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.
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.
For many cyclists, at the first sign of snowflakes, they hang up their bike for the season and engage in some other mode of transport. However, they are missing out on one of the most fun riding experiences of life. While cycling in the snow is innately more dangerous, there are few more refreshing experiences than cycling in the snow. However, with road conditions worse and motorists still just as uninformed when it comes to sharing the road, there are a few more safety tips to consider.
You Have the Right to a Lane
The biggest issue with cycling in the snow is that bike paths are often left ignored by snow plows. Furthermore, they are often the first victims of snow bank build up as well. If you find your usual bike lane is clogged with snow, don’t be afraid to move into the lane. You have the right to the road just like any motorist and if the bike lane is too narrow or unusable, you are fully within your right to merge into traffic.
Take Turns Wider
Between the snow banks and slick conditions, taking turns on a dime with relative quickness is going to be pretty impossible. The key to riding safely in the winter is to go slow and take as much space as you need, particularly when it comes to taking turns. However, always do a shoulder check before wide turns to make sure there is not a motorist speeding up on you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Dismount
Riding in the winter for many cyclists means putting on winter tires more akin to mountain bikes. However, even with proper winter tires, areas of thick snow or heavy ice can be difficult to navigate. Yet, just because you are riding your bike doesn’t mean you should have to force yourself through. If the path is too treacherous, just get off and walk it for a spell.
For many areas of the United States, winter cycling is a big time for accidents. Between sheer lack of knowledge and the stress caused by snow, accidents are more likely. However, if you have been in an accident on your bicycle, contact us today so Gary Brustin can help get you the justice you deserve.
Bicycle riders should strive to keep their riding as smooth as possible. This will help improve your biking experience, and it will also keep you safe. Here are some tips for doing so.
Clean Your Bike
Dirt and dust will make your bike more creaky. Clean all parts of your bike regularly.
Oil Your Bike
Make sure your bike, especially the chain, is oiled and lubricated. This will provide a smoother ride.
Check Tire Pressure
Deflated tires will cause your ride to be more jerky. Make sure they are filled with the right amount of air before setting out.
Make Sure the Bike Fits
You also want to fit comfortably on your bike. Adjust the bike seat and the front handlebars so that you have a comfortable sitting position when riding.
To ride more smoothly, you should be in the right position as well. Exercising or biking regularly will help you stay fit and will make biking easier. If you need to take a break to restore your breath, do so. Take around some water or an energy drink with you, especially during the hot weather. During the cold weather, make sure to bundle up so that you do not freeze.
Avoid Sudden Moves
Always be alert and on the lookout. This will prevent the need for sudden moves on your part. Be on the lookout for obstacles and moving motorists or pedestrians. Keep your hands on the brakes at all times. Brake in advance; avoid sudden jerky braking moves.
If you ever get in a bicycle accident, contact us immediately for legal help.
Planning on riding your bike at night? Bicycle night riding can be fun. It may be necessary if you use a bike as your primary source of transportation. However, there are more hazards at night. Here are some tips for riding your bicycle safely at night.
Ride In a Lit Area
Ride in a place where there is plenty of light whenever possible. If you know that there is a certain route that has more lighting, take it, even if it is slightly longer. More lighting will not only let you see your surroundings, obstacles, and pedestrians better, it will help drivers see you as well.
Most bicycle accidents occur because the driver did not see the biker. The trick is to stay as visible as possible. At the very least, look into state and local laws about bicycle riding at night and comply with any rules regarding bike lights. However, it is always a good idea to do more. Use extra lights when necessary. Make sure that your bike has reflective areas, and that you are wearing reflective clothing as well.
Be Extra Vigilant
Because of the darkness, you have to be extra cautious when riding. First of all, this means to slow down. Do not ride as fast as you usually do during the daytime. You also have to be extremely alert so that you stay aware of your surroundings and are prepared for any sudden obstacles, pedestrians or motorists that appear in your path.
For more tips on riding your bicycle safely at night or if you ever get into a bike accident, contact us immediately for legal help.
Making the switch to cycling on your commute or just taking it up as a hobby is a big change. It not only cuts down on pollution and your transportation costs, but it also has an odd effect of making you a happier person.
There are those that attribute more happiness to cycling because it is exercise. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that make you happy, so cycling makes for happier people. However, that doesn’t seem like the only thing that makes cyclists happier people. We believe it is the little things. Little things like the breeze blowing across your face when going down a big hill or the stillness of riding through a suburb early in the morning. These are moments of awe and gratitude that some think you have to climb to the top of a mountain to find, but they can be found right there on the road.
