SMART Multiuse Pathway with Mode Separation: An Attempt to Limit Bicycle Accidents and Pedestrian Injuries

On Monday, July 18th, the San Rafael City Council held a Special Study Session regarding construction of a multiuse pathway alongside the proposed extension of SMART from San Rafael to Larkspur.  The area in question is the right-of-way between the western edge of Highway 101 and Anderson Drive running from 2nd Street to Rice Drive, which is narrow and known as a “pinch point.”  A feasibility study presented at the session clearly demonstrated there is sufficient space for a multiuse pathway. Construction of the pathway will help limit bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

Several creative solutions were presented with plans for mode-separation designed to limit bicycle and pedestrian injury.  The most ambitious envisions construction of two 11’ lanes for vehicle traffic, 6’ sidewalk and 10’ bikeway with physical separation of each mode of transport.

For more information about the issue, feasibility study, and proposed designs visit: http://www.marinbike.org/news/pedestrian/smartpath/ andhttp://walkbikemarin.org/projects.php.

Learn more about Attorney Lawrence A. Strick.

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The period for public comment has been extended to August 10th. Comments should be directed to the Senior Project Planner of the Marin County Department of Public Works, Carey Lando: clando@marincounty.org.

The Attorneys at the Strick Law Offices understand that cyclists are uniquely vulnerable to injury in traffic related accidents, and are concerned with improving our infrastructure.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please call us to learn more about your rights.

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bike-accidentsIs it negligence per se or do the circumstances matter when the overtaking auto causes an accident with a cyclist?

As a former pro  road  racer,  cycling-related injury cases are of intense interest to me. While road  racing  events can be risky business,  training on public roads  is far more  dangerous. One driver  rear-ended me while I was stopped, foot-down  at an intersection and  then  drove  over my bike, fleeing  the scene.

I was t-boned by an elderly  driver  one rainy day and  learned how effective helmets can be. I was once clipped by a hit-and-run driver’s mirror, pushed into a parked vehicle and  left with a broken jaw. Now, as a lawyer, it is immensely satisfying to fight for members of the Bay Area’s cycling family faced with similar  injustices.

Despite  significant improvements in infrastructure through- out the Bay Area, such as the bright green bike lanes springing up around San Francisco  and  elsewhere, cyclists are increasingly in need  of lawyers’ collective skill-set and  services, racers  and  enthusiasts  alike.

For those  who don’t follow bike racing,  the sport  has grown steadily over time. In the U.S., the number of racing  licenses is- sued increased from 42,724  in 2002 to 75,303  in 2013.1   Data since 2013 is not yet available,  but it does not appear there has been  any significant drop-off in response to recent doping scandals or an emerging one involving  tiny hidden motors.

Marin,  San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley,  Santa Rosa, Davis, and  Sacramento have long been  home  to many accomplished competitive cyclists, attracted by mild weather, varied terrain, proximity to high  altitude training, and  high-caliber training groups. Northern California’s spring road  racing calendar in particular is fantastic,  drawing  racers  to the area from around the country  and  abroad.

Competitive cyclists are, in some ways, at greater risk than most. A rigorous training program can cover 300 to 600 miles per week over a combination of urban and  rural  roads,  with a fairly constant stream of vehicles overtaking and  passing. In addition, road  cyclists often train  in tightly formed groups, increasing the chance  of disaster when a vehicle makes contact.

More broadly, cycling in the Bay Area is booming thanks to unusually dry weather, a constant flow of tourists  on rental bikes, innovations like San Francisco’s bike sharing program, and  in- creasing popularity of bike commuting. At the same time, we have the rapid proliferation of smart  phones and  associated distracted driving, which presents a particularly significant risk to cyclists.

There is a relatively new hammer in the plaintiff  lawyer’s toolbox: California’s Three Feet for Safety Act.3   With this act in mind, here  are some thoughts from a cyclist’s perspective on investigating auto-overtaking-bicycle collisions, and  some issues to look for when the collision involves a group of cyclists.

