Bicycle Safety: Learn to Bike Defensively

When Tom purchased a new bike, he decided to do some research about bicycle safety. He wanted to learn about the top causes of bicycle accidents.

Sometime later, while riding his new bicycle in the bike lane of a busy, downtown street, Tom noticed a vehicle approaching from a side street. He kept his attention focused on three things—traffic behind him, traffic ahead of him, and the vehicle approaching from the right. Tom assumed the driver was not going to come to a full stop at the stop sign, but instead would pull out in front of him.

In researching bicycle safety, Tom was prepared for what most people would consider the unthinkable. His newly acquired safety awareness prompted him to slow down and swerve to the right just in time to avoid a collision. But he didn’t escape completely unharmed–Tom’s bike slammed into a concrete block and he flew through the air, landing on his back.

Although the driver did as Tom had anticipated, he didn’t need an explanation from the driver to understand what had likely just happened.

By keeping an eye on the street behind him, Tom had noticed there was a break in traffic. Tom guessed the driver was impatient and might decide to make a right turn before another wave of traffic could cause him a delay, which is exactly what happened.

The driver accelerated and quickly pulled onto the street, running the stop sign and cutting off the approaching bicyclist.

Tucson Bicycle Accident Statistics

According to Tucson Bicycle Crash Database, the top intersections for bicycle accidents are Grant and Alvernon and Grant and Mountain. The intersections at 22nd Street and Kolb Road and First Avenue and Ft. Lowell Road are tied for second most dangerous for cyclists. The worst time of day for bicycle accidents are during rush hour, between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.

TBCD reports that in Tucson, the following are the most common types of bicycle/vehicle collisions:

23% – Right-turning vehicle with a bicyclist riding on the wrong side of the street;

17% – Bicyclist and vehicle colliding in an intersection;

13.4% – Left-hook where a motorist makes a left turn at an intersection and does not see the approaching bicyclist;

12.6% – Right-hook where the motorist makes a right turn directly in front of the bicyclist.

To learn more about the most frequent types of bicycle accidents in Tucson, visit Tucson Bicycle Crash Database.

Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program

The Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, launched to promote bicycle use and safety, offers free bicycle training, support and equipment to local residents.

During November and December the program will be offering free bicycle classes:

UA Area Bike Ride                          Nov 9 and Dec 1

Get Back on Your Bike                   Nov 14 and Dec 19

Mountain Bike Classes                  Nov 7

Traffic Skills 101                              Two-part classes starting Nov 10

Traffic Skills 101 for Women          Dec 10 and Dec 12

To help people who are new to bicycling or need a refresher to become more confident bike riders, the Bike Buddy Program offers one-on-one support and training with experienced bicycle instructors.

For more information or to sign up for the free bicycle classes or the Bike Buddy program, call 520-724-2453.



Hollingsworth Kelly Wins $3.5 Million Verdict in Child Abuse Case

The father of a fatally abused toddler was awarded $3.5 million in Santa Cruz County after a jury found the child’s maternal grandfather, step-grandmother, and biological mother negligently contributed to his death. The father was represented by Tucson personal injury attorneys Louis Hollingsworth and Michael Kelly.

The defendant grandfather, a practicing physician in Nogales, Sonora, was sued for his participation in negligently directing the child’s healthcare into Mexico, where doctors who examined him were personal friends or acquaintances of his, and who did not make any contemporaneous medical reports of the consultations.

Plaintiff, a young father, and his girlfriend had broken up in August 2010, and she and the couple’s 18-month-old son moved in with her father and his wife, who lived in Rio Rico, Arizona. Three months later around Thanksgiving, the child began to suffer suspicious injuries, including a subgaleal hematoma behind the right ear and a black eye.

In January 2011, the child suffered a suspicious horizontal cut of the left wrist, which the defendant grandfather bandaged. By early February 2011 the child had suffered a spiral fracture of the left tibia, suspicious for child abuse. Shortly after this injury, Plaintiff father called CPS, initiating an investigation which resulted in a finding of no abuse.

Soon after, the mother moved with the child to Mexico with her new boyfriend. After suffering additional injuries, including a broken right tibia and a refracturing of his left tibia, on April 20, 2011, the child suffered fatal injuries to the skull. Evidence suggests the mother’s new boyfriend may have been responsible for the injuries.

“Our theory of the case involved the grandfather’s statutory duty to report suspected child abuse based on the fact that he rendered treatment to the child, and the fact that the child was living under his care,” said Mr. Hollingsworth. “These factors required reporting of suspicious injury to CPS or law enforcement.”

