Is Your City Bikeable?

If you ride in your city, you may think it has pretty decent bikeability. After all, you get around alright. However, not every city that people ride their bike in is considered bikeable. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a checklist for local riders to access the bikeability of their town.

This checklist covers items like whether or not lights register for bikes, if drivers behave appropriately around bikes, and even the basics of whether or not there are bike paths to ride on. This can help riders access the true bikeability of any local area. Furthermore, it also works to point out problems that we might not have really taken stock in, such as a lack of really safe places to secure a bike or too many scary dogs that harass riders.

Making Your City More Bikeable

Unfortunately, your local area, like many, will probably score pretty low. The good news is that the checklist can be a good way for local cyclists to identify and address problems. The checklist even adds on ways that you can foster healthy change in your community.

Yet, even by knowing what you need to change, it can be difficult to foster healthy change, especially by yourself. If you are an avid bike rider in your town, you may want to find, or even start, a group of like-minded individuals that can help show your local government that, yes, there are cyclists in your city and they want a safe and friendly place to ride.

Unfortunately, even if you are able to make a positive change in your community, change often comes slowly. Until less bikeable cities become better, they pose a risk for those that do ride the roads. If you have been injured while riding, contact us today. The Law Office of Gary Brustin is dedicated to representing the rights of injured riders, and we want to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Safe Cycling for a Fun Way to Stay Fit

As we get older, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and trying to stay fit has become more important. I know; every day, adulthood seems more and more like a synonym for doing things I don’t want to do. But, exercise doesn’t have to be one of those things.

Riding a bicycle is not just a fun way to stay fit and fight disease. Choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a car for short-distance trips saves money on gas and is good for the environment. 

Because it’s fun to be out in the sun, admiring the predictable randomness of nature, wind whipping at our ears, cyclists are more likely to finish their exercise in a better mood than the average gym rat. And the nostalgic feeling of coasting down a hill, relaxing, hands free, leaned back, confident in the laws of physics, is a feeling that beckons cyclists to frequent their vehicle and their routine.

The production of serotonin, the chemical in our brain that creates happiness, is positively related to duration spent in sunlight. Exercise produces serotonin, too, and aerobic exercise, like cycling, is proven to produce higher levels of serotonin than other forms. Riding outdoors in the sunlight is not only a delightful experience that doesn’t require one to talk herself or himself into but an exercise that is proven to be a deterrent of disease and mental illness.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise, causing less compressive strain than running or even walking. Cycling can be an easy exercise with low stress—perfect for beginners and people who are recovering or rehabilitating—or a fast-paced, demanding workout. Riding bicycles builds muscle, stamina, aerobic fitness, and strengthens the cardiovascular system. Bicycles can effectively replace a variety of tools and machines.

Advanced cyclists agree that the most effective way for a beginner to exercise is by performing sets, or repetitions, of low-intensity and high-intensity intervals. Following expert tips like these can ensure a cyclist’s safety and efficiency. 

1. Do sets. 

As a cyclist progresses, she or he will increase the number of sets done in one session. This is set that can be used by both beginners and advanced cyclists: two minutes hard, two minutes easy, one minute hard, one minute easy, 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy, 15 seconds hard, five minutes easy.

2. Explore. 

Many people go to the same gym or the same trail every day. One of the great benefits to    bicycling is that it can be done almost anywhere: the woods, neighborhoods, parks, sidewalks. By exploring new areas, cyclists feed the desire for adventure, making boredom an obscure relic.    

3. Safety first! 

Get good gear. This doesn’t mean that a bicycle has to be expensive or even new, but it is important for a cyclist to have reliable equipment. Every cyclist will need these things: helmet, pump, basic toolkit, and a water bottle.

4. Learn basic maintenance. 

Flat tires are a common occurrence for cyclists, and, while annoying at first, eventually, become a quick-fix that’s as second-nature as riding a bike. Experts recommend practicing changing tires at home, rather than frustrated on the side of a trail. Before embarking, a cyclist should perform a routine checklist to make sure every piece of equipment is working properly: wheels, chain, brakes, all of which can be maintained with minimal tools and training.

5. Ride in a pack. 

Riding with a group of friends is a great way to learn to keep a good, steady pace. Plus, time flies when you’re having fun, there’s safety in numbers, two heads are better than one, and all that.

