Another Bicycle Accident in Massachusetts This Summer Reminds Us To Reflect On Accident Prevention And Bike Safety For Drivers And Bicyclists Alike

By:  Leslie S. Harkavy, Esquire

A 12 year old boy was struck and seriously injured by a vehicle riding a bicycle this weekend in Haverhill, Massachusetts according to 7 News. The victim frequently rode his bike in the area. The accident is under investigation with an accident reconstruction team called in to assist. With increased bicycle use, there is a higher occurrence of accidents with vehicles. Bicycles in the roadways are now the norm. Bicycles are no longer just for recreational use but are also used as a primary mode of transportation. Bicyclists are subject to all traffic laws with a few exceptions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles. Children ages 5-14 and adolescents ages 15-19 have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle related injuries and account for more than 1/3 of all bicycle related injuries in Emergency Departments. Every day more than 100 people are killed or injured while riding bikes. Head injuries are the most common cause of death and serious injury among bicyclists.

The occurrence of bicycle accidents can be decreased. Take a look at some of the common risky behavior of both drivers and bicyclists that contribute to the occurrences of bike collisions.

Common Bicyclist Violations are:

-failure to yield when moving across the road or when turning left

-operating against traffic

-failure to yield at a yield or stop sign

-failure to obey traffic signals

– operating at night without headlights and rear light or reflectors

Common Driver Violations are:

-opening a car door into traffic

-right turn on red without stopping

-failure to yield to bicyclist when turning left

-improper right turn when passing bicyclist and immediately turning which does not give bicyclist opportunity to view turn signal

-speeding

-driving intoxicated

-driving inattentive

Drivers need to be aware of bicyclists on the road and be careful sharing the road with bikers. Drivers are often not using caution when sharing the road with cyclists and are commonly distracted by cell phones, navigation systems and eating and drinking while they drive. Drivers not paying attention are more likely to collide with a bicyclist. Bicyclists have little protection if struck by a vehicle. Bike riders are also more likely to be injured in an accident if they are distracted. Distractions include hands free cell phone devices and wearing headphones. Roads in disrepair and dangerous road conditions also contribute to bike accidents.

Lesson Learned: Drivers and bicyclists are sharing the roads more than ever before. Be aware of your surroundings, remain attentive on the road and implement safe operating habits. This will help to decrease the occurrences of bicycle accidents.

When a bicyclist is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, a thorough investigation of the accident events is necessary to determine the cause of the collision and secure important information. As a victim of a bike accident, make sure everything is done to protect your interests.

The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help bike victims and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from bicycle accidents. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a bicycle accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.