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Vulnerable road users legislation in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts House and Senate have sent a bill to protect vulnerable road users to the Governor’s desk.

At long last, the Massachusetts House and Senate have now sent Gov. Charlie Baker a bill to protect vulnerable road users. One of the bill’s proponents announced the news on his blog, saying the legislation follows 10 years of collaboration among lawmakers and road safety advocates. We encourage readers to call the governor’s office and urge him to sign the bill!

3-Foot Safe Passing Distance for Vulnerable Road Users Proposed in Massachusetts

First, Bill H.5103, protects pedestrians, cyclists and others as vulnerable road users. From now on, drivers must give vulnerable road users at least 3 feet when passing in Massachusetts.

The phrase vulnerable road users would include pedestrians and cyclists, as well as those who work on a public way or utility facilities or are engaged in emergency response services.

Among others, the legislation also protects those operating wheelchairs, tricycles, skateboards, in-line skates, motorized bicycles and scooters, both motorized and non-motorized.

The bill would add language to M.G.L. c.90 § 14, which states in part, “In passing a vulnerable user, the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet when the motor vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less.” At higher speeds, drivers would have to give vulnerable road users more clearance, starting with a foot for every additional 10 miles per hour.

This language is critical, as it provides a guide for both drivers and those building safety infrastructure to reduce the risk of bicycle accidents.

Statewide Requirement for Truck Safety Equipment to Protect Pedestrians and Cyclists

Starting in 2025, the legislation would require state-owned and contracted-trucks to be outfitted with sideguards, convex mirrors and other equipment designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians from being swept under trucks.

Currently, the City of Boston has an ordinance that requires city-owned and contracted trucks to use this safety equipment. The City Council passed Boston’s sideguard ordinance back in 2014. The cities of Somerville and Cambridge also took steps, but advocates have long pushed for a state-wide requirement. The required equipment will include truck sideguards, back-up cameras, convex mirrors and cross-over mirrors.

Extending Lower Speed Limits to State Roads and Parkways

In 2016, the state of Massachusetts passed legislation which in part, allowed cities and towns to lower the default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph on local roadways in thickly settled or business districts. This bill would allow the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to establish post 25 mph speed limits when state highways and parkways fall within thickly settled or business districts.

New Reporting for Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes

The legislation would require MassDOT to develop a standardized form and system for reporting crashes involving vulnerable road users. The reports would be published in a publicly accessible database.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business awardWith more than 125 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized as one of the top personal injury law firms in Boston. We have made a special commitment to encourage safety in Boston through our Project KidSafe campaign, now in its 10th year. To date, we have given away more than 36,000 bike helmets to children and families in partnership with local police departments, MassBike, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School and community organizations. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized our firm as a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business.

For a free legal consultation, contact our personal injury lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.


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Boston bike commuters during Orange Line shutdown

In Boston, cyclists are sharing concerns about bike safety during the Orange Line shutdown.

Boston commuters are taking the Orange Line shutdown one day at a time. Many are biking to work and school, some for the first time – and sharing their thoughts and concerns from the bike lane on social media and local news. In Boston, the mayor even joined cyclists on the road and Tweeted about riding conditions.

It’s nice to see cyclists share information to help each other make the ride safely. A few concerns mentioned: dooring, trucks parking in the bike lane and the need for more protected bike lanes in the Boston area.

A Few Safety Reminders for Driving Near Cyclists in Boston During the Orange Line Shutdown

Right now, drivers should expect to see more cyclists on the road in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Malden and other areas. This is an unprecedented shutdown for Boston’s 125-year-old subway line. Starting on August 19, the MBTA closed the Orange Line from Oak Grove to Forest Hills for 30 days to address a maintenance backlog and make planned construction improvements. According to NBC Boston, this line covers 20 stops over 11 miles, from Malden to Jamaica Plain.

Making this more difficult, the MBTA also closed part of the Green Line, between Union Square and Government Center, starting August 22. This closure is to perform final phase construction work required to open the Medford branch this Fall.

Leave the Bicycle Lane for Cyclists. If you drive into Boston, remember to leave the bicycle lane for cyclists. Never stop and park in the bike lane. When drivers park in the bike lane, cyclists have to make a dangerous choice: they can try to swerve around your vehicle into the traffic lane or move onto the sidewalk. In both cases, they are very likely to crash, even the most experienced cyclists.

