Worcester Bicycle Accidents are on the Rise
Several days after Christmas, a 54 year old Shrewsbury bicyclist died from serious injuries as a result of being struck by a vehicle on Belmont Street. According to accident investigators, the owner of the vehicle and the bicyclist were heading west when the collision occurred. Both the car and bicycle were traveling on the right side of the street.
Swiss medical researcher and surgeon Dr. Anita Kurmann, was hit by a flatbed tractor-trailer while bicycling in Boston in August, 2015. In 2012, 23 year old graduate student Christopher Weigl was struck by a truck as he was riding his bike in Boston.
Proposed Massachusetts Bicycle Laws
These tragic accidents spurred Senator William Brownsberger and Representative Daniel Hunt to file bills intended to update Massachusetts bicycle laws and make it safer for bicyclists in Massachusetts.
Brownsberger and Hunt assert that bicycle fatalities primarily happen when vehicles make sharp turns and bicyclists tumble underneath the vehicle’s rear wheels. Bills submitted by the two lawmakers want to make it mandatory for side guards to be established between the back and front wheels of all vehicles to help push bicyclists away from vehicles. Brownsberger and Hunt further state that convex mirrors and side guards would provide drivers with significantly improved visibility on their periphery.
Brownsberger has also introduced bills that would make it illegal for drivers to idle or double-park their vehicles in lanes allocated specifically for bicyclists. Another bill requires at least three feet of space exist between vehicles passing joggers or bicyclists if the vehicle is going over 30 miles per hour.
Why Bicycle-Vehicle Accidents Occur
- Motorists merging or turning into the paths of bicyclists. Nearly half of merging/turning accidents involve drivers turning left in front of bicyclists approaching from the opposite direction.
- Motorists attempting to overtake bicyclists and misjudging the space needed to pass safely
- Bicyclists merging or turning into the path of a vehicle
- Drivers failing to yield the right of way to bicyclists at street junctions
- Bicyclists failing to yield the right of way at intersections. Usually, the bicyclist stops for a light or sign and then continues into the intersection, where they are struck by a vehicle
What to Do If You are Hit by a Vehicle While Riding a Bicycle
- File a police report, regardless if you are injured. Many bicyclists hit by cars don’t know they are injured until hours later when muscles begin stiffening and causing pain
- Do not “negotiate” with drivers. They may apologize at the scene but later deny they were negligent. Let the police make an accurate police report that your personal injury lawyer can later use in court
- Try to gather mental notes about the accident–time of day, weather conditions, traffic conditions, type of road, etc.
- Don’t mess with the evidence. Leave your damaged bike, helmet and other equipment as is. Send the items to your attorney. Also, take photographs of the damaged equipment
Seek Legal Advice from a Professional Personal Injury Attorney
A former Assistant District Attorney of Worcester County, personal injury lawyer Peter Ventura provides free consultation services to bicyclists who have been hit by negligent drivers. Call 508-755-7535 today to discuss your case with Mr. Ventura.
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