Bike Accident Safety Grant for Bike Safety

Bike accident lawyers are pleased that the Wrentham Police Department recently reported that it had received a grant of $3,000.00 as part of $285,500.00 given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for the improvement of bicycle and pedestrian safety.  In all, 70 police departments around the Commonwealth received similar grants.  The funds will be used to educate motorists and enforce existing laws designed for bicycle and pedestrian safety and hopefully avoid bike accidents and the serious injuries and wrongful deaths associated with them.

In the four-year period between 2008 and 2012, Massachusetts bicyclists suffered 1,106 serious injuries and 43 fatalities in encounters with motorists.  These figures do not include possibly thousands of other accidents where a bicyclist was hit by a car and was lucky to escape catastrophic injuries.

Causes of Bicycle Accidents

A significant number of motorists dislike sharing the roadways with bicyclists who have as much right to the road as motor vehicles.  Like motorcycles, bicyclists are not easy to spot and may appear to come out of nowhere to many drivers.  Because bicycling is increasingly becoming a means of commuting for many workers and with the proliferation of bike lanes on city streets, motorists have to exercise more caution when driving and to expect as well as respect bicyclists on the roads.

Some of the more common causes or factors leading to bicycle accidents with cars include:

  • Turning in front of approaching cyclists
  • Failing to yield when making a left turn in front of approaching cyclist
  • Overrunning a bike
  • Making an abrupt right turn after passing a bicyclist riding on the right
  • Not waiting for a safe opportunity to overtake a bike
  • Driving too closely to bicyclists
  • Road rage
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Opening a car door into the path of an approaching bicyclist

What Bicyclists Can Do re Safety

When riding your bike on the roadways, you are obligated to obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and waiting for red lights.  Bike accident lawyers also note that bicyclists must yield for pedestrians at crosswalks too.  You can be ticketed as any motorist may be for these traffic violations.

Bicyclists are also required to:

  • Wear a helmet if you are 16 years old or younger (but always a good idea)
  • Have a white light facing forward and red light facing backwards from 30 minutes before sundown to 30 minutes before dawn
  • Likewise if riding at night, your pedals either need reflectors facing back and front or these must be on your ankles facing front and back
  • You can ride on any roadway except express state highways and limited access roads where signs prohibit it
  • You and another cyclist may ride side by side so long as you are in the same lane but must ride in single file if cars need to pass you
  • You may pass a car on the right side
  • When turning, you are required to give a hand signal

If Injured in an Accident

Regardless if you are following the traffic laws and riding responsibly, motorists often do not see bicyclists on the road and enter intersections without yielding or turn into their path. Sometimes road rage, distractions, or simply not giving enough time or space when passing a bicyclist will cause a collision.  Bike accident lawyers note that because a bicyclist has so little protection, serious and incapacitating injuries as well as fatalities are usually the result.

If you were hit by a car on a bike, your injuries could include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken limbs, severe lacerations and burns from the road surface, facial fractures, neck and back sprain, and permanent disfigurement.

If injured, take the following steps:

  1. Call or wait for medical assistance
  2. Advise the police of witnesses who can identify the car and motorist and how the accident occurred
  3. Take photos of the accident scene, car, and your bicycle
  4. Do not have your bike repaired until it can be inspected by an expert for flaws or malfunctions
  5. Tell the investigating officer what happened but do not guess as to speeds or distances—do not give an opinion regarding fault other than the facts of what occurred
  6. Do not minimize your injuries to the officer
  7. Do not give a recorded or written statement to the motorist’s insurance adjuster
  8. Advise your insurer of your accident and injuries
  9. Immediately contact an experience bike accident lawyer

Your damages in a bike accident may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future income loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering

Retain Bike Law Firm Burns & Jain

Bicycle accident injuries are often more serious than those sustained in motor vehicles since any ejection onto the roadway can result in broken limbs, head, and internal injuries.  Call Burns & Jain today for a free analysis of your bicyclist injury claim.