Open Your Car Door Safely. Drivers can seriously injure cyclists by opening their door at the wrong time. This was the sad story last month in Somerville, when a driver opened his SUV door into a 72-year-old Somerville cyclist on Broadway, near Teele Square. The victim died the next day, according to news reports. The Middlesex District Attorney’s office is now investigating the fatal bicycle crash.

You can make a point of looking for cyclists by learning the Dutch Reach, a topic we recently discussed in another blog. This approach encourages you to park, then check your mirrors and reach across your body so you have to look across traffic before you open your door.

Drive Safely Through Intersections. Travel slowly and give cyclists extra room, especially when turning at intersections. Remember, a cyclist may have to move out of the bike lane and into the traffic lane to protect themselves. They are allowed to do so under Massachusetts law and they may not have time to use hand signals.

Many bicycle accidents happen at intersections. When you stop at intersections, check your mirrors for cyclists approaching from behind you. Let cyclists turn first so you know they have cleared the intersection safely.

Cycling Safety Resources for the Orange Line Shutdown in Boston

If you are riding, we encourage you to regularly check these safety resources throughout the Orange Line shutdown:

Guide to Biking in the Boston Area During the Orange Line Closure,
This web page offers safety information and resources, including information about free Blue Bike passes.

Boston Cyclists Union
The Boston Cyclists Union is providing cyclists with updates on the Orange Line shutdown, including information on bike repair, Blue Bikes and how you can join a bike convoy to work.

Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck, Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we fight for justice for those who have been seriously injured or killed by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Breakstone, White & Gluck is located at 2 Center Plaza, across from Boston City Hall and Government Center. Our attorneys specialize in representing cyclists, pedestrians and others injured due to negligent driving, and other types of personal injury claims.

Breakstone, White & Gluck has supported local cycling clubs in the Boston area for more than 20 years. For the past 10 years, we have also worked to promote safety in the Boston area by donating children’s bicycle helmets. With this year’s donations, we have now donated over 36,000 helmets to children through our Project KidSafe campaign in partnership with local police departments, organizations, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, MassBike and other partners.

Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck.

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Motorcyclists on Fall foliage ride in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a beautiful place to enjoy Fall on your motorcycle. Read our motorcycle safety tips before you travel.

Many Massachusetts motorcyclists are now planning road trips to enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage. If you are among these riders, we offer some safety reminders and hope you enjoy a fun and safe motorcycle ride, one filled with rich Fall color. 

The first step is to consider your travel route. You may be thinking about taking a ride to Plymouth, Cape Cod or the North Shore because you enjoy driving to these destinations or friends have shared positive reviews. But really consider your route, the distance and weather forecast when you take your motorcycle.

Most of all, be realistic about your motorcycle riding experience. Many motorcyclists travel out to Western Massachusetts to explore the Mohawk Trail, Shelburne Falls or Mount Greylock. While there are majestic views, motorcyclists – and other drivers – may be surprised to find such narrow roads and sharp curves on their first visit. Learning a little more about road conditions may help you ride safer.

Planning a Safe Motorcycle Ride This Fall Foliage Season

Wear a Motorcycle Helmet and Proper Gear

Follow Massachusetts Traffic Laws and Stay Visible

Avoid Fatigue, Exhaustion and Distractions

Riding Alone, With a Passenger of With A Group

When You Have Been Injured or Your Motorcycle Has Been Damaged

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Boston personal injury lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck, Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is proud to announce our three partners have been recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America©. The rankings were publicly announced on August 18, 2022. Marc L. BreakstoneDavid W. White and Ronald E. Gluck were recognized for their experience and expertise in these practice areas:

  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Insurance Law

This recognition comes after Breakstone, White & Gluck celebrated 30 years of practicing law in Boston this summer. Combined, all four of our attorneys offer more than 125 years experience.

Best Lawyers has released these widely-respected rankings annually in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners since the early 1980s. The rankings are compiled as a guide to help inform consumers as they hire an attorney. The lists are based on an extensive peer-review evaluation. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our attorneys were selected based on the feedback of other local lawyers and those whom they have opposed in court. Best Lawyers was founded upon “the principle that the best lawyers would know, and be able to recognize, the best lawyers in their location and practice area.”

