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.

Bicycle Safety: Don’t Let Recent Improvements Go Up in Smoke

The League of American Bicyclists released their annual report and we were not surprised to see California rank 3rd. Our state has come a long way since 2014 when it ranked 9th in bicycle friendliness. What makes a pedal friendly? Why attention to bicycle safety of course! And although our state’s bicycle safety record may not be perfect, people are continually looking for ways to improve.

Cities Get Serious

Let’s take San Francisco for instance. They started out the new year by placing Vision Zero front and center. It’s the city’s way to help protect cyclists from a myriad of accidents, including collisions with motor vehicles. And the City by the Bay isn’t the only one in our state taking bicycle safety seriously. If you check out this year’s report card, you’ll see that all over, people are working exceptionally hard to reduce the state’s fatality rate.

Laws Need to Catch Up

Of course, one bicycle accident is too many in our book. So at the Law Office of Gary Brustin, we believe that California’s bicycle safety measures could stand continued revision. Not surprisingly, two areas that we’re particularly interested in are legislation and enforcement. Currently, there are not enough laws in place to protect cyclists from motor vehicles, especially when it comes to distracted drivers.

Bicycle Safety Going Up in Smoke?

Ask anyone in the insurance industry or just take a look at the headlines and you’ll see that our state logs in far too many car accidents each year. And yes, many of them are eventually traced back to a lack of driver focus. Unfortunately, California law hasn’t kept up with the times. As such, it doesn’t specifically address all forms of distraction and this could become exceptionally problematic now that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is in full effect.

To learn more about what California can do, moving forward, to improve bicycle safety as it relates to legislation and enforcement, please contact the Law Office of Gary Brustin today.

New York City Now Using 311 and Open Data to Track Bicycle Law Blockers

New York City has often been a major hub of trendsetters, and now it is giving cyclists, at least in this big city, a new trend to show off. Now in New York City, people can report others who block bike lanes with their cars through the 311 system. That same data will also go online. This data not only shows where bike lane abuse is most rampant, but it also shows how much the New York City Police Force ignores it.

A city-produced map shows that the majority of bike lane abuse happens where bikes are most prevalent, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On the map, red dots are reports that the police actively responded to while blue dots were reports where action was not necessary. This means that bike lane blockers either moved, there was not sufficient information available, or, as many bikers suspect, the police just don’t care. As you can see, there is a whole lot of blue.

Not only is this map an innovation in helping the police force enforce bike lanes, but it can also help bikers. Even just glancing at this map, you know you are going to find First Avenue looking more like a parking lot than a bike lane. With any luck, this great innovation could be coming to your city. Think about how helpful this would be in major cities like Los Angeles or Chicago. It will not only help police respond to incidents better, but it serves as a way to remind vehicles that, yeah, you can’t park in bike lanes.

With any luck, by making drivers more aware of bike lanes, it will also cut down on bike accidents. However, until it does, there is always the Law Office of Gary Brustin, a lawyer that is dedicated to making the world a better place for cyclists.

Bicycle Safety Includes a Proper Fit, Position and Core Strength

If you’re a cyclist, then most likely you’ve suffered from shoulder and neck pain and stiffness. Many assume that the pain is the result of the position your body takes on while riding a bike. But that is not necessarily true. The pain could be the result of your core strength, the position you assume, or your body’s fit in the seat of your bike. Because bicycle safety is more than just following the rules of the road, we’d like to provide you with some tips on how to correct the issues that could be causing you pain.

Improper Bike Fit

To determine if the result of your pain is improper bike fit, we suggest you visit your local bike shop. Subtle adjustments can be difficult, and some bike shops have software that can automatically adjust your fit.

Riding Position and Core Strength

In order to have the core strength needed for cycling, you have to pay attention to your overall health and fitness. Bicycling.com has a great article on how to train your core muscles for cycling. Also, paying attention to your muscle fatigue is extremely important when cycling. Your body does a great job of telling you when it’s tired, so listen to it.

