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Entries in bike accidents (6)

Tuesday
Apr052016

Save the MAMILs - Cyclist Injury & Death Statistics

Injury AttorneyWrongful Death Attorney

 

by Thomas Cecil

(818) 907-3292

 

According to a recent government report, MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) are the likeliest of all age groups and genders to be killed or seriously injured while riding a bicycle.

In its report to the US Congress last November (Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety), the General Accounting Office found that of the 743 cyclists who died and the estimated 48,000 who were injured in 2013, 87 percent of those killed were male with an average age of 44, and 83 percent of those injured were male with an average age of 33. Men between 55 and 59 “made up the largest number of cyclist fatalities”.

Although the report didn’t actually reference what the cyclists were wearing, it did confirm that more and more people, in fact over a million more, started riding or walking to work between 2005 and 2013. Riding a bicycle or walking to work clearly is not without risk. As the study points out, fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists remain relatively high while at the same time deaths and injuries from traffic collisions have fallen significantly.

The individual human tragedies are found in the numbers. In 2004, 727 cyclists were killed commuting to work and the annual number of deaths since then “has ranged between 623 and 786”. Cyclist injuries in 2004 were 41,000 and by 2013 were 48,000. Pedestrian deaths and injuries are worse:  4,675 deaths and 68,000 injures in 2004; 4,735 deaths and 66,000 injuries in 2013.

With respect to cyclists, the report notes that most traffic crashes that resulted in death in 2013 “occurred in urban areas, happened in clear weather conditions, and most frequently took place between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.”  Unlike pedestrian deaths which occurred under similar circumstances, “more cyclists (405) died during daylight rather than in the dark.”  

Why are MAMILs and Others in Such Danger?

The study notes many possible factors, including increased walking and cycling trips, alcohol use, distracted driving, cycling and walking due to cell phone use, texting and eating. Another factor is the fact that roadways are built to accommodate cars rather than bicyclists and pedestrians.

As noted, as more and more people bike and walk to work, it is more likely that more cyclists and pedestrians will be involved in crashes. The report indicates, however, that when the numbers of cyclists and walkers in a particular area increase, the number of fatalities and injuries in that area decreases. Reasons given include drivers become used to seeing walkers and riders and change their behavior by driving more slowly. Thus more walkers and cyclists may actually improve safety and decrease deaths and injuries.

As also noted, distracted driving remains a serious threat to cyclists and walkers. In 2013 alone, 3,154 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. According to the report, 480 deaths “were pedestrians, cyclists, or other non-motorists.” 

With respect to road design, historically engineers designed roads meant to accommodate motor vehicles with wide straight roads often the goal. Unfortunately, the report notes, wide straight roads lead to faster traffic and speeding. A speeding driver has less time to react and the severity of the crash is much more likely to kill or seriously injure the cyclist or pedestrian.

So, what’s the solution?

Three Es of Safety for Pedestrians & Cyclists

1. Engineering:  better use of data to identify problem roadways and concentrations of cyclists and pedestrians; the use of highway design documents specific for cyclists and pedestrians such as the Pedestrian and Bike Guides, Urban Bikeway Design Guide and Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach.

2. Education:  collaborative education campaigns to educate the public on bike riding and walking safety along with officer training on pedestrian and cyclist safety and traffic laws.

3. Enforcement:  targeting areas with a high-frequency of crashes for law enforcement action.


(According to the Federal Highway Administration, there is typically a fourth “E” in highway safety, for “Emergency Medical Services” but it is not mentioned in this report.)

As bicycling and walking in urban areas is likely to only increase, and as more and more people look to biking and walking for exercise and recreation, drivers, city planners and walkers and bike riders will all have to learn to share the road. And remember, #SaveTheMamils.

Thomas Cecil is a Shareholder in our Personal Injury Practice Group

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Monday
Jun292015

New Bill May Put Motorcyclists' Lane-Splitting in Focus

Motorcycle Accident AttorneyMotorcycle Accident Lawyer

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

 

As a motorcyclist for 30 years, I must admit I did my fair share of lane splitting: Bypassing most of the stalled traffic on the 101 by traversing the white, dashed lines – waving a thank you to the handful of four-wheeled drivers who scooted over a bit to give me just a little more room as I did so.

Motorcycle AttorneyLane-splitting is considered dangerous, but in California it's not illegal. This is the only state where this is not illegal – which isn't to say that lane-splitting is legal, exactly.  

