Massachusetts bike accidents: what you need to know to stay safe

Recent Massachusetts bicycle accidents raise awareness of hazards faced by bikers.

Several high-profile bike accidents have happened in and around the Worcester and Boston areas, drawing attention to the myriad hazards that bicyclists face whenever the head out for a ride. Clearly, there are many benefits to biking, including a smaller environmental impact, personal fitness, the ability to breathe in the fresh summer air and not having to shell out big money for expensive gasoline or vehicle repairs.

In spite of all of these positives, the fact remains that riding your bike can be dangerous, particularly if your route forces you to:

  • Interact with traffic, increasing the risk of being struck by a vehicle or being run off the road
  • Traverse bumpy road surfaces and unpaved road shoulders
  • Navigate the sea of road construction zones
  • Stop frequently for traffic control signals and signs, making it more likely you could be struck by an inattentive driver

A recent high-profile bicycle accident

A particularly noteworthy bike accident took place recently in Keene and involved a biker trying to pass through a road construction area. In spite of taking proper safety precautions, the unlucky victim was riding through a city improvement construction project after dark when his bike hit a hole and sent him flying. A witness describes the hole that caused the accident as a cliff it was large and deep enough to hurl the victim 15 to 20 feet away from it. The victim was knocked unconscious when he fell, and he was airlifted to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester for treatment.

A spokesman for the management company overseeing the construction in the Colony Mill Marketplace (where the accident occurred) says that each third-party contractor working on the property was instructed to adequately cover any open holes for safety purposes, but that it doesn't appear that their directive was heeded in this particular case. Since several companies are working in that area, it may be difficult to determine which one is at fault for the accident that left one person with serious and possibly life-changing injuries.

Staying safe

Sadly, car-bicycle crashes and other bike-related accidents are all too common across Massachusetts and around the country. That being said, there are precautions that bicyclists can take to decrease their chances of being injured or killed in an accident. These include:

  • Always wearing property safety gear, including a well-fitting helmet and closed-toe shoes; this can help prevent serious head injuries and broken bones
  • Following all traffic regulations, including obeying traffic signs/signals, riding with the flow of traffic, using hand signals when turning, and not weaving in and out of slow-moving cars
  • Wearing reflective clothing (or having reflective paint or tape on the bike itself) to be more visible; this is especially important when riding at night or in the pre-dawn hours of the morning
  • Staying particularly attentive around areas where accidents are more likely to occur like exits to parking lots and garages, intersections and areas of high bicycle or pedestrian traffic

No matter how many precautions you take, however, you could still be injured in an accident caused by a drunk, distracted, careless or speeding driver. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident that is the fault of another person, company or municipality, you have legal rights. To learn more about these rights, speak with a personal injury attorney in your area.

Keywords: bicycle accident, hit-and-run, serious injury, head injury, brain injury