6 Bicycle Safety Tips Every Cyclist Should Know

 

Are you an avid bike rider or just getting started? Bike riding is beneficial in many ways. It is also an affordable alternative to cars. Here are some bicycle safety tips for safe riding.

Use a Bell

It’s not just enough to use lights and reflective gear. You need a bell as well. This can help you warn people in front of you who are in your path.

Use Google Maps

Google Maps has an option for cyclists. If you need to get somewhere on your bike, you can use Google Maps to find a good route. However, memorize your route beforehand. Do not look at your phone while you are riding your bike.

Use a Saddle Bag

Use a saddle bag that can be attached to the back of your bike. If you don’t have such a bag or basket, you will end up hanging grocery bags from your handlebars, which can interfere with your riding.

Have an Emergency Kit

Just like you should have a spare tire in your car, so should you have a spare tube and other extra stuff you might need, such as some tools and a patch kit. Keep these stuff in your saddle bag.

Watch Out for Car Doors

If you are riding next to parked cars, be extremely careful. Car doors opening on cyclists is a common cause of bike-related injuries. You also have to watch for cars pulling out. It is best to maintain enough distance from the parked cars so that you don’t have that risk.

Have a Phone and ID With You

You should always carry around your phone and ID with you. This will help people identify you and contact your emergency contacts in case anything happens.

In case of an accident, get legal help immediately. Contact us today for more information and professional guidance.

 

Is a Cyclist Considered a Driver or a Pedestrian?

Driver or Pedestrian?

This is a common question and one that doesn’t always have a clear answer – is a cyclist a driver or pedestrian? Unfortunately, the classification can differ from state to state and even from city to city. As to why this question is important, the classification states if the cyclist has to ride on the road or if they can ride on the sidewalk.

In cities where cycling law prohibits riding on a sidewalk, then the cyclist, who has to ride on the road, would be considered a driver by the law. However, in most states, the cyclist has the right to ride across a crosswalk and drivers would have to yield to them as if they were pedestrian traffic.

This is often where the confusion between drivers and cyclists begins and where the potential for accidents start. If they are on the road, many drivers often see cyclists as other drivers and hold them to the same rules, which is why so many accidents happen when a cyclist is going straight and another driver is turning right. The drivers don’t realize that the cyclist has the right of way like a pedestrian then and the cyclists believe that they do.

The unfortunate reality is that we need to stop asking whether a cyclist is a driver or a pedestrian and need to just start acknowledging them as a third option that has a hybrid of both rules. However, even if we start acknowledging this, without the proper roadway education, accidents will still happen.

We Can Help

If you have been in a cycling accident because of the negligence of another, then you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you have been hurt while riding on the roadways, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.

Bicycle Law: Michigan Passes 3-Foot Passing Law for Cars Passing Cyclists

Uncontested Votes Passes New Bicycle Law

After a near uncontested vote, motorists throughout Michigan will now, by law, have to take greater care when passing cyclists on the road. Under this newly passed bicycle law, motorists will now be required to give at least a 3-foot clearance when passing a cyclist on the road unless it is “impractical” to do so. Also included in this legislation is a bill that would make it so teenage drivers in Michigan will have to learn safety laws pertaining to “vulnerable” roadway users, a term which includes cyclists before they receive their license to drive.

This new bicycle law comes after staggering statistics that state that 38 cyclists were killed on the roadways of Michigan in 2016, a number that was more than double the previous year, and 2,000 reported cyclist injuries from tangles with motor vehicles. This pressed Michigan, one of only 11 other states with no passing laws for cyclists, to put this new law under consideration.

Future Steps

Michigan, like almost every other state, has seen a rise of cyclists on the roadways and like every other citizen traveling around Michigan, they have a right to be protected. However, now that the law has been passed, the real test comes with enforcing it. For many drivers, they may not even realize they are now required by law to give a 3-foot passing distance, and it is up to law enforcement and drivers to decipher what “impractical” truly means.

However, until the law goes into effect state-wide, cyclists are still in danger. Yet, many local communities have passed 5-foot passing ordinances that keep their local biking communities safe.

Contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin Today

Have you been hurt in a cycling accident? Then you need someone in your corner who can help. If you are a cyclist who has been in an accident with a motor vehicle or otherwise in an accident that was the fault of another, contact us today. Let us help you get the compensation that you need.

Bicyclist Killed During Tour de Palm Springs

The Mercury News reported on February 13 that a 49-year-old man was killed while participating in the Tour de Palm Springs charity bicycle ride on February 10. According to the Associated Press, the 21-year-old driver faces vehicular manslaughter charges but was released after posting $75,000 bail.

