Many states have laws requiring motorists to keep a safe distance when passing bicycles on the road. Where these laws exist, the distance is usually three feet. Some places require more. There’s no doubt that keeping a reasonable distance is necessary for safety. The question is how much these bicycle clearance laws help.
Inadequate clearance is a factor in a relatively small proportion of bicycle accidents. Visibility problems and reckless disregard for cyclists are bigger factors. Lack of clearance can be a cause of rear-end collisions, which are especially likely to cause serious injury. Fortunately, this type of accident isn’t very common.
Enforcement is another difficulty. How often will a police officer notice that a car is passing a bike too closely? If the officer does notice, how likely is the incident to result in a ticket? The law is most likely to come into play when there is an accident. Failure to maintain required clearance can help establish that a motorist is at fault.
What is sufficient clearance?
Intuitively, the distance required for safety should increase as the speed limit goes up. However, country roads with lower speeds can be the most dangerous. They often have poorly maintained shoulders, and a cyclist may need to swerve to avoid a pothole. If a car is passing too closely, this could have deadly consequences.
Cyclists shouldn’t cling to the very edge of the road to maximize clearance. Doing that gives them nowhere to go if they encounter a bad spot in the pavement. They’re actually safer if they have some buffer space toward the edge, even if they’re closer to vehicles.
As with many situations, laws by themselves aren’t enough to make people safer. Motorists need to be aware of bicycles in the road and give them a safe berth. Cyclists need to stay as visible as possible and avoid unpredictable behavior. Clearance laws serve as a reminder, but they may not do much more than that.
If you’ve been involved in an accident while on a bicycle, contact Mr. Brustin to find out what your options are.
Unlike automobiles, bicycles use significantly less parts to function. This cuts down on the likelihood that a part will be faulty, but a single faulty part in a bicycle can cause the same danger as a faulty part in a car. This is why bike owners need to take the same care when a part is recalled. Every single part is designed to function together, and if one malfunctions, it can cause a devastating bicycle accident.
If a part on your bicycle has been recalled, the manufacturer has the duty to inform the owner, who then has a duty to replace that part. However, we tend to let things go. If a part malfunctions and may have been the cause for your bicycle accident, what do you do?
The answer boils down to whether or not you were informed that a part had been recalled. If you never received a recall notice and discovered a faulty part caused your accident, you may be able to receive compensation from the manufacturer. However, if you did receive a recall notice and failed to take action, then this removes that manufacturer from liability.
If you were involved in an accident with another driver as well, it a combination of their fault and a faulty part caused it, you may be able to pursue compensation from both or even either. In truth, if the driver was at fault, it would be easier to pursue a case against them as manufacturer typically take many steps to protect themselves and cases can take time.
If you have been injured while riding, whether it was due to a faulty part or another driver that didn’t know how to share the road, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to helping injured cyclists get the compensation that they need for devastating accidents.
Rolling Stop Law
The “Idaho stop” or rolling stop law for cyclists has been pervasively spreading across the United States over the past year. However, while this is great news for cyclists, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for local governments with perhaps different cycling laws to have a voice. This is just what Colorado was concerned with when the rolling stop rolled on up to the doors of state government.
However, unlike other states that have allowed it, Colorado took a more cautious route. They approved the rolling stop for cyclists but ultimately left setting restrictions on speed and implementation up to the local communities in the state.
Colorado is already quite friendly to cyclists, and in that regard, a number of cities already have their own cycling laws on the rolling stop. Furthermore, the state government recognizes that not every intersection is right for it.
This new law allows for communities to opt-in to adopt the Idaho stop for their community as well as regulate what is considered a “reasonable speed” to roll on through. This comes after a failed bill from 2017 that had addressed the same issue but ultimately failed due to conflicts with cyclist laws that had already been put into place in popular Colorado cycling cities.
Around the Country
This sets a great precedent for other states considering the issue of rolling stops for cyclists. It shows that this issue can be shot down if it conflicts with other community laws, but by offering it as a more opt-in affair, it can be adapted for the whole state.
Unfortunately, while this makes it safer for many cyclists, accidents will still happen. If you have been in a cycling accident and need a lawyer to represent you who understand your pain, contact us today. Let Gary Brustin, a fellow cyclist, and his law office come to your aid.
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.
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.
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!
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.