Aug 01 by Andy Gillin

Pleasanton Adopts Microwave Technology to Reduce California Bike Accidents

When it comes to cities that put a priority on bike safety, you can’t do much better than California’s Alameda County, the East Bay bicycle mecca that includes Berkeley. But Alameda County is also home to one of California’s most unexpectedly innovative towns when it comes to bike safety technology: Pleasanton. In fact, Pleasanton is using microwave technology to sense when cyclists are near an intersection that will trigger the light to stop cars and allow the cyclist through safely.

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Jul 20 by Andy Gillin

Will Bike Lanes on Oak & Fell Reduce San Francisco Bicycle Accidents?

It’s no secret that biking on San Francisco’s Oak and Fell streets can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, the cross-town city arteries have proven dangerous for motorists as well, as emphasized by last week’s fatal big rig accident at the corner of Oak Street and Octavia Boulevard. To heal this problem, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency has developed a plan to make these streets safer for motorists and cyclists alike by adding cross-town bike lanes. But this comes with a catch that could derail the plan altogether: the proposed bike lanes would replace a full lane of moving traffic or parking spaces, which some San Francisco residents have deemed unfeasible.

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Jul 15 by Andy Gillin

Fatal San Francisco Big Rig Accident Raises Octavia Blvd Safety Questions

Yesterday morning, a big rig truck collided with a UCSF shuttle van, killing 52 year-old Dr. Kevin Mack and injuring three other passengers. The accident occurred on Octavia Boulevard, which has been considered an accident hotspot for the past half decade after the Central Freeway ramp opened in 2006. The police are investigating the details of this fatal accident, and city officials have vowed to take a closer look at Octavia’s safety record and potential safety improvements.

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Jul 01 by Andy Gillin

California Bike Passing Law Masters Major Milestone

As the number of cyclists throughout California continues to rise each year, the state has consistently taken incremental steps toward improving bicycle safety on city streets and highways. This week, bike safety advocates celebrated a major milestone for a law that would require motorists to allow three feet while passing cyclists in most cases, a key issue for the California Bicycle Coalition. Despite spirited opposition, the California Assembly Transportation Committee approved the bill by a vote of 8-5, sending it to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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Jun 29 by Andy Gillin

Marin County California Still Vulnerable to Bike Accidents

California’s Marin County has rightly earned a reputation as a mecca for cyclists. The cluster of San Francisco suburbs is consistently sunny, has mostly flat riding surfaces, and has fostered a culture that promotes cycling in cities and on bike paths. And in 2005, Marin County was one of four jurisdictions nationwide to receive $25 million in federal funds to improve bicycle infrastructure and increase ridership. The program was successful, and contributed to the fact that Marin County only had one bike accident death between 2005 and 2010, the lowest total throughout the Bay Area.

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Jun 28 by Andy Gillin

San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawsuit Brings Record Muni Settlement

A string of high-profile multi-million dollar settlements against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency indicates that the city would save millions in the long run by putting forward funds to improve street safety for cyclists and pedestrians. This point was underscored last week by a record $5.36 million Muni settlement for a 2008 Muni accident that killed cyclist David Wheeler near Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

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Jun 27 by Andy Gillin

San Jose Traffic Sensors Could Improve Bike & Motorcycle Safety

We’ve all had moments where it feels like the traffic light will never change to green. Many intersections have sensors underneath the concrete that alert the traffic light when to let cars through. But what happens when your preferred mode of transportation isn’t heavy enough to trip the sensor? That’s the problem for bicycle and motorcycle riders who are too often stranded at intersections, unable to change the light. That could finally change, thanks to a pilot program in San Jose that could lead to more advanced traffic light technology that will sense the presence of a motorcycle, or even a bicycle.

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Jun 22 by Andy Gillin

Court Shields Google Maps from Pedestrian Injury Lawsuits

We’ve all used Google Maps to find the best route to our desired location. What originally began as a resource for drivers has since expanded to include directions suggestions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of public transportation. Of course, this raises a number of safety implications, since pedestrians and cyclists are always in more danger than motorists while navigating city streets. But if a pedestrian or cyclist is injured while following Google Maps directions, should they be able to sue the internet search mega conglomerate? A Utah district court ruled recently that Google is not liable since they did not owe the victim a duty, and since the company provides a valuable public service that is applied generally to all consumers.