As for the proper position, again, your local bike shop can help you determine the proper frame for your size, handlebar position and more. If you’re not riding in the correct position, your body is only going to get sorer and sorer with each ride.

We want you to stay safe while riding, and proper fit, position and core strength is key. If you’ve been injured while cycling, please reach out to our experienced team today.

Did You Go the Right Way? Find Out with Help from a Bicycle Lawyer

In May 2016, Salt Lake City’s media began a discussion about bicycle lawsKSL reporter, Carter Williams, weighed in on the topic mid month. Up for discussion was the concept of road sharing and who, if anyone, has the most right to use the state’s open roads. Williams aptly pointed out that in his state; the rights are divvied up 50/50. We’re sure this leads you to ask, “But what about other states, including California?”

The answer is yes and no. So, let’s focus specifically on our State of California. First off, the bicycle laws don’t necessarily define bikes like cyclists. To some novice cyclists, a bike is just a bike. It doesn’t matter to them if it has an electric engine or is powered by two sneakers. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles likes to divide bikes up into categories and provide different rules for each major type. You’ll find some of these classifications referenced in Vehicle Codes 2100 through 21213.

In addition, the state’s right-of-way related laws also vary based on traffic conditions and speed. These bicycle laws are found in various areas throughout the Vehicle Code, including Section 21202 and 21208. Understandably, this can be a lot of information for new drivers and cyclists to digest properly. Thus inadvertently, people on both sides of the bicycle laws’ right-of-way provisions may get confused easily and make mistakes. If those mistakes ultimately lead to accidents, it’s best to reach out to an expert on bicycle laws for some clarification.

With that said, the Law Office of Gary Brustin is filled with just the right kind of advice injured cyclists need. We can tell at a glance which category the bike is most likely to fall under and which rules would therefore apply to the injured party’s case. To find out more about right-of-way arguments and how they work with or against bicycle laws, please contact Attorney Brustin today.

Top 3 Gadgets to Improve Bicycle Safety

Bicycling is a favorite pastime of many people. Not only is it easy to do, but it is fun and offers a unique type of workout. While bicycling, staying safe is the most important thing. For this, many gadgets and tools have been created. Before you head out on your next bicycle run, here are the top 3 things you must have for your safety.


This is especially helpful for those who are riding at night. Front headlights can help you see the road better and will allow motorists to see you as well. In some states, these are required by law, but even if you aren’t required to have one, they are definitely a huge benefit.


This is a device you hook onto your bicycle, which then uses the power created from your riding to create electricity. The benefit in this is you are then able to use the USB port to charge your devices. If you are in an accident along your ride, this could mean getting the help you need when you need it the most.

Cycling Computer

Another gadget that is pretty helpful is a cycling computer. This type of device will help you check maps, monitor your speed and even check weather forecasts. It is something that can help keep you safe because it will keep you from getting lost or caught in bad weather.

These gadgets are all fantastic options for those who are trying to stay safe while bicycling. Be sure to keep them in mind when you are looking for things to keep you safe. To learn more about bicycle safety, contact us today.

Bike Share Enhances San Francisco Biking Culture

On August 29, the Bay Area Bike Share pilot program will go live in five cities in California including San Francisco, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Jose and Mountain View. The program will include more than 700 bicycles that are strategically located at 70 stations in the city. This is believed to be the first regional bike share system of its kind, and will be managed by a special partnership that includes a number of government and city agencies.

According to the San Francisco Mayor, this is an attempt to establish a world-class bike share program in the city of San Francisco, just as currently exists in several cities across the world and the United States. The Bay Area Bike Share program will provide San Francisco residents easy access to a bicycle when they want it. This is a huge step forward in promoting bicycling as a means of safe and effective transportation of the city of San Francisco. Biking is not just a safe and convenient method of transportation, but also an affordable and healthy way to get around.