California’s “Three Feet for Safety Act”

In late 2014, California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 21760 went into effect with relatively  little fanfare, requiring motorists  to maintain a distance of three feet when overtaking and  passing  a cyclist. If “unable to comply,”  a motorist must  slow and  wait for an opportunity to pass safely. A driver  must  also take into  account  environmental factors  in assessing  the  situation including the surface  and  width of the  highway.  If there is even the  slightest  contact  with a passing  vehicle when a bicyclist is injured, this statute  may have some  real teeth  and  provide the  basis for a negligence  per se instruction.

CVC section 21760 provides:

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Three Feet for Safety Act.

(b) The  driver  of a motor vehicle over- taking  and  passing  a bicycle that  is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article  applica- ble to overtaking and  passing  a vehicle, and  shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe opera- tion of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and  the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and  width of the highway. (c) A driver  of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than  three feet between any part  of the motor vehicle and  any part  of the bicycle or its operator.

(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver  shall slow to a speed  that  is reasonable and  prudent, and  may pass only when doing  so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bi- cycle, taking  into account  the size and speed  of the motor vehicle and  bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and  surface and  width of the highway. (e)(1) A violation  of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty-five  dollars  ($35).

(2) If a collision  occurs between  a motor vehicle and  a bicycle causing bodily injury  to the  operator of the  bicycle, and  the  driver  of the motor vehicle is found  to be in vio- lation  of subdivision (b), (c), or (d), a two-hundred-twenty-dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that  driver.

(f) This section shall become  operative on September 16, 2014.

Negligence per se

Where a statute  establishes a driver’s duty, which CVC section 21760 clearly does, proof  of a driver’s violation  of the statutory standard of conduct raises a pre- sumption of negligence that  may be re- butted only by evidence  establishing a justification or excuse for the violation. (Spriesterbach v. Holland (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 255, 263.)

The negligence per se doctrine creates a presumption of negligence if four elements are established: (1) the defendant  violated  a statute, ordinance, or regulation; (2) the violation proximately caused death or injury to person or property; (3) the death or injury resulted from an occurrence of the nature of which the statute, ordinance, or regulation was designed  to prevent; and (4) the person suffering  the death or the injury to his person or property was one of the class of persons for whose protection the statute, ordinance, or regulation was adopted. (Evid. Code,  § 669.) The first two elements are questions of fact, while the latter  two are questions of law. (Spriesterbach v. Holland (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 255, 263.)

Under CVC section 21760,  the latter two elements should  be a straightforward matter. The  nature of the occurrence to be prevented is extremely well defined, as is the class of persons to be protected. The  cyclist’s challenge, then, is to prove the violation,  and  causation.

Invariably, in auto-overtaking-bicycle collisions,  narratives about  how the collision unfolded will differ.  No one is riding around with a yardstick  and  a camera at the ready.  Where  a single rider is involved,  the driver  will claim to have been  in a better position to see the relative  positions of vehicle and  bicycle before  overtaking. Where  a group of cyclists is involved,  the opposite may be true.  Even where contact  is obvious,  the driver  may claim that  the cyclist made  a sudden swerving movement without cause and  crashed into  the vehicle. If at all possible,  preserving physical  evidence  of even the slightest  impact  is essential.  Evidence  of contact  may be faint and  ephemeral, so aggressively  investigating  the incident early will be key.

Preserving evidence of impact

Preserving evidence  of the condition of the vehicle can be a challenge. Obviously, a driver  will not voluntarily make the vehicle available for inspection once it has left the scene. If the vehicle is parked regularly in a public place, photos should be taken  as soon as possible,  particularly of the right  side and  mirror. A simple  tape measure can serve to document the height of any areas of the car that  could potentially have made  contact  with the rider, to match  against  abrasions or bruises. If the vehicle happens to be covered  with dings  and  scrapes,  photos could also be useful to show that  the driver  has a poor  sense of its size.

Unless the impact  was to the rear wheel, rear  drop-out, the rider’s foot, or leg, there are relatively few remaining points  of potential impact  as the vehicle passes from rear  to front.  Damage from the small plastic end-plug securing han- dlebar tape  on curved  road  handlebars, for example, may appear at a height of about  three feet, be very faint, and  would likely disappear if rubbed or washed.

