Articles Posted in Bike Safety

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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, Mass.gov
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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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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Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated bike helmets to support the International Institute of New England and Bikes Not Bombs as they work to collect bikes for Afghan refugees.

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 60 bicycle helmets to support the International Institute of New England (IINE) and community groups as they give Afghan refugees bikes for transportation.

IINE has been working with many companies, organizations and individuals to help Afghan refugees resettle in the Boston area. IINE and Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain are now seeking donations of used adult bicycles (in good or repairable condition). Bikes Not Bombs and other volunteers will conduct safety checks and make minor repairs before bikes are distributed to those in need.

Each bike will be given away with a helmet, lock, light, and bike safety literature. Bikes Not Bombs will donate free bike lights and provide discounted bike locks while Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated a supply of helmets. MassBike helped IINE prepare the bike literature in the Dari and Pashtu languages. Others, such as Rozzie Bikes and Temple Emmanuel of Newton, have also been involved or have expressed interest in collecting bikes or supporting the effort, IINE’s volunteer coordinator said. The organization is not sure how many bikes they will need or ultimately give away over the next few months.

According to Bikes Not Bombs and IINE, hundreds of refugees have arrived since the fall of Afghanistan and are in need of assistance to be mobile in their communities, to access various resources, and to commute to work — all vital first steps towards self-sufficiency.

“Breakstone, White & Gluck is happy to provide bike helmets to families who are making new lives in America after having recently escaped from Afghanistan,” said Attorney Ron Gluck of Breakstone, White & Gluck. “We hope that these families enjoy safe riding and have a peaceful transition to their new surroundings in the Boston area.”

“The refugees have a real need for bicycles,” said Alan Wright of Rozzie Bikes, who is repairing bikes along with Bikes Not Bombs. “Transportation is a big barrier. In the first few months, the refugees have to get to doctor’s appointments, go out and do groceries and attend English as a Second Language classes. Then they need to find work. And it can take six months to get a driver’s license.”

Bikes Not Bombs and IINE are collecting adult bikes which are in good or repairable condition. If you are interested in donating a bike, please fill out the IINE’s form: https://iine.wufoo.com/forms/z6cvn5q0go3y5q/.

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Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business award

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Breakstone, White & Gluck as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business.

BOSTON – (February 2022) – The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized Breakstone, White & Gluck with a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) award for the second time. Breakstone, White & Gluck joins 34 other bicycle-friendly businesses in Massachusetts and is one of just two law firms recognized in New England. The League announced the awards in late January.

Breakstone, White & Gluck was recognized for its Project KidSafe campaign and 10 years of building strong community partnerships to reach low-income children and others with bicycle helmets. Breakstone, White & Gluck and its community partners – over 50 police departments, bike committees and local groups – have now given away over 33,000 bicycle helmets to children since 2013.

“We congratulate Breakstone, White & Gluck, which is most definitely a bicycle-friendly business worth celebrating,” said Galen Mook, executive director of MassBike. “Through the Project KidSafe campaign, the firm has given away thousands of helmets to help protect children and other cyclists, while also helping many groups organize community events that focus on cycling. This award is recognition for all the collaborations.”

By donating free helmets, Breakstone, White & Gluck wants to encourage children to wear a helmet– every time they ride.

“It’s critical that children have a helmet and wear one every time they ride a bike to protect against head injuries,” said David W. White, Marc L. Breakstone and Ronald E. Gluck. “A child’s brain is going to take them through life so we want them to have fun riding but to always protect themselves.”

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Breakstone, White & Gluck partners with the Quincy Police Department on bike safety since 2017. See more photos.

Support for Police Departments

The law firm has committed to supporting police departments with helmet donations through its Project KidSafe campaign. In 2021, the firm partnered with police departments in Boston, Cambridge, Quincy, Everett, Lynn, Brockton, Randolph, Dedham, Norwood, Waltham and Arlington.

With the Project KidSafe donations, the Lynn Police Department has given away free helmets to children at community events, such as the Latino Festival and at the local YMCA. In 2021, the department hosted a Bicycle Safety Day for children age 11 and younger.

“The donations have helped us give a lot of helmets to children who needed one, who may not have otherwise had one,” said Lynn Police Chief Christopher P. Reddy. “The helmets have also helped us engage the kids in a positive way and promote safety.”

