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Boston Bicycle Advocates React to Study on Bicycle Crash Causes

Our Boston accident lawyers know that bicycle crashes can be very dangerous for riders and that serious injuries or fatalities are common when a crash occurs. With their health and safety at stake, Boston bike riders and bicycle safety advocates were excited at first about the news that an expansive report on bike crashes was scheduled for release.

Unfortunately, after the study came out, bike advocates turned out to be less than enthusiastic about the steps that the city might take as a result of the findings. Advocates also pointed out errors in the study, which were later acknowledged. Still, despite the problems, the report may prove to be a positive when it comes to increasing bike safety because it gives officials data they need to make targeted improvements tailored to each street and each intersection.

Boston Study on Bicycle Crashes Reveals Important Info

According to the Boston Globe, the mayor recently commissioned a study that involved the collection and analysis of data from the Boston police, Boston Bikes and  Boston Emergency Medical Services. The purpose of the study was to learn more about bike accident risks, especially in light of the fact that the number of bike crashes in Boston rose from 2010 to 2012.

The report revealed some important facts, including that ridership was on the rise and that the number of bicyclists had risen more sharply than the slight increase in bike accidents from 2010 to 2012. The report also identified top causes of bike crash incidents by looking at 891 wrecks between 2009 and 2012. According to the information revealed in the report:

  • 197 bicycle accidents occurred because the driver and bicycle riders did not see each other.
  • 197 bicycle accidents were attributed to a vehicle door opening up in the path of a bicycle rider.
  • 147 of the bike wrecks occurred when a stop sign or red light was run.
  • 108 accidents happened when the bicycle rider rode into oncoming traffic.
  • Speeding was a contributing cause in 81 crashes.
  • A failure to pay attention was cited as a cause of 58 accidents.
  • Aggressive behavior was involved in causing 57 accidents.
  • Phones and electronics were being used at the time of 16 crashes.
  • Four of the accidents may have occurred, at least in part, because there was a construction zone.

Knowing this information can help lawmakers and regulators to learn more about where to focus efforts, including educating drivers about the risks of opening the door into the path of oncoming bicycle riders.

Despite the helpful data, though, not everyone was thrilled with the report. The director of the Boston Cyclists Union and a consultant on the report commented that errors were made and that it was important that the mistakes be corrected.

Bike advocates were primarily concerned with the fact that the report largely seemed to blame the victim, focusing on a lack of helmet use among bike riders and initially blaming 28 percent of the crashes on bicycle riders going through red lights or stop signs when in reality a cyclist was responsible for colliding after running a traffic signal in only 12 percent of cases.  These percentages have been corrected.

Still, while there may be problems with the report, now that the data has been updated it can shed some light on how lawmakers and regulators can work to make Boston’s roads safer for bicyclists.

If you’ve been hurt, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.

Pool Hopping Accident Injures Teen; Illustrates Importance of Pool Fences

According to CBS Boston, an 18-year-old teen girl and her friend attempted to go swimming in a pool at around 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning. The pool was not their own swimming pool, nor the pool of a friend. Instead, it was a stranger’s pool that the teen girls happened to stumble upon when driving by and that the girls decided to jump into in order to cool off. The pool also happened to be empty because it was being repaired.

Our Boston, MA injury attorneys know that property owners can be held responsible if they have dangerous conditions on their property and if someone gets hurt. This can even be true in certain cases if the person who gets hurt is a trespasser.  In this case, however, the property owner likely did nothing wrong because his swimming pool was securely fenced. Fences are important around swimming pools not just to protect homeowners from legal liability but also to help avoid tragic accidents.

Swimming Pools Should Always Be Fenced

Swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” in the eyes of the law. Essentially, this term is used because swimming pools are dangerous and because they are also appealing to kids and could entice children to trespass onto a property and try to swim, leading to drowning or other injuries.

Because swimming pools are an attractive nuisance, pool owners need to have their pools securely fenced with a gate that remains latched. The gate is supposed to keep kids out and is supposed to help prevent drowning accidents.  If a homeowner fails to have a gate surrounding his or her swimming pool, then the owner may be held legally responsible for any losses that result if a child wanders in and is hurt.

A homeowner’s potential liability for a swimming pool accident often becomes an issue when the trespassing child is very young. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 75 percent of victims who die in pool and spa-related incidents are under the age of five.  However, fences can also help to keep out older kids who decide to “pool hop,” or to use other people’s pools to get cool.

In this recent Massachusetts case wherein the teen girls took it upon themselves to swim on someone else’s property, the homeowner had a fence and likely did everything required by law. The pool was largely hidden from view with a six-foot privacy fence obstructing it from the street. A four-foot chain link fence surrounds the rest of the pool area and the fence is likely up-to-code because the man who owned the home is the building inspector for Westford and is in charge of reviewing swimming pool installs to ensure local safety requirements are met.

Despite the precautions, the teens broke into the pool and tried to swim anyway, which led to serious injuries, including a skull fracture; a spinal injury and a broken wrist.

The teens will face charges for trespassing because they broke into the homeowner’s pool to go swimming.

If the homeowner had lacked a fence, however, and if the kids had been younger, then the homeowner could have been held responsible even if a child was hurt while trespassing to go into the pool. This accident, therefore, is a reminder that a fence should be installed not just to protect kids from harm but also to protect swimming pool owners from being held legally responsible for injuries.

If you’ve been hurt, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.