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Scottsdale Bicyclist Critically Injured After Being Hit by Car

Bicycling is becoming increasingly popular among adults in the Valley, yet many motorists continue to ignore the rights of cyclists to ride in the roads. This can lead to dangerous situations where a collision between a cyclist and a vehicle can occur, often resulting in serious or even fatal injuries to the cyclist.

When an accident leaves an injured victim, whether that victim is in a car, on a bicycle, or walking as a pedestrian, the victim may be entitled under Phoenix and Arizona laws to bring a claim against the responsible person for their damages. Often, this includes any medical bills incurred by the victim and any pain and suffering that results from injuries. Lawyers in the Valley can help victims determine whether they may be able to bring a claim after a bicycle accident.

It appears that one such tragic bicycle accident occurred in Scottsdale on Tuesday where a bicyclist and a car collided. Police are still investigating the incident but at this time, it appears that the car and the cyclist were traveling in the same direction on Thomas Road in the area of 58th Street when a collision occurred. Police suspect that the driver of the car may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of impact in violation of local and state laws.

It is not clear whether the driver of the car was injured but the bicyclist was critically hurt and was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries. The accident halted traffic in the area for several hours.
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Bicyclist Killed While Riding in El Tour de Tucson

Most people who have spent time in Tucson realize that bicycling is a popular activity and that the town is well-designed to accommodate cycling by those of all ages. Daily ridership makes up a large portion of all rides of the year but special events draw much of the attention. One of these, El Tour de Tucson, has been popular with riders across the state for years.

Annually, El Tour de Tucson draws over 9,000 bicyclists of all ages to participate in the activities. The main race is 107 miles long though shorter routes of 87, 57, and 38 miles are also available. The event requires riders to bike in the street but local police are present at all intersections to make the trip as safe as possible for all cyclists involved and those drivers that happen upon the race.

In the history of El Tour de Tucson, only a few incidents between riders and motorists have occurred and prior to this year, only one was fatal, leading to little need for riders to be concerned about their safety and the need for a bicycle accident lawyer. However this may no longer be the case as another tragic incident occurred that left a cyclist dead in this year’s race.

Authorities believe that a 59-year-old Tucson resident was participating in the race and was riding in a designated bicycle lane marked for El Tour de Tucson on Saturday afternoon when a car driven by an elderly man began to approach. For an unknown reason, the car was traveling in the lane marked for bicycle traffic only and was rapidly gaining on the rider.

The driver collided with the rear of the bicycle ridden by the Tucson man, throwing the bicyclist to the ground and fatally injuring him along a frontage road to Interstate 10 near Sunset. It does not appear that the driver of the car, reported as a Nissan Leaf, was impaired at the time of the collision but there has been no explanation as to why the man was driving in a bicycle lane designated and enclosed by cones.
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Plans in Place for a Valley Bike Share Program

Bike share programs have been popular and successful overseas for some time now but only recently have they been cropping up around this country, landing in large, urban markets and bringing non-motorized transportation to millions. The prime example of this has been Capital Bikeshare, the bike sharing program in Washington, D.C. that has been widely used by residents and tourists alike seeking another way to get around town without the expense of a taxi, inconvenience of a car, or limitations of public transit.

Yet as bike accident lawyers in Arizona and across the nation know, Washington D.C., once the outlier in this segment, is starting to become the norm. In fact, Denver, Colorado was the first large city to install a bike share program back in April of 2010. Since then, bike shares have put down roots in New York City, Chicago, Miami Beach, Boulder, Boston, Minneapolis, Columbus, and Salt Lake City, to name a few. This list is growing every year and come 2014, Phoenix will add its name to the metropolitan areas offering bike shares.

Before you can understand the implications of a Phoenix bike share program, it is important to grasp the basic concepts of what a bike share program is and how it functions. In its simplest terms, a bike share program is a group of bicycles available for public rental, either by the hour, day, week, or year, depending on where you live and what subscription you use. The bikes are generally found at unmanned docking stations that also serve to “lock” the bikes when not in use, preventing theft or damage to the equipment. Anyone who wants to rent a bicycle can do so through the use of a debit or credit card and can ride the bike as they please until they no longer need it, returning it to the same docking station it was found or to any other participating docking station. The check-out time and check-in time are used to calculate any charges which are billed to the card on file.

