Rear-Ended Bicycle Accident Attorney in Boston

While any bicycle collision can cause serious injuries, a rear-end crash can be especially devastating. These collisions happen often, especially on Boston’s heavily trafficked streets. For example, one study found that 40% of bicycle collisions in the United States are rear-ended collisions.

Similar to rear-end motor vehicle accidents, almost all drivers who rear-end bicycles are at fault for the crash.

If you have endured serious injuries in a rear-ended bicycle accident, Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help you obtain maximum compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. Our law firm has been representing Boston’s cycling community for more than 40 years and can get you the results you need to get back on your feet.

Below, our bicycle accident attorneys take a look at the various types of rear-ended bicycle accidents that they routinely see in our office and detail some of the steps that you can take to protect yourself when you are traveling around the city on two wheels.

Common Rear-Ended Bicycle Accident Scenarios

Bicyclists have the same rights to Massachusetts’ roadways as motorists under M.G.L. c. 85 s 11B. However, not all drivers are good citizens when it comes to sharing the road with bicycle riders. These drivers, along with other distracted or careless motorists, are responsible for most rear-ended bicycle collisions.

Here are some examples of rear-ended bicycle accidents that often occur in Boston:

Intersection accidents: Many rear-ended bicycle collisions occur at intersections. Motorists driving too fast or not paying attention may strike the back of a bicycle stopped at a red light or stop sign. In addition, a driver who is making a right turn may clip a bicyclist who is proceeding straight through the intersection. A motorist who follows too closely behind a bicycle may hit the bicycle in the rear if the cyclist stops for a light or swerves to avoid a road hazard. Motorists should never tailgate bicycles for this reason.

Bicycle lane intrusions: While bicycle lanes are supposed to be a safe space for cyclists, this is not always the case. Drivers who enter bicycle lanes to turn or to park run the risk of ramming into the back of a bicycle.

Lane changes and passing: When a driver is overtaking a bicycle to pass, the driver is at risk of striking the bicycle rider in the rear. Drivers who make improper lane changes can hit bicyclists from behind.

Night-time collisions: Many rear-end collisions occur at night with reduced visibility.

Drivers distracted by their cell phones are likely to rear-end bicycles. Even a glance at a text message and away from the road can have severe and even deadly consequences. In addition, a distracted driver may not spot a child bicyclist until it is too late.

Other drivers who are likely to be involved in this type of accident are drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs and overtired drivers. In general, these drivers have impaired reflexes and lack good judgment.

In addition, aggressive drivers are a danger to everyone on the road. These drivers may hit a bicyclist in the rear while weaving in and out of traffic. Some drivers have a chip on their shoulders when sharing the road with bicycle riders. As a result, they may drive too close to a cyclist as a means of intimidation or even strike a cyclist on purpose.

Truck drivers and delivery truck drivers who fail to apply the brakes in time can slam into the rear of a bicycle. Large vehicles require more braking time than standard cars to slow down and stop, and they have significant blind spots in which bicycles can get lost. A thin-framed bicycle is no match for a multi-ton truck or delivery van. Injuries in these cases are often severe or fatal.

Rear-Ended Bicycle Accident Injuries

Unlike in other types of bicycle crashes, a bicyclist struck from behind does not have the opportunity to move out of the way to avoid the brunt of the collision or brace for impact. Instead, the unsuspecting cyclist is usually thrown headfirst over the handlebars and onto the hard pavement. In most cases, the cyclist sustains injuries not from the initial car-on-bicycle hit, but from being tossed onto the roadway or into an immovable object such as a traffic sign, parked car, or curb. Cyclists can suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries when they land in the path of speeding traffic. Cyclists who become pinned between two vehicles can suffer severe crush injuries.

Common injuries suffered by cyclists in rear-ended bicycle accidents include:

  • Head trauma
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Facial fractures, including nose and jaw fractures
  • Dental injuries
  • Broken ribs
  • Abrasions and scarring
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Arm, wrist, and hand injuries

A bicyclist flying over the handlebars will often reflexively extend an arm to try and break the fall. That is why shoulder injuries and arm, wrist, and hand injuries are frequent with this type of bicycle accident.

Injuries stemming from rear-ended bicycle accidents often leave cyclists with permanent, debilitating injuries that require a lifetime of care and treatment.

Tips on Avoiding Rear-Ended Bicycle Accidents

Safety experts typically advise cyclists to ride defensively to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, this strategy is of little use in most rear-ended bicycle accidents. Even when a bicycle has mirrors, the cyclist will have difficulty escaping a car approaching from behind.

However, even though many rear-ended bicycle collisions are unavoidable, there are some steps cyclists can take to minimize the likelihood of a rear-ended crash:

  • Use bicycle lanes whenever possible.
  • Always signal before making lane changes.
  • Do not ride too close to the curb. Drivers are more likely to notice you if you ride approximately six inches inside the shoulder line.
  • If you feel unsafe, stop your bicycle and allow traffic to pass.
  • Wear bright or high visibility clothing
  • Use headlights and taillights at all times when riding.

If you have been injured in a rear-ended bicycle accident, contact the Boston bicycle attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers at (617) 777-7777 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

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