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Bicycle Checklists: Does Yours Include Everything Needed to Stay Safe?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When’s the last time you checked the tension on your bike chain or oiled the gearing? If it’s been more than six months, time to brush up on your bicycle safety. They are two tasks that should be on every cyclist’s safety checklist and there’s more. If you’re not sure of the others, we’d suggest signing up for a bicycle safety class.

There is a number of bicycle safety classes held throughout California. Some are offered as part of assorted coalitions’ urban cycling workshops, including this one in San Francisco. The classes often include take-home or downloadable checklists that cyclists may use throughout the year at their discretion. If they don’t we’re sure that upon course completion you’ll be able to create one on your own.

Checking the bike’s moving parts should be just one category of tasks on your bicycle safety checklist. Stationary elements, including the frame, horn, reflectors, saddle, fenders and front fork should be noted somewhere on the checklist too. And although most pre-formed lists don’t have it, we’d suggest adding an internet search to the mix. Internet searches and notification alerts are important for cyclists who worry about recalls.

We feel that taking note of recalls is an essential part of bicycle safety, especially given how many occur each year. The total number of bike related recalls for 2016 has not been released yet. However, one look at Bicycle Retailer and similar periodicals shows just how many bikes are defective from the get go. Among the most recent brands to produce faulty products were Trek, Venge ViAS, Fuji, Breezer, Thule Sprint and Cannondale.

Keep in mind that bicycle inspections may not reveal the defects mentioned in recall notices. That’s why we are advocates of checking the notices too. They may help cyclists, especially those who end up injured, receive compensation for their trouble. To learn more about bicycle safety checklists and how to minimize one’s risk of injury, please contact The Law Office of Gary Brustin now.

Kudos to Advisory Groups Working Tirelessly to Perfect Bicycle Laws

Thursday, February 09, 2017

In previous months, we discussed bicycle laws across the country, including those that pertain to California. So we’re taking a moment this week to follow-up on what’s taking place in San Diego. You may have already heard but our neighbors have opted to adopt a Bicycle Advisory Committee. It’s initial adoption and recent changes were covered by San Diego Tribune reporter, David Garrick, in late November.

Bike Helmets Off to San Diego

At the Law Office of Gary Brustin, we think that Bicycle Advisory Committees are a fine idea and applaud the City of San Diego’s cycling community for their efforts. And out admiration is not expressed in hollow words. We are active in a number of similar groups, including the Silicon Valley and California Bicycle Coalition. As such, we can fully appreciate what they, and other cycling enthusiasts, are doing to keep everyone protected.

New Advocates Are Always Welcome

In addition, we heartily encourage other cyclists to become involved with the Bicycle Advisory Committee’s efforts. As of now, all board positions appear to be filled but cyclists are always welcome to attend meetings and express their concerns to those holding the current posts. We’ve dug up information about how to contact them and determine their meeting schedules. You can find it here or by reaching out to city officials as needed.

Help Chart Courses That Matter to Cyclists

Although the group is based in San Diego, their efforts may eventually impact other areas within our state. So, it behooves cyclists from across the country to pay attention to their good work. Also, their efforts could quite possibly serve as a road map for other cyclists looking to form advisory committees in their own respective areas of the world. To learn more about these types of advocacy groups and how being a proactive cyclist may help us all in the long run, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

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.

Bicycle Safety Needs to Go Beyond Dedicated Lane Legislation and Rebates

Thursday, May 26, 2016

As the California Bicycle Coalition works hard to establish a statewide rebate program for commuters, others are fighting to get more bike lanes in place. Over the years, both efforts have been stymied due to a variety of reasons. However, people concerned for bicycle safety are starting to feel hopeful. Signs of headway being made on both fronts are behind their new-found elation. But will all of the recent movement turn out to be enough?

Sadly, we think not. Having more dedicated lanes will certainly help matters as will financial incentives for people to buy new bikes. Unfortunately, those efforts won’t stop shoddy manufacturing practices and poor driving. For example, many lobbyists would like to see environmentally safe lanes being used by eco-friendly, e-bikes. That’s great but what about e-bike and cycling helmet recalls?

They are still occurring. As far as e-bikes are concerned, there have been notable problems with batteries. In some cases, the batteries posed fire or acid burn risks. In additional cases, e-bikes were found to have different problems, like defective forks and seats. Plus, other types of bicycles and biking accessories are being recalled too. Some of the most recent recalls were for a series of standard bikes with defective frames, wheels and quick releases.

Although different, all of the bicycle recalls had the potential to send cyclists in to the path of oncoming traffic. So for riders using those defective products, any protection afforded by the designated bike lanes could be lost. The same could be said for riders who are struck by inexperienced or distracted motorists.

