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Entries in bike safety (3)

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.

Wednesday
Jul112012

Bicycle Safety - California Bicycle Law & Common Sense

Personal InjuryBike Accident Attorney

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 630 people died in 2009 because of non-motorized cycling accidents, and 51,000 were injured. Those are national figures. But the California Department of Motor Vehicles cites about 99 bicycle fatalities each year in our own state. The numbers of California bicycle deaths make up a large percentage of the national figure.

Bike Accident Attorney

Many times, bicycle deaths occur simply because the bicyclist wasn't seen by a driver. But every now and then you hear of a bicyclist who was seriously injured or died because of road hazards.

So let's take a moment to review the rules of the road, so you can protect yourself and stay safe when two-wheeling.

Deaths for bicyclists over age 16 increased by 69 percent since 1975. The average age of the people killed while cycling from 2005 to 2009 is 40.  

California Bicycle Law – Reviewing the Basics

 

First, you should know that a bicycle is considered a vehicle in California. That means you must:

  1. Obey all traffic signals and signs.
  2. Ride in the same direction as other vehicular traffic.
  3. Ride on the road, close to the curb, and not on the sidewalk.
  4. Signal when turning.
  5. Wear a helmet if you are under 18.

There are other California bicycle laws to follow, but these five are the most basic, and the ones we see bicyclists violating the most often. You can check the more complete list of bicycle safety rules on the California DMV website page Sharing the Road With Other Vehicles.

 

Bicycle Safety – Paying Close Attention

 

How's your biking environment? Assuming you're following California bicycle law, are your favorite routes kept safe for your ride?

There are many factors that could affect a bicyclist's safety, and we have handled many bicycle accident cases where we found construction company or governmental negligence causing serious injuries and even fatalities.

So when it comes to bicycle safety, watch out for these hazards:

Drainage or Sewer Grates: If the slats run in the direction of traffic, you might be thrown from your bike if your wheels get caught in the grate. We represented a client who was seriously injured because of an ill-fitting grate in Malibu, recently. One of his wheels got stuck in the space between the grate and the pavement.

Potholes: Weather and heavy traffic create them, and hopefully the city or county will repair them. And hopefully they'll be repaired correctly. Watch out for potholes and buckles in the road that may throw you off balance. Watch out especially if the potholes are water-filled, since you may not be able to tell how deep the hole is.

Railroad Tracks: Just like the sewer grates mentioned above, if the rails run with traffic, you might get a tire caught in the groove between the rail and the pavement.

Road Shoulders: Since riding your bike on a sidewalk is illegal in many California municipalities (not illegal in the City of Los Angeles unless you're riding in a dangerous manner), you may want  to use the road. Shoulders can be hazardous to bicyclists though, particularly if they're too narrow and you're forced into the road, or if rumble strips force you into the road. Use a specified bike lane whenever you can. But if you are forced to move off the shoulder and into the road be sure to look for oncoming traffic, and to use hand signals to alert drivers to what you are doing.

Slick Spots: Look out for wet pavement and leaves, oil spills and painted pavements.

Bike Accident Lawyer Los AngelesThese are just some of the hazards you'll need to keep watch for when riding a bicycle. In addition, don't forget the dangers of other drivers: those that don't signal before turning or switching lanes, those that drive distracted, and those that just don't see you sharing the road.

Whether you're driving a two, four, six or 18-wheeler, keep safe, drive defensively, and always look twice before changing lanes or turning.

Andrew L. Shapiro is an Accident Lawyer and Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via e-mail: 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
Oct062011

6 Motorcycle Safety Tips | Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents When it Rains

Personal InjuryMotorcycle Attorney

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

It’s that time of year again. As we saw yesterday, the start of winter’s rainy season is encroaching.

That means motorcycle safety becomes even more critical when you factor in decreased visibility, an increased distance needed for braking, and the added consideration that it doesn’t rain often enough for Californians to be really good at adjusting to wet road conditions. 

Many drivers still won’t factor in additional time to commute when it rains. So they’re still in a rush to get to work, the kids’ activities, schools and all of the other varied functions that regulate our lives. 

When it rains, traveling becomes riskier for those in cars and trucks, and critically dangerous for motorcycle riders. 

In light of all of this, it may be time to take a deep breath, and rehash basic motorcycle safety tips: 

1. Be Ready for Anything:  As every motorcycle rider learns when they get their first bike, anything can happen. When it rains, be prepared for additional hazards like automobile drivers who: 

▪  Forget to turn on their defrosters,

▪  Don’t maintain their wipers, or

▪  Change lanes to zip around slower moving traffic in frustration. 

Also be prepared for tsunami-like waves of water hitting you as other drivers plow through deep puddles in low-lying intersections. Helmets with face shields can help, but if you get hit with a LOT of water, the force can throw off your balance.

2. Assume Other Drivers Don’t See You (i.e., you are invisible): If automobile drivers have a hard time seeing you in dry weather, imagine how much harder it is when it rains, or when there’s fog. Also imagine how much harder it is for you to see other cars, particularly if they are grey, silver, white or don’t have lights on. 

3. Wear the Proper Gear:  Helmets are mandatory in California; sturdy boots, heavy jackets and gloves are just plain smart. 

4. Slow it down: This should be an obvious one, especially if it rains. But even if it’s not raining and you feel a need for speed, you should take your bike to a track or course where there will be less hazards. 

Manhole covers, metal road construction plates, painted surfaces – all of these things get a lot slipperier when it rains. 

5. Keep Your Head Moving: Don’t get tunnel vision when riding, especially when it rains. Always look to the sides, over your shoulders and check your mirrors. The more potential dangers you can spot ahead of time, the safer you’ll be. 

6. If You Don’t Feel Safe, Don’t Ride:  If the weather conditions cause you to be fearful or insecure, park the bike and find an alternate form of transportation until the skies clear. 

Personal Injury Motorcyle AccidentThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety cites the federal government with these statistics: 

The number of motorcycle riders who died in 2007 was 37 times the number of car deaths, per mile traveled. In 2008, over 5,000 motorcycle accidents resulted in fatalities for the riders. That was the highest number of deaths recorded since the government began keeping track in 1975. 

Let’s not add to these figures. As a motorcycle rider, you know how dangerous driving can be. Just remember that in the rain, your risk increases. 

Andrew L. Shapiro is the Chair of the Personal Injury Practice Group at the Firm, and has ridden motorcycles for over 30 years. You can reach him by calling 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