The rankings recognize just 5 percent of attorneys in private practice across the United States for their skills and abilities. Read about our partners:

Marc L. Breakstone
David W. White
Ronald E. Gluck

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Reza Breakstone

Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in these specialties: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs and Medical Malpractice Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Attorney Breakstone has represented seriously injured clients in personal injury and medical malpractice cases since 1986. He has a reputation for working tirelessly to ensure his clients receive full and fair compensation as well as the most favorable medical result.

In his practice, Attorney Breakstone represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, MBTA bus accidents, medical malpractice and propane gas explosions. His awards include a $10.2 million settlement for his client who was the victim of ambulance negligence and $7.5 million for his client who lost their loved one in a propane gas explosion.

David W. WhiteAttorney Breakstone has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized, including by Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of medical malpractice. He has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell for 25 years, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards. Read more about Marc.


Attorney David W. White

David W. White - Boston Personal Injury Lawyer

David W. White

Attorney David W. White has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in these specialties: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, Insurance Law and Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

A past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Attorney White specializes in helping victims of personal injury, wrongful death, bicycle accidents, motor vehicle crashes, dog bites, construction accidents, premises liability accidents and defective products.

Attorney White’s settlements and verdicts include a $4.35 million award for his client who fell from an unsecured cooling tower on a construction accident site. He recovered $2.5 million for his client injured by a homeowner’s negligent use of a fire pit.

Ronald E. GluckAttorney White has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized, including by Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of personal injury law. He has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards.  Read more about David.


Attorney Ronald E. Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck

Attorney Ron Gluck has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in his specialty of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Attorney Gluck has practiced law in Boston for more than 30 years. He offers his clients a unique combination of compassion and strategic abilities in developing cases to achieve the best financial result.

In his practice, Attorney Gluck represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death, traumatic brain injuries, car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents, including crashes caused by the operators of large vehicles and commercial trucks.

Attorney Gluck has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of personal injury law. He has been rated AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards.

Attorney Gluck’s verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients include $3.75 million recovered for a motorcyclist who was hit by a negligent driver and $2.5 million for a driver who was struck and seriously injured by the driver of an 18-wheel truck. Read more about Ron.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we fight for justice for those who have been seriously injured by the negligence of others. We represent clients in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts. With more than 125  years combined experience, our personal injury lawyers have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements for clients in negligence, car accident, product liability and medical malpractice cases.

If you have been injured by someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 1-800-379-1244 or 1-617-723-7676 our use our contact form.

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MaMaRoo Swing with Defective Strap

Two million MaMaRoo baby swings have been recalled after a child died due to asphyxiation caused by a loose strap.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of two million infant swings due to the risk of entanglement and strangulation. The recall comes after a child was caught in a restraint strap and died from asphyxiation.

Thorley Industries, LLC – using a d.b.a of 4moms – recalled two million MamaRoo swings and 220,000 RockaRoo rockers on Monday, August 15, 2022. The Canadian government has also announced a recall for 60,000 infant swings and 10,000 rockers.

The recall covers MamaRoo swings and RockaRoo rockers sold between January 2010 and August 2022. Consumers may have purchased one of these defective products online through Amazon or 4moms or at a Target or BuyBuy Baby store.

The swings and rockers have unsafe straps and and consumers are urged to stop using these products immediately. Place the products out of the reach of young children. While 4moms is not offering a product replacement, consumers can request a free strap fastener.

Injury Reports Involving MaMaRoo Swings and RockaRoo Rockers

There were no injury reports associated with the RockaRoo rockers, which are designed to sooth children with an adjustable gliding motion.

As for the MaMaRoo, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported a 10-month-old died after becoming caught in a restraint strap that fell loose under an unoccupied swing. A caregiver intervened in a separate incident, saving another child’s life. But the second child – who was also just 10 months old – suffered visible neck bruising.

The MamaRoo is a button-control baby swing which features multiple speeds, motions and sound options. 4moms is recalling versions 1.0 through 4.0, which are built on a 3-point harness. Parents should note the recall does not cover models using the 5-point harness.

Do You Own a Defective Infant Swing or Rocker?

It is easy to forget your past purchases. However, it is important to check your home after a product recall. Make it a goal to act quickly and remove unsafe products before an injury.

When a children’s product is recalled, families may have to take a few extra steps.  You may have purchased one of the recalled children’s swings, then moved it to storage, thinking you could reuse it again someday.

