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Biking Fans and Industry Members Flip Their Helmets over the News

Thursday, February 02, 2017

In late November 2016, biking magazines and bloggers started talking enthusiastically about a new invention currently being tested across the pond. It’s a cycling helmet. We know, cycling helmets aren’t new but this one is because of the materials used in its design. The creator went with something many in the cycling industry weren’t expecting, recycled paper.

Paper and Inflatable Products Generate Buzz

It comes on the heels of the 3D printing trend and other European initiatives to change the way cycling safety is done. Examples include a shift towards inflatable helmets and stronger bicycle frames. But are these new pieces of biking equipment really something we should all run out and buy? As a devoted cyclist and bicycling advocate, I’d like to urge caution.

Choosing Time-Tested Over Trendy

Many of these trendy items are largely untested. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to trade in what works for something that may not keep us safe from both on and off-road hazards. Nonetheless, like other bikers, I enjoy keeping up with the trends along with the latest safety recalls. Speaking of which, there have been a few recalls as of late.

Year End Recalls Continue

Since we’re on the subject, among the most recent are bicycle helmets manufactured by SAHN and Schwinn. Interestingly, the SAHN helmets, like the paper ones we mentioned earlier, were tested using foreign standards. Consequently, they were pulled for not complying with our government’s industry regulations. As for the latter bike helmets, they were thought to have faulty strap and buckle assemblies.

Recourse May Be Possible

Remember, in cases where trendy or classic cycling helmets fail to do as intended, bikers may have legal recourse. Depending on the product, its origin and all pertinent facts, cyclists could sue the manufacturer as well as the designers or sellers. To learn more about changes in bicycle safety and how they may affect cyclists’ rights moving forward, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today.

Study Find Cyclists Have Higher Accident Risk When intersections Aren’t Right Angles

Friday, January 20, 2017

If you cycle every day, then you are already aware that intersections pose a huge risk to your safety on the road. If you haven’t read the statistics, then you found out firsthand how careless cars are to your rights at these junctions. However, a new study finds that not only are bicycle accidents more likely at intersections, but that statistic is only increased when the intersection is not at a right angle.

Using GPS, the study tracked 3,266 bicycle crashes throughout New York City, gathering data on intersection angles, street width, speed limits, and average traffic level. The majority of the crashes, over 60 percent, happened at intersections. When these crashes were compared to intersection angles, it found that cyclists were 37 percent more likely to crash at non-right angle intersections.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that crashes that didn’t happen at intersections were 31 percent more likely to cause serious injury. The study also found that crashes were likely to happen on narrow streets.

So what does this mean for the everyday cyclist? Well, unfortunately, you can never predict if a crash is going to happen, but at least now we know to watch out at non-right angle intersections more cautiously. This new study will also help city planners of blossoming cycling cities to better plan streets for both cyclist and car safety.

If you have been in a cycling accident at a non-right angle intersection or otherwise, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of the ever-growing cyclist community.

Could the Way You Turn Be an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Friday, January 13, 2017

If you are just starting off with biking in high traffic areas, there is so much to learn. However, people rarely think that the way they ride their bike is one of them. This has led to even seasoned veteran cyclists not focusing so much on how they ride so long as they follow the rules of the road. However, could it be an accident waiting to happen?

No matter whether you like to ride fast or are a dedicated slow rider, the way you turn on the road could be a set up for a major accident, if it hasn’t caused one already.

But how could a turn make such a difference? You just turn the handlebars, right? Unfortunately, just turning with only your handlebars is a slow and unsteady process that definitely won’t allow you to respond in an emergency situation. Turning this way is so old-fashioned, and while it works fine in less crowded area, in the city, you need a more responsive way.

Before heading out into high traffic areas, go find yourself an empty parking lot and practice this new way. Instead of awkwardly jerking your handlebars to turn, try slightly shifting your weight to the right or left depending on which way you are turning. Notice when you lean into it, the bike follows and you don’t really need to use your handlebars. This turn allows you to not only turn faster and with more stability, but you can easily snap back in the event of an emergency situation.

No matter whether the turn was to blame or not, if you were in a cycling accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to fighting for the rights of cyclists.

New York City Now Using 311 and Open Data to Track Bicycle Law Blockers

Friday, January 06, 2017

New York City has often been a major hub of trendsetters, and now it is giving cyclists, at least in this big city, a new trend to show off. Now in New York City, people can report others who block bike lanes with their cars through the 311 system. That same data will also go online. This data not only shows where bike lane abuse is most rampant, but it also shows how much the New York City Police Force ignores it.

city-produced map shows that the majority of bike lane abuse happens where bikes are most prevalent, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On the map, red dots are reports that the police actively responded to while blue dots were reports where action was not necessary. This means that bike lane blockers either moved, there was not sufficient information available, or, as many bikers suspect, the police just don’t care. As you can see, there is a whole lot of blue.

