Massachusetts Traffic Accidents on the Rise

The number of bicyclists in Massachusetts and across the country increases each year. As more cyclists take to the roads, more accidents occur, including those involving a hit and run. When one of the parties involved in an accident leaves the scene—without rendering assistance to injured parties, exchanging insurance information, or reporting the accident to police—this is known as a hit and run.

Approximately 700,000 hit and run accidents occur every year in the United States, and these numbers increase each year. That’s nearly 2,000 hit and run accidents per day. A large percentage of these accidents involve automobiles and bicyclists. Studies have shown that motor vehicle-bicycle accidents occur most frequently in urban environments, but can happen anywhere, especially after dark. A Boston bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Motor vehicle and bicycle collisions can cause serious property damage, physical injury, and even death. These accidents sometimes result in the victim needing prolonged medical treatment, and missing work for an extended period. If the driver of the motor vehicle leaves the scene of the accident, the victim may be stuck without a way to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, damaged property, or pain and suffering.

Notably, wearing a bicycle helmet can decrease your risk of serious injury by almost 50%, and using a designated biking lane may decrease your risk of serious injury by almost 90%.

If You Are a Bystander

A hit and run bicycle accident can be a terrifying experience for everyone involved, whether you are the victim or a bystander. Staying calm is critical. If you are a bystander, the very first thing you should do is to assist the victim. Be sure the victim is in a safe place and call 911. Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives. Later, once the victim is being cared for, describe everything you saw to the police. A MA bicycle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

If You Are a Victim

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle-bicycle collision, call 911 for help if you’re able to. If not, ask a bystander for assistance. Even if you are not seriously injured, stay on the scene of the accident until police arrive; ask any witnesses or bystanders to stay with you. As soon as you are in a safe place, record everything you remember about the circumstances of the accident. An accurate and detailed police report will assist the police in finding the at-fault driver. These details should include:

  • Vehicle make, model and color
  • License plate or partial license plate, including what state the license plate is from
  • Any distinguishing characteristics of the car, including graphics, dents or other damage
  • Description of driver or passenger, if known
  • The vehicle’s direction of travel
  • The circumstances that led to the accident
  • The names and contact information for every bystander or eye witness
  • Photographs and/or videos of the scene of the accident, especially any skid marks, your injuries, and damage to your bicycle or other property

Once you have received initial medical attention and reported all relevant details to the police, call your insurance company and file a claim. A lawyer with expertise in these types of accidents can help guide you through the insurance and legal process. Continue reading

It is common knowledge amongst Massachusetts residents that, if you can drive here, you can probably drive anywhere. Massachusetts motorists are not known for their patience, forgivingness or attention to proper safety techniques while behind the wheel, and as a result there are many intersections and junctions in the state where dozens upon dozens of crashes happen every year.

Recent data collected and analyzed from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) by various Boston media outlets showed that, from 2004 to 2013, the five intersections that saw the most crashes were as follows:

  1. Columbia Road at the Expressway, South Boston (296 crashes)
  2. Middlesex Turnpike at Route 128, Burlington (295 crashes)
  3. Granite Avenue and the Expressway, Milton (245 crashes)
  4. North Washington Street and the Central Artery, Boston (232 crashes)
  5. Route 128 and I-93 junction, Woburn (225 crashes)

Although these intersections and junctions contain the highest likelihood according to the data for a motorist to become involved in a minor accident, or an accident with injuries, they are not the deadliest intersections in the state. The I-93/I-495 junction in Andover and the junction of Routes 3 and 18 in Weymouth both had two fatalities over the 10-year span of data.

Regardless of the severity, any accident can become a gigantic burden for anybody involved. Even some minor fender benders can cost thousands of dollars to repair. If the damage is bad enough that you need to bring the car to the garage, that complicates your work schedule immensely, and may require you to take days off work while it is fixed, making you lose out on income.

Should the accident cause a serious injury, you could be facing multiple thousands of dollars in repairs and medical bills. In this situation, missing work is a certainty.

A majority of accidents happen due to simple driver error, and far too many of these accidents are caused by distractions. The commute is no time to send or check emails, do your makeup or hair, eat leftover soup or catch up on that book you’re enjoying. In no situation is driving impaired – by alcohol or other substances – ever a good idea.