Phoenix’s bike share program is set to function in a similar fashion. Named Grid Bike Share, the bikes will initially be present in Phoenix and will then expand to offer locations in Mesa and Tempe as well. The bikes can be located and rented using a smart phone app or by going online to the bike share’s website once the program officially begins. By spring of 2014, approximately 1,000 bikes should be available for rental at $5 per hour, $30 per month, or $79 dollars per year.
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Guilty Plea from Man Who Killed Doctor on Bicycle, Fled Scene

The man charged with hitting and killing a neurologist had pleaded guilty to the offense, according to local authorities. The plea stems from an October incident in Fountain Hills where a 38-year-old neurologist was riding his bicycle in a bicycle lane of Shea Boulevard. A driver in a Chevrolet pickup truck approached the bicyclist from behind and struck him, then the truck driver fled the scene.

An eye witness saw the crash and saw the truck driver stop near 134th Street, exit his truck and examine it, as if he was looking for damage. The driver re-entered his car and continued on his way without ever checking on the cyclist or without calling authorities. Fortunately, the eye witness noted the truck’s make, model, and license plate number and called 911. Police officers were able to track the truck driver by the license plate and arrested the 33-year-old man who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. The defendant was charged with felony leaving the scene of a fatal traffic crash and on Friday, he pleaded guilty. He is awaiting sentencing which is currently set for September 6.

Initially, after his arrest, the defendant told police officers that his truck was damaged in a parking lot where he worked. He later said that he thought he hit a barricade on the way home. The victim died at the scene of the accident from his injuries, and police later disclosed his identity as a well-respected neurologist at St. Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He is survived by a wife and other family members.

Arizona law makes it a crime to leave the scene of an accident before speaking with police. Doing so it not only illegal but it can be deadly. If another person is injured in a crash to the point that they cannot call for help, a fleeing driver may leave that victim with no chance at medical attention until it is too late.
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Phoenix To Get a Bike Share Program

Residents and visitors to Phoenix may soon have a new option to travel around the city. Reports indicate that Phoenix is planning to start a bike share program locally and hopes to launch it by December.

Bike shares have become increasingly popular across the nation. With major programs in some of the biggest cities, it is not surprising that Phoenix is showing an interest as well. With a focus on alternative transportation as well as low-cost travel, a bike share program may be a great option for many in Phoenix.

Bike sharing allows people who want to borrow a bicycle to check one out or rent one from a designated location. Most use docking stations that operate automatically so that there are no labor costs associated with the individual stations. A bicyclist is usually required to pay with a debit or credit card so that the user can be tracked in the even a bicycle is lost or damaged. The rider checks out a bicycle from one station, rides to their desired location, and returns the bicycle to another station. Some cities charge a fee based on an individual ride while others offer unlimited rides for a monthly or yearly subscription.

Phoenix plans to begin with about 500 bicycles but hopes to expand to around 2,000 bikes. Pricing information has not yet been released but city officials have suggested that it will be an affordable option for many in the valley.

In addition to providing cheap and efficient transportation, bicycles provide an option to get physical exercise while traveling. Additionally, one of the biggest benefits may be the lack of pollution produced by bicycles when compared with other means of transit, specifically private cars. While the mountains surrounding the valley create a picturesque view, unfortunately they trap smog and other pollutants in the valley’s air, lowering the air quality. Experts believe that cars, trucks, and vans contribute significantly to this problem and that reducing these vehicles is an effective way to improve air quality.
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Ride of Silence Hits Valley in Remembrance of Bicyclists

Mesa and Gilbert will see hundreds of cyclists take to the streets tonight for Ride of Silence, an international movement to highlight those injured and killed while cycling. The silent ride will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Mountain View Park in Mesa and will follow an 11 mile route south to Freestone Park in Gilbert before finishing back at Mountain View.

Ride of Silence began in 2003 in Dallas, Texas after a cyclist was killed by a passing bus. The ride is open to the public and free to join with no registration needed. Cyclists all over the globe are encouraged to band together for a silent ride in honor and memory of those bicyclists who have been injured or killed in accidents.

The idea behind Ride of Silence is to draw attention to the cycling community so that motorists are more aware of cyclists and their use of the roads. If more motorists are aware of bikes and are actively alert for riders, the belief is that fewer collisions will occur, resulting in fewer bicyclists being injured or killed in Arizona and across the world.