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Jun 13 by Andy Gillin

Bike Helmet Safety Survey Results: Helmet Laws Should Cover Children

As the number of California cyclists continues to grow, the debate surrounding bike helmet laws is likely to come front and center. Last year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his support for a statewide law requiring helmet use for cyclists of all ages. Studies have shown that nine out of ten of the 130 yearly bike accident deaths in California (and 700 nationwide) are due at least partially to the decision not to wear a helmet. But California’s bicycle community has not been receptive to helmet laws, and even greeted Villaraigosa’s announcement with boo’s. So last month, we thought we’d see what you thought with our bike helmet safety survey. Take a look at the results.

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Jun 01 by Andy Gillin

Contra Costa County Named Most Dangerous for Bay Area Bike Accidents

Since The Bay Citizen began publishing local news little more than a year ago, their Bike Accident Tracker app has been one of my favorite features. First, the app mapped San Francisco bicycle accidents and tracked the causes and conditions for each collision. This week, the Citizen has expanded its bike accident tracker to include all Bay Area bicycle accidents, and has found some surprising statistics. Though San Francisco reports far more bike accidents than Contra Costa County, for example, the suburban area (also the home of GJEL’s main office), is far more dangerous in terms of percentage of cyclists involved in bike accidents each year.

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May 16 by Andy Gillin

5 Great California Bicycle Safety Plans

There’s no doubt that National Bike Month has been a resounding success here in California. The extended May cycle-centric holiday has lead to major safety campaigns statewide. But the preparation for last week’s Bike to Work Day has been the month’s crowning achievement, as Streetsblog reports that the day of events was preceded by unprecedented growth in California bicycle infrastructure. This is a great start, and bike safety advocates are not likely to stop there. Below are five great ideas to improve bicycle safety laws and infrastructure moving forward.

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May 11 by Andy Gillin

Bike to Work Day Events in San Francisco, East Bay, San Jose & Contra Costa County

May is National Bike Month, which means that bicycle advocates and lawmakers throughout California are boosting efforts to increase bike ridership and improve bicycle safety. Thursday May 12 marks one of the month’s most celebrated events, Bike to Work Day, and cities across the state are gearing up for it with major events designed to help make roads bike friendly and encourage businesses to promote cycling. We’ve compiled a list of Bike to Work events in San Francisco, the East Bay, San Jose, and Contra Costa County.

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May 09 by Andy Gillin

5 Great Bicycle Safety Technologies for National Bike Month

Cars seem destined for distracted driving. Though it’s essential to pay attention to the road and traffic signs, most cars come equipped with a navigation screen, complicated control panel, or at the very least, a radio. So driver safety technology has a lot to compete with. But the matter is different for bicyclists, who aren’t protected by a metal and glass shield and must always be aware of their surroundings. But that doesn’t mean technology can’t help reduce bicycle accident injuries. In honor of National Bike Month we’ve compiled a list of five of the most interesting technologies designed to improve bicycle safety. Take a look, and let us know of others in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

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May 05 by Andy Gillin

California Bike to Work Day Benefits San Francisco’s Market Street

San Francisco is getting serious about reducing bicycle accidents. The upsurge in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in past months has lead the city’s Municipal Transportation Authority to improve safety measures, particularly for bicyclists. Last month, for example, San Francisco began installing bicycle-only “green boxes” on high-traffic streets throughout the city. Now, as National Bike Month heats up, the MTA is rushing to install additional green boxes in time for next Thursday’s Bike to Work Day.

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May 04 by Andy Gillin

National Bike Month Supporters Get Serious on Sacramento Bicycle Accidents

Both here in California and nationwide, residents and lawmakers are boosting bicycle safety awareness during May, National Bike Month. Many of these initiatives take aim at helping children learn safe bicycle behavior, but others also focus on getting adults back on their bicycles, and re-learning practices that can reduce serious bicycle injuries. On Monday, Sacramento officials and bike advocates teamed up with the Mercy San Juan Medical Center to promote May is Bike Month and reduce California bicycle accidents.

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May 03 by Andy Gillin

National Bike Month Focuses on Reducing Youth Bicycle Accidents

As National Bike Month rolls around, we’re reminded that too many cyclists currently on the road maintain bad habits on city streets. Many adult cyclists don’t wear helmets, obey traffic signs, or use reflective gear at night. Some states have bicycle safety laws that require appropriate bicycle safety behavior for children and teenagers. But as Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood writes on his blog this week, National Bike Month should encourage smart bicycle safety from the top down. If you have children, be a good “Roll Model” during May as National Bike Month.

