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.

Costs of Bicycle Accidents Increasing, Study Finds

The medical costs of bicycle accidents have been rising dramatically, according to a new study by the University of California, San Francisco, which was recently published in the journal Injury Prevention. Since 1997, medical costs for emergency room and hospital admissions have been on the rise.

Bicycle accidents have been rising tremendously. Over the course of 17 years, total medical costs, including both fatal and non-fatal bicycle injuries, amounted to $237 billion. In the year 2013 alone, costs amounted to more than $24.4 billion. The total costs of all occupational illnesses during the same year were less than half that amount.

Not only are costs not decreasing, they are steadily going up. Each year, costs rise an additional $789 million, on average. There was a total of 9,839 bicycle related deaths that were reported between 1997 and 2013, the length of the study. Other nonfatal bicycle-related injuries totaled 3.8 million.

Each year, bicycle-related injuries increased by around 6,500. Costs increased 137 percent for non-fatal injuries and 23 percent for fatal injuries each year.

Three-quarters of all bicycle injury costs were incurred by males, especially older men. In 1997, 26 percent of total costs were incurred by men 45 years or older (who are more likely to take the proper safety procedures), while in 2013, the number was 54 percent.

The health benefits of biking certainly outweigh its risks. However, it’s impossible to stress how important it is to follow safety procedures when going on a bike ride.

If you’ve been injured riding a bicycle, it’s important that you get legal help immediately so that you get the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today for help!

General Bicycle Safety Recommendations

Biking is generally a very safe sport, but not without some inherent dangers. Following a few general bicycle safety recommendations will dramatically reduce your chances of injury.

1. Wear a helmet. 

This tip cannot be stressed enough; in many states, it is the law that you wear a bicycle helmet. Wearing a helmet is the cheapest and easiest way to stay safe on your bicycle, regardless of state laws. Also, if your helmet gets damaged in any way, it is now unsafe to use. Replace it immediately with a brand-new helmet.

2. Get regular professional bike tune-ups. 

Ensuring that your bicycle is always in good shape is an excellent way to stay safe. Loose bolts, worn components, and worn tires create unsafe riding conditions and will increase your risk of an accident. Bring your bicycle into a local bike shop to get the recommended tune-ups regularly.

3. Keep your eyes open. 

Be attentive to your surroundings when cycling. Constantly look at the pavement ahead to avoid any nasty potholes or curbs, and be aware of any nearby traffic. Riding your bicycle distracted is certainly a recipe for disaster.

4. Know your comfort level. 

Don’t ride your bike on a busy road if it makes you uncomfortable. Practice safe riding techniques on side roads and residential streets before you attempt to ride on busier roads, and even then avoid riding during rush-hour.

These are just a few general safety recommendations bicycles. Contact us if you have any questions about filing a claim for a bicycle-related accident.

Is Bicycling More Dangerous Than Other Modes of Travel?

Although they don’t always make the news, bicycle crashes are a frequent danger in a world dominated by motor vehicles who don’t understand how to share the road. However, as bicycling accidents are so frequent, there are some who knock the lifestyle stating that it is more dangerous than other modes of travel, but is it really?

The NHTSA published their crash facts in 2015 and found that over 800 deaths per year associated with bicycling. However, these fatalities represent less than two percent of all traffic fatalities. For some reason, bicycling seems to be over-represented in crash data, despite the fact that there is no way to measure exactly how long most cyclists are exposed to motor traffic each day, and thus, at risk.

Despite many crash statistic making bicycling out to be significantly more dangerous than it probably is, millions of people around the world engage in this healthy and typically inherently safe activity every day. Furthermore, if drivers were taught how to appropriately share the road with cyclists and major cities took more steps to make their roads friendly for cyclists, millions more people wouldn’t be swayed by the statistics to take up this mode of travel.

Unfortunately, when some look at cycling around town, all they see are the risks. The risks that change drastically depending on the time of day, location, and experience level of the rider. Just like driving a car, accidents can happen while cycling. Some cyclists have been in several throughout their cycling life, but is cycling more dangerous than driving? Probably not, and it is getting safer each day.

If you have taken to cycling and found yourself in an accident, contact us today. Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of cyclists.

3 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Bicycle Helmet

Around three-quarters of all bicycle-related deaths are caused by head injuries, which is why it’s not just important to wear a helmet, it’s important to wear it correctly. Here are some helmet safety tips for a safe bicycle ride.

