Utah Becomes the Next State to Consider the Idaho Stop

Joining Colorado, Delaware, and a number of other states, Utah legislation has become the next state to consider passing the “Utah Yield” law for cyclists. While called a different name, there is no doubt that the Utah Yield follows the same rules as the Idaho Stop, something that has been in place for cyclists in Idaho since 1982.

Under the proposed law, Utah cyclists would be able to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs. Right now House Bill 58 sits in front of Utah legislature, but many cyclists are rooting for it. They argue that traffic laws throughout the United States were created specifically for motor vehicles, and while it makes them safer, it is not as safe for cyclists.

In support of the bill, many lobbying for it have presented facts that most cyclists end up breaking traffic laws anyway when they put their safety before the law because intersections are by far and wide the most dangerous spots for cyclists.

While there are no discernible groups lobbying against making the “Utah Yield” into a law for cyclists, it is still up in the air as to whether their bill will pass. While there is a huge cycling community in Utah, many lawmakers are still stuck in the past when it comes to their attitude on traffic laws. They’ve been presented the statistics on how the Idaho Stop has made cyclists safer in other states, but whether they will consider them is still to be determined.

Until laws are made and action is taken, any cyclist that gets on the road is in some peril, and they shouldn’t be. If you have been in an accident while on your bicycle, then you need an advocate who you can trust that is in your corner. If you have been in an accident and need representation, contact us today.

What is the Most Effective Hi-Vis Wear for Cyclists?

For those who have to, or at least enjoy to cycle at night, then getting through traffic is not such a worry. Instead, your worry is about being seen by all the cars that come up behind you. However, many cyclists have a pretty complicated relationship with hi-res clothing. Not only is it terribly unfashionable, but sometimes it is uncomfortable.

However, while the safest option is to be clad head to toe with reflective clothing, this doesn’t need to be so. In fact, cyclists may instead choose to pick the most effective reflectors. While many think this is the reflective jacket, this actually isn’t the case. In actuality, the most effective reflective piece of clothing isn’t the jacket or the helmet, but the pants.

If you think about it, reflective pants being the most effective piece of reflective clothing makes sense. What you want in a piece of reflective clothing is for it to catch light and alert drivers behind you that you are on the road. While hi-res clothing on torsos or helmets will catch light, reflective pants will catch more. Furthermore, because your legs are constantly moving, it will create a flashing reflection that will attract the eye of the driver and encourage them to give you space.

While hi-res leggings are not often the most stylish in legwear, if you have to go out at night, you should consider them. Bicycling safety is crucial, and being seen at night is the most important safety feature. So which would you rather be, fashionable or safe?

Have you been in a cycling accident and injured as the result of cars not being able to share the road? You shouldn’t have to pay for those injuries out of your own pocket when they were not your fault. If you are an injured cyclist and need representation, contact us today.

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!

Where Do E-Bike Fall in Bicycling Law?

Just when you think bicycling law is making great strides, there comes another complication that confuses things not only in the eyes of the law but that of the public. This latest complication is the advent of e-bikes. In almost every way, an e-bike is the same as a regular bicycle. It simply has an electric motor that allows the bicycle to reach occasionally faster speeds, but never above 30 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, the addition of a motor complicates things. Is it a bicycle? Is it a moped? Does it use the bike lane or does it travel on regular roadways? In many cities, no one really knows and it creates dangerous situations for cyclists and complicated matters for law enforcement.

However, the classification of e-bikes varies not just on a state level, but on a city level. Some cities see them as mopeds and demand they are ridden as such while others classify them as bicycles. In many more cities, there are simply no rules at all for them. While e-bikes can be a great jumping in point for new cyclists, it becomes a not-so-great situation when the riders don’t know in what place they fit. If they travel on roads and get into an accident, what then? The driver may argue they shouldn’t have been there. The same can be said for if they use a bike lane.