The News reported that a 50-year-old woman was also seriously injured in the crash, but the newspaper could not confirm the claims of an Orange County bicycling advocate that a third cyclist also suffered serious injuries. According to the News, the driver was reportedly traveling 100 mph in a 55 mph zone when he lost control of his 2006 Ford Five Hundred.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported on February 12 that the 21-year-old offender was driving on a suspended license. California Department of Motor Vehicles records showed the driver’s license had been suspended since December 4 for being a negligent vehicle operator as well as failures to appear, according to the Press-Enterprise.

Tour de Palm Springs is a charity bike ride of various lengths in the Coachella Valley. According to the AP, the 49-year-old man killed in the February 10 crash was participating in the 100-mile ride event.

It is an unfortunate truth that many bicycle accidents in California are the result of some kind of motorist negligence. Even though drivers are expected to share the road with bikes and respect their presence, inattentive or simply impatient drivers frequently cause devastating accidents.

Bicyclists are not afforded the same level of protection inherent to automobiles, so the nature of the injuries they suffer is often quite severe. Depending on the number of vehicles involved, how far a bicyclist is thrown from his or her bike, and whether a cyclist strikes any other objects, people may sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, or possibly fatal injuries.

Even when they are fortunate enough to survive these crashes, it can take several months or years—possibly even a lifetime—to recover from bicycle accident injuries. In some cases, victims not only may be unable to maintain any regular employment, but they can also require very costly full-time assistance with a variety of everyday tasks.

If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a bicycle accident anywhere in California, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Gary C. Brustin right now to take advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation that will allow our experienced personal injury attorney to provide a complete evaluation of your case. Contact us today.

What to Do if the Driver That Hit You Doesn’t Have Insurance?

We don’t get to choose who we get into an accident with. If it were up to any cyclist, they would not get into an accident in the first place, but it happens. When it does, because of the very nature of both motor vehicles and bicycles, when they do get into an accident with each other, the damage to the cyclist and their bicycle is often extensive. Even minor accidents are likely to mean a very costly bicycle repair. Typically, when involved in an accident that is not our fault, cyclists rely on the driver’s insurance to cover the damages, but what if that driver has no insurance?

While there are less uninsured drivers on the road than ever thanks to the law that states drivers must have the minimum coverage, there is still a percentage that driver without insurance anyway. While you may think this makes you out of luck for coverage, if you also have auto insurance coverage yourself, you may still have options. The uninsured driver coverage in your policy will cover your damages if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. However, this is only true if the accident was the driver’s fault.

If you do not have auto insurance because you solely ride your bicycle, if the driver does not have insurance, you maintain the right to sue them from your damages. Often courts will lean much more in your favor and the driver will likely face additional punishment for not following the law.

While it is less likely you will get in an accident with an uninsured driver, there is still a large chance you will get into an accident. In this situation, you will want an advocate in your corner to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve. If you are a cyclist and have been in an accident, contact us today.

Michigan Considers Adding Bicycle Safety to Driver’s Education Curriculum

Any cyclist knows that the biggest danger on the road is other drivers. It is not even because motorists are acting somehow malicious to cyclists either. Most of the time, accidents involving cyclists are caused purely because a motorist doesn’t know how to share the road. However, Michigan lawmakers are considering forcing the next generation of drivers to learn by adding bicycle safety to their driver’s education curriculum.

The House Committee on Transportation moved this bill to the Michigan House floor. In it, the bill states that driver’s education curriculum would now include at least one hour of instruction on the laws and safety revolving around bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and anything else classified as vulnerable roadway users. As there are already pieces of curriculum for pedestrians and motorcycles, this will be more centered on bicycle safety than anything else.

Co-sponsors and supporters of this bull state that motorists are often confused by the number of different bicycle pathways that are appearing in many Michigan communities. This is especially true when it comes to bicycle pathways that are installed between roads and parking areas. Some drivers may know that they are not allowed into bicycle lanes, but then they don’t know how to park without just zipping through them.

Hopefully, the bill, which is now being voted on, passes and goes into law. While it won’t do anything for many of the drivers on the road today, it does paint a potentially safer future for cyclists as more teens take to the road with full knowledge of how to share the road with bicycles.

Unfortunately, until everyone becomes educated on how to share the road with bicycles, accidents will still happen. If you have been in a cycling accident with a motorist, you need someone who is in your corner. Contact us so the Law Office of Gary Brustin can make sure you get the compensation that your injuries deserve.