Not only is this map an innovation in helping the police force enforce bike lanes, but it can also help bikers. Even just glancing at this map, you know you are going to find First Avenue looking more like a parking lot than a bike lane. With any luck, this great innovation could be coming to your city. Think about how helpful this would be in major cities like Los Angeles or Chicago. It will not only help police respond to incidents better, but it serves as a way to remind vehicles that, yeah, you can’t park in bike lanes.

With any luck, by making drivers more aware of bike lanes, it will also cut down on bike accidents. However, until it does, there is always the Law Office of Gary Brustin, a lawyer that is dedicated to making the world a better place for cyclists.

The 4 Rules of Safe City Biking

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bicycle safety is pretty basic when there aren't too many cars around. However, when you take your bicycle into even a moderate-sized city, the rules change. Cars still rule the road there, and you need to know how to handle them safely because you better believe most cars don't know how to handle a cyclist on the road. To keep you safe on city roads, here are a few rules to follow.

Give Every Parked Car Its Door Zone

Even if it looks like it has been parked for hours, that door could still swing open just as you are cruising by. When cycling by parked cars, be sure to give each and every one its door zone. The habit will save you a nasty bike accident one day.

Follow Vehicle Rules

You may not have a motor under you, but there are some traffic laws that bicycles need to follow too. This includes stopping at red lights, pausing at stop signs, and still giving pedestrians on crosswalks the right of way. By following these rules, it takes a lot of thinking out of the equation, makes things safer for all parties, and, well, it's the law!

Watch for the Left Cross and Right Cross

These are the two most common accident zones at an intersection and you need to know how to deal with them. The Right Cross happens at an intersection where you are going straight, but a car is turning right without waiting for you. Be prepared to look behind you to check for cars turning right as you can be assured they won't be paying you any attention.

The Left Cross is in a similar situation where the car across the way is going to turn left when you are going straight. You have the right away, but motorists don't see you as a car.

No Lights at Night, No Ride

Cities may be brighter than country roads, but not every motorist will be able to see your bike at night without lights. If you don't have lights on your bike, you might just want to take a cab.

Even if you follow these rules, accidents happen. If you have been the victim of a cycling accident, the Law Offices of Gary Bustin may be able to help you. Contact us today.

Make Your Bicycle Commute the Best

Friday, November 04, 2016

Riding a bicycle to work can save on gas while giving you exercise. By following a few tips, you can make your ride safe and enjoyable.

Wear a helmet. They're not just for kids. A lightweight helmet won't interfere with your vision, and it can save you from a concussion if you take a fall.

Dress for the weather. If it's warm or cold, dress so you won't arrive at work overheated or frostbitten. If rain is threatening, pack a waterproof jacket. Don't cover your ears unless it's so cold that you have to; you want to hear anything that might be a danger. Wear bright or reflective clothing. You'll want to change clothes anyway when you arrive.

Be predictable, and follow the rules of the road. Drivers are better able to avoid you when you don't surprise them.

Stay hydrated. The effects of repeated dehydration aren't immediately obvious, but they can be unpleasant. Pack a water bottle and pause to drink along the way.

Pack a light. You could be delayed coming home, and you want to be safe in the dark. If you don't use it often, make sure to check its batteries periodically.

Have a sturdy lock. A U-type lock works well; for extra security you can add a cable lock. You want the bike to still be there when you leave.

Pack a repair kit. Flat tires are annoying, but being able to fix them on the spot reduces the pain. Include paper towels; one of the most common spot repairs is re-seating the chain, and it's better not to arrive at work with greasy hands.

Inquire about commuting incentives. Some employers provide incentives to people who bike to work. Federal tax law allows abicycle subsidy of $20 a month for participating employers. Ask if they offer a secure place for bike parking.

Ride intelligently, and you'll arrive at work safe, refreshed, and unstressed. If, in spite of this, you're in a bike accident and need to take legal action, please contact our experienced legal team.

You Can Become an Advocate for Bicycle Safety

Thursday, October 27, 2016

If you ride a bike regularly, you've experienced the health benefits of biking. You're healthier, and you enjoy the outdoors more often. And because you save on transportation costs, you have more money in your pocket, too!

Like most experienced bikers, you value bicycle safety, but maybe you've realized that your community isn't bike friendly. If you ride to work on busy streets with no bike lanes, your commute can be dangerous. And if your community hasn't passed bike-friendly legislation or invested in public bike education, you're more likely to be injured or hit by a car. So much for health benefits!

What Are the Elements of a Bike-Friendly Community?

Communities that encourage bike riding have specific features:

  • Dedicated bike lanes on busy roadways
  • A network of connected bike lanes and paths that enable bikers to get around easily
  • Multi-use paths for off-road riding
  • Bike safety training courses
  • Plenty of bike parking
  • Educated drivers who share the road
  • Enforcement of safety rules

Bike-friendly neighborhoods offer a safer experience for riders and drivers alike. If your community doesn't provide the infrastructure and rules necessary to protect riders, it's time for you to become an advocate for bike safety.