The most important things for any beginning cyclist to remember are to be safe and to have fun. The benefits to cycling are seemingly endless, and the most difficult thing for a beginner is to start something new. Humans are creatures of habit, but, once our feet find comfort on the pedals, all kinds of adventures become apparent, and setting out on them becomes easier and easier. 

If you or someone you care about has been injured while cycling, contact Gary Brustin, “the bicycle lawyer.”


Adjusting Your Bike For Optimum Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safety

There are a lot of ways to stay safe on a bike. Wearing a helmet is a good start, but for all the things we know to do to stay safe, adjusting your bicycle sits firmly at the bottom of that list. Many will adjust their bicycles so that it sits them comfortable, and that is an important part, but are you so sure that adjustment is safe?

How to Adjust Your Road Bike

There is no right answer as to how to adjust your road bike. Every person’s set up is different because every person is a different size. However, there are some general rules that will help you make adjustments so that you ride as safe as possible.

  • Adjusting Braking Levels – When you have your hands on the brakes on your handlebars, your wrists should be straight, not dipped or overextended, perfectly straight. This will allow you to brake quickly and the act will not be painful to your wrists over an extended period.
  • Seat Height – For the optimum comfort of your body on a bicycle, your seat height should be adjusted. However, what is the right height? In truth, if you sit, placing your heel on the pedal in the fully down position, your leg should be straight. If your leg is straight in this position while sitting, then your seat is adjusted correctly.
  • Mirrors – Not everyone uses mirrors on their bicycles, but for those who do, they should be aware that they will need to be readjusted for every change you make on a bike.

While the above can help keep you safe on the road, often it is the other people we need to worry about. If you have been in a bicycling accident, contact us today to see what we can do to help you.

3 Bike Maintenance Practices That Aren’t Really Helping Your Bike

Every cyclist knows that action needs to be taken to keep a bicycle working as it should. This seems important, especially if you bought into one of those very high-end bicycles that cost the same as a used car. However, some maintenance tasks are merely there to make the cyclist feel better and not so much helping the bicycle itself.

Cleaning Your Bike Frame

The only thing that cleaning your bike frame does is make the cyclist happy. Even carbon frames have a number of metal parts to them. These parts need lubricant and not water. Water on metal will cause rust to form eventually. This doesn’t mean you should never clean your bicycle, but cleaning it weekly is probably hurting it. Wiping your bike down is sufficient, with thorough cleanings and new lubricant every couple months.

Over Inflating Your Tires

Every bike tire has an appropriate amount of pressure written on the side wall. However, every cyclist has a different opinion on what pressure you should be using. In truth, the only important number is that side wall number because that is what is right for those specific tires. Doing anything over or under for specific performance is asking for an issue.

WD-40 on Your Bike

WD-40 is excellent for a lot of things. Squeaky bedroom door? WD-40 it. Stuck lock? WD-40. But using it on your bicycle? No, definitely not. If it was safe for your bicycle, WD-40 wouldn’t have released a line specifically made for bicycles. Always use the lubricant that is made for bicycles because not all lubricant is good for bicycles.

Proper maintenance goes a long way to helping make your bike safe to use on the road. However, if you have been in an accident, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do for you.

How to Transport Items on Your Bicycle

Cycling for Transportation

For many who cycle, they adopt it as their primary means of transportation. As such, there may come a time when you need to transport items on your bicycle. While not technically illegal in some regard, the best rule of thumb is that you can carry anything as long as it doesn’t impede traffic and allows you to keep both hands on the handlebars.

For example, you wouldn’t be able to get away with hauling a 12 foot cut of lumber on the back of your bike as it would be a danger to anyone else on the road. Furthermore, if you were cycling with a box under your arm, you would probably be pulled over as it impaired your ability to steer a bicycle.

Best Ways to Transport Items on Your Bicycle

Your best option for carrying most items is either the classic basket on the front or a rack on the back. Anything from a bag of tacos to groceries from the store will fit on these two spots without issue. Of course, you may need to use your imagination. If you make unexpected stops for stuff, it may be worthwhile to carry a few bungee cords or even shoes laces with you to secure items. Even in a pinch, your own bike lock may be helpful.

