Biking in Big Cities: PA/NJ Cyclists Receive Much Needed, Brotherly Love

Philadelphia may be more than 2,200 miles away from our law offices in California but no matter. Distance cannot stop the kinship we feel with those who think of biking as a way of life. Accordingly, we were pleased to read about what The Delaware River Port Authority is doing for fellow bikers who call the City of Brotherly Love and New Jersey their respective homes.

In case you missed it, they’re about to launch a cycling focused, construction project that may go a long way in preventing biking accidents on bridges. We’re excited for them and can’t wait to see what the proposed ramp will look like in 2019 when it’s expected to be open to the cycling public. In addition to preventing accidents, we sure it, as well as the revamped Circuit Trails, will make the area more pleasant for local and out-of-town bicycling enthusiasts alike.

Some may recall that California has had its own share of bridge-related, biking accidents. As a matter of fact, a high-profile one occurred earlier this year. It was so horrific, that it was covered by national media sources, including but not limited to the LA TimesGrindTVSB Nation, and Esquire Magazine. Those affiliated with the Delaware River’s Port Authority are no doubt hoping their plans will help prevent similar occurrences and more from happening there.

But what about bicycle enthusiasts who don’t live anywhere near Pennsylvania or New Jersey? Will they see relief from bicycle accident related problems in the coming months too? In a word, the answer is, “Maybe.” As it stands now, Californians involved in bridge related, bicycle accidents must generally turn towards the court system for relief and that can be a tough road to travel without legal representation. To learn more about what people and their bicycle lawyers are doing in our state about that, please contact Attorney Gary Brustin today.

Who is at Fault for Bicycle Accidents Involving Children?

We talk a lot about bicycle accidents concerning adults. However, the truth is that a large number of adults ride their bicycles, but almost every child does too. They might stick to sidewalks sometimes, but at some point, they will use the streets as their pathway, and accidents will occur. However, just like bicycling accidents with adults, sometimes the children can be at fault, right?

The truth is that the law tends to lean more in a child cyclist’s favor compared to an adult. In the eyes of the law, adults are fully capable of making decisions for their safety. They know it is a bad idea to cross without looking both ways and they should know who has the right of way in what situations. However, children are often considered less responsible for this. In fact, drivers are considered responsible to take more care when children are present on the roadways. If only that was the case with all cyclists and there would probably be fewer accidents, right?

In terms of fault, when there is a car or bicycle accident involving children, in many cases the fault will rest with the driver. Only rarely in cases of extreme negligence will the child be held responsible for the accident, in which their parents may need to pay for damages.

If you have been in a bicycle accident or had a child involved in a bicycle accident, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to keeping cyclists of all ages safe on roads dominated by cars.

Had A Near-Miss With a Car? Study Shows You Are Not The Only One

Even if you are just a casual road cyclist, everyone has one of those stories about how they almost go completely wrecked by a car. We like to call them “near-miss” accidents because they almost happened but didn’t. However, if you only know a limited number of cyclists, then you don’t know how common near-misses are. However, a new study out of the UK shows just how much danger cyclists are in.

The study, run by a group aptly called the Near Miss Project, was lead by Dr. Rachel Aldred of Westminster University. Here colleagues rounded up 1,532 participants and asked them to keep a diary of their cycling on a preselected date. On average, the cyclists had three near-misses that day. This included being passed too closely, blocked by a vehicle, vehicles pulling out into a cyclist’s path, being driven at, and almost getting the dreaded right hook by turning vehicles.

Why is it so rampant? The study theorizes that the cause is relatively simple. Unlike cyclists, drivers perceive near-misses differently. Since they are protected by a thick shell of metal, they may not even realize the danger they are putting those who they share the road with in. When you don’t realize what you are doing is dangerous, it makes it pretty hard to learn a lesson from it, right?

If you are lucky, your cycling career will be filled with only a near-miss or two and never an actual accident. However, we are not all so lucky. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation to cover your medical bills, contact us today.

Crucial Steps to Take if Your Bike is Hit By a Vehicle

bicycle accident can cause serious injuries especially when a vehicle is involved. What you do in the moments after the accident is crucial to your ability to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you have the best chance of recovering compensation for your injuries and bike damage.

