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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.

Proposed New Law Would Allow Cycling on Sidewalks in Sacramento

Thursday, March 02, 2017

If you already didn’t know, cycling on sidewalks is illegal in most cities. Many even have fines ready for cyclist that break that law, but in Sacramento, the cycling residents of the city came to city council to discuss a new law that would allow more cycling on sidewalks to provide a safe environment for cyclists.

As it stands now, cycling is illegal in Sacramento everywhere except for residential districts. This is defined by California State Vehicle Code as areas with more than 50 percent housing. In areas that are more than 50 percent housing, cyclists are welcomed to ride on sidewalks, but in some areas in the city, police officers often find it hard to identify the percentage of housing in the area when considering whether or not to fine a cyclist.

However, it is not in residential areas that cyclists need to worry about. It is in the highly trafficked streets of the city where bicycle lanes disappear that cyclists feel they are in the most danger and want to move off the street and onto the sidewalk where the worse case is they hit a person or fall off their bike.

The proposed new law would still ban sidewalk cycling in certain areas such as commercial districts or areas where bike lanes are already present, but cycling advocates just want looser sidewalk laws in a city where traffic can be vicious and not enough cycling infrastructure is in place.

Were you forced to cycle in a busy street because of the lack of bike lanes and restrictive sidewalk laws? Contact us today. No matter what your accident was or who caused it, the Law Office of Gary Brustin fights hard for the rights of the growing cycling community.

Study Suggest Idaho Stop is Safer for Cyclists

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Idaho Stop – It may be a strange colloquialism to many, but for many more it is used to describe rolling through a stop sign instead of stopping fully. While many cyclists are guilty of engaging in an “Idaho Stop,” a new DePaul University study suggests it might actually be safer than coming to a full stop.

The term Idaho Stop comes from the change in Idaho cycling laws that changed the rules from cyclists, being one of the first states to deviate from the rules that govern motorists. A year after Idaho enacted different rules for cyclists including their rolling stop, injuries and cyclist accidents were down 14 percent.

While it is the law in Idaho, in other states, cyclists are still required to come to a full stop, but you are likely among the many law breakers that don’t. Rolling stops allow cyclists to get ahead of traffic and gain better visibility among the mass of cars. Instead of punishing cyclists that want those benefits even though it means breaking the laws, why not just change the laws? That is a question that many cities, like Chicago, are now asking themselves as the safety benefits of Idaho Stops come to light.

Have you been in an accident because the law requires you to make a full stop at red lights and stop signs? Were you hurt by the negligence of a motorist? We can help. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of cyclists that were hurt doing what they love and just trying to get around.

Bicycle Accidents Caused By Animals: Cyclists May Have Legal Recourse

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In most bicycle accidents, the cause can be attributed to a handful of things. Among the top five are driver error, cyclist error, hazardous conditions, faulty equipment and medical emergency (e.g. sudden heart attack). However, as a Florida Today reporter pointed out earlier this year, animals may cause bicycle accidents too.

Accidents Involving Domestic Animals on the Run

The cause behind the reported accident was a box turtle but other animals have been known to get in the way of cyclists as well. FOX21 News reported on one such accident that occurred this past spring. That one involved an at-large canine. Our state does have dog leash laws meant to prevent bicycle accidents. But of course, it doesn’t address other stray animals or the occasional, wayward box turtle.

Current laws dictate that canines are not allowed to roam bicycle paths or other public areas without being on a leash and under control of their respective owners. So even if a dog was tied up before it broke free and caused a bicycle accident, it doesn’t matter. The owner may be responsible for costs associated with the accident, including the cyclists’ medical bills.

Wild Animals and Their Owners Aren’t Beyond Reproach

Leash laws are not the only animal related ones that may influence the outcome of bicycle accident cases. In some cases, strict liability laws commonly mentioned during civil jury instruction may apply (See Series 400 Negligence, Section 461). For instance, let’s assume that the box turtle was a pet. Although the person may have thought of the box turtle as a pet, chances are an argument could be made against that.

