Prosecutors will not be pressing charges against the Amherst truck driver who struck and killed a bicyclist last May.
Livingston Pangburn, a Hampshire College student, was fatally injured when he collided with an Amherst College box truck. According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, Pangburn was traveling in heavy traffic along College Street, and did not stop with the traffic to allow the westbound truck to make a left turn onto the college’s campus.
Police reports stated that the driver of the truck did not see the cyclist in time to stop, and Pangburn was not able to maneuver around the truck in time to avoid the crash. Prosecutors do not believe that any impairment, cell phone use, or mechanical defects with the vehicle played a role in the accident.
While this is undoubtedly a tragic story, it also puts into perspective the dangers cyclists face when riding their bikes. Because bicyclists are extremely vulnerable compared to passengers to a motor vehicles due to their lack of physical barriers to protect themselves, it is crucial for them to do their part to prevent a serious accident from occurring.
5 Tips to Stay Safe on Your Bike
1. Always, always, always wear a helmet. While it seems to be a phrase engrained in everyone’s head, so many individuals do not understand how important helmets are in preventing serious head injuries. Some people dismiss the idea of wearing a helmet because of atheistic reasons, or because they feel their short commute doesn’t warrant wearing one. But wearing a helmet could make all the difference, and could even save a life.
2. Travel with the traffic, not against it. Always ride on the right side of the road, and go with the flow of traffic. Remember that bicycles are considered vehicles too, and cyclists are responsible for adhering to the same rules of the road as drivers. If you come to a stop sign or red light, you are legally bound to stop. In addition, you are responsible for yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks, just as motorists are.
3. Ride in designated bike lanes whenever possible. Ride in bike lanes when you are able to. If you feel unsafe traveling on a road because of traffic, you may also ride on the sidewalk, however it is important to always yield to pedestrians.
4. Wear bright clothing. Always wear bright clothing or reflective clothing and avoid wearing dark clothing when traveling at nighttime, to ensure that motorists are able to see you.
5. Stay vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for unexpected situations or actions by motorists. Also, minimize your distractions-while riding with your iPod may be fun, it can also be incredibly dangerous.
When a bicyclist is injured during a motor vehicle accident, numerous legal repercussions can complicate a person’s recovery. Victims and their families often wonder who bares the responsibility for paying medical bills, lost wages, as well as what to do if the accident was a hit-and-run. All of these concerns can be addressed with the help of an experienced Boston Personal Injury Attorney at the law offices of Altman & Altman. Our seasoned attorneys have nearly 50 years of experience handling bicycle accidents and personal injury claims and we have all of the necessary resources to achieve the highest possible settlements for our clients. If you or someone you love was the victim of a bicycle accident, contact the offices of Altman & Altman to schedule a free initial consultation. Our lawyers are always available to answer any and all of your questions.