The key is to know where your city stands before riding. Some cities make it simple while others without laws for them leave it up to the rider’s choice. If you have been in an accident on an e-bike and find the law being difficult, you should talk over your options with a lawyer. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

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.

How Philadelphia’s Vision Zero Plan Intends to Help Cyclists

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.

Bicycling on Sidewalks

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 ParkMinnesota 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!

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.

In Montana, Bicycle Laws Could Limit Cyclists to Roads With Wide Shoulders Only

As cyclists, we crave that wide shoulder of a road. Smooth asphalt makes our tires sing as we share space with our fellow drivers. We know how short and sweet those wide, open shoulders can be, and that shoulder is usually gone before we know it. Given that roads weren’t exactly created for cyclists, we won’t argue with a 2-lane highway, especially if it winds through those sweet mountain views. However, politicians in Montana have proposed a bill that would ban cyclist from riding on roads with little to no shoulder.

In this unprecedented bill proposal, proponents of the ban have created a clear message that safe motor-vehicle skills are not the prerogative. Rather than work towards safer roads for cyclists, ignoring bike path creation altogether and refusing to implement cycling safety overviews to new drivers, this bill favors impatient drivers. Even though the bill’s life span ended in late April of this year, we can’t help but be disappointed in the priorities set forth in this proposal in Montana.

We Need to Support Cyclists

It’s obvious that “Share the Road” messages are not enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to coexist on 2-lane roads, especially when legislation like this arises. We need supporters who listen, advocate and have first-hand experiences with road cycling when cyclists’ needs fall on deaf ears. Drivers need to cycle, and cyclists need to drive in order for a grassroots understanding to unfold. And when accidents happen, we need advocates to fight for our cyclists out on those narrow, 2-lane highways.

New Ohio Cycling Law Regarding Red Lights

Ohio is one of the most unsuspecting states to be bicycle friendly, but with more riders taking to the road in their largest cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, the state’s government has been forced to take notice. This has led to a slew of new cycling friendly laws including this latest one that allows cyclists to still get around despite aging infrastructure.

The problem on many city streets in Ohio is that bicycles often have a problem triggering a light change at the detector. This means that a cyclist and the cars behind them could be forced to wait until a car in the other lane triggers the change. However, with the new law, cyclists can now bypass this.

The new cycling law states that in the event of this situation if the cyclist is able to check that both directions are clear, they can ride through a red light. However, cars will still have to wait unless there is a clear malfunction with the light. This law was so desperately needed that Governor John Kasich attached an emergency clause so it went into effect right away.

Attached to the bill, was another new motor vehicle and cycling law that required motorists to give at least three feet of passing space between their vehicle and a bicycle, joining more than a dozen states that already have similar laws.

While this is great news for riders in Ohio, accidents are still bound to happen. No matter how safe a state makes it for cyclists, uninformed motorists will still be a danger. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and need legal representation, contact us today.

Bicycle Laws – Stop or Yield?

Bicycles are subject to all of the same laws as automobiles when riding on the road. For the most part, this is entirely for the safety of the cyclist, but it also helps keep traffic flowing and predictable. Although this has been the longstanding law, there is one key amendment that is taking shape early 2017 in California that could shake things up.


According to California Assembly Bill 1103, cyclists would be allowed to legally treat stop signs as yield signs.

“This bill would … authorize a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise.”

While controversial, this bill may prove to increase the safety of the discerning cyclist if used properly. “The longer it takes for a bicyclist to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle …” said Jay Obernolte, one of the assemblymen who introduced the new measure.

However, there are some that disagree:

“Joel West, an Oceanside resident who has worked in his community on transportation issues, said the bill is a bad idea that will encourage bad habits. If enacted, he predicts that instead of cautiously riding through stop signs, bicyclists will completely blow through them because the law gives them the discretion to determine what’s safe.”

No matter what the verdict is, it is evident that potential revisions are coming to the longstanding laws for cyclists on the road.

Don’t hesitate to contact Gary Brustin with any questions regarding local cycling laws.