Guest Content Contributor
Personal Injury Law
Thousands of people in Massachusetts rely on their bikes for transportation to and from work, and for good reason: According to The League of American Bicyclists, MA is the 4th highest bicycle friendly state in the US, ranking high in bicycle policies, and bicycle education among the population.
Unfortunately, accidents can occur in bicycle-friendly states like Massachusetts. If you are severely injured in an accident with a motorist, there are resources available. Filing a personal injury bill can help pay for your hospital bills and any other associated expenses, giving you the opportunity to focus on recovery.
Are You Eligible for a Personal Injury Claim?
Not all bicyclists who are injured in an accident will be able to win a personal injury claim. When handling personal injury claims, a court will determine who was at fault in the accident. In MA, a bicycle must obey the same rules motorists experience, meaning that the party at fault will be whoever committed a traffic violation. Common traffic violations include not using a turn signal, neglecting to yield, turning left without a green light, and not stopping at a stop sign or stop light (the most common bicyclist violation).
Proof of who was at fault will be very important when filing a personal injury claim, so be sure to get as many witness statements as possible when filing a police report at the scene of the accident. It is also a good idea for all bicyclists to wear Go Pros or other similar wearable cameras.
Comparative Fault and a Personal Injury Claim
When determining how much a claimant should be awarded in a personal injury claim, Massachusetts uses something called “comparative fault.” Comparative fault looks at how much an injured party was responsible for the accident, and reduces an award by however much the injured party was at fault. For example:
A bicyclist was cycling down a street in MA, while listening to music with headphones. He does not hear the car coming up behind him and is hit. A court looks at the case and decides that since the bicyclist was listening to music, he was 20% responsible for the accident. The court awards him $5,000, but reduces the payment by 20% to $4,000 to account for the bicyclist’s negligence.
No-Fault in Car Accidents in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a “no fault” state when it comes to auto accidents, which means that a claimant cannot file a claim unless the accident meets a certain threshold. In MA, an injured bicyclist cannot file a personal injury claim unless his or her hospital bills are over $2,000, or the claimant breaks bones or becomes “seriously disfigured” or loses eyesight. To file a personal injury claim in MA under the no-fault law, a bicyclist must have already proved that he or she was also not at fault during the incident.
Because every driver in MA is required to carry no-fault insurance, a bicyclist will be entitled to up to $8,000 from the driver’s insurance. The first $2,000 is only for medical bills, while the remaining $6,000 is available for lost wages or other expenses. No-fault gives bicyclists assistance even if they were the party found at fault during the incident, or if their medical bills are moderately low.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Massachusetts has a three year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning that if a claim is filed more than three years after the accident occurs, the claim will immediately be dismissed. To file a personal injury claim, a bicyclist will need the contact and insurance information of the driver responsible for the crash. The bicyclist will also need all medical bills, history of doctor’s appointments, and records of any lost wages. Courts in MA require a filing fee of $200 or more, depending on the jurisdiction in which you file.
It is my distinct honor to announce the selection of the Pioneer Valley Bicycle Advocate of the Year! For the past 13 years MassBike PV, representing the bicycling community in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden
Counties, has selected the person having the greatest impact on bicycling in the region to receive this award.
The recipient for 2015 is Mayor Dan Knapik of Westfield. MassBike PV recognizes Mayor Knapik as a friend of the bicycling community and his support and accomplishments for bicycling in the city of Westfield. During his three terms in office the city saw the completion of the Columbia Greenway into downtown, plans for an East/West connector on the city's levee, bike lane and shared lane proposals in road projects and the formation of a Bike/Ped Master Plan Advisory Committee. Mayor Knapik exemplifies the MassBike PV mission to promote the bicycle as safe, healthful, enjoyable, efficient, and environmentally sound means of transportation.
An award presentation will be held Wednesday, June 3rd at New Horizons Bikes, 55 Franklin St., Westfield at 6:00 PM. You all are invited to show your thanks, and refreshments will be served.