Another possibility is you may have shared one of these products with a friend or relative. If you did so, take a moment. Let them know about the MaMaRoo recall before they give the swing to another family or attempt to sell it used. Your goal is to stop any distribution of a recalled product.

Check the model numbers. Start by checking the names and model numbers of any infant swings or sleepers you are currently using or may have in storage. Read the CPSC recall notice for MaMaRoo swings for the list of model numbers.

Check your digital records. The best scenario is if you registered the product with the company at the time of purchase. If so, you may have already received an email about this week’s recall. If not, you may find what you need by reviewing your online shopping history with Amazon or you may want to search for the product names and retailers in your email account. You never know – you may have received a marketing email.

What You Can Do: Always Report Injuries Caused by Defective Products

Manufacturers have a responsibility to thoroughly test products before distribution to consumers. When a defect is uncovered, companies must promptly notify consumers to prevent other injuries. But this doesn’t always happen and it is difficult to hear another defective product has caused injury or death.

Consumers can help protect the public by reporting defective products and injuries as soon as they happen. You can contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or your local police or fire department. If you have been injured by an unsafe product, you should also consult an attorney who specializes in product liability. An attorney can help you report your injuries while investigating and protecting your legal rights should you need to seek compensation later for your medical expenses and recovery.

You should also report past injuries involving any product under recall, even minor injuries. It is about injury prevention and your report may provide the company and the CPSC with relevant information to prevent future injuries.

Free Legal Consultation – Top-Rated Boston Product Liability Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 125 years combined experience obtaining successful results for our clients in personal injury cases in Boston and across Massachusetts. Our firm has extensive experience representing victims of defective products. Read about our recent results in product liability cases.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Cycling dooring accidents

Drivers can use the Dutch Reach and reduce their chances of causing a cyclist a dooring injury. This approach calls on drivers to reach for their door with their right hand, across their body so they have a better view of the road and oncoming cyclists.

Drivers are sharing the road with cyclists as we enjoy August here in Massachusetts. Whether you are at home in the Boston area or vacationing on Cape Cod, we hope you give cyclists extra room when you drive and turn through intersections. We also want to remind you to use the Dutch Reach.

What is the Dutch Reach? It is a simple safety approach to help drivers park, look for cyclists and open their car doors safely. The goal is to prevent dooring injuries to cyclists. Using the Dutch Reach can raise your awareness of cyclists and save you from the trauma and shock of opening a car door into a bike. In our experience, we have heard many drivers say they look for cyclists on the road. But this changes when drivers park; many say they never even saw the cyclist coming.

The Dutch Reach can also save you from having to pay a costly auto insurance claim and fine. Opening a car door and interfering with a cyclist – or a pedestrian – is a traffic offense in Massachusetts. Drivers can be fined $100 for dooring under M.G.L c. 90, § 14.

Five Years of Encouraging the Dutch Reach in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts added an advisory on the Dutch Reach method to its driver’s manual in 2017, with a push from a local safety advocate following a cyclist’s tragic death. The cyclist was killed in a bicycle crash involving a car door in Inman Square in Cambridge in 2016.  Massachusetts was one of the first states to add this advisory, which calls on drivers to park and:

  • Check your rear-view mirrors.
  • Check your side-view mirrors.
  • Open the door with your far hand. 

Drivers should open their doors with their right hand; front-seat passengers should use their left. When you do this, you have a better chance of seeing cyclists approaching from behind. You become more aware of what’s known as the “door zone” and bike lane. By pausing and checking, you are less likely to seriously injure a cyclist in a dooring accident. 

Watch a demonstration:


This approach has become part of the culture in the Netherlands, which has one of the lowest rates for bicycle accidents in the world (Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bicyclist Safety on US Roadways: Crash Risks and Countermeasures, NTSB/SS-19/01). Children learn this approach early and it is covered in driver’s education classes.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all states include Dutch Reach advisories in their driving manuals.  As of 2021, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington and Washington D.C. had all done so, according to the Dutch Reach Project.

