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California Ranks Eighth on List of Bicycle-Friendly States

Saturday, May 02, 2015

California was recently ranked number eight on a list of the most bicycle-friendly states in the country. The two top spots on the list were taken by Washington and Minnesota, while Alabama landed at the bottom of the list. Apart from Washington and Minnesota, the top five included Delaware, Massachusetts and Utah.

The ranking was developed by the League of American Bicyclists, and was based on a number of measures, including bicycle-friendly policies in the state, advocacy programs, legal protections, as well as bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Each state got a report card that included feedback about the state's policies, and suggestions.

For California, the League of American Bicyclists recommends the adoption of a statewide bicycle plan that would ensure better implementation of policies. The report also recommends better data collection of bicycle accident injuries, and fatalities on roadways across California.

The report makes special mention of the fact that there is a disproportionately high number of bicycle fatalities in California, and calls for more emphasis on bicycle safety-programs, and transportation projects. The report also advises that the state adopt a vulnerable road users law that would significantly enhance the penalties in place for motorists who cause an accident that leads to injury and death of a bicyclist.

The feedback isn't all negative. The report also has praise for some of the steps the state has taken to help enhance safety for bicyclists in California. One of the more successful measures that have been implemented are the Three-Foot Passing law that requires motorists to maintain a minimum of three feet distance when they pass by a bike. Other signs of success are the Share the Road Campaign, the Complete Streets policy, and the high numbers of bicyclists accounting for more than 1% of the total population.

Bicyclist Detection Technology Set to Take off

Sunday, April 05, 2015

A number of automakers, including Volvo, are experimenting with technology that would help reduce the risk of bicycle accidents. These vehicles would be equipped with technology that would recognize the back of another vehicle, including a bicycle.

Between 2008 and 2012, there were more than 3,300 bicycle accident fatalities in the United States. Approximately 74% of those fatalities involved the bicycle being struck from behind by another vehicle. In the most common scenario accounting for approximately 23% of the accidents, the vehicle was traveling in the same direction as the bicycle, and struck the bicycle from behind.

The second most common bicycle accident scenario that resulted in fatalities was a bicyclist crossing in front of the vehicle. This situation accounted for the second highest number of fatalities during this period of time, comprising 22% of all deaths.

Volvo has introduced technology that can help reduce the risk of bicycle accidents by helping motorists detect bicyclists in their path. That would greatly help reduce the number of bicyclists killed when they are hit by a car from behind.

It is becoming clear to California bicycle accident lawyers that maximum progress in keeping bicyclists safer in the future will be linked to more sensitive auto technology. Currently, most of the efforts to help prevent bicyclist accidents focus on infrastructure development, and motorist education. While those are two very important components of bicycle safety, the fact is also that most bicycle accidents involve another vehicle. If more vehicles come with technology that can help detect bicyclists in the path of the vehicle, it would go a long way in helping reduce these fatalities.

There is only so much that well-designed bicycle lanes can do to help keep bicyclists safer. The fact is that many motorists fail to look out for bicyclists in their path, and technology can help them do that.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, speak with a bicycle accident lawyer in California.

Brain Injury Laws Have Resulted in More Children Receiving Treatment

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

As concerns over head injuries impacting student athletes skyrocketed, a number of states passed laws that required treatment for persons who suffered a concussion. Since those laws were passed, there has been a significant increase in the number of students being treated for concussion and other related injuries.

That information comes from a study that was published recently in the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA Pediatrics. The data came from a group of students who were treated after suffering a concussion between 2006 and 2012.

The study found that there was a 92% increase in the number of children who were rushed for treatment after suffering concussions in those states that had laws that required such treatment to be administered. In those states that had no such concussion laws in place, there was a 75% increase in the number of children being rushed to hospitals for treatment.

That seems to increase that even in those states where there are no laws that require treatment for patients with concussions, there was a ripple effect because of the overall increased spotlight on these injuries. The national media has continuously spotlighted the devastating consequences of concussions or brain injuries on student-athletes, and the news has made headlines even in those states that did not have these concussion laws. Broader awareness of the need for immediate treatment after a concussion has led to more people being rushed for treatment, even in those states that do not mandate treatment.

Don’t ignore even a minor fall from a bicycle, or any head injury in a bicycle accident. A concussion is one of the most frequent injuries in bicycle accidents. These must be referred to a doctor immediately.

Number of Bicycle Fatalities on the Rise

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Disturbing new statistics indicate that the number of people killed in bicycle accidents in the United States is on the rise across the country, especially in the larger cities.

That increase comes after several years of declining fatalities in accidents. Between 1975 and 2010, the number of bicycle fatalities across the country actually dropped. However, between 2010 and 2012, those fatalities decreased by 16%. In 2012, more than 700 bicyclist accident fatalities were recorded on American roads.

Those statistics came from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which also found that a large percentage of those bicycle accident fatalities occurred in very densely populated cities or urban areas. The number of fatalities in cities has actually risen from 50% in 1975, to 69% in 2012.

