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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.

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.

Handheld Cell Phone Bans Don't Necessarily Lead to Drop in Accidents

Monday, November 03, 2014

Distracted driving accidents involving people who are using their cell phones while driving, are a major factor in bicycle accidents in California. California currently has bans on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, and texting while driving. However, California bicycle accident lawyers have noticed that those bans haven't necessarily led to a drop in accident rates. A new study confirms this.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analyzed car accident claims that were filed after two high-profile cell phone ban enforcement efforts by police in Connecticut and New York. They found that there was a drop in violations after these initiatives were implemented. However, there was no drop in insurance claims filed after car accidents.

That seems to indicate that there is no correlation between enforcement of bans on handheld drivers, and a lower risk of accidents. That’s because there are all sorts of distracting behaviors that motorists are engaging in, which often contribute to accidents. Those driving behaviors are not banned. On any given day on California roads, you see people snacking or drinking beverages, reading, talking to passengers, and engaging in many other types of distracting behavior at the wheel.

Each of those behaviors is serious enough to cause a bicycle accident. One of the biggest defenses that motorists have when they are involved in a bicycle accident is that they did not see the bicyclist until it was too late. Often, the reason they failed to see the bicyclist is because they were focusing on something else at the time.

Distracted driving needs to be taken more seriously, and merely having laws that ban hand-held cell phone while driving and texting while driving, wont help. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, we need to tackle the problem of distracted driving effectively, and to do that, we need a much broader and expansive approach, that includes many of the varied types of distracted driving out there.

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.

Why Bicycle Share Programs Increase Safety

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A number of cities around the in the country, including some in California now have bike share programs in place. These programs generate more interest in bicycling, and also appeal to bicycle enthusiasts. Statistics from around the country indicate that persons who use these bike share programs are much less likely to be involved in accidents, injuries or fatalities, compared to those who use their own bicycles.

It is a fitting reply to critics who believe that bike check programs simply increase the number of bicyclists in a city, and therefore increase the number of accidents involving bicyclist. Critics of bicycle share programs around the country have always argued that American cities lack bicycle safety infrastructure, and therefore, encouraging bike share programs would simply increase accident risks.

However, their fears have not come true at all. In the cities where bike share programs have been launched, the safety rate has been very impressive. Bicyclists who bike in these programs are believed to have a lower rate of accidents, injuries and fatalities, compared to those who are not using these bikes.

In California, Anaheim was the first city to have a bike sharing program. Across the country, several cities including Boston, New York and Seattle have their own programs, which have been very successful. Studies seem to indicate that people who ride bicycles in a bike share program are very often novice bicyclists who follow all traffic safety rules.

Bicycles that are available in a bike share program tend to be more visible to motorists, because of their unique design. They're also designed to reduce the risk of excessive speeds. In other words, these are safer bicycles operated by bicyclists who are usually new to bicycling, and are therefore much more likely to avoid busy streets. Therefore, bicycle share programs actually contribute to a safer bicycling environment in a city.

Prosthetic Hand Provides Amputees with Sensation

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Advancements in prosthetics technologies have meant an increasing number of devices that make it easy for people not only to use their hands for functional purposes, but also to feel, and sense objects.

New trials that are being conducted at the Case Western University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland have focused on the development of limbs for persons who have lost hands. Two patients who lost limbs are participating in the trial, and one of those persons has been fitted with a new prosthetic hand. According to him, the hand allows him to feel objects when he touches them. This person had lost his sense of touch after the loss of his hand in an accident at work. He continued to experience frequent phantom pain.

Now, he can feel pressure, and textures using his prosthetic hand. He now has sensation on the thumb and index finger. Most of the phantom pain has disappeared since the fitting of the prosthetic limb.

According to the researchers, they are focusing on restoring the sense of touch in amputees. The prosthetic limb works by connecting the prosthetic hand to a contact point that has been embedded into cuffs. These cuffs are located around the nerve bundles of the arm. Apart from giving the amputees the sense of touch, the limbs feel perfectly normal, and allow them to have much more control over their functions. Amputees are also able to do more using their prosthetic hands, compared to earlier devices.

Bicyclists who have suffered limb loss, or limb amputations as a result of accidents or injuries, now have access to much more advanced prosthetics that can help them live a normal life and perform basic and routine functions. If you have suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident, you are likely eligible for compensation for your injuries. Speak to a California bicycle accident lawyer about the damages you can recover.

Upgraded Driving Skills Can Help Keep Bicyclists Safer

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When a motorist first passes his driving test and obtains a driving license, it marks the beginning of a long hiatus from any testing or upgrades of his driving skills. According to a new report, it's important for motorists to be subject to the same kind of testing upgrades over the course of their motoring life that fleet drivers are.

According to the report, based on a survey of approximately 1,500 drivers, a majority of motorists lack correct driving knowledge. For instance, most motorists underestimated the stopping distance that they need to maintain between their vehicle and another vehicle. California bicycle accident lawyers find that such lack of motorist knowledge is one of the reasons why bicyclists in California are at such risk of accidents.

According to the report, many drivers simply lose touch with safe driving practices and driving laws, once they have cleared a driving test. A general motorist driving a passenger vehicle simply is not held to the same standards as a fleet driver or a commercial motor vehicle driver. In these industries, drivers are encouraged to keep up with the latest changes in the law, and upgrade their driving knowledge. In fact, some companies require employees to take regular refresher courses. Drivers of buses and trucks may be required to undertake periodic training to build their professional competence and ability.

However, there are no such laws in place for motorists. This is even though automobile design, speed and their power continue to keep changing. Modern automobiles are not just vehicles for people to drive around in, but allow people to communicate it with others, entertain themselves, surf the Internet and perform a number of other activities. Even so, years go by without a motorist bothering to update his driving abilities or driving skills in any manner.


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