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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.

Bicycle Safety and Negligence Questions Largely Remain Unanswered

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that accidents involving distracted or otherwise negligent drivers happen often. Sometimes the drivers hit other vehicles or pedestrians. Other times, it’s an unsuspecting cyclist that ends up injured. There are laws and bicycle safety measures in place to help prevent these types of occurrences but none that address self-driving vehicles. That’s one of the reasons why we find the whole Uber movement disconcerting.

In December 2016, it was revealed in The Guardian that the ride sharing company was using self-driving vehicles in some areas of our state. Further, reporters noted that those vehicles were seen committing traffic infractions. Understandably, this begs the question as to who will be responsible should one of these vehicles injure someone. Will it be the ride-sharing company, the vehicle’s owner, software programmers or the car's manufacturer that’s to blame?

That’s a question yet to be formally addressed by our nation’s courts and lawmakers. And we’re not the only ones who are asking it. As far back as 2015, The Washington Post and CNN started delving into these issues. They didn’t come up with definitive answers to the bicycle safety questions self-driving cars propose and neither did The Guardian staff in a subsequent article that appeared in January 2017. However like some polled, we envision these types of cases will bring up issues of comparative and contributory negligence.

As such, all of the people we mentioned in our initial question could find themselves being named litigants. For instance, the software programmers and manufactures have a duty to ensure that the vehicles are safe for their intended use. The same may be said for ride-sharing companies and the people who purchase such vehicles. Of course cyclists must practice bicycle safety as well. Otherwise, they could find themselves on the wrong end of contributory or comparative negligence claims too. To continue discussing the additional impact self-driving vehicles may have on bicycle safety, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today.

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.

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.

Study Find Cyclists Have Higher Accident Risk When intersections Aren’t Right Angles

Friday, January 20, 2017

If you cycle every day, then you are already aware that intersections pose a huge risk to your safety on the road. If you haven’t read the statistics, then you found out firsthand how careless cars are to your rights at these junctions. However, a new study finds that not only are bicycle accidents more likely at intersections, but that statistic is only increased when the intersection is not at a right angle.

Using GPS, the study tracked 3,266 bicycle crashes throughout New York City, gathering data on intersection angles, street width, speed limits, and average traffic level. The majority of the crashes, over 60 percent, happened at intersections. When these crashes were compared to intersection angles, it found that cyclists were 37 percent more likely to crash at non-right angle intersections.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that crashes that didn’t happen at intersections were 31 percent more likely to cause serious injury. The study also found that crashes were likely to happen on narrow streets.

So what does this mean for the everyday cyclist? Well, unfortunately, you can never predict if a crash is going to happen, but at least now we know to watch out at non-right angle intersections more cautiously. This new study will also help city planners of blossoming cycling cities to better plan streets for both cyclist and car safety.

If you have been in a cycling accident at a non-right angle intersection or otherwise, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of the ever-growing cyclist community.

Could the Way You Turn Be an Accident Waiting to Happen?

Friday, January 13, 2017

If you are just starting off with biking in high traffic areas, there is so much to learn. However, people rarely think that the way they ride their bike is one of them. This has led to even seasoned veteran cyclists not focusing so much on how they ride so long as they follow the rules of the road. However, could it be an accident waiting to happen?

No matter whether you like to ride fast or are a dedicated slow rider, the way you turn on the road could be a set up for a major accident, if it hasn’t caused one already.

But how could a turn make such a difference? You just turn the handlebars, right? Unfortunately, just turning with only your handlebars is a slow and unsteady process that definitely won’t allow you to respond in an emergency situation. Turning this way is so old-fashioned, and while it works fine in less crowded area, in the city, you need a more responsive way.

Before heading out into high traffic areas, go find yourself an empty parking lot and practice this new way. Instead of awkwardly jerking your handlebars to turn, try slightly shifting your weight to the right or left depending on which way you are turning. Notice when you lean into it, the bike follows and you don’t really need to use your handlebars. This turn allows you to not only turn faster and with more stability, but you can easily snap back in the event of an emergency situation.