However, San Francisco must keep in mind, the lessons that need to be learned from the bike share program experiences of other cities around the country. The most prominent of these that comes to mind is the New York bike share program, which has been very successful, and has helped promote a strong bicycle culture in the city. However, the promotion of the of bike share program in New York City, has not coincided with the promotion of the wearing of bicycle helmets.

San Francisco’s bike share program must focus on encouraging bicyclist safety, including the wearing of helmets.

For now, bicyclists who want to use a bike from the bicycle share program can simply check if one is available on their smartphones.

Bicycle Safety Summit to Focus on Engineering Enhancements and Education

The Department of Transportation has been slowly increasing its focus on bicycle safety, spurred by a spike in the number of fatal bicycle accidents being reported from across the country. The federal agency recently hosted its 2nd Bicycle Safety Summit, this one in the city of Minneapolis.

The Bicycle Safety Summit will focus on engineering enhancements, planning and education strategies, enforcement and education and will involve inputs from national experts in these areas. The Summit will also include a Bicycle Safety Expo which will present new strategies to keep bicyclists safe in accidents, including safer helmet designs, better communication strategies and better training.

The first summit had been held in Tampa, where Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood insisted that a focus on engineering enhancements, education and enforcement are important to reduce the number of people killed in bicycle accidents across the country.

California bicycle accident lawyers have no doubt that education and awareness alone will not suffice to reduce the number of people being killed in these accidents. The fact is that many of our cities, including those in California, are simply not built for bicyclists. Engineering enhancements, in the form of extensions of the current bike lane network must be undertaken in order to provide safer conditions for bicyclists.

It’s also important to keep in mind the basic safety needs of bicyclists when building or fixing roads. That doesn’t seem to happen currently. Most roadway enhancement projects take into consideration the needs of motorists, convenience, and better management of peak hour traffic than the needs and safety of bicyclists. That attitude definitely needs to change, and hopefully, these bicycle safety summits will help launch a national conversation about bicycle safety in the right direction.

Colorado Supreme Court Overturns Black Hawk Ban

Bicyclists in Colorado won a major victory recently, when the state Supreme Court ruled in their favor, overturning a ban on bicycles in the city of Black Hawk. In 2009, Black Hawk became the first American city to ban bicycles from almost every city street. The City began enforcing the law in 2010, and three bicyclists were ticketed for bicycling.

The bicyclists appealed the ticket, and the case went all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the bicyclists told the court that the Black Hawk ban conflicted with state law, and that state law needed to take precedent over the local law because the regulation affected nonlocal residents badly. Under Colorado law, municipalities cannot enact bans against bicycling unless there is an alternate route within 450 feet.

For bicyclists in Black Hawk, who had been gravely dismayed at the actions of local city officials, this has been a major victory. Many bicycle organizations in Colorado had worked diligently to overturn the ban, and their efforts have now been successful.

Unfortunately, California bicycle accident lawyers see that Black Hawk’s action in enacting a ban like this is part of a national trend that reflects growing hostility towards bicyclists. Many motorists, and in fact, many cities in the United States unfortunately, continue to regard bicyclists as “the other.”

It’s time for cities to understand that more bicyclists are joining the biking population of the country, and it’s important to take their rights into consideration. In other words, bicyclists have as much right to be using the street as motorcyclists and motorists, and their rights must be respected.

Dutch Company Introduces Bicyclist Airbags

A company in the Netherlands has come up with an exterior airbag design that absorbs impact when a bicyclist hits the car and lands on the windshield of the car, thus helping prevent serious injuries to the bicyclist.

It’s no surprise to California bicycle accident lawyers that this innovation comes from the Netherlands, which has always been at the forefront of innovative new bicycle safety strategies. The Netherlands has a heavy bicycling population, and an estimated 1.2 bicycle for every resident of the country. The country has a strong bicycle safety culture, and boasts a vast awareness of bicyclist rights.