And we haven’t talked yet about accidents that occur in areas where there are no bicycle lanes or poorly maintained ones. They are issues that need to be looked at seriously by bicycle safety experts too. To learn more about what’s going on with bicycle safety related legislation and how lawyers may help injured riders, please contact us today.

Bicycle Safety: How to Dress Properly for Cycling

Thursday, March 24, 2016

There are a lot of bicycle safety "rules" for you to keep in mind if you want to stay safe while you're out on the road. One thing that you might not be putting enough thought into, for example, is what you wear when you hop on your bike. Ensuring that you dress properly, however, can help keep you safe. These are a couple of tips that can help prevent accidents.

Make Sure Clothes are Properly-Fitting

First of all, you should make sure that your clothes fit properly when you're on your bike. Although it might seem more comfortable to wear loose-fitting clothing, loose clothing can get caught in your chain or tires. Wear clothing that fits you somewhat tightly but that is still comfortable.

Wear Bright Colors

It really isn't safe to hit the road on your bike when you're wearing dark colors. Look for clothing in your favorite bright colors so that you can ensure that motorists can always see you, even if you find yourself riding early in the morning or after dark. If you do not wear brightly-colored clothing, you should at least wear a colorful vest with reflectors to ensure that motorists are aware of your presence when you're on the road.

One important part of bicycle safety is ensuring that you are dressed properly. Follow these tips, and you can help keep yourself safe on the road and elsewhere. If you do find yourself in a bicycling accident, however, you can contact us at the Law Office of Gary Brustin today.


Biking Enthusiasts May Want to Consider Safety Issues Before Buying Green

Friday, March 18, 2016

Biking has always been considered an eco-friendly activity for obvious reasons. But today’s entrepreneurs are finding ways to make it even greener. You might ask, “How is that even possible?” Well it starts like everything else, with the foundation. An increasing number of people feel it’s time to toss the metal frames away and go with sustainable materials instead.

Which sustainable materials are currently being used? There are already firms experimenting with bamboo, wood, recycled cardboard and refurbished parts ala steam punk style. While we agree that they’ve all got the cool factor, what about bicycle safety? Do the sustainable materials have the ability to withstand impact with guard rails or motor vehicles? In order to answer that critical biking question, we must look at whether or not the industry is federally regulated.

In many respects, it does receive government oversight. However, there have been bumpy stretches of pavement on the way to greener alternatives. The bumps have largely been prompted by industry innovations moving faster than the federal law making process. For example, the laws were written with traditional metal bicycles in mind, not the latest materials. As such, not all bicycles may fall under the current industry requirements.

What are the current requirements when it comes to bicycle frames? Some of them are listed in Federal Code Title 16. Look for them in Chapter 2, Section 1512. They indicate that frames must meet certain strength guidelines. The strength guidelines, however, are for downward pressure only. Curiously, they don’t mention the ability to withstand impact with another object.

So will these green bicycles hold up in an impact like their traditional counterparts? We can’t say for sure until the bike manufacturing laws catch up to the entrepreneurs. With that said, biking enthusiasts should choose their rides carefully and consult with bicycle accident attorneys as needed.


Ventura County’s Bicycle Laws Aren’t Enough to Protect Riders’ Lives or Wallets

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do you know which bicycle laws apply in Ventura County, specifically Oxnard? If not, better boost your biking IQ before that next ride. The local police frequently conduct random stops and the city has seen its share of fatal accidents too. One of the more recent tragedies took place in a popular cycling area on January 26th, 2016. In that instance, a vehicle backed over a cyclist during daylight hours.

How prevalent are random stops and bicycle accidents in the county? Let’s turn to the county’s bicycle safety report from last year. It’s presently the most current one available to the public. It clearly showed that close to 50 people died in biking accidents during an 18-month period alone. In our bicycle accident attorney’s opinion, that’s 50 to many.

In addition, it pointed out that although people are frequently detained by the police for related, bicycle law violations, there is precious little follow through going on. At least that was true until January 2016 when a number of riders found themselves on the wrong end of tickets. No word was released on how many motorists, if any, were also affected by the pre-planned sweep.

Interestingly enough, the previously mentioned report also noted that motor vehicle drivers in the area have a tendency to rear-end cyclists, which means that they were likely in violation of the 3-Feet Clearance Law of 2014. The bicycle law was created in response to county members’ previously voiced concerns but has yet to make an impact on motorists’ overall behavior. And sadly, rear-end collisions and others that involve motor vehicles often end with life threatening or altering injuries for cyclists.

Respected publication, The American Family Physician, previously published which types of injuries are likely to occur during such incidents. Among them are intracranial hemorrhage, parenchymal lung damage, facial contusions and splenic ruptures. Obviously, they may all prove deadly depending on the severity of the traffic accident.