Organizers have several rides throughout Arizona scheduled all for 7:00 p.m. tonight as May 15 has been the designated date for northern hemisphere rides. Participating groups in the southern hemisphere are preparing for rides to take place on Saturday which is also used for northern cities that experience inclement weather tonight.

As the goal of the ride is to increase awareness and safety, all participants are encouraged to wear bicycle helmets and to follow all local laws during the ride. As the name suggests, there is no chanting, shouting, or even quiet talking during the trip – riders are encouraged to remain silent so their presence as a unified group makes the statement as opposed to individualized words from the riders themselves.

Bicycle safety is a major concern in Arizona where 1,910 bicycle crashes occurred in 2011. Of those collisions, 1,586 resulted in injuries and 23 crashes proved fatal. The most common causes of death among bicyclists are head and brain injuries but broken bones, internal injuries, cuts and scrapes, and puncture wounds are also relatively common. The best way to avoid crashes is to ride defensively and always wear a helmet. The fact is that even though motorists should always be cautious of cyclists, many are not and collisions often occur.


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ADOT Reviews School Zone Safety to Help Reduce Risks of Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents in Arizona

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), bicycle and pedestrian safety in school zones should be a top priority of all travelers. Local, state and federal officials oftentimes encourage biking and walking to school for a healthy lifestyle, but the safety of these young ones is oftentimes overlooked. Our state has continuously been a leader in providing safe school areas for our young students to help reduce the risks of bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Arizona. Now we’re turning the attention towards motorists because without cooperation from these individuals, the safety net that school zones are supposed to provide means nothing.Arizona established low speeds in school zones different than any other state in the country. The system that we use was established back in 1950. Our state pushes a uniform application of a 15 miles per hour speed limit in all school zones from kindergarten through eighth grade. There’s a problem though! These speed limits can’t just be used at crosswalks that are policed by either stop signs or traffic signals. Under the current law, only portable signs and crosswalk markings can be used to enact a 15 mph speed limit. So to get this speed limit, employees set up and remove these devices to get passing traffic to slow down. Normal traffic flow is resumed during non-school hours and when signs are removed.

Our Phoenix bicycle accident lawyers understand that each school zone with a 15 mph speed limit is marked with a fluorescent yellow-green pentagon-shaped warning sign. After this permanent sign is where the portable signs are placed that read, “”NO PASSING, 15 MPH, FINES DOUBLED, SCHOOL IN SESSION.” These portable signs are located from 75 to about 300 feet before the fluorescent sign. The portable signs are posted where the reduced speed limit begins. Drivers are asked to be extremely cautious in these areas. The portable signs are brought out when children are expected to be around school and crossing the street, whether it be on foot or on a bicycle. Reduced speeds are enacted to help to protect our school-aged children. All motorists are asked to be extremely cautious when traveling near schools, whether there are warning signs or not.

In these reduced-speed areas, it’s important that drivers don’t pass other vehicles. Signs in these areas will also alert drivers to stop when children are in the crosswalk. In school areas, drivers are required by law to stop for anyone and everyone using the crosswalk.

Arizona doesn’t use “School Zone Ends” signs either.

Motorists are asked to be extremely cautious when traveling through these areas. Remember that while our students are at increased risks for pedestrian accidents during this time, the crossing guard is the most vulnerable.

Remember that your safe driving habits shouldn’t end in school zones either. When it’s that time of the year and students are back in school, drivers should exercise extreme caution when driving through residential neighborhoods and round school buses as well.

Drivers should be cautious when traveling near big-yellow school buses. Always stop when a bus is stopped. Officers are out in full force making sure that travel is safe for our young students.

To help you to drive safely in these areas, please curb all the distractions. Hang up the cell phone, text message later and groom yourself before you leave the house. By working together, we can all make a difference in the safety of our school children.
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Make Your New Year’s Resolution to Reduce Risks of Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents in Phoenix

It’s a new year and it’s time for some new resolutions. Our Phoenix pedestrian accident attorneys asked all residents to make their New Year’s resolutions to be safer travelers on our roadways. We would like to remind you that being a good driver, pedestrian and bicyclist involves keeping a close eye out for others traveling on the same roadway. Compassion and caution can help to make our roadways safer for everyone.Bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Phoenix happen all too often because of driver inattention. It’s very important for drivers to share the road safely with pedestrians and bicyclists as they’re extremely vulnerable travelers. There are a few simple safety tips that can help travelers to more safely navigate our Phoenix roadways and to avoid a potentially fatal accident.