It isn’t hard for California bicycle accident lawyers to understand why. There has been a significant increase in the number of bicyclists in urban areas, and more adults are now bicycling to work. However, in many cities, that increase in bicycling populations has not exactly corresponded with an increase in bicycle safety infrastructure. That has led to situations where bicyclists and motorists are frequently in contact with each other, and that contact is often tinged with friction.

Many of the bicycle accident fatalities recorded in 2012 were entirely preventable. Approximately 2/3rd of the fatalities involved non-helmeted bicyclists. In 2012, approximately 30% of the fatalities involved drunken drivers, or legally intoxicated drivers.

Besides, over the years, there have been significant changes in the number and demographics of bicycle accident fatalities. The average age of a bicycle accident victim in the country has increased. In 1975, 21% of bicycle accident fatalities were adults. in 2012, 84% of bicycle accident fatalities involved adults.

Smart Bicycle Detects Obstacles in Path

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The bicycling culture in the Netherlands is one that deserves emulating around the world. In that country, researchers have developed a bicycle that is technologically equipped to detect obstacles in the environment. It therefore reduces the risk of accidents.

The smart bicycle was recently introduced in the Netherlands, and comes with a number of safety features that would make any California bicycle accident lawyer happy. The bicycle was designed purely with the target of reducing the number of accidents occurring in the country that is famous for its huge population of bicyclists. The Netherlands already has the lowest bicycle accident rates in the country, although it is home to some of the heaviest concentration of bicyclists. Authorities have however, recently noticed an increase in the number of accidents involving senior bicyclists.

The bicycle has been designed to include a radar system that is installed just below the bicycle handlebars. The radar system detects any approaching vehicles, or obstacles in the path of the bicycle. The bicycle is also equipped with a camera system which monitors the situation at the back of the bicycle. When the system detects obstacles from the front or the back, it activates vibrations in the handlebars, alerting the bicyclist to the risk of danger.

The bicycle also comes with a cradle that can hold a computer tablet to flash a light, whenever there is any approaching danger. Not only that, the bicyclist can also communicate with the tablet using wireless connectivity.

The radar system reduces the need for the bicyclist to look behind himself or herself to look out for the danger of an approaching vehicle, and also reduces the risk that bicyclists will be taken aback or frightened when the vehicle zips past them at high speed. In such cases, there is a serious danger of a bicyclist panicking and falling off the bicycle.

Rising Bicycle Accident Fatalities Are a Cause of Concern

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bicyclists in California enjoy some of the most pleasant riding weather anywhere in the country. Unfortunately, they ride in conditions that are very often hostile to their safety. In this state, bicycle safety has never been a priority issue, and the results are clear to see in statistics released recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Those statistics indicate that there has been a significant increase of 23 fatalities, in the number of bicyclists killed in accidents in California between 2010 and 2012.

In 2010, California posted 100 bicycle accident fatalities and that number had increased to 115 by 2011, and 123 by 2012. In fact, California is only mirroring a nationwide trend in which there has been a 16 % increase in the number of bicycle fatalities. California is one of a few states, which posted significant increases in the number of bicycle accident fatalities over this period of time. In fact, fatalities increased in 22 states while they dropped in 23 states. In California, bicyclist fatalities constituted 4.3% of all traffic fatalities.

The Governors Highway Safety Association blames lax helmet usage laws, and poor rates of helmet usage by bicyclists for those high fatality numbers. It also blames an increase in the number of alcohol-impaired bicyclists. According to the statistics, a large number of bicyclists killed in accidents had blood-alcohol concentrations that were higher than the legal permissible level for driving. Approximately 28% of bicyclists who were killed in accidents in 2012 had blood-alcohol concentration of about .08%. Interestingly enough, during the same time, there was a sharp decline in the number of persons who operated vehicles under the influence of alcohol.

Bicyclists could be just as in danger of an accident when they're riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol as when they are behind the wheel of a car.

New Bicycle Safety Initiative Aims to Reduce Fatalities

Monday, September 22, 2014

The federal administration has kickstarted an initiative aimed at helping reduce the steadily increasing rates of bicycle and pedestrian accident fatalities. Since 2009, those rates have been increasing at rates that are much higher than for motor vehicle accident fatalities.

The new safety initiative was announced earlier this year by Transportation Secretary Antony Fox. He made the announcement at the annual “Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike, Pro-Place” conference, which consisted of participants including transportation engineers, bicycle and pedestrian safety advocates, and city planners. According to the Department of Transportation, the campaign will run over 18 months, and will include road safety assessments across the country.

These assessments will specifically focus on walking and biking paths in every state, and resources will be developed to help build more numbers of safe streets. The campaign will also promote better walking and biking lane design, more behavioral safety, and better education and training initiatives that will help people walk and bike safety. It will also focus on the promotion of car crash avoidance technologies that are specifically designed to help protect bicyclists in pedestrian and accidents. For instance, a number of new crash avoidance technologies are aimed at helping reduce the risk of serious injuries to pedestrians during an accident.