But motorcycle safety theories could be changing now. Motorcyclists who lane-split (at reasonable speeds) may be safer than those who do not, according to researchers at UC Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC). According to the study, excessive speed by motorcyclists caused more injuries for lane-splitters than other factors.

Thomas Rice, PhD, as principal investigator for the study, explains:

Surprisingly, we found that the difference in speed between the motorcycle and the surrounding traffic was a bigger predictor of injury than speed alone…Above a 15 mile-per-hour speed differential, the risk of injury rose significantly.

Of the nearly 6,000 California motorcycle accidents researched by SafeTREC, nearly 1,000 riders were lane-splitting at the time of the accident. The primary risk occurs when other drivers change lanes without checking for motorcyclists. Because lane-splitters are closer in proximity to the vehicles, both automobile drivers and cyclists have less time to perceive other's actions and make adjustments.

This would support Dr. Rice's comment regarding speed differentials between the riders and the drivers.

New Bill: No Wheelies Allowed

Bike Accident Lawyer

California Assembly Bill 51 regarding lane-splitting was introduced to the legislature last December by Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), Kansen Chud (D-San Jose) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale). It was passed by the Assembly in late May by a 53-11 vote.

Continued success of AB 51 as currently written could make it legal (as opposed to quasi-legal) for motorcyclists to lane-split under these conditions:

1. The motorcyclist must have both wheels on the ground.

2. The bike is not traveling faster than 50 mph.

3. The motorcyclist is not riding more than 15 mph faster than other traffic.

One problem with the bill as it is presently worded is the 15 mph differential. As we know in California, one lane of traffic could be moving much faster than the traffic in an adjacent lane.

On the other hand, the bill's writers say allowing motorcyclists to lane-split makes the riders less likely to be hit in a rear-end collision. Either way, motorcyclists whether lane-splitting or not, should always drive defensively and with the best possible protective gear.

 

Andrew L. Shapiro is the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him by phone: (818) 907-3230, or by email: ashapiro@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Thursday
Jan162014

Gearing Up: New Driving Laws in California

Personal InjuryPersonal Injury Attorney

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

There are new laws aimed at protecting all on our state's roadways, whether they are bicyclists, pedestrians or other motor vehicle operators and passengers.

Much of this legislation is aimed at cracking down on obvious wrong-doers, such as DUI offenders, people who text while driving, and hit-and-run drivers. But a couple laws will affect the rest of us as well.  Here are the new laws for California drivers:

 

Assembly Bill 266: High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes

Have a low, or zero-emission vehicle? Congratulations – if you have a valid sticker from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can continue to use the HOV lanes until 2019 (formerly 2015), or until federal authorization expires or the Secretary of State receives a specified notice, whichever comes first.

 

Assembly Bill 535: Emergency Alert System (Amber Alerts)

Law enforcement can now issue an Amber Alert when a child has been abducted by anyone, including a custodial parent or guardian, where law enforcement reasonably believes that the life or physical health of the child is in danger.

 

Senate Bill 194: Texting While Driving

Driving While Distracted (DWD) is a growing problem. SB 194 is aimed at cutting back DWD accidents caused by teens – one of the largest age groups guilty of this behavior.

Current law prohibits all drivers from using a cell phone while driving, unless it is a hands free device. This bill prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using any wireless device, including phones, while driving.

 

Assembly Bill 1371: Passing Bicyclists

This is the Three Feet for Safety Act, which requires drivers passing someone on a bicycle to keep three feet away from the cyclist. Failure to maintain three feet of space between an automobile and bicycle while passing results in a $35 fine for the motor vehicle operator, or $220 if that failure results in a collision. This law goes into effect on September 16, 2014.

 

Assembly Bill 184: Statute of Limitations for Hit and Run Accidents

AB 184 amends Penal Code Section 803, potentially doubling the statute of limitations for hit-and-run accidents to six years from the date of any crash that causes serious, permanent injuries or death, subject to all other requirements set forth in AB 184. Before AB 184 the statute of limitations was three years maximum.

 

Senate Bill 717: DUI Search Warrants

This bill amends Penal Code section 1524. Drivers suspected of Driving Under the Influence who refuse a blood test can be served a search warrant to draw blood in a “reasonable, medically approved manner.” This bill was considered an urgency statute and actually went into effect last September.

 

Andrew L. Shapiro is the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via email: ashapiro@lewitthackman.com or phone: (818) 907-3230.

 

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Tuesday
Feb262013

Brown Study: Bad Breaks for Older Bikers

Personal InjuryMotorcycle Accident Lawyer

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

Researchers at Brown University recently published results of a six year study of emergency room statistics in the journal Injury Prevention: Older motorcyclists suffer serious injury when involved in accidents.

