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Brookline Police Crack Down on Local Bicyclists; Fewer Cycling Accidents the Goal

During the summer months, bicyclists of all kind hit our roadways to enjoy the season’s warm weather and some outdoor excitement. What many bicyclists don’t take into consideration is their increased risk of being involved in a Massachusetts bicycle accident.

Brookline Police have already made nearly 450 bicycle stops and have issued more than 20 citations to bicyclists that have been ignoring bicycle laws. The increased enforcement is to help raise awareness about the importance of bicycle safety during the remaining weeks of the summer.
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Our Boston bicycle accident attorneys understand that most of these bicycle stops have only resulted in verbal warnings, but we believe that the increased enforcement efforts can truly help to reduce the number of serious and fatal bicycle accident. Bicyclists who continue to ignore bicycle laws could soon face tickets, fines or even serious accidents. Still, enforcing the laws for motorists would be a better use of time and resources; the vast majority of serious and fatal Massachusetts cycling accidents are the fault of negligent motorists.

“They wanted to share the road and unfortunately they have to share the violations too,” said Officer Fred Amendola.

As biking becomes more and more popular in the Boston area, many safety advocates are calling for more road-sharing etiquette and crackdowns on bicycle-law breakers.

“Obey all traffic laws including stops signs, traffic lights, and other traffic controls. Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles,” states the The Brookline Town website.

Some important bicycle laws are as follows, according to Mass Bike:

-Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.

-Bicyclists must give pedestrians an audible signal before overtaking or passing them.

-Bicyclists must ride astride a regular, permanent seat that is attached to your bicycle.

-Your bicycle’s brakes must be good enough to bring you to a stop, from a speed of 15 mph, within 30 feet of braking. This distance assumes a dry, clean, hard, level surface.

-Bicyclists must keep one hand on the handlebars at all times.

-Bicyclists must notify the police of any accident involving personal injury or property damage over $100.

-Bicyclists that are 16 years old or younger must wear a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements. The helmet must fit your head and the chin strap must be fastened.

-You may not modify your bike so that your hands are higher than your shoulders when gripping the handlebars.

-You are not permitted to carry a passenger anywhere on your bike except on a regular seat permanently attached to the bike, or to a trailer towed by the bike.

-You are not allowed to carry anything on your bike unless it is in a basket, rack, bag, or trailer designed for the purpose.

If you are caught violating any of these laws, you can face a fine of up to $20. Parents and guardians are responsible for cyclists that are under the age of 18. If you violate these laws, your bike can be impounded by the police or town selectmen for up to 15 days.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

Brookline Police Cracking Down on Bicycle Laws, by Grahame Turne, Brookline Patch
More Blog Entries:

Reported Somerville Bicycle Accidents Expected to Exceed Previous Years, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, July 23, 2011

Decrease in Massachusetts Bicycle Accidents — Awarded Top 10 “Bike Friendly State”, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, June 8, 2011

Springtime in Boston can lead to increased number of cycling accidents, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, April 21, 2011