End-plugs are often made  of plastic with a faux-chrome finish that  rubs off easily in a crash,  and  may have transferred. A road bicycle’s brake  lever will protrude slightly to the outside, and  may also leave a mark  at a height that  will be easy to match  against  the scuffed lever. In terms of contact  that  would cause the rider to fall, these  areas are key in addition to hand, arm or elbow.

If the vehicle cannot be located  immediately, a letter  to the driver  to preserve physical and  photographic evidence  is wise, followed up with early discovery. Twenty days after service of process  has been  perfected, consider serving a demand to inspect  the vehicle at your office, and  notice  of the driver’s deposition to occur on the same date.

Collecting and securing data

Bikes and  riders  today are wired, able to collect a surprising amount of data that  may help  prove  a violation. Some bike-commuters wear GoPro cameras that  can record each trip.  While any investigation of a collision should  include potential sources of video, e.g., nearby  security systems, GoPro  footage  would be hard to beat to demonstrate the vehicle’s movement, and  whether the rider maintained a straight line. Such camera systems are not inexpensive, however,  and  in most cases will not be available.

Fitbit produces a range of watches, called trackers. The  model  I’ve been using lately has a GPS feature, which can record a shocking level of detail  about  my every move. That  data  can be uploaded and  analyzed. Strava is an online  service quite popular among cyclists, who upload stored data  from such trackers, share  and compare with others. Strava is compatible with no less than  20 different GPS devices. Map My Ride is another such service. If this type of data  is available,  it should  be secured and  stored as soon as possible.

The  bicycle may be equipped with a speedometer or the rider with a heart rate monitor. Increasingly common among competitive cyclists are power meters, which measure a rider’s output at the crank  throughout a ride.  Many of these  devices record data  up to the moment  of impact  that  should  be uploaded immediately and  preserved. Any of these types of data  may be useful to show or estimate  how fast the cyclist was moving  at impact.

The  bicycle’s speed  is very important in the overtaking scenario because  speed affects the way a bicycle handles. If you don’t have a gyroscope handy, try to wob- ble a spinning wheel while holding both ends of its axle, first at a very, very slow rate of rotation, then  very fast. At two miles per  hour, a bicycle making a sharp swerve into a passing  vehicle is conceiv- able. Over 15 miles per  hour, a bicycle becomes  incredibly stable, and  the likeli- hood  of a swerve more  remote.

Collisions with lone cyclists

In a vehicle-overtaking-a-lone-cyclist collision, it will be important to get a clear understanding of what the cyclist was doing  just before  impact, and  at what speed. Take care not to overlook  the basics during the initial consultation. Was the cyclist wearing  a helmet? Using headphones or earbuds? Carrying something in one or both  hands? Riding  no-handed? Changing or adjusting clothing?

If at all possible,  a visit to the scene with your client may provide important insights  into where to look for additional support for your case. Dangerous condition cases are beyond  the scope of what I want to cover here,  but may become  apparent. A visit to the scene will often refresh your client’s memory, or help  things fall into place. I often find it helpful to then  ride the one-fourth mile leading up to the point  of impact  a few times at a similar  time of day and  under similar conditions, if possible,  to get a good sense of the area,  and  then  drive it too.

If it appears the bicycle moved left be- fore impact, riding the route  may reveal whether doing  so was reasonably necessary. Consider CVC section 21202(a),  which re- quires cyclists to ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the road- way except  when overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; preparing for a left turn  at an intersection or into a private road  or driveway; approaching a place where a right  turn  is authorized; or when reasonably necessary  to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.

Any hazards discovered in the area should  be documented before  they are re- paired, and  the area measured with care. A long gap between  gutter and  pavement may be cause for cyclists with skinny tires to move left to avoid it. In hot weather, crack sealer can become  soft, slippery and  dangerous. Mountain roads  are prone to falling rock. Often  such hazards are only apparent after a thorough inspection. On the other hand, some roads are perfectly  fine. Either way, it’s best to know early.

