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Cycling Law Blog


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.

Biking with Buds? Better Think Twice Before Putting Those Feet to the Pedals

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Throughout the day, many of us undoubtedly reach for the ear buds. Maybe we want to zone out on the trip home or psych ourselves up for a long cycling trip. Either way, it’s a habit that could cost Californians dearly in the weeks to come. As ABC7News reported in early January 2016, there are ear bud laws on the books and cyclists are among the group of people they’re meant to target.

Ear buds have obviously been around for many years now but they’re not without controversy. People worry that the tiny accessories will either block out the sound of oncoming traffic or cause hearing damage. This is primarily a concern with cyclists who turn the volume up on their mobile devices beyond recommended levels. Plus, the buds may serve as a distraction or pose an entanglement risk too.

As a consequence, California lawmakers have made it their mission to dissuade cyclists from using them altogether. And as a domino effect, the new laws may also influence future accident cases. For example, if a biking accident victim was wearing ear buds at the time of impact, will the courts see his or her actions as contributory negligence? And further, will he or she still be fined for violating the law?

Currently, our state recognizes what’s known as the Pure Comparative Fault Rule. So yes, the courts will take the fact that a cyclist was wearing ear buds at the time of the accident into consideration. However, it will not be the sole, influencing factor in biking accident cases involving ear buds. In addition, the cyclist could very well still face punitive costs for breaking the state’s ear bud laws.

To learn more about how ear bud use may impact biking accident cases going forward, please contact attorney Gary Brustin today.

3 Tips to Avoid Bicycle Accidents

Thursday, January 28, 2016

If you use a bicycle as your primary mode of transportation or like biking as a fun hobby or a great form of exercise, one thing that you might worry about is bicycle accidents. As you probably already know, a bicycle accident can lead to serious injury -- or even death. Luckily, following a few simple tips can help you stay safe.

1. Keep Your Bike in Good Shape

First of all, you have to make sure that you keep your bike in good shape. Inspect it regularly, and make sure that the chain, the brakes and the tires are in good shape. Also, check your bike for rust or other signs of wear and tear that could potentially result in an accident. Have parts repaired or replaced as needed.

2. Dress for the Occasion

Every time that you hop on your bike, you should make sure that you are properly dressed for the occasion. Don't wear clothing that is too loose -- it could get caught in your chain or your tires. Also, make sure that you always wear a helmet and other essential safety gear, and wear bright colors and a reflective vest in dark conditions so that you can be easily seen.

3. Follow Biking Safety Tips

Make sure that you always operate your bike safely. Ride on the proper side of the road, and use hand signals to keep nearby motorists informed of what you are doing.

Some accidents cannot be avoided, but taking the proper precautions can help you stay safe. If you do find yourself in a bicycle accident, contact us at the Law Office of Gary Brustin to find out how we can help.

Stronger Restrictions on Nighttime Driving May Lower Teen Accident Risks

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Some of the biggest risks for California bicyclists involve teen drivers. This is a high-risk category of motorists, and teenagers because of their lower experience, susceptibility to peer pressure, and delusions of invincibility, are more likely to cause bicycle accidents.

The risk of a bicycle accident involving a teen motorist is much higher, when a bicyclist is out at night. New research indicates that when there are stronger restrictions on nighttime driving for teen drivers, the risks of a teen driver accident drop.

The study was based in Massachusetts, and found that when stronger rules for nighttime driving by teen drivers were enacted, there was a drop in serious accident rates. In Massachusetts, in 2007, new regulations imposed severe penalties for unsupervised nighttime driving for teenage drivers between ages 16 and 17. When the researchers analyzed the data, they found that accident rates involving teenage drivers of this age group actually fell by 40% after the new rules were enacted. Overall, they found that there was a 19% drop in all types of accidents involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 17. Overall, these drivers were involved in approximately 29% lower nighttime accidents after the new rules came into effect.

As a bicyclist, you can reduce your risks of an accident at night, by simply avoiding riding after dark. If you have to ride at night, take precautions. You are less visible at night, so stick reflective tape on your clothes, helmet and bicycle to make sure that you are visible to motorists. Avoid riding at night wearing all-black clothing, and without bothering to make yourself visible. Make no mistake-your risk of being involved in an accident is much higher when you're riding at night. If you were involved in an accident, consult a California bicycle accident lawyer for help filing a claim.