For the bigger loads, you may want to look into wagons that can be attached to bikes. As these don’t really impede traffic or your ability to ride, they can be helpful when hauling larger items on your bicycle.

While hauling things on a bicycle is generally pretty safe to do, it doesn’t change the fact that bicycle accidents will still happen. If you have been in a bicycle accident, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

5 Reasons Why You Should Always Trust Your Bicycle Mechanic


A good bicycle mechanic is a cyclist’s best friend. Certain things need to be serviced and looked over by a professional. Not only are they in the know, but they will also better ensure your bicycle safety. Here are five good reasons why you should find a good bike shop and trust your bicycle mechanic:

1. Warranty

Most bikes have a warranty on them, which is excellent for anyone who rides and depends on their bike for their health or transportation. Yet, almost all bikes warranty will be voided if they are not serviced or maintained by a certified mechanic.

2. Hidden Issues

Bikes have issues that aren’t noticeable by looking at the bike or lightly riding the bike, such as a crack in the frame, a cross-threaded bottom bracket, or even a tire that is starting to separate from the bead. A mechanic that specializes in the manufacturer of the bike that you own should be able to spot these and other issues that your bike may have, as well as be able to fix these issues in a way that complies with the manufacturer’s requirements to not void your warranty. Some of the issues that you could have might seem to be more annoying than really a problem, such as a slight shifting misalignment, or a rubbing of the brake, or even a creaking with every pedal stroke, but these issues can be signs of bigger issues that could be detrimental to your bicycle and checkbook, or even your health.

3. Specialized Parts and Specialized tools

There are parts on all bikes that need specialty tools, and usually, the nicer your bike, the more specialty components, and more specialty tools your bike will require to repair successfully. Whether it’s a cassette or bottom bracket tool, chain whip, bearing press, spoke wrench, reaming or facing tool, or even a brake bleeding kit, most bike shops will know which tool to use, have that tool in their possession, and be able to effectively use that tool to successfully fix your bike’s specific issue.

4. Newer and changing technology

Newer bikes have advanced mechanical parts like complex shifting and brake systems. These must need a higher level of experienced skill and practice to ensure correct function. Professional mechanics are always being introduced and trained for the bike systems as they are released.

5. Bike Parts / Equipment have lifespans

Along with a warranty, certain things need to be serviced and looked over by a professional. Even if the bike or parts function like new, beyond a shelf life they may no longer hold up to the abuse cyclists put on them. Brake pads and tires dry rot, grease in shifters will harden. A professional will know when to re-grease an item, can tell when your brake pads need to be replaced etc… before it becomes an issue you experience while riding.

For bike safety tips, cycling laws, and more contact us anytime.

When Do You Need to Legally Use a Bicycle Light?

Bicycle Law

Many states, California included, have laws that state certain rules for cyclists riding after dark. One of the most important rules is the use of a bicycle light. Not only does a bicycle light help allow you to be seen, but it is also crucial to see the road in front of you. However, when exactly is a bicycle light required?

Knowing when you need a bicycle light also requires you to know when the sun rises and sets. For example, California requires the use of a bicycle light up to a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset. Of course, this means the specifics of that law literally changes by the day. If the sun sets at 9 pm in July, then that bicycle light needs to be on at 9:30. If the sun sets a 5 pm in December, then the bicycle light needs to be on at 5:30.

Bicycle Citations and Accidents

However, what happens if you do not have a bicycle light on after dark? In California, you might face a citation, particularly if riding on highways. However, the most important thing to remember is if you get into an accident after dark without a bicycle light, suddenly you will find yourself with the fault in the accident. Even if a car veers straight for you, if you did not have a light on after dark, you will have fault in the accident and thus will not be able to recover as much compensation. This is why it is so important to be well-versed in the unique laws for cyclists. Your safety is the most important thing, but if the worst should happen, you will also want full coverage.

If you have been in a bicycle accident, contact us to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do to help you.

Bike Safety Tips: Unexpected Ways to Stay Safe on Your Bike


Riding your bike can be dangerous, and that’s usually the fault of people driving in cars. Even so, it’s better to be safe than to be hurt but have the right of things. Here are three surprising bike safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Hog the road.