It is also crucial to make sure the physical damage is consistent with your client’s description. A sudden and  complete  loss of control over the bicycle’s front wheel will generally result  in a fall. For example, if the claim is that  an im- pact from the left suddenly turned the bicycle’s front  wheel perpendicular, look for a mark  or dent  on the frame’s downtube from the front  brake,  or lateral  scraping damage to the front  tire and  rim. The wheel may now resemble a pretzel. If in- stead you discover bilateral dents  in the rim bulging the braking surface,  and  perhaps  twin slits cut through the inner tube, those  would be consistent with riding into a hard object on the ground, which could also have led to a similar  fall.

Collisions involving group riders

When a training group is struck by a passing  motorist, the consequences can be disastrous. Photos  taken  after the fatal crash in Kalamazoo on June  7 are a heart- breaking reminder of the risk, and how vulnerable cyclists are against  a vehicle.5 In investigating such an incident, it will be essential to understand what the group was doing  and how it was configured just before impact. Some group rides are just that,  a group of cyclists riding together to socialize and exercise.  Others will have a specific training purpose. Regardless, few juries would be overly sympathetic to a large group of cyclists taking  over the lane in an overtaking case, making CVC section 21760 all that much  more  helpful in framing the narrative as the driver’s violation  of a simple  rule and needlessly  endangering the cyclist.

Where a group is out training for competition, primary assumption of the risk may be an issue to consider. In Moser v. Ratinoff (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 1211, the court held that an organized, long-distance, group bicycle ride is a sporting activity to which assumption of the risk applies. Id. at 1221. Moser arose out of a collision between two riders participating in the annual 200-mile non-competitive Death Ride. One rider swerved into another as a vehicle appeared to be overtaking. The Court was careful to express no opinion as to other forms of recreational riding. Id. at 1221, FN 4. The Court was also careful to note that there are traffic-related risks that might not be considered inherent in the activity, such as those involving automobile negligence. Id. at 1223, FN 6.

Again, for those who do not follow bicycle racing, a short description of what exactly riders on group rides are preparing for may be helpful in evaluating a potential case. Road racing is a team sport, often between 200 riders. A favorite of mine was a 100-mile event held in Trenton, NJ, with long cobblestone sections which we covered in just 3 hours. This was part of a week-long lead-up to the US Professional Championship, and drew an outstanding international field.

In such races, the speed is sometimes slow and racers will bunch up riding ten abreast. When the speed is very high, the group will stretch out and narrow to two abreast, or one. A strong team may organize at the front, and have one rider at a time do the hardest work in the lead with teammates resting behind in a slipstream. In even intervals of 20 to 30 seconds, the front rider moves to one side and slowly slips back behind the team to rest, and the next rider in line maintains an even, high speed. One teammate will act as gatekeeper at the back, blocking the rest of the field to make sure competitors do not join or take advantage of the effort. As lead riders peel off one after another to the same side, this should become a rotation with one line of faster moving riders passing a line of slower moving riders just inches apart for maximum drafting advantage. While racing for a Dutch team, I learned how this sort of organized effort at the right time can split a large group in half, or worse, and improve the team’s chance of success.

This rotating pace line is fundamental to team tactics, and often practiced during training rides. Not always at full speed, but as a format. Many weekly training rides have sections where the speed goes up, and riders fall into such a pace line. A pace line may also be used to set up a sprint by raising the speed leading up to a known point, with several riders contesting the sprint at full throttle. Sprinting is a game of timing and skill, takes a great deal of practice, and training rides may have many sprint points along the route. Skilled sprinters are able to swing quickly to one side to overtake a cyclist ahead. If a group of cyclists is struck, the specific activity the riders were engaged in at the moment of impact would be one area to investigate very carefully.

The Bay Area is home to the most diverse cycling community I’ve ever known. We are way ahead of the curve on green living, sustainable urban development, and promoting physical fitness. Infrastructure improvements are making a positive difference, but take time. In the meantime, the justice system will be called on to protect cyclists. The auto overtaking cyclist collision will remain a problem for the foreseeable future, and the Three Feet for Safety Act provides a great tool to level the playing field for cyclists.

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Marin reaction to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court was overwhelmingly positive, with most people saying the Senate should at least hold hearings on the nominee.