No matter whether the turn was to blame or not, if you were in a cycling accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to fighting for the rights of cyclists.

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.

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.

Make Your Bicycle Commute the Best

Friday, November 04, 2016

Riding a bicycle to work can save on gas while giving you exercise. By following a few tips, you can make your ride safe and enjoyable.

Wear a helmet. They're not just for kids. A lightweight helmet won't interfere with your vision, and it can save you from a concussion if you take a fall.

Dress for the weather. If it's warm or cold, dress so you won't arrive at work overheated or frostbitten. If rain is threatening, pack a waterproof jacket. Don't cover your ears unless it's so cold that you have to; you want to hear anything that might be a danger. Wear bright or reflective clothing. You'll want to change clothes anyway when you arrive.

Be predictable, and follow the rules of the road. Drivers are better able to avoid you when you don't surprise them.

Stay hydrated. The effects of repeated dehydration aren't immediately obvious, but they can be unpleasant. Pack a water bottle and pause to drink along the way.

Pack a light. You could be delayed coming home, and you want to be safe in the dark. If you don't use it often, make sure to check its batteries periodically.

Have a sturdy lock. A U-type lock works well; for extra security you can add a cable lock. You want the bike to still be there when you leave.

Pack a repair kit. Flat tires are annoying, but being able to fix them on the spot reduces the pain. Include paper towels; one of the most common spot repairs is re-seating the chain, and it's better not to arrive at work with greasy hands.

Inquire about commuting incentives. Some employers provide incentives to people who bike to work. Federal tax law allows abicycle subsidy of $20 a month for participating employers. Ask if they offer a secure place for bike parking.

Ride intelligently, and you'll arrive at work safe, refreshed, and unstressed. If, in spite of this, you're in a bike accident and need to take legal action, please contact our experienced legal team.

You Can Become an Advocate for Bicycle Safety

Thursday, October 27, 2016

If you ride a bike regularly, you've experienced the health benefits of biking. You're healthier, and you enjoy the outdoors more often. And because you save on transportation costs, you have more money in your pocket, too!

Like most experienced bikers, you value bicycle safety, but maybe you've realized that your community isn't bike friendly. If you ride to work on busy streets with no bike lanes, your commute can be dangerous. And if your community hasn't passed bike-friendly legislation or invested in public bike education, you're more likely to be injured or hit by a car. So much for health benefits!

What Are the Elements of a Bike-Friendly Community?

Communities that encourage bike riding have specific features:

  • Dedicated bike lanes on busy roadways
  • A network of connected bike lanes and paths that enable bikers to get around easily
  • Multi-use paths for off-road riding
  • Bike safety training courses
  • Plenty of bike parking
  • Educated drivers who share the road
  • Enforcement of safety rules

Bike-friendly neighborhoods offer a safer experience for riders and drivers alike. If your community doesn't provide the infrastructure and rules necessary to protect riders, it's time for you to become an advocate for bike safety.

Effective Advocacy

First of all, think local! Find--and join--a bike advocacy group in your community. If you can't find one, consider starting one. There's strength in numbers, and it's easier to get your concerns heard--and taken seriously--if you're organized.

Educate and inform the public. Encourage your local bike advocacy group to offer bike safety courses, and make sure that the curriculum includes information about the importance of a bike-friendly community.

Convince community leaders that bike safety is a win-win issue for them. According to Bikeleague.orgbiking is good for the economy, decreases traffic and pollution, and leads to a healthier populace. Invite elected officials to information sessions about the benefits of bike-friendly infrastructure and laws.

Lobby for change. Once you've educated local and state officials about pro-biking legislation, get on the phone often and remind them. Ask them to pass bike-friendly legislation like cell phone bans. Explain that minimum passing laws protect both bikers and drivers according to studies reported by advocacyadvance.org.

Remember: as an advocate for bicycle safety, you're giving your community a tool for economic growth. In the meantime, if you've been injured because of unsafe biking conditions, contact the law office of Gary Brustin.


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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.