Take Immediate Action

If you are injured, it is natural to call 911 immediately. However, many times after an accident, bicyclists will feel an immediate rush of adrenaline that often masks pain and injuries. Unfortunately, this may lead riders to believe they are fine and allow the vehicle driver to leave the scene. In the event that your pain flares up a 1/2 mile down the road or later in the evening when you have calmed down, you have no way of contacting the driver if you did not take any action at the scene. Always call the police to report an accident. This ensures there is a legal record of who was involved in the accident and what occurred.

Do Not Discuss Fault

Never discuss who is at fault at the scene of the accident. There is simply no reason to enter into this discussion. The only information you should exchange with the driver of the vehicle is contact information. All other information should bereserved for the police to include in their official report.

Seek and Follow Up on All Needed Medical Treatment

Your health should always be the first priority. After a bicycle accident, it’s important to always seek medical attention. Adrenaline can mask serious injuries. Receiving prompt medical attention can prevent more serious injuries from developing.

If you have been in a bicycle accident, contact us. Our experienced attorneys understand the seriousness of bicycle accidents and will work with you to ensure you and your family recover fair and adequate compensation.

Outrage after Fatal Accident at Music Festival

Emotions are justifiably high after a recent fatal alcohol-related car accident in Texas, in which a drunk driver plowed through a group of persons standing outside a popular music festival. One of those injured was a tourist on his bicycle. A number of pedestrian and bicycle safety organizations are calling for stronger laws, holding drivers accountable for such accidents.

Two people have been confirmed killed in the carnage that resulted when the drunk driver allegedly broke through the barricades in his vehicle. The driver did not stop and continued to drive on, plowing through pedestrians standing outside the venue of the music festival in Austin. After a while, the car came to a complete stop, and the driver fled the scene on foot. By the time the carnage ended, two people had been confirmed killed, and more than 20 people had been injured. At least five of the injured are believed to be in a critical condition.

The loss of life here, and the number of injuries that have occurred as well as the preventability of this accident, has heightened tempers. Pedestrian and bicycle safety groups are calling for stronger rules that hold drivers responsible, when they engage in such negligent driving.

They are specifically calling for pedestrian and bicycle safety rules that mirror those in countries like the Netherlands, and in other European countries. In the Netherlands, for instance, strict liability applies in an accident that injures a pedestrian or bicyclist. Regardless of the kind of negligence involved, the motorist is held responsible for the injuries that have been caused to the more vulnerable person, that is the pedestrian or bicyclist. Compare that to the United States, where motorists very often get a wrap on the wrist for an accident that leaves pedestrians seriously injured.

Attorneys Plan to Investigate Tesla’s Role in Causing Fatal Bicycle Accident

Lawyers for a California man, who was involved in a fatal Santa Cruz bicycle accident, have announced that they plan to investigate the Tesla car that the motorist was driving at the time.

According to prosecutors, the man has been charged with a misdemeanor, but not a felony offense, because they believe that he exercised “ordinary negligence,” and failed to use reasonable care in avoiding the accident. The accident occurred when the man apparently dozed off at the wheel of his Tesla, colliding with a bicyclist. According to the California Highway Patrol’s investigation report, there was nothing that the bicyclist here could have done to avoid the accident. He succumbed to his injuries. The victim was a librarian at University Of California Santa Cruz.

According to the motorist’s attorneys, they plan to investigate the Tesla because of a possibility that the drowsy driving could have been the result of an odor in the car. The motorist happens to be a vegetarian, and does not use meat or animal-based products, and because of this, the interior of the car was not made from leather or fabric, but from a synthetic material. The motorist had placed a can of baking soda in the car to absorb the smell of the synthetic material, and attorneys believe that the smell could have played a role in his dozing off at the wheel.

So far, the motorist who happens to be a technology executive has not been arrested for his role in the accident.

As we move into spring and summer, we are likely to see far more bicyclists on the road, and an increase in collisions like these caused by motorists, who fail to lookout for people on bicycles.