Keep It Fastened Securely

In the case of an accident, your helmet needs to stay on at all times. If it slips off easily and leaves even a small part of your head exposed, then it won’t be effective in the case of multiple head bumps (for example, a car bump and a road bump). Before riding out, make sure that your helmet is fastened strongly to your head and that it doesn’t move easily.

Make Sure Your Bicycle Helmet Meets Safety Standards

You want a helmet that does its job, not one that will impress your friends. Don’t choose a bicycle helmet that has all sorts of fancy stuff sticking out or one with too many holes. You want a smooth helmet with as much foam as possible to protect your head. You also need to make sure that your helmet meets the CPSC’s safety standards, so look for their sticker inside.

Keep It Comfortable

Make sure that your bicycle helmet lets your head cool off and provides a good air flow. It also needs to fit comfortably, not affect your eyesight and not cause any discomfort, which will affect your concentration. You might also want to consider getting a bright-colored helmet for additional visibility.

In the case of a bicycle accident, get legal help immediately. Contact a California bicycle accident lawyer so that you get the full compensation that you deserve.

Why Are There So Many Cycling Accidents in San Francisco’s Castro Neighborhood?

For those who live along 17th Street in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, they are more than familiar with the area’s long history with cycling accidents. Almost every week there is an accident involving a cyclist and a vehicle, and now as the city is finally looking into the concentration, it leaves people asking the same question – why are there so many bicycling accidents here?

For the residents, many of whom have multiple cycling accidents caught on tape, they all know the problem, or rather, problems. There are two rampant problems along 17th Street in Castro that cause cycling accidents. The first is double parking and the second is the Muni train tracks. The train tracks cause bicycle tires to get stuck and cyclists to fall face first onto the concrete while the double parking of cars force cyclists to swerve dangerously close to traffic.

Residents state that it is the double parking that is the greatest danger, and if the city can solve that problem it would greatly reduce cycling accidents. However, other improvements have included removing the train tracks, making the street one way, and removing the parking in order to better protect the bike path.

While the city is still weighing the options for the area, this one street in San Francisco is far from the only area in the United States that is a problem for cyclists. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin represents the rights of injured cyclist.

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

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.

Should You Be Using Bicycle Mirrors?

No matter where you do it, bicycling allows for a lot of freedoms. You can modify your bike and any accessories to make it uniquely yours. However, one of the lesser used bicycle accessories is bike mirrors. These can be attached to your handlebars or poking out from your helmet.

Ideally, these mirrors allow you to see behind you in your blind spots so that you don’t need to shoulder check yourself all the time. After all, cars have mirrors for just that purpose, why shouldn’t bikes? Unfortunately, bikes and cars are two different vehicles. In a car, no one can see you checking your shoulder so you use mirrors and signals to do it. On a bike, you have your proper hand signals, but the act of looking over your shoulder is a good indicator that you might need to scoot over a bit to avoid a parked car. Mirrors take away the need for that.

However, bike mirrors are not without their benefits. Particularly during night-time driving, the reflective nature of the mirrors make it easier for cars to spot you.

But do you need bicycle mirrors as an accessory? Probably not. They have their uses, but more often than not, they make us forget the crucial shoulder check, and that can be dangerous. This lack of bicycling habits that have been formed for safety can cause terrible accidents. If you have been the victim of a bicycle-related accident on the part of another vehicle, you may have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to find out what options you have.

The Importance of Witnesses in Bicycle Accidents

Being hit while on your bike is a pretty traumatic experience, and hopefully it will never happen to you. However, if it does, after checking if you and the driver are alright, you need to make sure you have a witness available to you if any injuries or damages occur.

Ideally, in the event of an accident, you and the driver want to wait for the police to arrive. If the drive tries to flee the scene, there really isn’t much you can do to stop them accept write down their license plate number as well as the make, model, and color of their car. If the driver is cooperating, ask anyone that was witness to the accident and is still around the area to write down their version of events as well as providing their name and number.

Having a written record as well as a few witnesses to call on makes the version of events pretty clear, especially once the adrenaline wears down and you start to get foggy on the details. By having at least one witness to the scene of the crime, it prevents the accident from both parties claiming they were not at fault. If you end up in court seeking damages, it makes the case pretty cut and dry, allowing you to avoid a long court battle.

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident and want to know if any legal recourse is available to you, witnesses present or no, contact us today.

