Riding a bicycle is a great form of transportation—it’s cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, and a great form of exercise. However, Maryland residents who ride bicycles—whether it be to work every day or just occasionally to get some fresh air—should always practice safe biking habits and be aware of other drivers on the road. Bicycle accidents can occur in the blink of an eye and cause serious injury, or even death. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2018, 857 bicyclists were killed in crashes in the United States. As you might expect, when a crash occurs between a bicycle and any other vehicle, it is almost always only the cyclist who ends up being injured. But a large percentage of crashes can be avoided if cyclists follow the rules of the road and practice safe biking.

There are several ways cyclists can protect themselves before even heading out on the bicycle. The first way is one of the most important: wearing a helmet. But not just any helmet will do—it is equally important that a cyclist wears a properly fitted helmet that can actually protect them if they were to be in a crash. The sizing of helmets can vary from one manufacturer to the next, so before heading out on a ride with a brand-new helmet, take the time to accurately fit it to make sure that it’s snug and ready to protect you if the worst-case scenario occurs. In addition to wearing a helmet, cyclists can also protect themselves before even getting on the bicycle by wearing clothing that makes them more visible to others, tucking in shoelaces and pant legs, so they do not get caught in the bike chain, and planning their route to ride on bike lanes or bike paths whenever possible.

While biking, there are some additional steps that a cyclist can take to avoid a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages bikers to ride defensively and predictably. Defensively means being focused on the road and the traffic around you, so that you may notice a potential hazard or another vehicle early on and act quickly to avoid a crash. To ride defensively, drive with the flow of traffic, obey all street signs, signals, and road markings, avoid distractions, and keep a sharp eye out for hazards and potentially dangerous situations. On the other hand, Riding predictably means riding consistently, so other vehicles have a sense of what you intend to do. Additionally, it means riding where other vehicles might expect you to be—riding on the sidewalk may cause crashes, for example, because drivers in cars do not look at the sidewalk when looking to see if a turn is safe for them to make.

Motorcyclists face the unfair stigma that they are reckless and aggressive drivers, which often leads to the conclusion that they are at fault after a Maryland motorcycle crash. In reality, most motorcyclists are generally safe drivers. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one-half of all motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. Almost 40 percent were caused by the other vehicle turning left in front of the motorcyclist. Further, according to the NHTSA, when motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. In fact, in two-vehicle crashes involving passenger cars and motorcycles, 35 percent of the driver-related factor was the failure to yield the right-of-way compared to only 4 percent of motorcyclists who failed to yield the right-of-way.

A non-motorcycle driver may violate a motorcyclist’s right-of-way for various reasons. For example, motorcycles are smaller and may be less noticeable and more easily obscured, such as in a larger vehicle’s blind spot. Non-motorcycle drivers also may not be accustomed to motorcyclists’ movements and driving with them in general. Yet, motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as other vehicles on roadways. Motorcyclist advocates say that other drivers should look out for motorcyclists and educate themselves about motorcycles and how to drive safely with them in the roadway. To drive safely with motorcyclists, other drivers are supposed to allow motorcyclists a full lane width to allow motorcyclists to maneuver safely.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are over-represented in traffic crashes and fatalities throughout the United States. According to the NHTSA, almost 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2018. Motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as occupants in cars to die in a motor vehicle crash. In addition, seemingly minor crashes can result in serious injuries for a motorcyclist. But while insurance companies and juries may be quick to blame motorcyclists for causing the accidents, the stigma against motorcyclists can be overcome. For example, investigation after a crash, accident reconstruction, discovery tools, and litigation are some of the ways experienced legal advocates can build evidence in a party’s favor after a crash in order to hold the negligent party responsible. Injured motorcyclists should seek the compensation that they deserve if they are injured in a crash, despite any stigma they may face in the claims process and in court.

