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Podcast Series: Bike Law

Stuart Leon has been commuting and cycling around Philadelphia since the late 80s. He worked as an injury lawyer until 10-12 years ago when he decided the only people he wanted to work for was cyclists. He is now a bicycle crash lawyer. So if you are cyclist and get hit by a car or crash because of trolley track, Stuart Leon can represent you.

Listen to our interview with Leon below.

Some cyclists are less likely to get into an ambulance after a crash. Leon has noticed that bicyclists often just want to get their bike and go home after a crash or would rather lock up their bike and get a ride to the hospital by a friend or cab. This is simply an attitude that Leon has noticed and understands, but other lawyers may not.

However, just because a cyclists doesn’t go to the hospital or seek immediate medical attention, this does not mean they won’t get the compensation they are owed. When seated at a table with an opposing lawyer or insurance representative, cyclists are able to explain their priorities are understood and respected.

Since Leon has began working only with cyclists he has noticed a significant increase in cyclists getting doored, almost twice as many. He attributes this to the increase in ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft. Since these cars are driven by less experienced drivers they are less likely to drop off their riders in the curb lane, like a taxi.

One of the other major dangers to cyclists are trolley tracks. Unused trolley track are not maintained and neither is the street around them. SEPTA refuses to remove most of these tracks in case trolleys eventually use them, but this seems unlikely in the near future. Most of these dangerous tracks are in South Philly and the most serious crashes, where there are sever injuries happen there.

South Philly also has very high ridership, which makes this problem even worse. However, since Leon has had more of these cases he has found a way to hold SEPTA accountable and in two of the most serious crash cases, the area where the crash happened was fixed, though this could be just a coincidence.

The last most serious danger to cyclists in the city are drivers and their smartphones.

While most drivers will deny they are using their phone when a crash happens, Leon has subpoenaed smartphone records and has concluded that the drivers and paying half attention to driving and half to their phone, or their attention is diluted by thinking about what they are going to do next on their phone.

“Streets that cyclists share drivers are dangerous because of the diluted and distracted attention that the drivers pay to what is going on around them.”  -Stuart Leon

Despite this, Philadelphia has improved since the late 80s as a bikeable city. The additions of bike lanes has turned Philly into one of the best cities to bike in the US.

-Marina Stuart

Topics: Biking in Philly, Featured, Safe Routes Philly

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