“By all accounts he appears to be very well qualified,” said Lawrence Strick, president of the Marin County Bar Association. “Seven Republicans have already voted for him on one occasion. And I read recently that Orrin Hatch called him a fine man. One would hope that the Senate does its job and gives the candidate a full and fair hearing and an up or down vote.”

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bus-accidentA tragic accident in downtown San Francisco on Friday, November 13, injured 20 local residents and tourists, 6 of them critically, as emergency responders continue to investigate the cause and extent of the tragedy.

According to the official account by ABC News, a tour bus collided with several vehicles at a construction site in downtown San Francisco at Post and Stockton streets.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by this terrible accident and we hope for the best for them and their families.

If you were hurt in any way by this unfortunate event, please call us to learn more about your rights.

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The ET-Plus guardrail has been under the lens of public scrutiny for months. Trinity Industries, the manufacturer of the guardrail, was found to have defrauded the federal government and fined by a Texas court. Hundreds of allegations against the company arose, with many claiming their car accidents were made worse by the ET-Plus malfunctioning.

Ideally, guardrail end terminals work to make car crashes safer. They’re designed to bend backwards – think of a bendy straw, flexible and compact – to bring vehicles to a safe stop along roads and highways. Instead, the ET-Plus has been known to spear cars, piercing the front and crashing through the foot wells below steering wheels. Tragically, this has resulted in deaths among some, amputated limbs among others.

Though the Federal Highway Administration has ordered a series of crash tests to better understand how these ET-Plus guardrails might be malfunctioning, the models are still found on the roads in 49 states. Only Virginia has begun plans to remove the ET-Plus from their streets, though actual removal has not yet started. Installation of the guardrail has been banned in more than 30 states, pending the results of the crash tests.

A common type of guardrail made by Trinity Industries is responsible for at least 4 deaths and 9 injuries, according to lawsuits filed around the country. These complaints allege that a design modification made to an end terminal causes the guardrail to lock up on impact and spear oncoming vehicles and their passengers.

Free Trinity Guardrail Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured in a highway guardrail crash, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help. We are evaluating cases and will accept new guardrail injury and death cases throughout the country.

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As an attorney, I have seen many innocent victims who suffered because of needless violence.  The harms caused are often enhanced by the club owners or landlords who needless endanger paying customers to enhance their gate receipts.

The Strick Law Offices has represented individuals harmed in night club shooting providing them with a voice to make their claims and obtaining for them significant compensation.  Recently, we were successful in obtaining a large settlement for a young women shot in Oakland at a “Fright Fest” Event.  Not long ago, at a Bar in Sunnyvale, a young man was seriously injured because of violent acts of others.  We helped him after his head was smashed after an out of control argument.

If you or someone you love was harmed by a shooting at a concert event, the Attorneys at the Strick Law Offices have the experience and resources to represent you to obtain compensation for all your harms and losses.

Our offices always work on a contingency fee and will gladly review your potential case at no cost.

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Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles announced on Wednesday that four patients had contracted a deadly, drug resistant infection linked to a hard-to-clean medical device. The device, called a duodenoscope, also has been implicated in an outbreak of infections at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Duodenoscopes are diagnosing diseases involving the pancreas and bile ducts. A contaminated scope can introduce a bacteria known as CRE or, Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae while the patient is anesthetized. Cedars-Sinai said the four patients contracted the infection after ongoing procedures between August and January. Hospital officials said they had mailed letters to dozens of other patients who had the procedures out of an “abundance of caution.”
Duodenoscopes are used in about 500,000 procedures in the United States every year. Between January 2013 and December 2014, the FDA received reports of bacterial transmission from duodenoscopes in 135 patients.

The Strick Law Office is currently accepting duodenal scope injury cases. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a “Superbug infection” or CRE infection, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free consultation.

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morcellator-attorneysThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety communication discouraging the use of laparoscopic power morcellation for the removal of the uterus (Hysterectomy) or uterine fibroids (Myomectomey) in women because, based on an analysis of currently available data, it poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, notably uterine sarcomas beyond the uterus.

Based on an analysis of currently available data, the FDA has determined that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma.  If laparoscopic power morcellaton is performed in these women, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long term survival.

