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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.

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.

Bicycle Safety Includes a Proper Fit, Position and Core Strength

Friday, August 19, 2016

If you're a cyclist, then most likely you've suffered from shoulder and neck pain and stiffness. Many assume that the pain is the result of the position your body takes on while riding a bike. But that is not necessarily true. The pain could be the result of your core strength, the position you assume, or your body's fit in the seat of your bike. Because bicycle safety is more than just following the rules of the road, we'd like to provide you with some tips on how to correct the issues that could be causing you pain. 

Improper Bike Fit

To determine if the result of your pain is improper bike fit, we suggest you visit your local bike shop. Subtle adjustments can be difficult, and some bike shops have software that can automatically adjust your fit.  

Riding Position and Core Strength

In order to have the core strength needed for cycling, you have to pay attention to your overall health and fitness. Bicycling.com has a great article on how to train your core muscles for cycling. Also, paying attention to your muscle fatigue is extremely important when cycling. Your body does a great job of telling you when it's tired, so listen to it.

As for the proper position, again, your local bike shop can help you determine the proper frame for your size, handlebar position and more. If you're not riding in the correct position, your body is only going to get sorer and sorer with each ride.

We want you to stay safe while riding, and proper fit, position and core strength is key. If you've been injured while cycling, pleasereach out to our experienced team today.

Did You Go the Right Way? Find Out with Help from a Bicycle Lawyer

Thursday, June 16, 2016

In May 2016, Salt Lake City’s media began a discussion about bicycle lawsKSL reporter, Carter Williams, weighed in on the topic mid month. Up for discussion was the concept of road sharing and who, if anyone, has the most right to use the state’s open roads. Williams aptly pointed out that in his state; the rights are divvied up 50/50. We’re sure this leads you to ask, “But what about other states, including California?”

The answer is yes and no. So, let’s focus specifically on our State of California. First off, the bicycle laws don’t necessarily define bikes like cyclists. To some novice cyclists, a bike is just a bike. It doesn’t matter to them if it has an electric engine or is powered by two sneakers. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles likes to divide bikes up into categories and provide different rules for each major type. You’ll find some of these classifications referenced in Vehicle Codes 2100 through 21213.

In addition, the state’s right-of-way related laws also vary based on traffic conditions and speed. These bicycle laws are found in various areas throughout the Vehicle Code, including Section 21202 and 21208. Understandably, this can be a lot of information for new drivers and cyclists to digest properly. Thus inadvertently, people on both sides of the bicycle laws’ right-of-way provisions may get confused easily and make mistakes. If those mistakes ultimately lead to accidents, it’s best to reach out to an expert on bicycle laws for some clarification.

With that said, the Law Office of Gary Brustin is filled with just the right kind of advice injured cyclists need. We can tell at a glance which category the bike is most likely to fall under and which rules would therefore apply to the injured party’s case. To find out more about right-of-way arguments and how they work with or against bicycle laws, please contact Attorney Brustin today.

Top 3 Gadgets to Improve Bicycle Safety

Friday, June 03, 2016

Bicycling is a favorite pastime of many people. Not only is it easy to do, but it is fun and offers a unique type of workout. While bicycling, staying safe is the most important thing. For this, many gadgets and tools have been created. Before you head out on your next bicycle run, here are the top 3 things you must have for your safety.

Headlight

This is especially helpful for those who are riding at night. Front headlights can help you see the road better and will allow motorists to see you as well. In some states, these are required by law, but even if you aren't required to have one, they are definitely a huge benefit.

SIVA

This is a device you hook onto your bicycle, which then uses the power created from your riding to create electricity. The benefit in this is you are then able to use the USB port to charge your devices. If you are in an accident along your ride, this could mean getting the help you need when you need it the most.

Cycling Computer

Another gadget that is pretty helpful is a cycling computer. This type of device will help you check maps, monitor your speed and even check weather forecasts. It is something that can help keep you safe because it will keep you from getting lost or caught in bad weather.

These gadgets are all fantastic options for those who are trying to stay safe while bicycling. Be sure to keep them in mind when you are looking for things to keep you safe. To learn more about bicycle safety, contact us today.

Bike Share Enhances San Francisco Biking Culture

Monday, August 19, 2013

On August 29, the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program will go live in five cities in California including San Francisco, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Jose and Mountain View. The program will include more than 700 bicycles that are strategically located at 70 stations in the city. This is believed to be the first regional bike share system of its kind, and will be managed by a special partnership that includes a number of government and city agencies.

According to the San Francisco Mayor, this is an attempt to establish a world-class bike share program in the city of San Francisco, just as currently exists in several cities across the world and the United States. The Bay Area Bike Share program will provide San Francisco residents easy access to a bicycle when they want it. This is a huge step forward in promoting bicycling as a means of safe and effective transportation of the city of San Francisco. Biking is not just a safe and convenient method of transportation, but also an affordable and healthy way to get around.

However, San Francisco must keep in mind, the lessons that need to be learned from the bike share program experiences of other cities around the country. The most prominent of these that comes to mind is the New York bike share program, which has been very successful, and has helped promote a strong bicycle culture in the city. However, the promotion of the of bike share program in New York City, has not coincided with the promotion of the wearing of bicycle helmets.

San Francisco’s bike share program must focus on encouraging bicyclist safety, including the wearing of helmets.

For now, bicyclists who want to use a bike from the bicycle share program can simply check if one is available on their smartphones.