Bicycle Accidents on the Rise In Chicago This Summer

Bicycling is on the rise, especially among twenty-somethings. Combine the benefits — great exercise, no fuel costs, maneuverability — and you’ve got a great way to get around. But along with the benefits, there are also plenty of risks such as low-visibility, failure to wear helmets, making risky maneuvers and taking unnecessary chances in the interest of shaving a few minutes off a commute, are among the things that cause accidents between cyclists and motor vehicles. On September 4th of this year, the Chicago Tribune ran an editorial about the alarming increase in fatal bicycle accidents in an around the city, urging both cyclists and vehicle operators to be more careful and alert.

The editorial, entitled Bicyclists, be careful. Motorists be watchful. Everyone, slow down, chronicled several fatal accidents that occurred on the streets of the city this summer:

  • In June, a 29-year-old bicycle messenger headed for Lake Michigan after work was struck and killed by a tour bus on North Michigan Avenue just a few hundred yards from his beach destination.
  • In July, a 25-year-old bike-share cyclist collided with a flatbed truck and was killed.
  • In August, a 20-year-old student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago was bicycling on North Michigan Avenue when a semi-truck crossed into the bike lane and fatally struck her. Just one day later, a 58-year-old man was killed by a cargo van while bicycling in Garfield Park.

The article goes on to note that these accidents are not unusual. They actually mirror a nationwide trend. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, bicycling accidents actually increased 12.2% in 2015.

Bicyclists and cars share the same roads, and both are responsible for changing these statistics by obeying traffic laws, watching out for pedestrians and pets, and respecting other drivers whether they’re in a car, a truck or on a 10-speed.

If you’ve been injured in a bicycling accident in the State of California contact us. Attorney Brustin is an avid cyclist himself and has been protecting cyclists rights for the past twenty years and counting!

How to Avoid Bicycle Accidents at Intersections

Most bicycle accidents involve only the person riding the bicycle.  In fact, according to Nolo.com, only 11% of bicycle accidents occur with an automobile.  Of these collisions, however, nearly half happen at an intersection, making these traffic areas particularly hazardous for people on bikes.

Why are traffic intersections so dangerous for cyclists?   Cars may not come to a complete stop at the traffic signal, or drivers may only be looking for oncoming cars and trucks before proceeding through a turn.   Traffic intersections are usually busy, with many cars traveling in different directions.  This alone increases the chances of a bicycle-car collision.

When approaching a traffic intersection, cyclists should proceed with caution.  In all 50 states, bicycles are vehicles, and they must follow the rules of the road. This means following the same traffic laws as automobiles.  Cyclists should come to a complete stop at stop lights and stop signs.  They should not run through yellow lights.  They should wait for a green light before proceeding through an intersection and look both ways to ensure that no traffic is barreling toward them.

Cyclists must also follow traffic laws that apply to intersections without a traffic signal.  If a bicycle and an automobile arrive at such an intersection, then the vehicle that arrived first has the right of way.  If a bicycle and the automobile arrive at the same time, then the vehicle to the right has the right of way.

Carefully follow intersection traffic laws, and you will decrease your chances of being involved in a bicycle-automobile collision.   Yet accidents do happen.  If you are a cyclist and have been in a car collision that was not your fault, then contact us.  We are the Law Office of Gary Brustin and are here to protect your cyclist rights.

Bicycle Accidents are Sometimes Caused by Dangerous Road Conditions

vehicles around you. But, unfortunately, it may seem that the favor is not returned, at least in the way of road maintenance. If you find yourself injured due to a crack in the road, you may find that the municipality tells you they’re not responsible for keeping the road safe for bicycles, only for automobiles.

Sometimes Accidents are Unavoidable

You’ve probably been riding around from time to time and encountered these dangerous cracks or breaks in the road. Sometimes, you’re able to navigate around them, but other times, you find yourself in a situation where hitting the crack is unavoidable, whether that be because of road conditions, road debris or traffic. When this happens, you may find yourself holding your breath and praying you survive this bicycle accident.

Serious Injury

Cracks in the road can cause serious injury to riders, and what makes matters worse is that these cracks seem to be present in the shoulder of the road, where bicyclists are expected to ride. Road maintenance crews are more interested in keeping the main part of the roadway safe for vehicles, but they tend to neglect the shoulder areas to keep things safe for bicyclists as well.

If you’re been injured due to dangerous road conditions, whether that condition was on the shoulder or in another area of the road, reach out to our experienced team.