A Dutch car company has now launched what it calls external airbags for more automobiles. The airbag system detects when the automobile is about to collide with the bicyclist, and launches the airbags. The airbags inflate on the outside of the automobile, protecting the bicyclist from potentially serious or fatal injury.

The airbags are located under the hood of the car, and inflate when there is a potential collision scenario. The airbags are not the solution to every bicyclist’s nightmare, but bicyclists are likely to wish that every automobile came with these inflatable airbags.

The airbags are not likely to prevent the kind of injuries that occur when a car door is opened right in the path of a bicyclist. Such accidents, involving bicyclists running into open car doors, injure thousands of bicyclists in the United States every month. The airbags would not prevent such accidents.

It’s easy to believe that a feature like this would find many takers in the Netherlands, where motorists are highly respectful of bicyclist rights. However, how popular a feature like this will become in the United States, where bicycle safety awareness isn’t as strong, is anyone’s guess.

Communities Try out Different Approaches to Bicycle Safety

As more numbers of bicyclists join motorists on our streets, cities across the country including California, are trying out different ways of integrating these bicyclists into the streets, without compromising safety.

While some communities are experimenting very successfully by installing more bike lanes, others have seen success from the use of other bike safety strategies. In these communities, the installation of cycle tracks and shared lane markings, bike boxes and bike boulevards have proven to be more effective in helping segregate bicycling and motorist traffic, and keeping bicyclists safer.

In many communities however, figuring out the best way to promote bicycle safely is an ongoing process. One thing that all communities and California bicycle accident attorneys agree on is that there is no point in encouraging more people to bicycle to work to reduce traffic congestion, if you’re not willing to make the effort to foster a safe, bicycle-friendly environment. Fortunately, many communities are waking up to this realization, and are investing in strategies.

The most common strategy that is being used to help keep bicyclists safe is installation of bike lanes that are marked off. However, in many of these cases, the lanes have not been designed the right way, and many riders may be vulnerable to injuries when a car door is opened in their path. Bike lanes need to be well designed and maintained to be effective.

Another feature that many communities are using is bike boxes, or special sections that are available for bicyclists to stop at a red light, usually located in front of the vehicle stop light. Cycle tracks, which are separated from automobiles by physical barriers, are also increasing in use. In other communities, bicycles or cars are separated by painting the road with sharrows, or shared lane markings.

Smart Initiatives Can Make a City Safe for Bicyclists

The success that the city of Memphis has had in creating a safe environment for bicyclists provides a model that California bicycle accident attorneys believe deserves to be replicated in this state. For years, this was one of the most dangerous cities for bicyclists, but all that has been changed, thanks to the expansion of bicycling infrastructure and more street-friendly initiatives to keep bicyclists safer.

In 2008, Bicycling magazine named Memphis as one of the most dangerous and worst cities in America for bicyclists. That was not the first time that the city had been given that dubious honor, but when new mayor AC Wharton Junior was elected the following year, he decided to change things around.

He embarked on an ambitious plan of expansion of bicycling infrastructure. In 2008, the city had just about a mile-and-half of bicycle lanes. Flash forward to 2012, and Memphis has about 50 miles of dedicated bicycle lanes across the city. Close to $1 million was spent in expanding existing bicycling infrastructure, and the city recently was awarded close to $5 million for bicycling projects.

In June of 2012, Memphis bicyclists won another victory when federal officials awarded the city $15 million to turn part of the Harahan Bridge into a pedestrian bicycling crossing. This ambitious project will link downtown Memphis with West Memphis, Arkansas.

The promotion of bicycling infrastructure in the city has also meant an economic boost, and Memphis plans on using the new, expanded lane network as an economic development tool. How seriously the city now takes bicycling safety can be seen in the fact that the Mayor has created a special position called Bike Pedestrian Coordinator for the city.

None of this change has come without protest. Many motorists are already complaining about the lack of parking space in the city after the expansion of biking infrastructure.