There’s something about being on a bike that can make you feel like you’re getting in the way. Maybe it’s the car that’s been on your tail because it can’t swerve around you. Maybe it’s the pointed burst of speed that car has when they finally can pass you by crossing into the other empty lane. But no matter what prickle on the back of your neck is letting you know that someone is glaring at you, don’t try to get out of the way.

If you’re using the whole lane like you have a right to, then drivers will see you. They might be annoyed that they can’t pass you, but drivers very rarely hit bikers out of malice. But if you’re riding on the edge of the road, drivers either won’t see you or they’ll think they have enough room to get around you, whether you invited them to or not.

2. Be a pedestrian.

When you’re crossing a pedestrian lane, it’s better to get off your bike. Even if you think you might be improving the situation by getting out of the way faster, it’s better to walk. Not only do you have more mobility in case drivers aren’t paying attention, it’s safer both medically and legally. Drivers are usually held liable without much of a contest if you did the right thing and got off your bike.

3. Don’t be a professional.

Just like the first point above, you need to stand out. Lack of visibility is the main problem when it comes to collisions. So you want to be as bright and colorful as possible. Make sure your reflectors are in position. Wear bright, flashy clothing rather than your work clothes. And if you’re in the market for a new helmet (which you should absolutely be wearing), consider the tacky one with the spikes. Drivers will look at you askance, but they’ll look at you.

For more bike safety tips, browse our legal blog at the Law Office of Gary Brustin.

4 Tips for Choosing a Safe Route for Riding Your Bike


When it comes to bicycle safety, it’s not just important how you ride your bike, but also where you ride it. Here are some tips for riding your bike in the right places.

Choose a Quieter Route

If there are two routes, one which crosses many busy intersections and another that goes on side roads, take the one that goes on the side roads. It might take you slightly longer to get to your destination, but it’s worth it. And hey, you’ll get some more exercise and enjoy a quieter ride and better scenery.

Ride at the Right Time of Day

It’s not just where you ride, it’s when you ride. Obviously, riding at night should be avoided if you can ride at day instead. However, there are times of day when traffic is a lot heavier and people are in a rush to get to their destinations. If possible, ride at a time of day when people are at work and the roads are quieter.

Be Careful On Narrow Roads

When riding on roads that are very narrow and barely allow for a car to get through, exercise caution. If possible, avoid them. This is especially true when there is no grass or woods where you can drive into in the case of an emergency, such as if there is a wall.

Don’t Ride Right Next to Curb

You don’t want to ride in the middle of the road, but riding right next to the curb is wrong too. First of all, all the gravel, gutters, potholes, and debris will make for a shaky ride. There may be obstacles that force you to swerve unpredictably into the flow of traffic. In addition, you have no leeway in case you need to get out of a car’s way.

For legal help in case of an accident, contact us right away.

How to Stay Safe When On Your Bike

Riding a bicycle can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise.  When riding a bike, it is important that you follow the proper precautions to ensure you remain safe.  There are several bike safety tips that should be followed to ensure you remain safe while on the road.

Go with Traffic

One of the main tips that you need to follow when riding your bike is to go with the traffic patterns as much as possible.  When you are riding your bike, you need to ride on the same side of the road as traffic.  You also need to properly follow all street lights, signs, and other local regulations.  Furthermore, you should avoid crossing streets when it is not allowed and weaving between traffic.


When you are riding your bike, you also need to make sure that you stay as alert as possible. While you may want to listen to music or zone out when on your bike, you need to continue to stay focused whenever you are biking. This will allow you to recognize a potential hazard and avoid an accident.

Stay Visible

When on your bike, you also need to try and make yourself as visible as possible.  Some great ways to do this is to stay in designated biking areas, avoid being hidden behind trucks and big cars, and making the appropriate hand signals and gestures when necessary.  You could also try and make eye contact with nearby drivers to ensure that they are aware of your presence.  When biking at night, you should make sure your bike as proper lights and reflectors and that you are wearing brighter clothes.

While you can be as safe as possible when riding a bicycle, you still may find yourself in an accident at some point.  If you are involved in an accident while riding your bike, you should contact us immediately. We can help to ensure your rights are properly represented.

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.


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.