If you are involved in an accident where another driver was at fault and was clearly distracted, you have a legal right to seek damages from that driver for their negligent actions. If another driver broke the rules of the road, like performing an illegal U-turn that resulted in an accident, you may also be able to file a claim against them to seek financial compensation to pay for repairs to your car or for injuries incurred.

Police and government officials can try to implement new policies, put more signs up and crack down on dangerous activities such as drinking and driving or texting and driving, but the only true deterrent for accidents at any location on the road is the behavior of the drivers themselves. People must appreciate the power of the machinery they are operating, and respect that they are placing their lives in the hands of others every time they go out for a drive. Continue reading

The nationwide increase in bicycle use is good for our pockets, good for our health, and good for our environment. As with most things in life, however, the growth in bicycling popularity comes with some growing pains. More cyclists on the roads means more accidents. Many cities, Boston included, are spending significant time, money, and resources to improve bicycle safety; the installation of bicycle lanes and enforcement of laws intended to protect bicyclists are examples. But accidents still happen. Contact a Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Bicyclists Must Follow the Rules of the Road

In the last few years, many new laws have been enacted for the purpose of protecting bicyclists, but that doesn’t mean they can behave negligently or recklessly. Generally speaking, bicyclists are held to the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. They must share the road, obey traffic signs, signal when turning, yield when appropriate, and stop at red lights and stop signs. And their responsibilities don’t end there. Cyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in most areas, and they must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

If a bicyclist ignores any of the above rules, or behaves negligently or recklessly, he or she may wind up in court. For example, if a bicyclist fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and the resulting collision causes injuries to the pedestrian, the bicyclist can be found liable. The same is true if a bicyclist rides into a busy intersection while texting and causes an accident.  Long story short, bicyclists are held to the same liability standards as pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers; the at-fault party will be liable for damages and injuries that may arise.

Tips for Proving Fault in a Bicycle-Traffic Accident Case

Yes, bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road just like everyone else. And yes, they can be found liable if they fail to do so. However, proving that a bicyclist is at fault is not always an easy task. The following tips can help prove fault:

  • File a police report. This will contain details from the scene of the accident, including whether any traffic laws were broken.
  • Obtain witness statements and ask for witness contact information.
  • Take photos of the accident scene. The more photos, the better. Photograph from multiple angles, and don’t just take pictures of property damage and injuries. Contributing factors, such as slick roads or a stop sign blocked by a tree can also be useful.
  • Obtain the cyclist’s contact information, and ask if he or she has insurance coverage. Some bicyclist insurance policies cover damage to other vehicles.

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Bicycling is healthy and great for the environment, but it can also be dangerous. Bicyclists share the road with other vehicles and due to their small size, they can easily disappear in a driver’s blind spot. Just as drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, so are bicyclists. However, a driver should never expect an oncoming bicyclist to obey traffic signals or signs. If, for any reason, a bicyclist doesn’t follow the rules (he or she doesn’t see a sign, isn’t aware of the rules, or just ignores a signal), a driver should yield to the bicycle for safety purposes. As a driver, you may (or may not) be in the right, but trying to prove your point may result in serious harm to the bicyclist. Contact a Boston Injury Attorney Today.

Driving Tips to Keep Everyone Safe

  • The best way to avoid an accident with a bicyclist is to follow the same rules that apply to all aspects of safe driving. Being distracted, tired, or reckless behind the wheel puts everyone in danger.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t speed.
  • Don’t use your cell phone while driving. If you must make a call, send a text, or adjust your navigation, find a safe place to pull over.
  • Check your blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
  • Make eye contact with oncoming bicyclists (this also applies to pedestrians).
  • Avoid fatigued driving.
  • Don’t drive at night if you have trouble seeing after dark. Especially in Boston, there may still be a lot of cyclists on the roads at night. They should be wearing reflective gear, and their bikes should be equipped with a light and reflectors. But this is not always the case. Always be alert for bicyclists and pedestrians when driving in the city at night.

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Following San Francisco’s lead, Boston cycling advocates are discussing whether cyclists should have to come to a complete stop at stop signs. San Francisco’s supporters of the so-called Idaho stops – the state legalized them in the 1980s – may actually see their wishes become reality. But Boston’s another story. It’s no big secret that many cyclists already breeze through stop signs and lights, and there are rarely consequences. However, this is exactly the reason that Boston’s law isn’t likely to change any time soon. It’s just not a priority. Police in San Francisco have been actively cracking down on these “rolling stops.” Cyclists took to the streets, protesting the practice and also creating the perfect opportunity for a policy change. Contact a Boston injury attorney for more information.