The jury found the doctor to be 60 percent liable, his wife, a paid caregiver of the child, was found 30 percent liable, and the mother of the child was found 10 percent liable. No liability was found against the abuser boyfriend, and in fact no evidence was presented of any wrongdoing on his part.

The mother of the child and the boyfriend are serving prison sentences in Nogales, Sonora.


Pledge to Stop on Red

How often have you noticed another vehicle speeding past you or accelerating through a yellow light, only to find both of you waiting at the next stop?

Exceeding the speed limit to “beat the light” is illegal and could result in dire consequences.

According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, in 2013, 127,000 people were injured and 697 people were killed in accidents caused by red light runners. Between 2004 and 2012, more than 7,000 people were killed in accidents involving drivers running red lights.

In Arizona, red light running is a serious problem. The National Coalition for Safer Roads ranked cities with the highest number of fatalities due to red-light running from 2004-2013. Tucson ranked 9th and Phoenix ranked second on the list of the 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Red Light Running.

And like drivers in DUI accidents, the red light runner who causes a collision isn’t always the one most seriously injured. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that half the fatalities caused by red light runners are pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in other vehicles.

Who is the Typical Red Light Runner?

What driver is most likely to be running a red light? A 1996 study by the National Insurance Institute found that the red light runners were younger drivers who had poor driving records. In a 2013 study of red light running car crashes that involved fatalities, the Institute found that “the red light runners were more likely than other drivers to be male, to be younger, and to have prior crashes or alcohol-impaired driving convictions.”

Know the Red Light Rule in Arizona

Arizona applies the “permissive yellow rule” to red light running infractions. The Federal Highway Administration defines the rule as:

  • Driver can legally enter intersection during entire yellow interval
  • Violation occurs if driver enters intersection after onset of red

The ramifications of causing a car accident at an intersection can be catastrophic for its victims and result in serious consequences for the offending driver. A driver who is found to have been recklessly speeding through an intersection, running a red light and causing a fatal car accident puts himself at risk of being charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide.

Research on driver attitudes towards red light running shows that there’s a disconnect between what most drivers know they should be doing and what they actually do.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that although more than half of drivers interviewed agreed red light running is a “very serious threat” and more than 72% agreed it is “unacceptable,” more than a third of drivers admitted to running a red light in the previous 30 days.

Experts say that to stop red light running, drivers need to slow down, limit distractions, and stop on red. It may save lives.



Tricycle Injuries Mean Trip to the ER for Thousands of Toddlers

It’s a rite of passage, when a little tyke gets his or her new tricycle. But how many parents are aware they may be prematurely buying a tricycle for their toddler?

According to a study at Medical College of Georgia and Emory University, tricycles were responsible for more than 9,000 injuries that resulted in trips to the emergency room in 2012 and 2013. Two-year-olds were the age group most frequently suffering tricycle injuries.

A small percentage of children had to be hospitalized with serious trauma including head injury, fractures, and organ damage.

Pediatricians: Wait Until a Child Turns 3 to buy a Tricycle

It’s no surprise that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to wait until their children are three years old to introduce them to a tricycle. By then a child will have the balance and coordination they need to master their new three-wheeler.

The Academy also recommends that parents look for tricycles that are low to the ground and have big wheels, which are less likely to tip over.

And no matter the age or the size of the bike, children should always wear a helmet when they go for a ride.

National Child Passenger Safety Week: Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 years. This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Parents are urged to learn about car seat safety and make sure their children’s car seats and boosters are properly installed.

Free Car Seat Safety Checks

Make time to stop at one of the following events sponsored by Safe Kids Pima County, the Tucson Police Department and Tucson Medical Center to have your child’s car seat checked. You can call 324-4110 for more information.


Date:               Saturday, September 19, 2015

Time:              9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Location:        Larry H. Miller Chrysler 7800 E. 22nd  St. Tucson, Arizona


Date:               Thursday, September 24, 2015

Time:              8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Location:        Target 4040 N. Oracle Rd. Tucson, Arizona


Register Your Child’s Car Seat

According to NHTSA, last year more than six million car seats were recalled. Just today, Recaro car seat manufacturer announced it was recalling 173,000 car seats due to a problem with the top tether restraint that can detach in a crash.

Parents buying new car seats should make sure they immediately register the car seat with the manufacturer or by going to Parents should also frequently check the website to determine if their child’s car seat has been recalled.

Making sure your children are in the right car seat will improve their chances of safely surviving a car accident.

Arizona Driving Law for Seniors

Turning 65 is a milestone most people associate with qualifying for Medicare or with retirement. But if you live in Arizona, did you know the State’s laws may affect your ability to drive after your 65th birthday?