Boston is the hub of bicycling activity in New England. Numerous bike lanes have been added to the streets of Boston and its neighborhoods. An Emerald Necklace of Boston Parks with bicycle paths encircle the City. Adjacent cities, including Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, and Newton have incorporated these paths, and have embraced cycling as a major sporting activity and transportation function. There are numerous weekend activities involving cycling within Boston proper, with participants numbering in the thousands.
Tragically, sharing our streets has led to numerous bicycle accidents with serious injuries.
As the number of bicycle riders in Massachusetts increases, the environment remains ripe for bicycle accidents. Contributing factors include:
- Narrow, congested streets
- A lack of bicycle lanes in certain areas
- Potholes and road surface decay
- Uneven surfaces during or after road construction
- Malfunctioning traffic lights
- Insufficient or broken street lighting
- Distracted drivers
- Curbside parallel parking spaces
Unfortunately, in many bicycle accident cases, the bicycle rider will not have an insurance company working on their behalf. Injured cyclists face huge corporations who seek to pay out as little as possible. Sheff & Cook will help you get the compensation that you deserve for hospital visits, therapy programs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The team at Sheff & Cook has decades of experience representing cyclists who suffered serious injury in an accident, successfully recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars. We seek to protect everyone in their use of the streets of our cities. If you or someone you love have sustained life-altering injuries in a cycling accident, contact our team to discuss your options.
What is “Dooring”?
A common accident involving bicycles and automobiles occurs when a driver or passenger opens the vehicle’s door when a cyclist is passing the stationary vehicle. This accident is often referred to as “dooring”. The Legislature has recognized this problem and has enacted laws to require vigilance on the part of the person opening the door to be aware of oncoming traffic, including cyclists. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 § 14 states in part:
“No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”
As cycling grows within our cities, more attention and care will be necessary from drivers and their passengers to avoid collisions.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Given the wide disparity of circumstances, bicycle accidents can result in a myriad of injuries:
- Wrongful death
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head and skull injuries
- Major orthopedic injuries, including fractures requiring surgery
- Major spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Connective tissue injuries included ruptured tendons, ligament and other skeletal injuries
It’s important to remember that even minor auto/bicycle collisions can produce serious injuries that may not become apparent until hours or days after the accident. Never assume that the accident is too minor to follow proper legal procedures and to call the police.
Bike Safety in Massachusetts
Many bicycle accidents result in head injury. Without proper protection a bike crash or even a fall from a bike can cause traumatic brain damage or death. Approved helmets have been shown to reduce head injury by 85%. Many children and adults, however, do not wear them. Massachusetts law requires individuals who are 16 years old and under to wear a helmet. But all cyclists should wear them.
In Massachusetts, bicyclists are considered motor vehicle operators. They must ride in the same direction as traffic and must obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators. Bicyclists can increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective tape or markings on equipment and clothing at night. Use of a front light and red reflector or flashing rear light will also help to increase visibility.