Seven Things to Do if You are Involved in a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle riders are particularly vulnerable when they are riding in areas with automobiles.  While automobile drivers are protected by a metal cage wrapped in steel, bicyclists are completely vulnerable should they collide with a car or truck.  Most riders are careful and watchful around motor vehicles, but bicycle/automobile accidents are still too common.

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 800 bicyclists died in a motor vehicle crash in 2015, a 12% increase over the previous year, and 45,000 received injuries in a motor vehicle crash.

With numbers like these, it is important to know what to do if you become involved in a car or truck accident when on your bicycle. Here are seven steps to keep in mind.

1. Get Out of the Street

If you are not too badly injured, get out of the street as fast as you can.  Accidents happen quickly, and oncoming traffic might not see you on the ground. You do not want another vehicle to strike you.  Check your body to for cuts and lacerations, even broken bones.

2. Call 911

Call the police and tell them that you are a bicyclist and have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Request medical attention.

3. Get the Driver’s Information

Ask the motor vehicle driver for his name, address, and insurance information. Do not discuss the accident.  Do not admit any kind of quilt.  Do not minimize your injuries. This can work against you if you should end up in court.

4. Gather Witness Information

Get the name, phone number and address of witnesses. If you are not feeling well enough to do this, then ask someone nearby to do it for you. Do not, however, discuss the accident with witnesses.

5. Take Accident Photos

Use your smartphone to document the accident. These pictures will come in handy if you go to court.

6. Talk to the Police

When the police arrive, tell them what happened. Be honest. Most states have laws regulating the right of way, distances between bicyclists and motor vehicles and more. Explain to the police why you are not at fault and request that the car or truck driver receive a ticket.

7. Talk to a Lawyer

You might decide to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Before doing so, talk to a skilled bicycle accident attorney.  The insurance company is not your friend and will do what it can to mitigate your claim.

If you are a bicyclist who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, then please contact us. Our team is standing by ready to assist.

 

Bicycle Safety: Don’t Let Recent Improvements Go Up in Smoke

The League of American Bicyclists released their annual report and we were not surprised to see California rank 3rd. Our state has come a long way since 2014 when it ranked 9th in bicycle friendliness. What makes a pedal friendly? Why attention to bicycle safety of course! And although our state’s bicycle safety record may not be perfect, people are continually looking for ways to improve.

Cities Get Serious

Let’s take San Francisco for instance. They started out the new year by placing Vision Zero front and center. It’s the city’s way to help protect cyclists from a myriad of accidents, including collisions with motor vehicles. And the City by the Bay isn’t the only one in our state taking bicycle safety seriously. If you check out this year’s report card, you’ll see that all over, people are working exceptionally hard to reduce the state’s fatality rate.

Laws Need to Catch Up

Of course, one bicycle accident is too many in our book. So at the Law Office of Gary Brustin, we believe that California’s bicycle safety measures could stand continued revision. Not surprisingly, two areas that we’re particularly interested in are legislation and enforcement. Currently, there are not enough laws in place to protect cyclists from motor vehicles, especially when it comes to distracted drivers.

Bicycle Safety Going Up in Smoke?

Ask anyone in the insurance industry or just take a look at the headlines and you’ll see that our state logs in far too many car accidents each year. And yes, many of them are eventually traced back to a lack of driver focus. Unfortunately, California law hasn’t kept up with the times. As such, it doesn’t specifically address all forms of distraction and this could become exceptionally problematic now that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is in full effect.

To learn more about what California can do, moving forward, to improve bicycle safety as it relates to legislation and enforcement, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today.

Are Streetcar Tracks an Accident Waiting to Happen for Cyclists?

There has been some controversy coming from the cyclists of Seattle that the streetcar tracks in the city are a “death trap” to city cyclists. Most notably of the story was the death of a young behavioral neuroscientist that was cycling through the city only to be launched from her bike due to the First Hill Streetcar tracks and killed as a result of her injuries.

Unfortunately, her death brought attention to the issue, but she was not the last cyclist injury to be reported from the city. While Seattle’s streetcar tracks are dangerous, they are not the first city to have both cyclists and streets cars. What makes the streetcar tracks in Seattle different from those in San Francisco, for example? The answer is attention to safety. In other cities with both streetcars and a booming cyclist population, the city has paid attention to implementing safety features for those that need to cross over the tracks. It seems this safety issue was an oversight in Seattle.

While cars in the city may be able to safely cross over these tracks, as well as pedestrians with the right amount of care, the gaps in the tracks are too wide for a bicycle to safely span with their thin tires. In most cases, with enough speed, many cyclists who use the bicycle lanes near these tracks can bridge the gap, but the issue comes with their wheels are turned just right amount. In most of the injury and fatality cases, the cyclist had to move to avoid an obstacle and their tire was angled just right to catch in the tracks.