Share the Dutch Reach Method With Family and Friends

Try the Dutch Reach next time you drive to the local post office or to pick up dinner. Then take time to share the Dutch Reach with your family members and passengers. Sharing the Dutch Reach may just help someone else in your life, especially during August and September, when many of us are on vacation and driving unfamiliar roads. Or we may be moving into new apartments for the Fall semester in Boston and venturing out. Unfortunately, many drivers and pedestrians do not really see cyclists on the side of the road. We are more focused on the cars and trucks in the traffic lane.

Before we sign off, a few more safety reminders for drivers and car doors. Remember, you have a responsibility to close the car door when you take in groceries or unload your car. You should never block or interfere with the bike lane. Cyclists may see your door open yet still be unable to stop. You could cause not one, but multiple bicycle accidents.

Last, use your cell phone with caution. When you park, you may want to reach right for your phone. More and more, drivers are using mobile apps to pay for parking or to pick-up take out or groceries. Someone may be sending you an alert or two.

But think twice and pause. You want to enjoy the month of August and focus on your September ahead. Reaching for your cell phone can be highly distracting as you exit your vehicle – and seriously injure a cyclist.

Learn About Breakstone, White & Gluck

bwg-1200×628With more than 125 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized as a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm. Our lawyers specialize in representing cyclists and others who have been injured by negligent driving in Boston, Cambridge, Quincy and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured, feel free to contact our firm. We offer a free legal consultation and one of our attorneys will take time to review the facts of your case with you and help you determine whether you have a potential legal claim. You can call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

kidsafe-1200We also invite you to learn more about our Project KidSafe campaign for bike safety, which we began 10 years ago! To date, we have donated over 36,000 free bicycle helmets to children in Boston and across Massachusetts. Our goal with this campaign is to encourage children to protect themselves by wearing a helmet every time they ride.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck recently returned to the Dedham Bike Rodeo and made our 10th annual donation of bike helmets to the children. It was our pleasure to be back and support the Dedham Police Department and Dedham Parks and Recreation Department, which organize the fun event. Attorney Reza Breakstone fit about 80-90 children for new helmets at our Project KidSafe tent.

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We are excited about the summer of 2022 here at Breakstone, White & Gluck. This is the 10th year of our Project KidSafe campaign. Read about a few of our bike helmet donations to children:

The Bike Connector and Lowell Public Schools

Children wearing Project KidSafe bike helmets in Lowell, Massachusetts

Project KidSafe in Lowell: Breakstone, White & Gluck gave each student at Stoklaska Middle School a free helmet to go with their new bike donated by The Bike Connector.

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 300 helmets to The Bike Connector for donations to students in the Lowell Public School system.

We attended one of the giveaways at the Stoklaska Middle School on May 12th and watched as 50 very excited students got to pick out new bikes, then received a free Project KidSafe helmet. The Bike Connector and volunteers collected and refurbished the bikes so the children have the option of riding to school. The middle school is located on Broadway Street, more than a half mile west of Lowell City Hall.

Massachusetts Safe Routes to School

In June, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bike helmets to help students at the Nathaniel Morten Elementary School in Plymouth get ready for summer. The local PTA and a bike shop teamed up for this event and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School provided safety instruction. Two of the topics: the importance of wearing their new Project KidSafe helmets and the ABC Quick Check (air, brakes, chain).

We want to mention – this is the 8th year we have partnered up with Massachusetts Safe Routes to School as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Safe Routes gives our Project KidSafe helmets away to children who need one at bike rodeos and school events, which is a great fit as they teach students about the rules of the road for bicycles. Students leave events with the helmets they need to protect themselves and reduce the risk of injury.

Children receive free Project KidSafe helmets at DIY Bike Rodeo in Medford, June 2022.

Project KidSafe in Medford: Breakstone, White & Gluck donated helmets for the DIY Bike Rodeo with Medford Recreation and Medford Bikes.

Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to continue our partnership with the Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission and Medford Recreation and donate helmets for the children at the DIY Bike Rodeo on June 3rd.

The event was held at Tufts Park, where children had a ½ mile area to practice skills. In addition to a free Project KidSafe helmet, children were also offered free bike lights and safety literature.

Chelsea Bike Rodeo

Breakstone, White & Gluck supported the Chelsea Bike and Pedestrian Committee with a donation to children who participated in the Chelsea Bike Rodeo on June 18th. This was a fun event because children had the opportunity to receive and decorate a free helmet, which we hope encourages them to wear it.

The event was organized by the Chelsea Recreation & Cultural Affairs and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School participated.