Effective Advocacy

First of all, think local! Find--and join--a bike advocacy group in your community. If you can't find one, consider starting one. There's strength in numbers, and it's easier to get your concerns heard--and taken seriously--if you're organized.

Educate and inform the public. Encourage your local bike advocacy group to offer bike safety courses, and make sure that the curriculum includes information about the importance of a bike-friendly community.

Convince community leaders that bike safety is a win-win issue for them. According to Bikeleague.orgbiking is good for the economy, decreases traffic and pollution, and leads to a healthier populace. Invite elected officials to information sessions about the benefits of bike-friendly infrastructure and laws.

Lobby for change. Once you've educated local and state officials about pro-biking legislation, get on the phone often and remind them. Ask them to pass bike-friendly legislation like cell phone bans. Explain that minimum passing laws protect both bikers and drivers according to studies reported by advocacyadvance.org.

Remember: as an advocate for bicycle safety, you're giving your community a tool for economic growth. In the meantime, if you've been injured because of unsafe biking conditions, contact the law office of Gary Brustin.

Are Your Bicycle Tires An Accident Waiting to Happen?

Friday, October 07, 2016

If you use your bicycle everyday to ferry yourself around town, your tires are enduring a lot of wear and tear. Even veteran cyclists fail to note the condition of their tires at times. However, a blowout of a bicycle tire can be just as dangerous as a blowout on a car tire, especially if you frequently cycle in high traffic areas. Yet, when do you know if it is time to change out your bicycle tires?

  • Can you see threads on your tires contact surface?
  • Are there any visible holes, gashes, bubbles, or cracks on your tires?
  • Are your tires losing air faster than usual?
  • Do you see your tire’s wear indicator?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then it is tire to change out your tires. Whether you have endured any damage to your tires or you have just been using them for awhile, both can be dangerous to your safety and the safety of others. Just like a vehicle who we have to share the road with, maintaining your equipment is essential and we should never skimp on it. If there is any doubt on the condition of your tires or any other part on your bicycle, it is best to have it checked out by a mechanic at your local bike shop.

Have you been in a bicycle accident due to your tires or any other circumstance and need legal representation? Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Bustin can do for you.

New North Carolina Law Changes Rules of the Road for Both Cyclists and Drivers

Friday, September 02, 2016

According to North Carolina's Department of Transportation, around 19 cyclists are killed and more the 650 are injured per year in the state. However, in an effort to make the road safer for both cyclists and drivers, the state has set down some new safety laws and intends to roll out stricter punishments to enforce them.

The majority of North Carolina's bicycling accidents can be blamed on impatient drivers that illegally pass cyclists or push them off the road. The new law covers this in three main parts.

Drivers will now be able to legally pass bicycles in no passing zones, providing they keep a buffer of four feet. This is raised from the previous two-foot buffer. Aggressive drivers who push bicycles off the road or cause them to crash will now face stiffer penalties, including loss of license and higher fines. As for bicyclists, the new law now forces them to learn new safety hand signals, add a light to the back of their bike, and wear reflective clothing at night.

The addition of these new rules of the road comes after the initiative of countless cyclists in the state. Due to the poor conduct of drivers, cyclists, particularly in rural areas, had taken to wearing front and back cameras so that they could bring in pictures and video to police and law-making officials just to show how dangerous being a cyclist can be.

Yet, not every state will pay mind to the initiative of endangered cyclists. If you have suffered a bicycle accident due to the aggressiveness of driver, contact us today.

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents at Intersections

Friday, August 26, 2016

Most bicycle accidents involve only the person riding the bicycle.  In fact, according to Nolo.com, only 11% of bicycle accidents occur with an automobile.  Of these collisions, however, nearly half happen at an intersection, making these traffic areas particularly hazardous for people on bikes.

Why are traffic intersections so dangerous for cyclists?   Cars may not come to a complete stop at the traffic signal, or drivers may only be looking for oncoming cars and trucks before proceeding through a turn.   Traffic intersections are usually busy, with many cars traveling in different directions.  This alone increases the chances of a bicycle-car collision.  

When approaching a traffic intersection, cyclists should proceed with caution.  In all 50 states, bicycles are vehicles, and they must follow the rules of the road. This means following the same traffic laws as automobiles.  Cyclists should come to a complete stop at stop lights and stop signs.  They should not run through yellow lights.  They should wait for a green light before proceeding through an intersection and look both ways to ensure that no traffic is barreling toward them.

Cyclists must also follow traffic laws that apply to intersections without a traffic signal.  If a bicycle and an automobile arrive at such an intersection, then the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way.  If a bicycle and the automobile arrive at the same time, then the vehicle to the right has the right of way. 

Carefully follow intersection traffic laws, and you will decrease your chances of being involved in a bicycle-automobile collision.   Yet accidents do happen.  If you are a cyclist and have been in a car collision that was not your fault, then contact us.  We are the Law Office of Gary Brustin and are here to protect your cyclist rights.


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