Bicycle-vehicle accidents all too common in Boston area

A driver is responsible for injuries caused in a collision with a bike when the vehicle driver was negligent or reckless.

Using bicycles for transportation, exercise and leisure is here to stay in Boston and drivers of cars, trucks, vans, trucks and other vehicles have the duty to follow traffic laws and drive reasonably to avoid causing harm to those on bikes in vehicle-bicycle collisions.

The Boston Globe wrote a comprehensive article in August 2015 about safety issues for cyclists on Boston streets. Among the data cited:

  • In the five years before the article, 13 bicyclists were killed on Boston streets from ages eight through 74.
  • The most common kind of vehicle involved in fatal crashes with bicycles was trucks.
  • Boston has more bike accident fatalities per 10,000 bicycle commuters than other similar cities like Denver, Portland, Seattle and Washington DC.
  • From 2010 through 2014, about 520 bicycle accidents were reported in Boston, according to Boston Emergency Medical Services.

The Boston Police Department reports that about 90 percent of reported bicycle accidents involve motor vehicles. While city intersections, streets and bike lanes are undergoing scrutiny, redesign and reconstruction over time, it is incumbent on motor vehicle drivers to take reasonable care to follow driving laws and avoid crashes involving bicycles. Obviously, the biker is no match for a heavy vehicle and severe injuries, including death, are a real danger.

Common injuries to cyclists in bike-vehicle accidents include head trauma, facial tissue injury and fractures, eye trauma, other fractures and dislocations

Of course, it is important for bikers to follow the law and use reasonable care while cycling. When driver behavior contributes to a crash, common reasons cited by the City of Boston are opening vehicle doors when bicycles are approaching (called dooring) and failing to see bicycles. Less frequent driver behaviors preceding collisions with bikes include speeding and running red lights and stop signs.

Any Boston-area biker injured in a crash with a car, truck, bus, taxi, SUV, van or other motor vehicle should seek legal advice as soon as possible from an experienced personal injury attorney. Legal counsel will launch an investigation on behalf of the cyclist to gather evidence of why the accident happened and how severe it was. The lawyer will communicate with insurance companies involved as the biker's representative. Finally, the lawyer will advise the injured party of his or her legal options, which may include a personal injury lawsuit.

Similarly, surviving family members of a bicyclist who was killed in a vehicle collision should seek advice from a lawyer about the possibility of a wrongful death action.

The personal injury attorneys at Dane Shulman Associates, LLC, represent bicyclists injured in accidents with motor vehicles throughout the Boston area.