Furthermore, cycling also comes with a bit of nostalgia, doesn’t it? You learned to ride a bike in a simpler time and once your parent took off those training wheels and let go of the handlebars, it was your first real dose of freedom as a child. Many cyclists had some great times riding bikes as a kid, and every time we have gotten on one since, it has reminded us of those simpler times.
While riding a bicycle makes people happier, there are some inevitable unhappy times. The world doesn’t quite understand how to share the road with us yet, and thus, accidents will happen. If you have been in a cycling accident and need legal representation, contact us today.
Riding on city streets often isn’t a simple relaxing roll down an empty country road. In fact, city cycling requires a lot of thought and multiple judgment calls per ride to assure that you and your bicycle arrive safely. This has opened up a lot of maneuvers that, while not strictly illegal, are not exactly safe either. If you want to get somewhere safely, here’s what to avoid.
Riding Through the Rain
No one wants to get wet, none more so than cyclists who don’t have the same waterproof shell of a car to protect them. If it starts letting loose, you may be in a hurry to ride home. Riding in the rain is risky enough business, but increasing speed can make it deadly. You are more prone to skidding, can’t stop as quickly, and visibility is lowered. If you have to ride through the rain because there is nowhere to stop, the safest thing to do is to actually reduce your speed, just like vehicles should.
Not Indicating Turns
If you have ever ridden behind a car, you know how utterly irritating it is when they change lanes or turn without their turn signal on. It is just as irritating for a cyclist to do the same, but it is also infinitely more dangerous to you. Turn signals and hand signals were put in place to make traffic more predictable. Unpredictability causes accidents, after all. Even those who don’t know how to share the road with a cyclist are likely to still give you at least a bit of caution if they know what you intend to do.
Sliding By Traffic
The nice thing about riding a bicycle is it is compact and maneuverable. This means you probably don’t think you can get stuck in a traffic jam since you can just slide on by the block of cars. This is dangerous, but not strictly illegal. You can be ticketed for passing on the right, but the real danger is getting doored. This is particularly prevalent in big taxi cities where customers caught in traffic often decide to just hoof it instead. The key here is to either wait with the rest or go very, very slowly to avoid any suddenly opening doors.
It is often these maneuvers that contribute to a lot of cycling accidents, but in some cases, legal action for your damages can still be sought. If you have been in a cycling accident and need representation, contact us today.
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.
Every veteran cyclist knows that when it comes to bicycle safety, one of the biggest key aspects is being able to be seen. It is a long-standing misconception that cars will always notice bicycles, but merely don’t know how to deal with them. While cars might not know how to share the road safely with cyclists, sometimes they just plain don’t spot us until it is too late.
Even if it is a sunny day or you are wearing fluorescent clothing at night, there are times when a car can’t spot you. Fluorescents don’t always show up well during night-time rides and the sun can blind drivers to cyclists in certain circumstances. In order to be better seen on the road, consider these tips.
- Wear reflectors and mount them on your bike
- Front and rear lights are recommended and should be set in the flashing position
- Use hand signals well ahead of time so the following motorist will know what you will be doing
- Keep at least one ear free of headphones so you know what is going on around you
- Use your cycling lights during the day as well
Combining these visibility and awareness tips with your standard bicycling safety tips like always wearing a helmet will work to help prevent accidents with vehicles, but sadly it doesn’t completely stop them from happening. There is still a long way to go before most drivers know how to properly share the road with cyclists, and until then accidents will happen. If you have been in a cycling accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to being an advocate for the rights of cyclists.
Thanks to cycling advocacy groups throughout the state, Illinois will now have a new law for motorists that will not only help to improve cyclist safety but improves traffic flow as well. This law comes after years of motorist likely unknowingly breaking traffic laws or just putting cyclists in danger because they simply don’t know how to deal with a common occurrence – passing them.
Effective January 1st, not only will cyclists be permitted to use road shoulders instead of just the traffic lane, but motorists will also be able to pass them in no-passing zones. Passing cyclists has been an issue in almost every state. In most states, including Illinois, when a motorist approaches behind a cyclist in the traffic lane going much slower than the posted speed limit, most drivers are unsure of what to do. Do they violate the law and pass in a no passing zone? Do they try and pass them in the same lane anyway, putting the cyclist in danger? Hopefully, now they will know.
However, this new law is not without its stipulations. First and foremost, when passing any cyclist, whether they are in a traffic lane or move over to ride on the road shoulder, requires three feet of clearance between the car and the bicycle in order for drivers to pass them in any circumstances. However, in no passing zones, in order to legally cross over into the oncoming traffic lane, the cyclist must be going at least half of the posted speed limit.
While this will do wonders to help riders and drivers in Illinois safely share the road with each other, it is likely accidents will still happen. Not everyone hears of updated road rules after all. If you have been in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.