While some cities have protection for cyclists and pedestrians in their streetcar tracks, Seattle cyclist still remain in danger. Have you been hurt while cycling by streetcar tracks, cars, or otherwise? Then contact us today to see what we can do for you.

 

California’s “Idaho Stop” Bill Enters Pilot Program

The bipartisan bill presented to California that could bring the “Idaho Stop,” or the ability for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs have received a lot of attention. However, instead of trying to force the bill through or negotiating their way to a yes, for now, the authors have settled on another way to prove it is a good idea – a pilot program.

Now instead of allowing the Idaho Stop to be legal statewide, it will be rolled out in three cities in an effort to record the results and prove to naysayers of the bill that, yes, this is indeed a good idea. The two authors opted to pull the bill before the end of 2017 or risk it being killed altogether, which is where the idea for the pilot program was born.

While the three cities for the pilot program have not yet been announced, the two representatives authoring the bill were from San Francisco and Big Bear, making it likely that their jurisdictions will be chosen for the test. As of right now, many of the naysayers are from California’s bigger jurisdictions, noting that allowing the ability for cyclists to roll through stop signs would cause bedlam. However, this is simply not so, especially since other states have had great success implementing this law. Most recently, Delaware joined the ranks of the Idaho Stop and while it may not have cities quite as large as Los Angeles, for example, its urban thoroughfares have proven to be unchanged and even safer in some cases for both cars and cyclists.

What are your thoughts on the Idaho Stop coming to California? The Law Office of Gary Brustin knows that it might make the cyclist safer, but accidents will still happen. If you have been in an accident in California and need representation, contact us today.

State of Illinois To Allow Motorists to Pass Cyclists

According to the Chicago Tribune, bike laws will be changing in the state of Illinois just in time for the new year. House Bill 1784 goes into effect on January 1, 2018 and will allow a motorist to “overtake and pass to the left of a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a portion of a highway designated as a no-passing zone.” At first glance, Illinois’ new legislation appears to ignore the safety of bicyclists in favor of reducing travel time for motorists.

However, according to TheXRadio, three circumstances must be present when a motorist can legally pass a cyclist under the new law; “(1) the bicycle is traveling at a speed of less than half of the posted speed limit; (2) the driver is able to overtake and pass the bicycle without exceeding the posted speed limit; and (3) there is sufficient distance to the left of the centerline.”

Additionally, Peoria Public Radio asserts that the new law, also known as P.A 100-0359, “clarifies that cyclists can ride on the shoulder of the road” and drivers must still adhere to Illinois’ current state law requiring motorists to maintain at least three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle when passing.

Extremely low temperatures and slippery road conditions illustrate what the roads of Illinois feel and look like during the Winter. Consequently, only the most avid cyclists who use their bicycle to get to their destination regardless of the weather or road conditions will be testing House Bill 1784 this winter. The majority of cyclists and motorists won’t feel the effects of the changes until March or April when most cyclists pull their bikes out of the garage for the first time this year.

The full consequences of the new law will not be felt until the summer when children and young kids are on break from school ride their bikes in their neighborhoods all day long. If you enjoy riding your bike on the shoulder of the road be extra careful this year. If you have any questions regarding the new law or if you ever find yourself injured contact us!

Who is Liable for Accidents on Poorly Maintained Bike Paths?

While many cities are making leaps and bounds in terms of becoming more cyclist-friendly, there are those who don’t put quite so much priority on it. Even then, cities that make efforts to add bicycle lanes often make the mistake of letting bike paths go unmaintained. The question is if people are getting into accidents on poorly maintained bike paths, who can be held liable?

Many cities across the U.S. have a sort of sweeping immunity when it comes biking, hiking, and other leisure paths. Since it is difficult to tame nature, these paths are often uncared for. This is understandable for simple dirt paths through the forest. But, what about for the paved bike paths that wind through the cities?

The Precedent

Recently, there was a case in Illinois where a rider was injured in an accident on a bike path. This was not some dirt pathway through the forest, but a paved path that went through an industrial area. After arguing the case all the way to the Supreme Court, it was decided that the blanket immunity the city claimed was only valid for primitive paths, and thus the municipality was to be held liable. This case can pave the way for others injured on bike paths in cities that do not take responsibility for maintaining them.

If you have been hurt on a poorly maintained bike path or bicycle lane, the city should bear that responsibility. If you wish to fight for your rights as a cyclist, contact us today.