MassBike PV Chapter President
Please click here to see all current volunteer opportunities in June and sign up.
Starting today, membership fees will increase by $5. Individual membership is $40, dual/family $60, and student/low income at $25.
In addition, we will be phasing out our membership card feature over the next year. Anyone who has purchased a MassBike membership prior to 5/21/2015 will still receive a membership card and all benefits included with it, good for the full year of membership purchased until your next renewal. Any new members or renewing members who sign up after 5/21/2015 will receive all membership info (including their membership number) in their welcome letter. And you will of course still get great membership perks, discounts, and coupons when you join as well from some of our fantastic local and national partners. Please visit our membership page for more detailed information.
You will also be able to buy MassBike memberships at select MassBike events, and at participating bike shops and cafes. These special event memberships, will include all the same MassBike membership perks, but will also have a water bottle, blinky lights, and other goodies tucked inside! For more information on this program, or if you want to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the coming days, we'll also be announcing details regarding major updates to our corporate membership program, where businesses can elect to support MassBike, where they will receive discounted individual memberships for employees, bikability assessments at the office, classes, and much more!
Stay tuned, and thank you for your continued support!
WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix have announced that Saadin Solah, 53, has died from injuries suffered when the bicycle he was riding collided with a GMC pickup truck this morning in Sudbury. Solah's hometown has not been released.
“This crash occurred on Hudson Road at approximately nine o’clock,” said District Attorney Ryan. “A man was riding his bike along Hudson Road during an organized ride when he was involved in a collision with a pickup. The victim passed away from his injuries after being taken to Beth Israel Hospital.”
"This is a tragic situation involving the death of a cyclist on the roadway," Chief Nix said. "On behalf of the entire community, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to the victim's family."
At approximately 9 a.m., the victim was riding his bicycle on Hudson Road, also known as Route 27, near the intersection with Maynard Road, when a collision occurred with a vehicle. Police say the driver of the pickup truck pulled over and waited until first responders arrived. This is an active investigation.
This incident is being investigated by the Sudbury Police Department.
The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Kerry Collins.
The Redfin Research Center recently issued a report that ranked Cambridge as the top city in the U.S. Scoring 92.8 the Massachusetts city came in well above Davis, Berkeley, Boulder and Santa Cruz, which finished second through fifth respectively.
“This is a great recognition of the hard work done by Cara Seiderman, the Transportation Program Manager in Cambridge, over the past 20 years,” said Richard Fries, Executive Director of MassBike. “That city has been leading the entire state for a long time and rarely gets mentioned alongside other cities in the Western U.S. With the additional support of local advocates such as the Livable Streets Alliance, the Boston Cyclists Union and our work here at MassBike, Cambridge is overdue for this acknowledgment.”
Two other Massachusetts cities scored in the top 100. Boston ranked 24th and Northampton came in at number 29.
For a full listing click here.
We represent over 3000 cyclists across the state who see bicycling as a solution for the traffic, health and environmental challenges we face in our community. But - we can’t do it alone. MassBike depends on bicyclists like you to continue our work making bicycling a healthy and more sustainable means of transportation and recreation.
We've come a long way, but still have more work to do on our mission to become the #1 state for biking.
By LAUREN LeCLAIRE, MassBike Communications Coordinator
BOSTON (May 11, 2015) - The League of American Bicyclists released its 2015 Bicycle Friendly State ranking with Massachusetts on its way to the top of the charts. Now in the top five in the country, Massachusetts jumped from number 10 to number four this year, largely due to a new transportation bond, committing over $400 million in the next five years for biking and walking initiatives.
“This is a tremendous recognition of our collective efforts and the many initiatives in place throughout the Commonwealth which have contributed to our current status as the fourth friendliest bicycle state," said Stephanie Pollack, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO. "This has been a great team effort and I want to commend all of our partners in regional and municipal government, and in the bicycling advocacy community for their efforts. And of course, thank you to our many bicyclists across the state who continue to choose bicycling as both a means of transportation and recreation."