Bicycle Safety Tips for Kids

Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer season marks peak bicycling season for children. It also means a higher risk of accidents involving your children when they're bicycling outside. Make sure that your child is properly equipped for riding outside in the summer.

Teach your child the rules of safe bicycling. Make sure that your child is always wearing a properly fitted bicycle helmet, while riding. A bicycle helmet must be well-fitting, and must not be either too tight or too big. If it is too tight, it may prevent the child from wearing the helmet. If it is too loose, it will not do a good job of protecting the skull during impact in an accident.

Make sure that your child's bicycle also fits properly. When your child stands over the bicycle straddling it, there should be at least a 2-inch gap between him and the top tube.

It's important for children to be seen when they are riding, and that can't be done when there is poor visibility. Don't allow your child to ride outside at night. Avoid white clothing while riding outside. Wearing white doesn't make you more visible. Make your child wear brightly-colored fluorescent clothes instead.

Teach your child to look out for hazards on the road. There could be debris on the road, puddles, and potholes, and all of these pose a potential accident threat. Also, look out for dogs that may be playing close by. It's always best to ride in groups- a group of children riding together is much harder to miss.

If your child was injured in a bicycle accident, speak with a California bicycle accident lawyer.

Could Family-Friendly Bicycles Soon Be Here?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A bicycle show in a nation that is home to one of safest and most pleasurable environments for bicyclists recently provided exciting glimpses of what the future holds in terms of bicycling.

Several of the bicycles on exhibit at the Copenhagen Bike Show were family-friendly bicycles that allow people to carry passengers, groceries, their pet dog, and children. Some of the bicycles on display at the Show had sidecars, just like those that are currently available for motorcycles. In other cases, bicyclists had forward-facing seats between the handlebars that you could use as a stroller.

The Danish capital is home to hundreds of thousands of bicyclists. However, bicyclists in Copenhagen are becoming pickier about the types of vehicles that they want to use. They want more versatility, and they want their bicycles to perform many of the same functions that their cars do. In short, families want more from a bike. They want a bike to be easy to travel in, but also want to be able to carry groceries, and even the children home in it.

There was no doubt that some of the most popular exhibits at the show were bicycles that primarily targeted families with children. Some companies are actually introducing wine bottle holders, and grocery bags as special add-ons for bicycles. One bicycle comes with a sidecar, that can turn into a sled, if the bicyclist suddenly finds himself in the mood for some cross country skiing.

Considering that many of the bicycles that were on display at the Copenhagen Bike Show were designed by Dinesh designers, it is safe to assume that safety is a priority in many of these designs.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be eligible for a claim for compensation. Discuss filing a claim with a California bicycle accident lawyer.

California's Bicycle Helmet Laws

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The state of California has a law requiring all bicyclists below the age of 18 to wear a bicycle helmet while riding. However, there is no mandatory state law that requires all adult bicyclists to wear a helmet while riding.

However, some cities may have their own ordinances in place that require all bicyclists to wear helmets while riding. It is important for you to know whether your city has an ordinance requiring helmet use while riding a bicycle. It could possibly impact your chances for a claim for compensation if you are involved in a bicycle accident.

If you have suffered head injuries in an accident, because you were not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time, it could significantly impact the success of your claim. You can expect the other party to claim that your injuries would not have occurred if you had been wearing a helmet.

Additionally, because helmet use is so widely promoted as a way of reducing the risk of head injuries, a court or jury may also be unimpressed with your failure to wear a helmet, and could blame your failure to wear a helmet for your injuries.

Speak to a California bicycle accident lawyer about whether you are eligible for compensation after an accident in which you were not wearing a helmet. A bicycle helmet cannot protect against every type of head injury. If you can prove that wearing a helmet would not have prevented your injury in any way, then you may still be eligible for compensation.

Discuss your options for compensation with a California bicycle accident lawyer.

Senior Drivers at Risk of Accidents near Intersections

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Intersections pose a serious safety challenge for bicycles, and many accidents every year occur near California intersections. A study studies indicates that many senior drivers find it difficult to navigate safely around an intersection.

Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently found that many older motorists struggle with driving safely around an intersection. It is not as if senior drivers are not looking out for accident risks, when they are at an intersection. The problem is that they do not always see accident risks, and that increases the risks of an accident involving another vehicle.

Earlier studies have also indicated that senior drivers have a much higher risk of accidents involving angle, overtaking, merging and intersection accidents. They are especially more likely to be involved in accidents involving left turns. The new study focused on a national database of accidents, and examined factors involved in accidents involving drivers above the age of 70.

The researchers found in their study that senior drivers are at risk of making errors that are very different from the errors made by middle-aged drivers. Among older drivers, must driving safety challenges seem to involve inadequate surveillance, which constituted approximately 33% of the errors. Seniors are also much less likely to inaccurately judge the gap between vehicles, or to accurately judge another vehicle’s speed. They also often fail to obey traffic controls, and are also at a higher risk for medical events or daydreaming. In as many as 70 percent of the accidents, drivers were looking out for another vehicle, but did not see the vehicle. Middle-age drivers, on the other hand, were not likely to look for another vehicle at all.

If you were involved in a bicycle accident, speak to a California bicycle accident attorney for help filing a claim for compensation.

Bill Would Mandate Bicycle Helmets

Sunday, February 01, 2015

A new bill that has been introduced by a California state senator would make it illegal to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet in California. The bill would require that all adult bicycle riders in California wear helmets. Any violations would result in citations and fines of up to $25.

Bill 192 is currently modeled on other laws in California that require persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. However, California does not mandate bicycle helmets for adult users. The bill would target that deficiency, and require that all adult bicyclists wear helmets while riding.

The number of injuries and fatalities in bicycle accidents is on the increase around the country. In 2009, 91% of the bicyclists who were killed in accidents were not wearing helmets at the time. Failure to wear a bicycle helmet while riding could cost a bicyclist up to $25 in fines.

Any California bicycle accident attorney would recommend that bicyclists wear helmets while riding, simply because it reduces the risk of suffering serious head injuries in an accident. However, many critics believe that bicycle helmets don't necessarily keep bicyclists safer, or prevent the risk of accidents. In fact, they point to other bodies of research that indicate that motorists get a false sense of security when bicyclists wear helmets. That immediately places the bicyclists at risk of harm.

In other words, motorists may be more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors around a cyclist, if they believe that a bicyclist is safe from serious head injuries in an accident. In fact, one study conducted in the United Kingdom that whenever motorists were driving around a bicyclist wearing a helmet, they drove as much as three inches closer to these bicyclists, increasing the risk of an accident.

How Technology Can Keep Bicyclists Safer

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The reality is sobering. Even as the number of people killed in car accidents across the past decade has dropped and even as traffic accident fatalities dropped in 2013, the number of people killed in bicycle accidents continues to rise. Clearly, there's more that we could be doing to keep more bicyclists safe.

Fortunately, many automakers are now tapping on technology to reduce the risk of accidents involving cars and bicyclists. Jaguar Land Rover, for instance, is currently experimenting with a project on bicycle safety. Recently, the automaker released the results from a study that specifically looked at how motorists can be encouraged to respond to bicycles in the shortest possible time. In the Bike Sense program, the system uses a combination of lights and sounds, or vibrations that alert the driver when he is at risk of hitting a bicycle. For example, when the motorist opens the car door, and is in danger of injuring a speeding cyclist, the door handle will vibrate to alert the driver.

This is not the first time that an automaker has experimented with technology to help reduce the risk of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2013, Volvo introduced its Cyclist Detection system that includes a combination of sensors and a camera in the rearview mirror to warn a motorist of a pedestrian or bicyclist in his path. The system automatically applies the brakes, if it detects a pedestrian or bicyclist. The technology is currently available on 7 Volvo automobiles.

Volvo, already a front-runner in technology that is geared at keeping pedestrians and bicyclists safer, has now teamed up with a Swedish company and Ericsson to enable cars and bicycles to committee to each other.

The future of bicycle safety definitely lies in technology. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, you could recover compensation for your damages. Speak to a California bicycle accident attorney.



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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.