Support for Schools and Community Groups

The firm’s partners include MassBikeMassachusetts Safe Routes to School and Bikes Not Bombs of Jamaica Plain, which teaches children and teens how to build their own bikes through its Bike School. Students get to take the bikes home and Breakstone, White & Gluck gives each student a free helmet to encourage safe riding.

Safe Routes to School uses the Project KidSafe donation to give students in low-income communities a helmet so they can participate in school bike rodeos, special programming and events, such as the Lawrence Ciclovia.

“The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program is appreciative of the ongoing partnership with Project KidSafe. Through their annual helmet donation, our Program is able to provide 400 helmets to students in low-income communities as they go through our bike safety trainings,” said Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program Director, Diane Hanson. “Making sure our students have the right equipment and knowledge to stay safe while biking to and from school is one of the main goals for our Program.”

Last year, as part of the collaboration, Breakstone, White & Gluck teamed up with Safe Routes to School to donate helmets to support the Framingham Public Schools and local businesses and organizations, which surprised 100 middle school students with new bikes so they had another way of getting to school. COVID-19 restrictions had limited seating capacity on school buses. The partnership included the United Way of Tri-County, Jewish Family Services of MetroWest, 1854 Cycling and Crimson Bikes.

Bicycle helmet donations to children in Lawrence

Safe Routes to School distributes free Project KidSafe helmets at the Lawrence Ciclovia.

In Lowell, Breakstone, White & Gluck has partnered with The Bike Connector, a non-profit, volunteer and community-based program which refurbishes and donates bikes to children and families who need one. The Bike Connector was initially founded to help high school students find affordable and reliable transportation, but now helps more family members.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to Breakstone, White & Gluck and their Project KidSafe campaign,” said Wade Rubenstein, founder and president of The Bike Connector in Lowell. “With the firm’s support, The Bike Connector has been able to give away 600 bikes with helmets to help children and families in Lowell over the past two years.”

Rubenstein continued, “It’s been a great relief to be able to cross this need off our list. We can focus on finding and repairing bikes to help as many people as we can, and to building our local community partnerships to help us connect with families in need. Families often need a few bikes, as well as helmets to ride safely. We are really thankful.”

Support for Bike Clubs and Bike Events in Boston

Mattapan on Wheels 2021

Attorney Reza Breakstone with Shavel’le Olivier of Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition at Mattapan on Wheels in 2021.

In addition to its work to protect children, Breakstone, White & Gluck was recognized for more than 20 years of supporting bicycle clubs and safety advocacy organizations, including MassBikeBoston Cyclists UnionCharles River WheelersNortheast Bicycle Club and the New England Mountain Bicycle Association (NEMBA).

Over the past few years, Breakstone, White & Gluck also began new donations and has participated in Mattapan on Wheels and the National Bike to Work Festival on Boston City Hall Plaza. These special events offer many cyclists – students and commuters as well as families – their first experience on a bike in Boston. Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated helmets to help cyclists get started riding safely.

“Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (MFFC) is grateful for our partnership with Breakstone, White & Gluck and their donations of helmets every year,” said Shavel’le Olivier, executive director of the coalition, which organizes the Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-Thon. “We strive to bring more awareness to alternative ways to get around Mattapan and being able to distribute helmets helps residents feel much safer and may encourage them to ride their bikes a little more.”

About The League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists is leading a movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone and celebrates businesses that encourage and support cycling through the Bicycle Friendly Business Program. With its recent announcement, the League has now honored 1,471 businesses since 2008.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC

Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm that specializes in personal injury law. The firm has been consistently recognized for its results and was recently recognized again with Tier 1 rankings in personal injury and medical malpractice law in the 2022 edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.”

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Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business awardWe have exciting news to share. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Breakstone, White & Gluck with a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business Award for the second time. This year, Breakstone, White & Gluck proudly joins 34 other bicycle-friendly businesses in Massachusetts and is one of just two law firms recognized in New England.

Breakstone, White & Gluck was honored for our Project KidSafe campaign and 10 years of building strong community partnerships to reach low-income children and others who need a helmet. Our firm was also recognized for supporting cycling groups and events that encourage cycling and safety in Boston, including the National Bike to Work Festival and the Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-Thon.

As Breakstone, White & Gluck is recognized, we want to thank our community partners and celebrate the close partnerships we have built with you to protect children on bikes.

 

Thanks to Our Project KidSafe Community Partners!

Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign for bike safetyWe want to thank all our past and present Project KidSafe community partners. To date, Breakstone, White & Gluck has partnered with over 50 police departments, bike committees, school groups and local organizations to reach low-income children and others who need helmets.

Together, since 2013, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our community partners have now given away more than 33,000 helmets to protect children.

2021 was one of our best years yet. We continued supporting our community partners in bike rodeos and community events, watching you draw high participation from all your work to promote events. We continued our donations to local police departments and Safe Routes to School, while also working to support our newest donations in Brockton and Lowell.

Now, in 2022, we look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary of Project KidSafe with you as we support your helmet giveaways.

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Thanks to Our 2021 Community Partners!

  • MassBike
  • Massachusetts Safe Routes to School
  • Bikes Not Bombs
  • Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition
  • Bikes Not Bombs
  • The Bike Connector
  • Medford Bikes
  • Canton Farmers Market
  • Ashland Farmers Market
  • Dedham Bike Rodeo
  • Friends of Lexington Bikeways
  • Worcester Earn a Bike
  • Milton Bike
  • Clinton Park and Recreation Department
  • Somerville Groundworks
  • Quincycles

Thanks to Our 2021 Police Department Partners!

  • Boston Police
  • Cambridge Police
  • Quincy Police
  • Everett Police
  • Lynn Police
  • Randolph Police
  • Brockton Police
  • Norwood Police
  • Waltham Police
  • Dedham Police
  • Arlington Police

Thanks to Our Other Partners!

  • Boston Cyclists Union
  • National Bike to Work Festival
  • Mattapan on Wheels
  • Charles River Wheelers
  • Northeast Bicycle Club
  • New England Mountain Bike Association
  • CYCLE Kids
  • Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward

Project KidSafe Highlight: the Lynn Police Department

Lynn Police Bicycle Safety Day

Bicycle Safety Day in Lynn, 2021.

In 2021, we watched the Lynn Police Department host a Bicycle Safety Day, using our helmets as the foundation for the fun event. Our attorneys couldn’t be more pleased with how this event came out – or how many children participated.

Breakstone, White & Gluck began a community partnership with Lynn Police in 2018. During the first few years, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the bicycle helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign and officers gave the helmets away to children and families at community events, such as the Latino Festival, and at the YMCA.

Officers were reaching children. But Lynn Police wanted an opportunity to spend more time on bike safety. Knowing Breakstone, White & Gluck would donate helmets, Lynn Police began making plans and reaching out to other local businesses for support. Lynn Police went on and hosted the Bicycle Safety Day last July outside a local school. We are told the children really enjoyed the afternoon, which included an obstacle course!

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Attorney Reza Breakstone at bicycle helmet donation event in Mattapan. 2021-07-24-mattapan-on-wheels-350-3 2021-07-24-mattapan-on-wheels-350-4 2021-07-24-mattapan-on-wheels-350-5 2021-07-24-mattapan-on-wheels-350-6 2021-mattapan-on-wheels-350-1-3

On Saturday morning, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to join the cyclists who came out for the 11th Annual Mattapan on Wheels Bike-a-Thon.

Our law firm gave away helmets to cyclists of all ages who took the ride as part of our Project KidSafe campaign to protect against head injuries. Attorney Reza Breakstone was out fitting the helmets at our Project KidSafe tent.

Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (MFFC) and the Vigorous Youth host the popular event each year and with Mother Nature on their side, there was a strong turnout, with 106 cyclists participating.

The goal of the Mattapan on Wheels event is to have fun and encourage cycling. Cyclists are given all the tools they need to participate. They can sign up to borrow a bike from the Blue Bikes rideshare or Boston Bikes, a City of Boston program.

Breakstone, White & Gluck also donates helmets, so this is truly an event open to anyone who wants to come out and try cycling in this part of the city or along the Lower Neponset River Trail.

Participants had their choice of bike routes. The 8-mile family ride traveled out to Tenean Beach in Dorchester. The 10-mile intermediate ride encouraged both sightseeing and riding on city roads. Cyclists were introduced to the new protected bike lanes along Cummings Highway and American Legion Highway.

The experienced ride was a scenic 13-mile route to Wollaston Beach in Quincy.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck and Our Project KidSafe Campaign

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of encouraging cyclists to wear a helmet every time they ride. By taking this important step, you can focus on enjoying your bike and protect against the risk of head injury.

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