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Steve Magas, Ohio's Bike Lawyer

Don't let a bicycle crash turn your life Upside Down! Lost wages and medical bills pile up while you are in pain. The last thing you need is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company.

Steve Magas, The Bike Lawyer, has been protecting the rights of riders for more than 25 years. Steve has handled more than 200 "bike cases" including wrongful death and brain damage cases, and accidents causing riders to suffer major injuries, fractures, disk injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, surgeries, road burns, clavicle and scapula fractures, rotator cuff injuries and more. Steve provides a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your claim. Call him at 513-484-BIKE [2453] or write to him at bike lawyer [at] aol dot com to discuss your crash TODAY!

OHIO THREE FOOT LAW Bill To Be Introduced

The Ohio Bicycle Federation has pushing our three part bicycle law package for 2013.  We got one piece passed as an amendment to the huge Transportation Bill.  We have found a primary sponsor for the other two parts of our bill.  On April 10, 2013 it is anticipated that Rep. Mike Henne [R] will introduce the bill with Rep. Connie Pillich [D] as a co-sponsor.  They are seeking additional sponsors for the bill on both sides of the aisle.

Stay tuned here as we follow the bill through the sausage-making machinery…

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, where a Three Foot Law is already “The Law” within the city limits, Queen City Bike has developed outstanding relationships with Norton, the billboard people, and METRO, the bus people.  Word is that we will soon be seeing some Three Foot Law billboards around town soon and some METRO busses decorated with some nice Pro-Bike graphics… again… stay tuned -

Sausage Making in Action! A New Definition of “Bicycle” Is Signed Into Law

On April 1, 2013 Ohio’s not-so-Bike-Friendly Gov., John Kasich, signed HB51 into law.  This is the big “Transportation Bill” that has been in the news featuring New Improved FASTER Speed Limits. Buried in the bill, at line 2500 or so is a few lines added at the request of the Ohio Bicycle Federation – a new definition of “Bicycle.”

Why is this important?  Where did it come from?

It all started a traffic ticket given by police in Lakewood, Ohio to Vinnie Latessa, who was giving his 10-year old autistic son a ride in his “Rhodes Car…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE BIKELAWYER’S OHIO BIKE CRASH APP RELEASED!

Yes, friends, it’s true.  After several months of development, my brand new BIKE CRASH APP is now available for downloading.

For Iphones – Download from Itunes

For Droids – Download from…er… um… Droidland – or wherever Droid users go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 OBF Law Proposal Includes Three Foot Law

The Ohio Bicycle Federation, Ohio’s only statewide bicycle advocacy group, has passed a set of three short, powerful law proposals to present to the Ohio Legislature.  These include:

A.  Three Foot Passing Law – a one sentence add-on to current law.

B.  Modification of the Definition of “Bicycle” – Designed to capture a broader set of pedal cycles, including the 4-wheel “Rhodes Car” that Vinnie Latessa uses to take his 10 year old autistic son for a ride in Lakewood, Ohio.

C.  Revise 4511.132- Malfunctioning Traffic Signal – This will cover situations where bicyclists and motorcyclists are stuck at a Red light because the “vehicle detector” doesn’t detect our vehicles!

MUCH more on this later – but for now, know that we will be pushing hard to get these issues before the legislature, through committee and brought to a vote.  These are, I believe, bi-partisan issues which “should” be no-brainers for both sides of the aisle in a divisive house and senate!

The proposed Three Foot Law will be a one sentence addition to 4511.27, Ohio’s passing law.  Current law mandates that a passing maneuver be accomplished at a “safe distance.”  The new proposal will add a sentence which states: “When a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle, the safe passing distance shall be not less than three feet.

Not only will this law create a zone of safety around a cyclist but it will give police another ticketing option in those situations where a cyclist is “buzzed” at close proximity by an irritated or careless motorist, even if the “buzz” doesn’t result in a crash.

Anyone who rides on the road at all has, undoubtedly, been the victim of a “buzz.”  These motorist attacks are extremely dangerous – the slightest miscalculation by the motorist can lead to a deadly or serious crash.  More frequently, though, they result in either terrifying the cyclist, or causing a sense of rage against the motorist that can escalate into an unfortunate encounter.

I’ve been urging cyclists for many years to get the license number and report these incidents to police.  Demand that a police report be prepared.  Even if nothing further happens, that report is available to the NEXT cyclist this motorist “buzzes” – you KNOW they will do it again, eh?  In today’s riding climate, Helmet Cam’s are all the “rage” – and the next few years should provide us with quite a library of video footage to use to make these arguments effectively…

In the California “Road Rage” case involving Dr. Thompson, police were able to refer to several prior complaints cyclists lodged against Dr. Thompson to show that his actions were NOT “careless” or “negligent” but were the intentional actions of a “road rage”
perpetrator.   Dr. Thompson is currently serving a 5 year sentence, and will likely lose his medical license due to a felony conviction.

So, keep an eye on this page, my Facebook page, and the Ohio Bicycle Federation page for details on how YOU, yes, YOU, can become an active participant in state government and help us get these important points written into Ohio law.

BIKE BAN OVERTURNED IN COLORADO – What About OHIO?