Road design is another major factor that will be included as part of the assessment. For instance, studies have indicated to California bicycle accident attorneys that reducing traffic volumes and making more space for bicyclists and pedestrians can actually help reduce the risk of fatal accidents by as much as 29%. In fact, statistics show that when such design improvements were made in rural highways, there was a 50% drop in accidents. The initiative will specifically focus on making such improvements.

It is high time bicycle safety received the same kind of priority that auto and trucking safety seems to in this country, and this campaign seems to be a step in that direction.

Distracted Driving and Bicycle Accidents

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

When comes to bicycle safety, one factor that seems to be missing from the conversation is the role that distracted motorists play in causing bicycle accidents. Very often, motorists who are distracted because they're using their cell phone while driving, or engaging in other activities while driving, fail to notice the narrow frame of a bicycle. By the time they notice a bicyclist, it is often too late.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the rate of bicycle fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled, actually increased substantially between 2005 and 2010. In the case of a bicyclist, the rate of fatalities actually increased from 18.7 in 2005 to 24.6 in 2010. A bicyclist, who is hit by a distracted driver, is much more likely to be male, non-Hispanic, and white. Those accidents typically occur just outside of a crosswalk.

In that context, news that General Motors will soon release a line of vehicles that come with eye and head tracking technology to help detect signs of distracted driving by a motorist, is very welcome indeed. The line of vehicles will include eye tracking technology, that will analyze the motorist’s’ eye movements, and determine whether he's focusing on the road or somewhere inside the interior of the car. If he is not focusing on the road, the device will immediately alert the driver that he's in danger of causing an accident.

Technologies like these are extremely welcome, especially because motorists have access to so much technology in their cars that is designed to cause accidents, and not prevent them. For instance, computers on dashboards that are found in an increasing number of cars, simply encourage motorists to be even more distracted while driving. That increases their risk of causing an accident that could injure, or even kill a bicyclist.

New High-Tech Aids for Your Bicycle

Monday, July 21, 2014

As a bicyclist, you are one of the most vulnerable users on our roads, with very little except your helmet protecting you from serious injuries in an accident. Fortunately, bicycles are getting more technologically advanced, and now do a much better job of helping you prevent accidents, than they did before.

Many bicycle safety technologies are especially designed to help reduce the risk of an accident. For instance, a relatively new innovation is the ICEdot, an app that works in collaboration with your smartphone. The sensor detects a bicyclist’s impact and motion. If it detects impact, it immediately sends a signal to contact 911. The app also sends an alert to all the names on your emergency contact list. Basically, this device ensures that a bicyclist is never really riding alone. Even when he is in danger, friends on his emergency contact list as well as emergency rescue services are immediately alerted. The device will also send emergency contacts as well as rescue services your GPS coordinates, so that help can be sent as quickly as possible and with minimum hassle.

Another must have for bicyclists these days is a more sophisticated GPS product. A device called BikeSpike helps you keep track of bicyclists, sending alerts in the event of an accident. The device is very popular with bicyclists in 2014 who want to ride not just a reputed brand name bicycle, but also one that comes with tech that enhances their safety Other new products are based on relatively old technology, with a new form, like bicycle horns that sound very much like car horns.

Bicycles are also getting smarter, and are now equipped with features that actually reduce the risk of accidents. For instance, new bicycles now come with features that help make it easy to slow down the brakes, and also make steering on a bicycle easier.

Bicyclists and Road Rash Injuries

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Some of the nastiest injuries that a bicyclist may suffer involve road rash. These are lacerations, cuts, and wounds that are sustained when the bicyclist falls on the ground, and is dragged along the ground for several feet. When the skin comes into contact with the surface of the road, sensitive skin can be scraped away, leaving wounds that pose a serious threat of infection and other complications.

In order to prevent road rash, dress appropriately. Unfortunately, cycling shorts can increase the risk of suffering road rash when you are unlucky enough to fall off your bicycle. Persons who are wearing full sleeved-clothing are at a lower risk for road rash injuries. Prevent such injuries by wearing a long sleeved undershirt to protect your hands, elbows and forearms from road rash.

Take care of your injuries. Don't simply apply an antiseptic ointment, and leave it at that. During a typical accident, when a person suffers lacerations or open wounds on the skin, dirt from the road and debris enter the wound. This is a serious infection hazard. Don't ignore those hazards. Use a tweezer to remove pieces of debris, or dirt, or pieces of small stone and mud that have entered the wound. Wash the wound using sterile water. Use a antibiotic cream liberally on the affected area, and bandage the area. The area must heal naturally, and quickly. Consult a doctor and follow his advice. The key to preventing infections is to keep the area as clean as possible. Persons wearing full sleeved-clothing are at a lower risk for road rash injuries.

Don't ignore road rash. These injuries may not heal without leaving some amount of scarring. If your road rash has involved your face, there may be facial scarring and disfigurement. Call a bicycle accident lawyer, if you have suffered facial scarring as a result of a bicycle accident.


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