According to Doug Johnson, a community organizer for the Boston Cyclists Union, the union would “definitely support” Idaho stops, with certain exceptions for busy or dangerous intersections. “We think, if implemented properly … it would have no adverse effect on safety,” said Johnson. “Most intersections that have stop signs right now have low traffic volume and low traffic speed.” On the topic of allowing cyclists to continue riding through red lights after making a complete stop, Johnson was less certain. “It would be a lot more complicated to implement,” he said. Although he went on to say that the union would “potentially” get behind it. Continue reading

If you have ever driven in Boston, you are familiar with the difficulties this provides on a near constant basis. Rotaries, one way streets, freeway exits appearing almost out of thin air when you’re trying to figure out how to get out of the tunnel and over to the airport. Government Center to Logan and back again. These situations would be difficult to navigate on their own—but when you add in the fact that Boston is currently listed as having the worst drivers in the country—it makes these issues even more problematic to deal with.

In an annual ranking conducted by Allstate Insurance, Boston was found to have the worst drivers in the country out of a list of 200 large cities. Two other cities in Massachusetts, Springfield and Worcester, also finished in the bottom five, with Springfield placing at number 196 and Worcester at number 199. When Allstate conducted the same research last year for their 2014 report, they found that Worcester, Massachusetts had the worst drivers in the nation. Apparently, they have become slightly less terrible in the past year and now Massachusetts’ largest city has taken over the bottom tier ranking. Nearby Providence, Rhode Island also placed poorly, finishing at number 195 on Allstate’s “America’s Best Drivers” report. It must be a New England thing.

Of the cities pooled to create the report, Allstate found that Kansas City drivers were the best nationwide. Brownsville, Texas finished as the runner up coming in second place behind Kansas City. Other notable cities that were found to be in possession of the best drivers were Boise, Idaho, Fort Collins, Colorado, followed by Cape Coral, Florida to complete the top five spots on the insurance company’s list. Continue reading

A 68-year-old woman was killed on Wednesday after she was struck in a Boston-tractor trailer crash. She was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where she died from her injuries.

No charges were filed against the 38-year-old Saugus truck driver. Witnesses say that the woman appears to have been crossing against the light. The investigation, however, is still open.

Also Wednesday, 65-year-old Marcia Deihl sustained fatal injuries in a Cambridge dump truck crash. The bicyclist was leaving a Whole Foods Market parking lot when she was struck. Diehl was pronounced dead at the Massachusetts bicycle accident site.

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A male bicyclist sustained a serious injury to his leg when he was involved in a Framingham, MA traffic crash with a car. Police said that after the vehicle struck the rider he was thrown onto the car’s hood and windshield before falling to the ground. The driver of the car was reportedly driving at only 15 mph but was unable to stop in time to prevent striking the bicycle because there was loose sand and ice on the road. The pedalcycist says he may have been distracted.

According to an article published in the Boston Globe last year, the number of bike accidents in the state has gone up now that there are more cyclists on the road. Greater Boston area bicycle crash death figures have risen by three times over. From 2010 to 2012, reports the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, close to 70% of the bicycle accidents that occurred resulted in injuries. Crash data examined by The Globe revealed that in 66% of bicycle accidents a vehicle was involved.

The state has been encouraging more people to ride their bikes and its towns and cities have added bike lanes. Unfortunately, many drivers remain unaware that bicyclists’ have rights.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting a decline in both the number of Massachusetts motor vehicle crash fatalities as well as how many occurred in total in the U.S. According to the figures for 2013, there were 326 traffic deaths in the state last year, which is a decline from the 383 fatalities in 2012. Alcohol was a factor in 118 of the Massachusetts traffic deaths in 2013.

Nationally, the country lost 32,719 people in roadway crashes in 2013. This is also a decrease from the 33,782 traffic deaths from the year previous.

Overall, between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. saw a reduction in deaths and injuries of truck occupants, passenger car occupants, pedestrians, and young drivers, as well as in accidents where alcohol was a factor.

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