With increased financial commitments and major improvements in bike friendly legislation and infrastructure, Massachusetts is on track to be the number one bicycling state in America. Take a look at the full report and you will see, we’re already well on our way. The DCR has made a commitment to overhauling its parkways to meet Federal standards. We have pending legislation on the hill with the Vulnerable Road Users Bill and the Bike Lane Protection Bill. “When we studied the criteria by which the League ranks the states, we expect to check off several more boxes in 2015. With our membership growing, strong leadership from the state Department of Transportation, and visionary partners statewide, we see a powerful opportunity to move into the top spot by 2016,” stated MassBike Executive Director, Richard Fries.
"We're encouraged to see measurable progress and improvement in many states, including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Utah," said League President Andy Clarke. "We hope to see continued improvement as more statewide leaders recognize and invest in the many benefits bicycling has to offer."
The Bay State has made tremendous strides in implementing Complete Streets projects and MassDOT’s GreenDOT Initiative, thanks in great part to the hard work of local advocacy groups. “So much of this credit goes to the steady leadership of David Watson, who recently stepped down from the helm at MassBike. And we got a lot of support from government and non-government organizations, including our friends at The Livable Streets Alliance, Boston Bikes, and the Boston Cyclists Union,” said Fries.
This is amazing news for Massachusetts, and there are big, exciting changes to come. But to keep moving forward, MassBike needs your support. Help us get to that top slot by becoming a member today.
By RICHARD FRIES, Executive Director
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the state's largest landowner, will soon conduct a “comprehensive conditional assessment” of most of its parkways in the Boston metro area.
The DCR is dedicating $500,000 to analyze the changes needed to bring area parkways up to current standards to “provide multimodal accommodations for all users of the parkway” including cyclists. The analysis would include many of the marquee parkways in 17 DCR reservations, ranging from Lynn to Quincy, Boston to Newton. For too long these “park”-ways have been used – and engineered – as freeways for motorists, thus diminishing the safety of those users for whom the parks were created.
“DCR desires a detailed report that clearly outlines the feasible, optimal cross-section, multimodal connectivity through crossing streets and configuration of its parkways that provides multimodal accommodations,” is in the statement of the scope of services.
This is bike advocacy – at the local, state, and federal level – working at its best. Several organizations simultaneously pulling on several ropes managed to pull this ship to the dock of reason. For starters, such national groups as People for Bikes, the Alliance for Biking and Walking, and the League of American Bicyclists have successfully pushed at the federal level to re-define the standards for roadway design.
But the DCR, learning first hand about the robust nature of local advocacy through such issues as snow removal on the Southwest Corridor or the Arborway design, recently created the Urban Path and Parkway Committee (UPPC) that granted seats to such groups as WalkBoston, the Boston Cyclists Union, Livable Streets Alliance, MassBike and other regional bike advocacy groups. Most impressive is that the DCR leadership is actually riding many of the areas to be studied.
The UPPC reviewed this proposal on April 22.
The DCR Reservations to be studied include:
- Blue Hills
- Charles River
- Chestnut Hill
- Furnace Brook
- Hammond Pond
- Lynn Shore
- Middlesex Fells
- Muddy River
- Mystic River
- Nahant Beach
- Nantasket Beach
- Neponset River
- Old Harbor
- Quincy Shore
- Revere Beach
- Stony Brook
A number of parkways – including Alewife Brook and Storrow Drive – will not be included in the study. But in many of those circumstances, parallel cycling facilities either exist presently or in development.
The formal request for proposal will be completed pending input from the UPPC.
The range of facilities considered with be both short term and long term projects that may require considerable re-engineering. In short, the DCR will consider everything from bike lanes to cycle-tracks.
The impact of this project, when completed, could nearly double the mileage of cycling facilities in the Bay State.
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