Somerville Kiwanis

Kiwanis Club of Somerville

Our support for the Kiwanis Club of Somerville dates back to 2013. There were a few missed years during the pandemic.

So it was great to see the Kiwanis Club members back out at the East Somerville Carnival on June 5th. Members gave away over 200 Project KidSafe helmets to children and other cyclists who needed one, then fit helmets for those who needed help.

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Dog barks at young girl

In Massachusetts, dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control so no one is injured. But families should also be proactive and come up with a summer safety plan to protect children.

Children are naturally curious about dogs. But come summer, it’s important to remember that children, free time and dogs can be a dangerous combination.

In Massachusetts, dog owners have a responsibility to keep pets under their control to prevent a dog bite injury. But they may not always do so and the risk for injury may rise come summer, when children and families have more free time. If a dog attacks, a child could be very seriously injured or even killed.

Dogs attack more often than many of us realize. Each year, more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children suffer at least half of all dog bites and are more likely to be severely injured, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AMVA).

While dog owners should keep control over their pets, here are some steps you can also take to protect young children and try to reduce their risk for injury:

Find out if you live near any dogs

Start by asking your neighbors if they own a dog. Check whether they have adequate fencing.

In Massachusetts, dog owners are required to apply for an annual dog license. Ask your town’s animal control office how many dogs live nearby. Have there been any recent dog bite reports? This can be valuable information as you plan your summer.

Keep children within arm’s length when visiting family and friends who own dogs

Dog near child playing at family gathering

Don’t underestimate small dogs; they can also cause very serious injuries to children

The safest approach may be to invite family and friends over to your home, where you can control the environment. If you end up visiting friends or family members, ask if they have a dog before you visit. Ask how the dog will be secured during your visit.

When you arrive, keep your young child away from the dog. Give your child time to grow and develop social skills with people first. As for older children, watch the situation closely. If the owner lets the pet out, they should be present and have control of their dog. The safest approach is for the owner to keep their dog on a leash.

Watch your child. Stay within arm’s length of your child when a dog is nearby – just as you would if you were supervising a young child in a swimming pool.

Expect your child will want to approach a dog

If a dog ever approaches, you may be surprised at your child’s response. Even if they have no experience with dogs, a child may attempt to pet and play with the animal. Your child may allow a dog close to their face. This is frightening. Many people have large dogs, such as Labradoodles, Golden Retrievers and Pit Bulls. But small breeds also have a strong and fierce bite.

What’s more frightening: the dog may not even need to approach your child. Your child may get very excited just seeing your neighbor’s dog and just run into their backyard.

Never let your guard down because you know your child and have spoken to them about safety near dogs. And never let your guard down because you have seen a dog behave well in other situations.

Build a backyard fence

Put up a backyard fence to protect your child’s play area. Keep your child’s focus away from your neighbors’ yards, pets, pools, floats and landscaping equipment.

Walk with children

Walk with your children and watch them play outside. Be vigilant about this. Schedules change during the summer. Your neighbors may not own a dog, but their guests may bring a pet over for the afternoon.

Park your car when you pick your child up at summer camp or a friend’s house. Walk and meet your child. You can expect at least one dog may live nearby or other parents may take their dogs along to pick up children.

Wild animals are another possibility during the summer. This could be the day a wild animal, such as a coyote, walks out of the woods in search of water or food. If this happens, you want to be there and slowly guide your child away.

What to Consider After a Dog Bite Injury in Massachusetts

Dog bites are traumatic and life-changing for children. These are true emergencies and it is critical to seek immediate medical attention.

Because of their size, children often suffer dog bites to their face and neck, resulting in severe injuries. Dog bites can also be fatal. If a dog bites a child, they can puncture the carotid artery or jugular vein, resulting in a high loss of blood, according to The Mayo Clinic.

It is critical to seek medical attention, even if you believe your child only suffered a small scratch. Have your child’s pediatrician examine them and help you determine if the dog was vaccinated.

Then, there is the question of what type of medical care will your child need and who will pay the medical bills. Children may need to undergo surgery – or multiple procedures – and need ongoing medical care for physical injuries and the emotional trauma.

In Massachusetts, one may file a legal claim against the dog owner to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages, under M.G.L., Chapter 140: Section 155. Most dog owners pay compensation to victims through their homeowner’s insurance policy.

