Bicycling has become a popular form of travel throughout Massachusetts. In response, Boston and other towns and cities have installed more than 60 miles of bike lanes in recent years. As an alternative to driving cars, bicycling is healthy, cheap, fun, and good for the environment. However, these developments have come with some downside.
With more bicyclists than ever sharing the same busy Massachusetts roads with motorists, there has been an increase in reported bicycle accidents. Besides a helmet, bicyclists have no real protection against a collision with a motor vehicle. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, approximately 48,000 Americans sustained injuries in car-bicycle collisions in 2013, out of which 743 died. While most car-bicycle accidents are non-fatal, bicyclists often sustain serious injuries as a result of these accidents.
Without any real protection other than a helmet, a collision with a motor vehicle is potentially fatal and often catastrophic for a bicyclist. The size and force with which a motor vehicle strikes a bicyclist can result in serious, sometimes permanent injuries. Bicyclists are susceptible to the following injuries in accidents with motor vehicles:
In the most serious non-fatal bicycle accidents, victims often deal with emotional and psychological pain in addition to the physical injuries. Whether pursuing a wrongful death claim or damages for injuries, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a skilled Massachusetts bicycle accident attorney.
When evaluating whether you have a potential personal injury claim after sustaining injuries in a bicycle accident, it is necessary to determine the cause of the accident. Some of the common causes of accidents between motor vehicles and bicyclists include:
Massachusetts has several laws that protect bicyclists’ right to share and safely ride on public roads and streets in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) Chapter 90 Section 14 requires drivers to slow down when approaching bicyclists and pass them at a safe distance and a reasonable and proper speed. M.G.L. c. 90 §14 also prohibits motor vehicle occupants from opening any of the doors unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of traffic, including bicyclists, and subjects violators to a maximum $100 fine.
M.G.L. Ch.85 Sec. 11B regulates how and where bicycles can be ridden in Massachusetts. The Primary Bike Law requires cyclists to obey all traffic laws, including using headlights and tail lights at night and further mandates that any person 16 years old or younger be required to wear a helmet when riding or the passenger on a bicycle. Although the laws are intended to protect bicyclists they do not permit them to disregard traffic rules and regulations.
While bicycle manufacturers may be liable for mechanical failures, and cities and towns may be responsible for poor and dangerous road conditions, motorists are more likely to be a defendant in a personal injury claim resulting from a bicycle accident.
Besides compensation for medical bills, other recoverable damages in a bicycle accident case include lost wages, lost future earning capacity, pain and suffering, rehabilitation expenses, and pain & suffering. In fatal bicycle accidents, the victim’s estate may be entitled to recover damages in a wrongful death claim.
Bicycle accidents often leave victims with life-altering injuries that require lengthy and costly medical treatment. In some of the worst cases, the injuries may be permanent leaving the victim unable to ever work again. While victims may be entitled to compensation when their injuries are the result of another’s negligence, recovering damages from a bicycle accident can be complex.
If you are in Massachusetts, and you or a loved one suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, we are here for you. Our team of skilled and experienced Massachusetts bicycle accident attorneys at Riccio Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our offices today to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more about our services.
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