In Colorado, something to cheer about – in a 29 page, complex decision the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously holds that Black Hawk’s bike ban conflicts with state law and cannot stand. I would love to see a similar ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court.

OHIO’S BAN on BIKE BANS

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HOW “RISKY” IS RIDING A BIKE IN OHIO? Not very…

Three in a week – that was last week’s post…

Now it’s FIVE in TWO weeks…  Five cyclists killed from August 27 – September 12, 2012.  Just how “risky” is riding a bike in Ohio?

Five Cycling Deaths in 2 Weeks

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Three Dead in One Week

As we were reeling from the violent death of Andy Gast near Lunken Airport last Tuesday, my inbox lit up a few more times.  On Monday a 46 year old cyclist, Thomas Leonard, had been struck and killed  in the Columbus, Ohio area.  Later in the week, a young cyclist, 18 year old Nathan Smith, was killed in Marion, Ohio.  Ohio’s ninth, tenth and eleventh cycling fatalities of 2012 came in one lousy week…

More than 550 riders showed up on Tuesday night for a Ghost Bike Memorial Ride  thus, again, reinforcing the power of social media.  I was in Columbus all day meeting a cyclist who had his collarbone fractured into 5 pieces by a careless motorist and dropping off a bicycle for an engineer’s inspection – a bike which “failed” catastrophically on the first ride.  My phone was blowing up with emails between the leaders of Cincinnati two biggest cycling advocacy organizations, ride leaders, and others trying to figure out how to get all these people from Point A. to Andrew Gast’s home, and back in a timely, efficient and, most of all, safe manner.

Given the large number of riders, and hte need for help, I decided to ride the Big BIke [BMW r1150RT] and try to provide some support through traffic control while documenting the ride through the camera lens.

The ride was an unparalleled “success” on so many levels.  First, I was able to meet Andrew’s family at Lunken Airport – we were all a bit confused about where the starting point was, but I was able to show them where the crash occurred, and what my “take” was from what I had seen the day of the crash.  The family subsequently was able to be driven along the route with the riders – and participate throughout the evening.

Two of our four TV stations had crews covering the event.  Channel 12 has been on it since Day 1 – Channel 19 had a crew there as well.  The Ride set out in smaller groups of 30 or so – teh “fast” folks leaving for a 14 mph ride first followed by slower groups… black armbands and the presence of the grieving family set a very somber tone… however, the stories about Andy Gast from his family and friends made it clear that he was a man who cherished life- and lived life large – the mood of the ride was outstanding…

I got a call around midnight following the ride from Tommy Broderick.  Tommy is a pretty tough 55 year old racer who had been whacked by a DRUNK DRIVER while riding home from the ride!  Tommy was knocked unconscious in Newport, KY, and taken to teh University Hospital Trauma Center where he was kept overnight and released this morning!

Channel 19 wanted to do a follow up story on Tommy’s crash this evening. I was able to meet the reporter on short notice at the ghost bike site, where we spoke on camera a few minutes while some rather ominous clouds formed all around us… we finished quickly and as he was clearing his gear I snapped some quick photos – I have been learning to use Photomatix HDR software and shot 3 bracketed photos of the Ghost Bike from the ground looking up… I loaded the photos into the software earlier this evening… I thought the final product turned out pretty impressive… below is a low res [<1MB] version of Andy Gast’s Ghost Bike as it looked before tonight’s storms…

I never knew Mr. Gast, but he has had a profound impact on my life…

Andrew’ Gast’s Ghost Bike

Andrew Gast – Ohio’s 11th Cycling Death of 2012 Hits Close To Home

I got a text early Tuesday morning- there was a serious crash near Lunken Airport and a cyclist was Air Cared out… a few minutes later I learned news that the cyclist, Andrew Gast, had passed away.  I live a few miles from Lunken and am very familiar with the 5 mile trail around the airport.  I climbed on the motorcycle with a full camera bag and hustled down… what I saw was, sadly, all too typical of the violent deadly crashes I have been reviewing…

Andrew Gast’s Specialized bike was still stuck in the front end of the car that killed him.

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WORST Crash Report… Ever? YOU Be The Judge

Istvan Takacs was 76 years old when he was struck by a Silverado while riding his bicycle on September 29, 2010 on Rockside Road in the little village of Valley View, Ohio.  There was  very little written in the media about the crash – as I write this I cannot find a single article today.

So what happened?   Well, according to what could take the gold medal as the WORST POLICE REPORT EVER FILED IN A DEATH CASE, the crash happened around 4:00 pm on a clear Wednesday afternoon.  Little else is known. A man was KILLED and the Valley View Police Department issued a three-page “crash report” which contains NO witness statements, NO photographs, NO measurements, NO toxicology reports and NO real “evidence” about what happened.

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2010 Bike Crash Stats – 2010 Bike PEOPLE Killed!

I was a math major many moons ago – got my degree and everything and then made a right angle turn into law school.  Today, my math mind still wraps itself against numbers and stats and such… I also like the physics and mathematical analysis that goes into accident reconstruction analysis.  As many many hardcore gear-head riders know, the math of cycling can also be very intriguing… some would say obsessive… but I digress… what follows will be the first of several upcoming articles looking in great detail at every fatal bicycle crash in Ohio in 2010, 2011 and, eventually 2012…and beyond!

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