Everyone would agree that bicycling is an enjoyable, healthy, relaxing pastime. It also serves as a means of primary transportation for some; and as gas costs rise and we are increasingly aware of environmental concerns, we must take full measure of the responsibilities that come with taking to the road.
Riders do run the risk of significant injury when they take to the road especially when vehicular traffic is dense. These injuries could be anything from cuts and scrapes to broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. When taking to the road bicyclists should know their responsibilities and legal rights; this helps to increase their awareness both when riding and if there were to be an accident between a bicyclist and vehicle driver.
In Massachusetts you are allowed to:
1. Ride side by side on single lane roads. If there is more than one lane of traffic traveling in the same direction, you must ride in single file.
2. You can ride on the sidewalk but you must yield to pedestrian traffic.
3. Children aged 1-4 years of age and under 40 lbs. must be in a baby seat.
4. Children under the age of 16 years must wear a helmet which meets the standards set by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
5. Parked bicycles cannot obstruct traffic – pedestrian or vehicle.
6. In order to transport packages, you must use a rack, basket, trailer or other device expressly made for that purpose.
7. Bikes must be equipped with fully functioning brakes. The brakes must be able to stop the bike within 30 feet when traveling 15 miles per hour on a hard, dry surface.
8. Cyclist must obey traffic signals and signs.
9. Cyclist must use hand signals to indicate turns.
10. Accidents involving property damage or personal injury in excess of $100 must be reported to the police department of the town in which the accident occurred.
Bicyclists are responsible for knowing the law pertaining to bicycle safety in Massachusetts. If a bicyclist breaks a law, they may not be eligible for full compensation for damages. For further information click on the link here further information on compensation via our post on bicycle accidents.
Also, if a bicyclist is partially at fault for an accident, the Contributory Negligence Law comes into effect. The rider can still receive compensation as long as their fault is not determined to be more than 50%. However, compensation will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility of the rider for the cause of the accident.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, John Tramontozzi of Tramontozzi Law Offices can help. John is an experienced personal injury attorney. He will provide guidance through the entire process whether it is filing insurance claims or bringing suit in court. Call for a free consultation today.
Additional resources: What to do if I am Hit by a Car http://tramontozzilaw.com/what-to-do-if-i-am-hit-by-a-car
Bicycle Accidents, Car and bicycle Accidents in Massachusetts