Safety Tips for Bicyclers, from the City of Phoenix:

-Bicyclists who are under the age of 8 should never be allowed to ride alone. These young riders should always ride on a sidewalk, too.

-Make sure that both of your feet can touch the ground (flat) when sitting on the bicycle’s seat.

-Use a crosswalk when crossing a street.

-Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

-Always ride your bike with the flow of traffic.

-Be sure to obey all traffic signals and signs.

-Never ride with more than one person to a bike. Bicycles that have one seat and one handlebar were meant for one person.

-Be on the lookout for broken glass, sticks, rocks and other dangerous debris in the roadway while biking.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 120 pedestrians who died in the state of Arizona in 2009. With efforts from both motorists and from pedestrians, we can all do our part to keep the roadways safe for everyone. Drivers need to be cautious of our on-foot travelers while pedestrians need to be cautious of where and when they walk while navigating the city.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that in the next 24 hours, nearly 325 people across the country will be sent to an emergency room because of pedestrian-related injuries. In the next 2 hours, the CDC predicts that at least one person will die from a traffic-related pedestrian accident.

According to recent statistics, male pedestrians are more likely to be injured or to be killed in a traffic-related pedestrian accident.

Safety Tips to Help Pedestrians Avoid an Accident:

-Always cross the street at a designated crosswalk.

-Even when using a crosswalk, pedestrians need to be careful of nearby cars as they may not always yield to the right-of-way to a pedestrian.

-When walking at night, be sure to wear reflective tape on your clothing or to carry a flashlight with you so that you can be easily seen by passing motorists.

-Your best bet is so walk on a sidewalk. If there’s no sidewalk available and you need to walk in the street, do so facing oncoming traffic.

We all need to make the effort to make 2012 the safest year yet on our roadways. These safe roadways start with you and your commitment to be a better and safer traveler. Happy 2012 and we hope you make one of your New Year’s resolutions to be more aware of travelers on our Phoenix roadways.
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ADOT reports significant reduction in Arizona auto accidents in 2010

Arizona car crashes were significantly down in 2010, according to the Arizona Department of Transporation. Fatalities dropped by around 5.5% from the year before. There were a total of 106,177 accidents, down nearly 1% from 107,094 in 2009, and down from 143,503 in 2006. The amount of accidents in Arizona has dropped every year since 2006.

People say there are several possible reasons to the reductions, such as red light cameras or better vehicle safety devices, but this is really just speculation.

Here are some other 2010 highlights: Of the 106,000 plus accidents in the state, 698 crashes were fatal, or 0.66%, with a total of 762 people killed. Nearly one third, or 33,195 of the accidents resulted in injuries, with a total of 50,110 people injured. Of the 762 people who lost their lives, 406 were drivers, 182 were passengers, 155 were pedestrians and 19 were bicyclists.

The total number of bike riders injured was down by almost 4 percent, and bicycle fatalities were way down by 24 percent. Pedestrian injuries were down by over 5 percent, however pedestrian fatalities increased by a whopping 27.05%. This was the only significant increase reported.

ADOT also reported the following:

Just over 2 people were killed per day;

137.19 persons were hurt every day;

Crashes where alcohol played a role represented just over 5 percent of all crashes and just over 30 percent of all fatal crashes;

Single car accidents represented 17.42 percent of all crashes and 41.12 percent of accidents involving fatalities;

10.77% of pedestrian accidents were fatal, while only .99% of bike accidents were fatal;

73.6% of accidents took place during daylight hours;

Minors ages 14 and under sustained 31 fatalities and 3,881 injuries;

Auto accidents caused $2.668 billion in economic losses to the State of Arizona; and
Just under 80 percent of accidents occurred in urban areas.

A story interviewed someone from an auto body shop who stated that the decline in accidents is a possible reason as to why the collision repair industry as a whole has seen a drop in business. This has occurred even though there has been a gradual increase in miles traveled across the country.

Whatever the reason for the steady decline in Phoenix area injury accidents, I would think we would all agree that it’s a good thing. That being said, there will obviously continue to be collisions where Arizona residents get hurt.
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