Woodland Hills Bicyclist Injured in Accident Involving Patrol Car

A string of fatal bicycle accidents were recorded in California this year, and December offered no respite. A 65-year-old Woodland Hills resident, who also happens to be a music industry veteran and entertainment lawyer, died this month in an accident involving a patrol car.

Milton Everett Olin Jr was a former chief operating officer of file-sharing website Napster. He was also a very prominent entertainment lawyer, and had been practicing law since 1975. It’s not yet clear how the accident occurred, but it is clear that he was hit by a sheriff’s patrol car. The accident occurred in Calabasas. He was declared dead at the scene of the accident.

Investigations into the accident have begun, but as of now, police do not have any reason to believe that speeding was a factor in this particular accident. Additionally, officers have also ruled out the possibility that drugs and alcohol were associated with this accident.

There is little known about the road conditions in the area where the accident occurred. For instance, it isn’t clear if there was a bike lane in the neighborhood where the accident occurred.

Whatever the circumstances of the accident, the fact is that California has seen an uptick in the number of bicycle accident fatalities that have taken place in 2013. Certain counties like Los Angeles County have been severely affected by a motorist lack of concern for bicycle safety, and the lack of high-quality bicycling infrastructure. For a state, that has one of the most favorable weather conditions for bicyclists, California does not seem to do a lot to help keep bicyclists safer. Bicycle accident investigations drag out, infrastructure plans are too slow to roll out, and overall, there is an assumption that the risk of accidents is part and parcel of the bicycling life.

Additional Brain Stimulation Can Help Recovery after Injury

A group of researchers has been quietly experimenting with how to increase recovery after a brain injury using additional stimulation, including intellectual, cognitive, physical and social stimulation.

Some of these techniques are currently being used at the Toronto Rehab and Canada Research Chair in Traumatic Brain Injury. There, neuroscientists are researching why brain injury recovery can be impeded, and focusing on the development of treatments and strategies that can help defeat the effect of such impediments.

What is interesting about this body of work at the center is that the researchers have reason to believe that moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, could actually be a progressive neurological disorder. This is obviously a very different way of looking at traumatic brain injury, and has some interesting implications for treatment down the line.

According to the neuroscientists, soon after a brain injury, the area of the brain that is damaged leaves the undamaged and healthy areas of the brain under-stimulated. Over time, these areas of the brain actually begin to deteriorate as a result of lack of use, and lack of stimulation.

The researchers found that when people were given additional stimulation especially physical, social and cognitive simulation, it helped block the deterioration of these areas of the brain.

The field of brain injury diagnosis and treatment is a vast area of study, and there are several studies being performed across the world, aiming not just to speed up diagnosis of brain injury, but also to develop treatments that can help limit the long-term effects of these injuries.

Brain injuries are some of the most frequent injuries resulting from bicycle accidents. Even a bicyclist, who is wearing a helmet, could be at risk of traumatic brain injury in an accident.

New California Bicycle Law Requires 3 Feet of Passing Space

A new bill that has just been signed into law by Governor, Jerry Brown requires that motorists, who are passing a bicycle, leave at least 3 feet of passing space when they do so.

The legislation is expected to go into effect in September 2014, and the law has been widely welcomed by California bicycle accident attorneys, and bicycle safety groups. A number of states around the country have already passed such laws that define the minimum amount of space that motorists must leave when they are passing by a bicyclist. This is meant to help reduce the risk of accidents to bicyclists when motorists drive too close to a bicyclist, yell at or taunt the bicyclist, increasing the bicyclist’s risk of being involved in an accident.

California’s law now requires motorists to give bicyclists a minimum of 3 feet of space, when they’re passing on a California roadway. The law has been a long while coming. In fact, Governor, Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation on two separate occasions in 2011 and 2012. Last year, the Governor objected to language in the law that would have permitted a motorist to cross a double yellow line in order to leave the required passing space. In 2011, he objected to a provision that would have required motorists who are unable to move over, to slow down to a certain speed, regardless of the speed limit on the road.

The law requires motorists to give bicyclists passing space, and requires motorists to slow down if they’re not in a position to give room to the bicycle. Failure to comply with the law would be deemed an infraction, and violators can be penalized with a fine.