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Apr 28 by Andy Gillin

Parents: Congress Considers Sidewalk Safety Bill For School Zones

There’s no question about it: when it comes to reducing car accidents, pedestrian accidents, or bicycle accidents, states and local governments have been proposing the most interesting plans to save lives and prevent injuries. But so far, when the federal government gets involved, safety measures that often look like “no-brainers” on the local level get muddled by political ideology and Washington groupthink. This has already been the case for a federal distracted driving law and a federal teen drivers license law currently languishing in Congress. The next safety policy to be doomed by Washington policy is the Safe Routes to School program.

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Apr 13 by Andy Gillin

San Francisco Pedestrian Accident Highlights Urgent Need For Action Plan

Jogging across San Francisco’s busy Masonic Avenue Monday, a pedestrian was blindsided by driver going 30 miles per hour, sending the jogger flying through the air and later to the hospital with a severely broken leg. SFWeekly correspondent Matt Smith writes that he and his daughter also would have been hit if they had passed the intersection on their tandem bicycle two seconds earlier. The terrifying collision shows that pedestrian accidents are far too common here in San Francisco and that the city must implement a plan to increase street safety and reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

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Mar 31 by Andy Gillin

San Francisco MTA Continues Plan to Reduce California Bicycle Accidents

So far, 2011 has been a great year for San Francisco pedestrian safety and bicycle safety. Facing troubling pedestrian and bicycle accident statistics, city lawmakers have enacted programs that promise to greatly benefit the city’s cyclists and pedestrians. Most recently, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency has installed green “Bike Boxes” on both directions of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue to make non-motorist safety more of a priority.

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Mar 10 by Andy Gillin

Can National Bike Summit Reduce Preventable Bicycle Accidents?

Lawmakers, cyclists, and safety organizations nationwide traveled to Washington DC this week for the annual National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists. In past years, the summit has been a forum to discuss issues pertinent to cyclists, connect with advocates from other cities and states, and discuss future goals. But when it comes to the ultimate goal of making roads safer for bicycles and reducing fatal accidents, the strategy has long been unclear. Will this year’s National Bike Summit make a significant step toward reducing fatal bicycle accidents?

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Mar 08 by Andy Gillin

National Bike Summit Highlights Crossroads for Bicycle Safety

Bicycle use is in the midst of a major national resurgence. Due to crowded city streets, troubling environmental problems, and a call for healthier lifestyles, more people are choosing to ride their bikes to work rather than drive or use public transportation. No one is more excited about this movement than the League of American Bicyclists, who are hosting the National Bike Summit this week in Washington D.C. “Bicycling is the ultimate expression of freedom and independence,” wrote the group’s leaders in a recent position paper. “It’s fun, and it’s good for you. What’s not to like about that?”

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Mar 04 by Andy Gillin

San Francisco & Los Angeles Launch Plans to Reduce California Bicycle Accidents

As bicycle use continues to grow more popular, commuters remain vulnerable to bicycle accidents due primarily to the fact that city infrastructure for safe bicycle use lags far behind. The problem is particularly striking here in California, where our major cities are notorious for heavy vehicle traffic during commuting hours, which explains why the percent of bicyclists among the total number of California traffic accident deaths is nearly double the national average. Fortunately, San Francisco and Los Angeles lawmakers are facing the issue head-on by introducing major plans to reduce bicycle accidents.

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Mar 01 by Andy Gillin

Are California Traffic Tickets Too Easy on Dangerous Drivers?

Most penalties for dangerous driving tickets are designed to prevent the perilous behavior from reoccurring. If you’re fined for driving 80 miles per hour in a 60 mph zone, for example, you are more likely to think twice before driving too fast the next time around. But when drivers don’t seem to mind the penalties, are state enforcement agencies responsible for adopting stronger measures to get habitually dangerous drivers off the road?

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Feb 09 by Andy Gillin

San Francisco Bicycle Accidents Rising Faster than Ridership

When the New York Times announced that it would devote a print section and webpage entirely to the Bay Area, residents were ready to step into the national limelight. Few predicted that the Bay Citizen would have a large impact on the area’s perception of public safety, but new report and interactive map titled “Pedalers in Peril: San Francisco’s Most Dangerous Streets for Cyclists” includes overwhelming data and analysis of bicycle accidents in San Francisco over the past two years, showing the Bay Citizen can be both a source of reputable news, and an important safety resource.

