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Boston Cyclists Fight For Stiffer Penalties in Fatal Collisions

In the event of a traffic collision, victims have the right to file civil claims against negligent drivers and third-parties. While this is one remedy to help compensate victims who have suffered injuries, personal losses, or the death of a loved one, many safety advocates are urging additional harsher penalties, including jail time. After a recent case involving a garbage truck and a cyclist, advocates are hoping for harsher penalties and additional safety measures throughout the city.

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Bicyclist-motor vehicle collisions are becoming all too familiar. With an increasing number of cyclists on the road, some drivers have failed to adopt necessary safety precautions. Our Boston bike accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims and their families recover compensation after an accident. We are also committed to raising awareness and in advocating community safety and legislative action to prevent future accidents and injuries.

Police reports indicate that the collision was a “right-hook” where a bicyclist is headed straight and the vehicle turns into the cyclists’ path. A similar incident killed a Boston University student in 2012 and another young cyclist in December of 2011. According to reports, the driver killed the 30-year-old cyclist, but was only charged with leaving the scene. This and other fatal collisions have spurred cyclists and safety activists to urge legislators to increase punishment for drivers who cause fatal injuries. Activities argue that if drivers faced stiffer penalties when they hit a bicycle, it could make them more aware of pedestrians and cyclists when driving on busy streets or approaching an intersection.

Under Massachusetts law, drivers are not allowed to pass a bicyclist and make a right turn unless the driver is making the turn at a safe distance from the biker. While there are rules of the road, these rules are always going to be broken. Members of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition are urging drivers not just to “see” cyclists, but to look for the before it is too late. Too often, cyclists have become the victims of deadly accidents caused by negligent drivers who are not looking out for those who may be less visible that a vehicle. Safety advocates and bike enthusiasts are hoping that pushing towards stricter criminal punishment will reduce the number of fatal accidents in Boston and nationwide.

Critics of automatic and harsher criminal penalties say that safe riding is partially the responsibility of bikers. Creating stiff penalties for drivers alone could absolve bikers of these duties. Unfortunately, even with criminal liabilities, drivers will continue to be responsible for the negligent acts that result in fatal cyclist accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured in a cyclist accident, your best recourse is likely to be taking civil action against a negligent driver. No driver was charged in the earlier fatalities and the recent case involves a nearly closed investigation. The family of the victim is pursuing legal action against the driver and trucking company.

If you were involved in an accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:
Auto Insurance Claims in Massachusetts: You are Not in Good Hands, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 13, 2014.

Wearing Headphones Increases the Risk of Accidents
, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 13, 2014.