How to Stay Safe on Your Bicycle in Boston

October 7, 2021

Cycling in Boston, Massachusetts, has been quite popular since the late 19th century. It is an excellent option for recreation and commuting, and the creation of bicycle infrastructure has made it more popular among Boston residents. It is more common in campuses of different universities in the city and outside the learning environment.

Cycling in Boston is so popular that there are bike-share services where people who don’t own bicycles can hire one. Unfortunately, though, the prevalence of bikes in Boston means increased risk for bikers and the propensity for accidents. Hence, bicycle riders must know how to stay safe on their bicycle. 

However, no matter how safety conscious a cyclist is or how much they obey traffic laws, accidents are still bound to happen. When they do, it is crucial to consult a bicycle accident lawyer at Kelly and Associates. An attorney knows all the relevant bike laws and will examine the accident facts to determine if you have a valid claim. So, waste no time in contacting our law firm. 

How Do I Stay Safe on My Bicycle in Boston? 

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Many people use bicycles as alternative transportation to get to school, work, malls, and recreational grounds in Boston. By cycling, they get to enjoy the fresh air and exercise simultaneously. Boston allows bikes on many transportation lines, but it also offers bike lanes to help cyclists travel safely. So, when on a bike ride, you should take advantage of the lanes and stay away from heavy traffic.

Boston Bike Lanes and Bike Paths

There are different lanes for bikes in the City of Boston. In addition to the traditional bike lanes that most people are accustomed to, there also exists;

  • Buffered Bike Lanes: It provides more space for bike riders and parked vehicles and helps prevent dooring accidents and injuries. 
  • Separated Bikes Lanes: It has permanent curbing, flex posts, and other infrastructures to protect cyclists from cars and trucks. 
  • Contraflow Lanes: These laws allow two-way travel on streets that allow one-way traffic for motor vehicles. The lanes are usually separated or painted. 

Despite the city’s attempt to protect bikers and prevent accidents by creating routes for bike trips, there are still some parts of Boston notorious for bike crashes. One of the bike accident locations is Commonwealth Avenue. But thankfully, the introduction of protected bike lanes appears to have reduced bike crashes in the area. 

Staying Safe on a Bicycle in Boston

Although Boston has several designated bike trails, they are not enough to keep a bike rider safe. Staying safe on a bicycle depends largely on the bicyclist and their riding experience. But there are also several things you can do to make bicycling safer. So, how do you stay safe on your bicycle in Boston?

  • Wear a Bike Helmet 

In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 85 section 11b is the primary bike law regulating bicycling and motor vehicle operation near bicyclists. One of its provisions is the mandatory use of helmets by bike commuters under 17 years. Those 17 years and above can choose not to wear a helmet but are advised to do so to prevent head injuries. 

  • Have and Wear Safety Gear

Safety gear is always a good idea. So, ensure you have the appropriate bike light and neon safety vests. Notably, Massachusetts law makes bike lights compulsory, but safety vests are not. However, since neon is a reflective material, it is advisable to wear it. In addition, lights are required by law between a half-hour after sunset and a half-hour before sunrise.

  • Obey Traffic Signals and Laws

In Boston, the same traffic law applies to passenger cars, and large vehicles apply to bike riders. As such, a bike rider must follow the flow of traffic, use the bike path, stay off sidewalks, stop at an intersection, yield the way to pedestrians, and not go beyond 25 miles per hour. Not following these rules may cause an accident. 

  • Avoid Blind Spots 

Trucks, buses, and other large vehicles have large blind spots, especially on the right. Thus, avoid overtaking large vehicles and stay visible to drivers. A significant number of fatal bike accidents involving large vehicles happen due to blind spots, so take extra caution. 

  • Check Your Equipment 

A bicycle crash is not always caused by distracted driving when a car is involved or a bump in the road. Instead, defective parts or bicycle equipment malfunction could cause an accident. Thus, bicycle commuters must check their hand signals, rear reflector, brakes, tires, and lights before riding. Also, inspect chains and gears for any defects or fractures. 

What Injury Will I Sustain if I Fall Off My Bicycle? 

When a person gets into a bike accident, they are most likely to fall off and sustain injuries. These wounds can be minor, severe, or fatal, depending on the crash impact. In 2019, there were 843 bicycle accident deaths. When cyclists survive a collision, they will sustain one or more of the following injuries: 

  • Head injuries 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Broken bones/fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries and back injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations 
  • Sprains and strains
  • Bowell contusions
  • Hernia, etc. 

How Do I Recover From a Bike Accident? 

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Following a bike crash, your body needs time to recover before you can ride again. Below are some tips on how you can recover from a bike accident. 

  • Get adequate sleep as the body needs time to build up back to full strength.
  • Eat foods that would aid your recovery, so have a semi-calorie-rich diet with lots of protein. 
  • Relax and focus on some self-care routine.
  • Take care of your skin, keep your wound moist and covered, but also let it breathe.
  • Ride slowly when you get back on your bicycle until you feel better.

These tips are for minor bike crashes. In more severe cases, you’ll need to visit a doctor and follow their treatment plan. In some cases, you may undergo surgery and physical therapy before you recover fully. 

Can I Get Compensation Following a Bicycle Accident in Boston? 

You can get compensation for a bicycle accident that you did not cause. However, note that Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning accident victims rely on their personal injury protection policy (PIP) to cover their financial losses in an accident. However, you can file a lawsuit against the fault party to recover the amount spent. If the suit succeeds, the court would likely award you economic damages and non-economic damages, and if the case merits it, punitive damages. Contact our Boston personal injury lawyers to learn when you can file a lawsuit following a bicycle accident.  

Contact Kelly and Associates Today!

Accidents of any kind can be traumatic for those involved and their loved ones. Survivors do not only suffer physical injuries but emotional wounds also. For this reason, an accident victim deserves to get compensated, and Kelly and Associates are ready to help. Our injury lawyers have helped several clients get the maximum compensation, and we can do the same for you. So, were you involved in a bicycle accident? Call today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. 

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.