Making the switch to cycling on your commute or just taking it up as a hobby is a big change. It not only cuts down on pollution and your transportation costs, but it also has an odd effect of making you a happier person.
There are those that attribute more happiness to cycling because it is exercise. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that make you happy, so cycling makes for happier people. However, that doesn’t seem like the only thing that makes cyclists happier people. We believe it is the little things. Little things like the breeze blowing across your face when going down a big hill or the stillness of riding through a suburb early in the morning. These are moments of awe and gratitude that some think you have to climb to the top of a mountain to find, but they can be found right there on the road.
Furthermore, cycling also comes with a bit of nostalgia, doesn’t it? You learned to ride a bike in a simpler time and once your parent took off those training wheels and let go of the handlebars, it was your first real dose of freedom as a child. Many cyclists had some great times riding bikes as a kid, and every time we have gotten on one since, it has reminded us of those simpler times.
While riding a bicycle makes people happier, there are some inevitable unhappy times. The world doesn’t quite understand how to share the road with us yet, and thus, accidents will happen. If you have been in a cycling accident and need legal representation, contact us today.
Riding on city streets often isn’t a simple relaxing roll down an empty country road. In fact, city cycling requires a lot of thought and multiple judgment calls per ride to assure that you and your bicycle arrive safely. This has opened up a lot of maneuvers that, while not strictly illegal, are not exactly safe either. If you want to get somewhere safely, here’s what to avoid.
Riding Through the Rain
No one wants to get wet, none more so than cyclists who don’t have the same waterproof shell of a car to protect them. If it starts letting loose, you may be in a hurry to ride home. Riding in the rain is risky enough business, but increasing speed can make it deadly. You are more prone to skidding, can’t stop as quickly, and visibility is lowered. If you have to ride through the rain because there is nowhere to stop, the safest thing to do is to actually reduce your speed, just like vehicles should.
Not Indicating Turns
If you have ever ridden behind a car, you know how utterly irritating it is when they change lanes or turn without their turn signal on. It is just as irritating for a cyclist to do the same, but it is also infinitely more dangerous to you. Turn signals and hand signals were put in place to make traffic more predictable. Unpredictability causes accidents, after all. Even those who don’t know how to share the road with a cyclist are likely to still give you at least a bit of caution if they know what you intend to do.
Sliding By Traffic
The nice thing about riding a bicycle is it is compact and maneuverable. This means you probably don’t think you can get stuck in a traffic jam since you can just slide on by the block of cars. This is dangerous, but not strictly illegal. You can be ticketed for passing on the right, but the real danger is getting doored. This is particularly prevalent in big taxi cities where customers caught in traffic often decide to just hoof it instead. The key here is to either wait with the rest or go very, very slowly to avoid any suddenly opening doors.
It is often these maneuvers that contribute to a lot of cycling accidents, but in some cases, legal action for your damages can still be sought. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation, contact us today.
The city of Brotherly Love has had a problem for quite some time – traffic-related accidents. The city suffers over 100 traffic-related fatalities a year, and for quite awhile now, no one has been doing anything about it. However, its new Vision Zero action plan intends to completely eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030.
While this action plan has quite a few key components, including reducing speed in the very specific zones that local residents know are responsible for the majority of fatalities, but one of the most important factors is returning power and safety to local cyclists.
Since 2012, the people responsible for the final decisions on all bike lanes in the city have not been the safety experts and engineers like in other cities, but the politicians of the city council. As bike lanes take away a lane of traffic to ensure the safety of cyclists, the construction of new bicycle lanes has dramatically slowed since 2012 while the cycling population has only increased.
What this new action plan intends to do is to return the power back to the engineers and prioritize bicycle lanes in the city’s high-crash concentration areas. This, combined with the proposed widespread public education campaign spells a brighter future for both the cyclists and the pedestrians of Philly that put themselves at risk every day stepping onto a street.
While Philadelphia’s Vision Zero Plan is an ambitious plan, even by 2030, accidents will still happen. They may not have as high of a fatality rate, but injuries will still occur. If you have been injured while riding your bicycle, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.
The San Diego Union Tribune recently reported that it is commonly thought that sidewalk bicycling is always illegal. In reality, however, only 4 cities in San Diego County – Escondido, Carlsbad, Vista, and National City – have forbidden bicycling on sidewalks.
In fact, looking nationwide, laws vary wildly on whether bicycling on sidewalks is allowed, prohibited, or completely unaddressed. Bicycle riding on the sidewalks is permitted in most areas of Chicago’s Highland Park. Minnesota law does not expressly prohibit bicycling riding on sidewalks, but it can be prohibited in business districts or by city ordinance.
In the absence of dedicated bicycle lanes, many riders report feeling safer when riding on the sidewalk instead of on a busy street. But while that might be the case, NPR notes that doing so puts pedestrians at an elevated risk of collision. According to local news, a woman in Escanaba, Michigan was injured as she walked out of a building and a cyclist that was riding on the sidewalk struck her. While an Escanaba town ordinance currently prohibits bicycles on the sidewalk, historically it has not been enforced.
Cyclists themselves are at a higher risk of being hit by cars pulling out of driveways or at crosswalks when they ride on sidewalks. In addition, obstructions on or damage to sidewalks can cause significant injuries. For example, one cyclist suffered spinal injury and lost teeth after he was launched 28 feet by a tree-damaged sidewalk.
If you prefer to ride on sidewalks, make sure you are allowed to there. And, as always, be cautious! If you find yourself with questions or injured and in need of representation, contact us!
If you are well-versed in the cautionary tales of other cyclists, then you might already know the story of UCLA Ph.D. candidate Nako Nakatsuka. While many cycling accidents are horrifying, there is none more outrageous than her case.
In April 2014, Nako was riding her road bike from work when she was rear-ended by a speeding car. She was hit with such force that the front bumper of the car was caved in and her bike ended up all the way under the rear wheel of the car. Nako was left with serious damage to her body including a concussion, whiplash, and several severe lacerations to her body, but thankfully she lived. Yet, she wouldn’t know that her injuries weren’t going to be the worst part of this accident.
After the accident, instead of paying for her own extensive medical bills, the insurance company for the driver sent her bills for damage to the car. Not only did they want her to pay for the front bumper damage, for which they claimed she backed into, but they also claimed she smashed into the side of the car.
Now not only was Nako on the hook for her own medical bills, but she had to invest her own money into lawyer bills. What made Nako’s case so difficult? The one key factor that made this all happen was that the police officer at the scene of the crash failed to write a report. Had they written one, there would have been no case against Nako. Her bicycle was clearly under the rear tires, thus she definitely didn’t back into the car, and there was no way she could have hit it from the side either.
Nako’s story is horrible, but she was able to help raise the money she needed for lawyer fees and medical bills through a successful GoFundMe campaign and outpouring from the cyclist community. Her story should, however, be one of caution from now on. While cycling accidents often look very clear, it doesn’t mean the driver who is responsible will always take responsibility. Furthermore, if there is no police report to confirm the story, you could be held on the line for an extensive amount of damages.
If you have been in a cycling accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated making sure injured cyclists get the justice they deserve.