If deemed a wild animal by the court, the injured cyclist could potentially sue the person under the section of law we just mentioned. So you see, in our state, there is more to bicycle vs. animal related accidents than meets the eye. To learn more about domestic and wild animals’ possible impact on bicycle accidents in California, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

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.

Can the Justice System Ever Be Balanced For Cyclists?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

If you have never been in a bicycle accident involving another driver (or even cyclist), then you are pretty lucky. However, if you use your bicycle almost every day for your commute, then you have likely had a few near misses by now. Unfortunately, for those who have ever been the victim of a road crime while on their bicycle and have gone to court, you have had to deal with the often incomprehensibly soft sentences towards the offending party. In the eyes of other cyclists, at very least, these sentences don't match the crime.

For crimes that involve bicycle damage and minor injuries, light sentences are understandable, but what about an accident that results in the death of a cyclist? If a car had negligently not given the due space to another car on the road, and then hit and killed the other driver, it is not likely they would get off with community service, but such are the feather light punishments for drivers responsible for killing cyclists.

There have been many debates on this lapse of punishment between government officials and cycling advocate groups, but with no relief to be found by cyclists. Unfortunately, in this car-oriented world, for some reason cyclists still don't seem like people.

Have you been a victim of a cycling accident and aren't getting the justice you deserve? Contact us today so the Gary Brustin Law Office can fight hard for your human rights as a cyclist. You shouldn't have to have justice denied to you just because you don't drive a car.

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.

New Bicycle Laws Give Cyclists Better Elevator Access

Friday, November 11, 2016

Three new bicycling laws were passed in New York last week that aimed at giving cycling commuters better access throughout the city's many buildings. The three laws are aimed at the access of bicycles in office and residential buildings where they once may have been barred. Previously, business owners could bar bicycles being brought into elevators, but no more.

The Bicycle Access Law gives cyclists the right to bring their bikes into the office via the elevator, something that was passed after city cyclists complained of a lack of safe places to store their bicycles on the street. The second law allows both visitors and residents of residential apartment buildings to bring their bicycles up in passenger elevators, another situation that was left open to the whims of the building landlords. The third law allowed bicycles to use freight elevators in a building to bring their bicycle up if no better option is available.

These three laws were passed in a better effort to encourage commuter cycling. Previously, many would be cyclists passed cycling to work as they had nowhere to store it during the day. Now cyclists are allowed to bring their bike to work, further encouraging this body healthy and environmentally healthy way of getting around.

While elevator use is typically not as strict in smaller cities, these laws now set a good precedent for other metropolitan cities, and hopefully one they will take notice of. If you want to want to stay up-to-date of great new bicycling laws around the country, contact us today.

What to Do When Even the Police Don't Know Bicycle Laws

Thursday, October 20, 2016

We may tell ourselves that bicycle culture is growing each and every day, but the honest truth is that the majority of non-cyclists have literally no idea what to do when sharing the road with a bicycle, much less what cyclists are supposed to do. However, what happens when not even police officers are familiar with the laws for cyclists? One cyclist in Oviedo, Florida found out the hard way after capturing an exchange between a police officer and himself on his helmet camera.

In the video, the officer asked cyclist Jon Holmes to move out of the lane onto the sidewalk, which is not state statute. The cyclist then countered with the correct law that stated that cyclists can use the lane if it is too narrow for cars to pass safely. After some more back and forth, the officer finally leaves. However, while it ended rather peacefully, it does show a major problem with cycling laws - not even police officers know what they are.

The officer was just trying to make sure Jon Holmes was safe, but when you have ridden the equivalent of 12,000 miles, you tend to be pretty knowledgeable of how to follow the law. Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean you are safe.

While Holmes got off easy, there are plenty of cyclists that have received tickets and other punishments for arguing with officers over what is or isn't the law around those parts. For cyclists that have gotten tickets for following the law, you may have legal recourse available to you. Contact us today.


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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.