The FDA urged doctors to stop using power morcellators for uterine fibroid removal, and earlier this month an FDA advisory committee split on deciding whether to recommend severe power morcellator safety warnings or a total power morcellator recall. The committee agreed, however, that there was no known way to make morcellation for uterine fibroid removal safe. – See more at: http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/johnson-ethicon-morcellator-recall-68708/#sthash.XRGrg0Yw.dpuf

In face of mounting concerns about the risk of laparoscopic power morcellators spreading cancer concerns during the uterine fibroid removal, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division announced that it is recalling all of the devices they have manufactured in recent years, and will be getting out of the power morcellator business.

The Strick Law Offices are reviewing potential lawsuits for women throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with the spread of aggressive cancer following a laparoscopic hysterectomy or uterine fibroid removal surgery where a power morcellator was used.

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Recently, the Strick Law Offices resolved a case against a local School District that failed to abate bullying of a self-identified gay Middle School student. While the individual victory helped one family cope with the death of a child, the story was tragic, and the problem is pervasive. A victory in one lawsuit can only do so much. Bullying must be identified and stopped. We all have more work to do.

Because of the wide-spread amount of bullying, it is more important than ever for parents and teachers to maintain open dialog with children about bullying. Many students might be afraid to tell an adult or parent, which is why parents and teachers need to be aware of the signs of bullying and to pay attention to what is going on with their child or student. Students and children should be encouraged to tell a trusted adult, parent or teacher about any kind of bullying attack. It is the best way to help stop the situation from getting worse and to help prevent bullying from targeting more and more victims.

Caring for a child’s safety and well-being should be everyone’s goal. Let’s work together to make every child’s life free from unwelcome and unnecessary harm.

Sadly, statistics reveal almost half of all students have experienced some sort of bullying.

Bullying statistics:

  • About 42 percent of kids have been bullied while online.
  • About 35 percent of kids have been threatened online.
  • About 58 percent of kids and teens have reported that something mean has been said about them or to them online.
  • Other bullying statistics show that about 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another.
  • The American Justice Department bullying statistics show that one out of every 4 kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence.
  • 46 percent of males followed by 26 percent of females have admitted to being victims in physical fights as reported in one report of bullying statistics by the Bureau of Justice School.

Other bullying facts:

  • As these bullying statistics indicate, bullying is getting worse in American schools. Many studies have shown that increasing domestic violence at home is leading to an increase in bullying online and at school.
  • Researchers note that one way to help begin to lower these bullying statistics is to tell an adult when it is happening.
  • Cyber-bullying is real, and needs to be reported too.
  • According to the i-Safe American survey of students bullying statistics, about 58 percent of kids admit to never telling an adult when they’ve been the victim of a bullying attack.
  • Another way to stay safe from bullies is to inform the school if the attacks are taking place on school property or have something to do with the school.

Sources: http://www.isafe.org

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Orders Artificial Hip Manufacturers to Conduct Post Market Health Studies

In response to the growing realization that “metal on metal” artificial hip implants have been linked to high failure rates and severe health effects on numerous patients, the FDA has taken the unusual step of mandating all producers of “metal on metal” hips to do post-market studies of patients who received the devices to determine, among other things whether the implants are shedding high levels of metallic debris. The problem has resulted in patients becoming disabled.

Dr. William H. Maisel, the deputy director for science at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said the order marks the broadest use of authority to conduct studies of devices after approval for sale. The Agency is looking at the entire category of implants, not those of any single manufacturer.

Metal on Metal hips, in which the ball-and socket components are made from metal like cobalt and chromium, account for about one third of the 250,000 hip replacement procedures preformed annually in the United States.

Under the order, companies are expected to collect information from patients who received devises, including taking blood samples to determine the levels of metallic ion in their systems. The companies are also being asked to determine how frequently the devices are failing.

Along with the DePuy division of Johnson & Johnson, other major producers of hip implants include Zimmer, Stryker, Biomet, Wright Medical and Smith & Nephew.

Attorneys at the Strick Law Offices have worked with many individuals who have suffered ill effects associated with failed hip implants. If you or a family member have any questions associated with the use of these products we will be happy to answer any questions.

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