Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

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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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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 or on top of 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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pedestrian hit by a carAccidents can catch us off guard, leave us disoriented, and make it difficult for us to figure out what to do next. You may be walking home when a vehicle comes speeding by, and suddenly, you’re the pedestrian hit by a car.

We cannot stress the importance of taking the right course of action in that scenario enough. Failing to do so could lead to you facing danger or potentially missing out on the compensation you deserve.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to do if you are the pedestrian hit by a car. Keep the following tips in mind because they could end up helping while you’re in a tough spot.

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