In fact, bikers pushing 60 or older are 250 percent more likely (middle-aged riders ranking at 66 percent more likely) to suffer more than scrapes and bruises in a smashup, than motorcyclists half their age. Senior riders tend to get more upper torso fractures, internal organ injuries and brain traumas.

And according to the Los Angeles Times, other studies show an 87 percent increase between 2001 and 2007, in injuries for motorcyclists over 65, while fatalities rose 145 percent. The Center for Disease Control says that 34K motorcyclists were killed between 2001 and 2008, and an additional 1.22M were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for motorcycle accident injuries.

 

Avoiding Serious Motorcycle Injury

 

Here in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles offers two types of licenses. The M1 license is for drivers operating any type of motorcycle; the M2 license is for motorized bicycle and moped drivers. Applicants under 21 must complete a state-approved motorcycle safety course.

Motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet in California – but gloves, boots and heavier clothing to minimize injury are a good idea. In fact, some Brown research critics claim younger bikers suffer more abrasions and contusions than their older counterparts, because they don't buy the proper protective-wear.

Lane splitting, lane sharing or white-lining as it is sometimes called – is still legal in California. However, the state Highway Patrol offers some safety guidelines regarding speed, the environment, and other factors. The CHP website advises, Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.

 

More Fracturing Figures

 

The Times article also cites a quarter of all U.S. motorcyclists are over the age of 50, and that this older segment of riders has doubled since 1990.

The Brown study publishers say 35 percent of this group required hospital treatment, while only 25 percent of middle-aged riders and 15 percent of young riders involved in accidents suffered injuries serious enough to require hospitalization.

 

Andrew L. Shapiro is a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via email: ashapiro@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Friday
Nov042011

A Car Accident in Los Angeles – Three Steps You Must Take

Injury AttorneyAccident Attorney 

 

by David B. Bobrosky

(818) 907-3254

 

When you have a car accident in Los Angeles (or anywhere else in the world) it’s often difficult to think clearly about the important steps you need to take to keep you, passengers and other drivers safe immediately afterwards.

 

First, according to California law, you must stop immediately after the accident. If not, you could be charged with a hit and run.

Once stopped, you’ll need to do three things.

First, your basic survival instincts should remind you to get off the road and to stay out of harm’s way. Rubberneckers are prone to causing serious, secondary accidents. We once represented a woman who was struck by a big rig while she was standing outside her car after a minor accident.

The second step is to check to see if anyone has been injured and to call for help if someone did experience anything from minor to extensive injuries, or if they seem to be in a state of shock. My advice is to call the police after every accident. But you’ll find that they usually will not respond unless you tell them someone is injured or the other party is not cooperating in the exchange of information. 

The third step, which often gets lost in the immediacy of the situation, is to document everything that happened.

Steps one and two protect you in the “here and now”. Step three will help you later, particularly in the case of future litigation, financial claims, and/or developing injuries.

California Accident Law – Handle the Legal Requirements First

 

If you’re involved in a car accident in California, you must present your driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance and current address to the other drivers involved in the accident.

If you don’t have one of our brochures available but you have a smart phone with a decent camera AND if the other drivers will allow you to do this, take photos of the other drivers’ information, ensure all of the text is in focus, and immediately e-mail the photo to yourself so it won’t get lost. Otherwise, grab pen and paper and start writing.

Accident Photos Speak a Thousand Words

 

Once you have everyone’s information, start taking photos of the scene. Get wide shots of the area (include street signs, stop signs, traffic lights, etc.) as well as close up images of anything damaged (yours and theirs), and license plates of the cars involved.

Try to get pictures of the cars before they are moved, if you can, but do not put yourself or others in danger in an attempt to get photos.

Accident Avoidance: Stay Safe When Driving

 

The ideal situation when driving is to do everything you can to avoid a car accident in the first place. You can do this by staying constantly aware. That means no eating, drinking or applying cosmetics while driving, and no using your cell phone while driving. In other words, no driving while distracted, or DWD.

It also means “driving defensively,” especially when you spot others “multi-tasking” on the road.

Sometimes though, no matter how careful you are, things just happen. If you’re involved in a Los Angeles car accident,

1. Get yourself and others to safety.
2. Check for injuries sustained during the accident, and potential dangers arising at the accident scene.
3. Document everything.

You can reach David B. Bobrosky in our Personal Injury Practice Group by dialing 818.990.2120.

 

 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120