Motorist in Fatal Bicycle Accident Arrested

Police have made an arrest in a fatal bicycle accident that occurred in Pleasanton recently. The motorist, an 18-year-old has been arrested, and has been charged with several counts related to felony vehicular manslaughter and felony reckless driving.

The victim killed in the accident was a 58-year-old bicyclist, who was riding with her husband. The bicyclists were struck by a car driven by the teen driver. The victim’s husband did not suffer serious injuries.

The Pleasanton community is no stranger to bicycle accidents, and this city is believed to be one of the more dangerous cities in California for bicyclists. According to official data from the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2010, the city of Pleasanton ranked at number 12 on a 103 city-listing of bicycle accidents, comparing cities with similar populations. Pleasanton roads are also highly dangerous for bicyclist below the age of 15. In 2010, the city ranked at number eight in the number of bicycle accidents involving persons of this age.

Even so, the Pleasanton community has been shocked by this accident, especially because it seems that the driver in this case was in the habit of using social media to boast about his high speeds. Just a few months before the fatal accident the driver boasted on his Twitter account of driving at speeds of 140 mph, and jokingly invited his 191 followers to join him for a “death ride.” Soon after this fatal accident, the driver’s Twitter account was closed, but not before he had posted one last gem-“drive fast like young.”

It is quite possible that speeding was a factor in this accident, although there are any number of other factors like distracted driving and driving under the influence that endanger bicyclists in California.

Increase in Bicycle Accidents in Orange County

There’s hardly been a worse time to bicycle in Orange County. This year alone, according to California Highway Patrol data, bicycle accidents have increased by about 40% in Orange County. That isn’t the only statistic that concerns California bicycle accident lawyers. In Los Angeles County, the number of accidents involving bicycles has increased by a staggering 90% since 2002.

In Orange County in 2011, there were approximately 1,400 bicycle accident-related injuries. According to, some of the highest at-risk bicycle accident magnets are Main Street in Santa Ana, and downtown Anaheim. In many of these in neighborhoods, bicycle accident victims happen to be Latino immigrants, whose deaths very rarely make the headlines. These bicycle accidents are never reported in the media.

According to statistics, many bicycle accident fatalities recently have involved young Latinos. Bicycling has taken off in the Latin American community in Southern California, with this segment of the population accounting for some of the highest increases in bicyclists across California. Many undocumented immigrants, who lose their licenses at drunk driving checkpoints, are bicycling to work, and school. That means more numbers of bicyclists competing for space on roads that are simply not designed for bicyclists.

There are signs that the situation could soon change. The Orange County Transportation Authority recently approved approximately 9 million dollars in grants for bicycle infrastructure projects. Hopefully, the money will be used to develop and improve the inadequate current bicycle infrastructure in Southern California, including the construction of more bicycle lanes. OC law enforcement also needs to be more active about educating motorists about bicyclist rights, and increasing safe biking practices among bicycle commuters.

New Bicycle Helmet Design Incorporates LED Lights for Greater Visibility

One of the secrets of bicycle safety is to remain as visible to motorists as possible, so that they can avoid colliding with you. An innovative new bicycle design involves a series of LED lights that are incorporated into the bicycle helmet to serve both as a flashlight to the bicyclist, and as a beacon warning motorists about the presence of the bicyclist.

The design is called The Torch, and it includes 5 LED lights in front of the helmet and 5 at the back. These 10 lights deliver a powerful beam of light that is visible to motorists even in the dark. These LED lights have a 130° glow, which enhances light all around, and makes the bicycle more visible to motorists on the road.

The lights on this particular helmet design come in a series of modes, including steady, slow and fast flash, and the lights are powered by a rechargeable battery. Once you charge the battery, you can use it for about 2 hours at full beam, and for about 8 hours if you’re using it in flashing mode. The designers are currently in the process of manufacturing the helmets for public sales, and are taking orders for these.

Obviously, the helmet is likely to be most useful for bicyclists who are out riding at night. Bicycling at night is one of the most dangerous activities, because the chances of a motorist colliding with you are much higher in poor light.

This is an intriguing bicycle helmet design, and California bicycle accident lawyers believe that the helmet could be effective in reducing the likelihood of being involved in an accident at night.