Bicycle Safety Summit to Focus on Engineering Enhancements and Education

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Department of Transportation has been slowly increasing its focus on bicycle safety, spurred by a spike in the number of fatal bicycle accidents being reported from across the country. The federal agency recently hosted its 2nd Bicycle Safety Summit, this one in the city of Minneapolis.

The Bicycle Safety Summit will focus on engineering enhancements, planning and education strategies, enforcement and education and will involve inputs from national experts in these areas. The Summit will also include a Bicycle Safety Expo which will present new strategies to keep bicyclists safe in accidents, including safer helmet designs, better communication strategies and better training.

The first summit had been held in Tampa, where Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood insisted that a focus on engineering enhancements, education and enforcement are important to reduce the number of people killed in bicycle accidents across the country.

California bicycle accident lawyers have no doubt that education and awareness alone will not suffice to reduce the number of people being killed in these accidents. The fact is that many of our cities, including those in California, are simply not built for bicyclists. Engineering enhancements, in the form of extensions of the current bike lane network must be undertaken in order to provide safer conditions for bicyclists.

It's also important to keep in mind the basic safety needs of bicyclists when building or fixing roads. That doesn't seem to happen currently. Most roadway enhancement projects take into consideration the needs of motorists, convenience, and better management of peak hour traffic than the needs and safety of bicyclists. That attitude definitely needs to change, and hopefully, these bicycle safety summits will help launch a national conversation about bicycle safety in the right direction.

Colorado Supreme Court Overturns Black Hawk Ban

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bicyclists in Colorado won a major victory recently, when the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor, overturning a ban on bicycles in the city of Black Hawk. In 2009, Black Hawk became the first American city to ban bicycles from almost every city street. The City began enforcing the law in 2010, and three bicyclists were ticketed for bicycling.

The bicyclists appealed the ticket, and the case went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the bicyclists told the court that the Black Hawk ban conflicted with state law, and that state law needed to take precedent over the local law because the regulation affected nonlocal residents badly. Under Colorado law, municipalities cannot enact bans against bicycling unless there is an alternate route within 450 feet.

For bicyclists in Black Hawk, who had been gravely dismayed at the actions of local city officials, this has been a major victory. Many bicycle organizations in Colorado had worked diligently to overturn the ban, and their efforts have now been successful.

Unfortunately, California bicycle accident lawyers see that Black Hawk’s action in enacting a ban like this is part of a national trend that reflects growing hostility towards bicyclists. Many motorists, and in fact, many cities in the United States unfortunately, continue to regard bicyclists as “the other.”

It's time for cities to understand that more bicyclists are joining the biking population of the country, and it's important to take their rights into consideration. In other words, bicyclists have as much right to be using the street as motorcyclists and motorists, and their rights must be respected.

Dutch Company Introduces Bicyclist Airbags

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A company in the Netherlands has come up with an exterior airbag design that absorbs impact when a bicyclist hits the car and lands on the windshield of the car, thus helping prevent serious injuries to the bicyclist.

It's no surprise to California bicycle accident lawyers that this innovation comes from the Netherlands, which has always been at the forefront of innovative new bicycle safety strategies. The Netherlands has a heavy bicycling population, and an estimated 1.2 bicycle for every resident of the country. The country has a strong bicycle safety culture, and boasts a vast awareness of bicyclist rights.

A Dutch car company has now launched what it calls external airbags for more automobiles. The airbag system detects when the automobile is about to collide with the bicyclist, and launches the airbags. The airbags inflate on the outside of the automobile, protecting the bicyclist from potentially serious or fatal injury.

The airbags are located under the hood of the car, and inflate when there is a potential collision scenario. The airbags are not the solution to every bicyclist’s nightmare, but bicyclists are likely to wish that every automobile came with these inflatable airbags.

The airbags are not likely to prevent the kind of injuries that occur when a car door is opened right in the path of a bicyclist. Such accidents, involving bicyclists running into open car doors, injure thousands of bicyclists in the United States every month. The airbags would not prevent such accidents.

It's easy to believe that a feature like this would find many takers in the Netherlands, where motorists are highly respectful of bicyclist rights. However, how popular a feature like this will become in the United States, where bicycle safety awareness isn’t as strong, is anyone's guess.

Communities Try out Different Approaches to Bicycle Safety

Monday, January 28, 2013

As more numbers of bicyclists join motorists on our streets, cities across the country including California, are trying out different ways of integrating these bicyclists into the streets, without compromising safety.

While some communities are experimenting very successfully by installing more bike lanes, others have seen success from the use of other bike safety strategies. In these communities, the installation of cycle tracks and shared lane markings, bike boxes and bike boulevards have proven to be more effective in helping segregate bicycling and motorist traffic, and keeping bicyclists safer.

In many communities however, figuring out the best way to promote bicycle safely is an ongoing process. One thing that all communities and California bicycle accident attorneys agree on is that there is no point in encouraging more people to bicycle to work to reduce traffic congestion, if you're not willing to make the effort to foster a safe, bicycle-friendly environment. Fortunately, many communities are waking up to this realization, and are investing in strategies.

The most common strategy that is being used to help keep bicyclists safe is installation of bike lanes that are marked off. However, in many of these cases, the lanes have not been designed the right way, and many riders may be vulnerable to injuries when a car door is opened in their path. Bike lanes need to be well designed and maintained to be effective.

Another feature that many communities are using is bike boxes, or special sections that are available for bicyclists to stop at a red light, usually located in front of the vehicle stop light. Cycle tracks, which are separated from automobiles by physical barriers, are also increasing in use. In other communities, bicycles or cars are separated by painting the road with sharrows, or shared lane markings.


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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.