Massachusetts has strict liability when it comes to dog bites. When a dog bites, the victim must prove the dog caused the injury and that the defendant was the owner or keeper of the dog. But one does not have to prove the dog had a history of attacks.

Massachusetts law recognizes that young children cannot appreciate the dangers near dogs. The law presumes the child was not trespassing or teasing an animal at the time of the attack.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 125 years combined experience successfully obtaining record recoveries for clients who have suffered serious dog bites and other injuries. We are here to help clients and families with every aspect of the difficulties they face after the trauma of a dog bite attack. We invite you to read about our results for clients in dog bite cases.

Learn your legal rights after a dog bite or attack. For a free legal consultation, contact the dog bite attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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construction accident fall

Boston has seen a frightening number of injuries and deaths in construction accidents and falls since March.

Boston has seen a number of workers injured and killed in construction accidents and falls since March. The spotlight is now on workplace safety, but construction accidents – especially those involving multi-story buildings – can also endanger pedestrians, cyclists and drivers at street level.

We have seen these dangers before in Boston. In July 2019, a woman was seriously injured by falling debris while taking a morning walk in the North End. According to news reports, the investigation found she was struck by a railing a roofing company had failed to secure atop a 5-story building nearby.

Another serious accident happened back in 2006, when two workers on an Emerson College project fell 14 floors in a scaffolding accident. The construction platform fell, suddenly hitting and killing a doctor driving by.

As a pedestrian, you may not be aware you are walking past construction work. Not every project has signs or pedestrian protection tunnels. Some projects may be smaller than others, with just a few workers.

Unfortunately, you really have no way of knowing if a construction company is following safety protocols inside a building. Because of this, it is critical for construction companies to take steps and protect workers and the public.

Timeline: 2022 Construction Accidents in Boston

Worker Dies in Parking Garage Collapse. In March, a construction worker fell nine stories and died after a concrete slab collapsed in the Government Center Parking Garage, according to a NBC Boston report.

Worker Injured in Power Plant. On May 4, a worker was seriously injured under a floor collapse at the former Thomas Edison Power Plant on Summer Street. Nearly 100 firefighters played a role in the massive response, according to news reports. Two other workers escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.

Worker Falls in South End. On May 5, another worker was reportedly injured when he fell 30 feet at a construction site in Boston’s South End.

Truck Driver Killed in Construction Accident. One person was pronounced dead at a construction site in the Seaport District on the morning of June 9th. CBS News reported the victim was driving a truck which had been hauling large pieces of concrete. Another person was reportedly injured.

Construction Companies Have a Responsibility to Use Fall Protection

Under state and federal laws, construction companies are responsible for providing a reasonably safe work environment. Under OSHA guidelines, companies have a responsibility to provide working conditions free of known dangers, to keep floors in a safe condition; and provide workers with the proper equipment and training.

Falls are the leading cause of work-related death on construction sites, according to the CDC.

OSHA specifically requires employers to ensure employees have fall protection.

This applies to all workers, not just construction workers. Fall protection must be at least four feet in general industry, five feet in shipyards and six feet in the construction industry, according to the OSHA website.

Construction workers must have fall protections to support their assignments and machinery, regardless of how high up they are. Employers have a responsibility to provide fall protection for crane operators, just as they do workers on street level, though the tools and approaches will vary.

Depending on the assignment, fall protection may include safety harness and lines, safety nets or stair railings. Guardrails and toe-boards are additional tools to prevent construction site falls and injuries.

By taking these steps, construction companies can protect workers and prevent construction site accidents and injuries. By extension, this helps protect the public and pedestrians passing by as well.

A Responsibility to Protect Workers Against Struck-By Injuries

Struck-by injuries are the second leading cause of fatal injuries among construction workers, according to the CDC.  These injuries occur when a worker is struck by a vehicle, equipment or a falling object.

Construction companies can reduce the risk of struck-by injuries by utilizing barriers to separate different parts of the construction site and to separate the work area from the public.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers Who Specialize in Construction Accidents

Experience matters when you hire a personal injury lawyer. Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 125 years combined experience successfully obtaining record recoveries for our clients who have been injured by negligence in Massachusetts. We provide aggressive representation to workers, family members and others after construction accidents and premises liability accidents.

To learn more, we invite you to read our past case results for clients and to contact us to learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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