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Feb 02 by Andy Gillin

Cyclists Included in Proposed California Distracted Driving Law

Since Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made reducing distracted driving one of his top priorities, the dangerous practice has been the subject of heated debate among safety advocates, policy makers, and the insurance industry. The debate gets even hotter when distractions are targeted for non-vehicular modes of transportation, like walking and cycling. Currently, for example, New York City is considering imposing penalties for distracted walking, and here in California, the legislature has included cyclists in a once-popular law increasing fines for distracted driving, reports StreetsblogSF.

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Jan 26 by Andy Gillin

Proposed Bay Area Trail Could Improve Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety

One of the main goals of smart urban development is to grow within the existing confines of a city rather than expanding outwards. That’s what Alameda County’s transportation agency aims to do with a proposed 12 mile bicycle path that would span the distance beneath BART tracks between Oakland and Hayward. In addition to beautifying the often stark space beneath BART tracks, the proposed East Bay Greenway would likely reduce bicycle and pedestrian accidents by giving citizens a car-free space to walk and bike.

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Nov 16 by Andy Gillin

Do Bicycle Accident Injury Reports Improve Safety, or Scare Potential Cyclists?

This won’t surprise you: bicycle injuries are bad for your health. That’s (partially) the conclusion of a yearlong bicycle commuter study released by the Oregon Health & Science University about the impact increased Portland bicycle use, reports The Oregonian. Portland is often referred to as “Bike City USA,” since its growth in bicycle ridership and city support for bicycle programs has accelerated in recent years. (California’s Bay Area is also considered a major bicycle hub.) But some bicycle supporters are worried that the study, which credits bicycles for being green and health-inducing, could dissuade would-be cyclists with the finding that 22 percent of Portland’s bicycle commuters reported injuries between 2007 and 2008.

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Nov 04 by Andy Gillin

Pleasant Hill California Launches Plan to Reduce Pedestrian & Bicycle Accidents

Pleasant Hill, a town of about 33,000 located between Walnut Creek and Concord in California’s Contra Costa County, is moving forward with a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan designed to get residents out of their cars, and walking around. This is the result of years of effort that could increase accident safety and potentially become an example for neighboring towns and even larger state plans.

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Oct 28 by Andy Gillin

Will California Improve Bicycle Safety and Lanes For Bike-Share Program?

San Francisco’s regional transportation agency has announced that it will likely approve a bike-share pilot program to help get commuters out of their cars in a healthy, green way. A number of United States cities, including Chicago, Denver and Washington, have already implemented bike-share projects, but San Francisco boasts that by including San Jose and Palo Alto, its would be the country’s first regional program. But transportation and safety experts say the city will need to make some adjustments for the bike-share to be successful.

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Oct 15 by Andy Gillin

California Should Adopt Multi-Tiered Strategy to Reduce Bicycle Accidents

Each year, more than 130 cyclists are killed on city streets in California alone, and nearly 700 are killed nationwide. Of these bicycle deaths, nine of ten were at least partially due to the rider’s not wearing a helmet. Though many bike deaths are preventable by enacting strict laws regulating bicycle safety, most states have not been bold enough. As public health researcher Peter Jacobsen asks, “Why do we allow these deaths to occur?”

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Oct 08 by Andy Gillin

Bay Area Vehicles More Dangerous, Bikes More Embraced

In its annual report on cities with the best drivers released last month, Allstate Insurance listed a diverse set of municipalities, ranked by the skill of their drivers, defined by the accident likelihood compared to the national average. The winner, Fort Collins, Colorado, boasted an accident likelihood rate of -31.2% compared to the national average. Bay Area cities fared much worse, with Oakland placing 153, with 25.7% higher chance of a car accident and San Francisco placing 185 with a 49.1% higher chance of a car accident (even worse than Los Angeles).

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May 20 by Andy Gillin

Share the Road for National Bike to Work Day

Tomorrow is National Bike to Work Day, which is exciting because the weather report indicates that tomorrow will be a beautiful Bay Area day. But if you’re planning to ride to work tomorrow, GJEL Attorneys encourages you to wear a helmet, consider the injury statistics for road cyclists, and adopt a share-the-road courtesy to assure maximum safety.

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Apr 27 by Andy Gillin

GJEL Accident Attorneys Donates Bicycles to Cycles of Change

Here on the GJEL blog, we keep track of many issues related to bike safety, including new proposed texting laws for cyclists, the environmental benefits of cycling, and a cyclist’s legal rights after being “doored” by a parked cars. This week, GJEL Accident Attorneys was proud to give back to the East Bay’s cyclist community by donating two brand new bicycles to Cycles of Change, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy urban communities throughout the region.

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