This all leads avid cyclists to ask, “Is knowing and adhering to Ventura County’s bicycle laws enough to stay safe?” Sadly, they’re not enough. Accidents still happen and Oxnard cyclists need lawyers that will fight to protect them should an unfortunate turn of events leave them bedridden or dead. To find one familiar with the area’s cycling pathways, accident history and bicycle laws, please contact us today.

Are You Thinking of Biking Out of Town Once Spring 2016 Begins?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chances are many of you are already thinking about where to go biking this spring. There’s a lot that traditionally goes into planning a trip but trail safety and surviving biking accidents are generally not two of them. However, they most certainly should be on every traveling biker’s mind. The same case may be made for regional cycling laws and bicycle insurance policies because they all have the potential to impact a person’s trip.

With that said, before loading up the bike and setting cross-country, be sure to do your due diligence. Find out what the bicycle laws are in your chosen destination and whether or not the trails are maintained. Remember, not all states have bicycle transportation accounts and bike-pedestrian plans like our state does. So in some distance locations, finding safe, clean trails that are open to visitors may be challenging to say the very least.

Next, take a second to dig out your homeowner’s, renter’s or auto insurance policies and give them the once over. Find out what coverage exists if you’re hit while cycling out of the state as well as what would happen if an accident occurs in transit to the trail heads. If you’re not happy with the coverage, update it well before your cycling vacation starts and keep meticulous records of the changes.  

And let’s not overlook bicycle theft. Check for that type of coverage too because hotel thefts seem to already be on the rise. Last year’s well- publicized, World Cycling Championship related theft is a prime example of what could happen. Thankfully that story ended well for the cyclist but such incidents don’t always turn out that way.

Finally, keep in mind that if a biking accident does occur, there are California attorneys that may be able to help. To learn more about protecting your rights no matter where your bicycle wheels may roam, please contact us today. As ardent cyclists and lawyers, we’re in a unique position to provide advice.

You're Never Too Old to Practice Bicycle Safety

Thursday, December 17, 2015

According to this article in The Idaho Statesmanbicycle safety is no longer an issue solely reserved for the younger population. It states the mortality rate of adults ages 35 to 54 has tripled...yes, tripled...in the past 40 years, while the rates for children have declined dramatically. Some of this is due in part to an overall increase in bicycle popularity (especially in big cities), it is also caused by an almost general societal understanding that only children need reminders about staying safe while cycling.

The first and most important rule of the road for cyclists: wear a helmet! The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) says that no state currently requires adult riders to wear helmets, while 21 states and some US territories have enacted laws for cyclists below a certain age, often either 16 or 18.

Knowing hand signals and following traffic laws are also essential components of bicycle safety. Relying on your senses and the responsibility and responsiveness of drivers and other riders is not enough to keep you safe. Brush up on your state driving and cycling laws by visiting your local licensing department.

Even the most prepared and aware cyclist can find themselves involved in an accident. Knowing what to do when that happens before it happens can help alleviate the stress of dealing with medical bills, insurance claims and all the other tasks required when an accident happens. We encourage you to contact us to answer any questions you have about bicycle accidents and what to do if you are involved in one.


Bicyclists - Beware of Road Rage

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Road rage describes aggressive driving or actions by a motorist with the intent to cause harm to someone else who is sharing the road. These actions are usually triggered when the driver is already feeling stressed or agitated about outside factors, such as running late to work or getting caught in traffic. Road rage can result in criminal charges against the driver ranging from reckless driving to assault with a deadly weapon. Unfortunately, road rage incidents are all-too-common in Los Angeles, and can be especially dangerous for bicyclists. In addition to good bicycle safety practices, it's important for riders to know how to respond in the event of road rage.

The best way to avoid a road rage altercation is to be alert while riding. Avoid vehicles that appear to be driving erratically or have a driver that looks to be agitated. If a vehicle engages in taunting or aggressive behavior while you are on your bicycle the urge may be great to reciprocate, but it’s your responsibility to respond in a way that does not lead to an altercation or injury.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to avoid an altercation, another driver will lash out. If this happens – especially if you experience personal injury or property damage as a result – it’s essential that you are able to accurately recall critical information and details. If possible, take a few pictures or videos using your phone, but only if it can be done discretely as not to appear antagonizing to the other person involved. Also, take note of information such as license plate numbers, the location where the road rage occurred, and anyone who may have witnessed the event.

If you are injured as a result of road rage, do not leave the scene. Call 911 for help immediately.

Section 21200 of the California legal code states that a person riding a bicycle has all the rights and is subject to all the same provisions as a driver of a motor vehicle. If you were in an accident that you believe was the result of someone violating these rights or experiencing road rage, you need an attorney who specializes in representing injured bicyclists. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.


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We handle cases throughout California, including the cities of:  

Silicon Valley, San Jose, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Orange County and San Diego. We also have a network of qualified cycling attorneys throughout the country for clients who are seeking representation outside of California.