In this blog, we discuss all types of Maryland motorcycle accidents. Typically, accidents of this kind are caused by either negligent drivers or cyclists, who make a bad decision or careless error and crash. Sometimes, however, Maryland motorcycle accidents can be caused by something slightly more unexpected: animals in the road. A cat or dog crossing the road could be hit by a car or a motorcycle, causing a chain reaction crash behind them. Other times, animals might appear in the road and cause drivers to swerve to avoid them, the swerve then causing an accident. While most Americans like animals and enjoy nature, these examples illustrate that animals on the road can cause major crashes, and even death.

For example, according to a recent news source, a motorcycle accident occurred when a bear tried to cross U.S. Route 50. An 82-year-old man on his motorcycle tried to swerve to avoid crashing into the bear, but in doing so, he wrecked his motorcycle. The man died as a result of the accident. Another motorcycle came upon the scene and swerved to avoid the first motorcycle accident, but instead crashed himself. Officials responding to the scene took him to the hospital, and his condition is still unknown.

This example is just one of many—rogue animals on roads and highways cause accidents all the time. While these accidents might seem to be totally random, with no one at fault to hold accountable through a personal injury lawsuit, seasoned personal injury attorneys know that there may be more than meets the eye. While there are sometimes accidents with no one to hold responsible, Maryland motorcycle accidents caused by animals on the road may still be partially caused by a negligent party. For example, an owner of cattle or other livestock might know that, if not kept secure, the animals are likely to wander out into the road and cause accidents. If they do not keep their animals secure, they may be held liable for the resulting accidents. Or, a driver who has plenty of time and advanced notice to slow down and come to a stop before the animal in the street, but decides to push on full-steam-ahead and recklessly swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid the animal, may be found responsible for the resultant crash. As such, Maryland residents injured in motorcycle crashes caused by animals on the road should consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss their case and possible claims for financial compensation. Even in cases involving a wild animal in the roadway, motorists may have a claim with their own insurance company.

Maryland motorcycle accidents often happen in the blink of an eye. One second, it’s business as usual and the next, tragedy strikes. Because of how quickly and unexpectedly motorcycle accidents occur, it is often difficult to figure out exactly what happened—or who was at fault. For example, a recent fatal motorcycle accident leaves many questions unanswered about what exactly happened, and who is to blame.

According to a local news report covering the incident, the incident occurred just before 10 a.m. one morning, when a BMW sedan had stalled in the slow lane of a highway, specifically on the high-rise section of a bridge. The driver of the BMW left the vehicle and was walking along the bridge. A group of motorcycles came upon the BMW, and most of them changed lanes to go around it. Two of them, however, struck the car from behind. As a result, the driver of one of the motorcycles—a 34-year-old man—was tragically thrown off of the bridge and into the water below, where his body was later recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard. The driver and passenger of the second motorcycle survived but were taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. It is currently unknown whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision.

While we know that those injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence have the ability to bring a personal injury lawsuit, it is sometimes difficult to figure out who was negligent and what caused the crash. In the case above, there are many more facts one would need to know to determine fault. Why did the driver of the BMW leave his car? Why did the BMW stall out in the first place? Was there a safer place to pull off the road? If the driver was careless in some way, that might point to him being held liable for the motorcyclist’s death. It would also be important to know the visibility on the highway leading up to the BMW, and whether or not the motorcyclists were paying close attention to the road. Why did two fail to switch lanes? Were any of them under the influence of drugs or alcohol? The answers to these questions may determine who was at fault for this tragic accident.

Although drivers make left turns all the time—whether in a car, a truck, or a motorcycle—many people are not aware of how dangerous left turns can be. In fact, many Maryland motorcycle accidents are the result of someone attempting a left turn and then hitting a motorcycle that had the right-of-way. Just recently, a crash exactly like this was reported, giving a perfect example of what might happen.

According to a local news report covering the crash, a 50-year-old woman was driving an SUV and attempted to turn left. However, she violated the right-of-way of two oncoming motorcycles, resulting in a collision of all three vehicles. The drivers of the motorcycles—a 54-year-old man and a 25-year-old man—both tragically died at the scene.

There are many reasons why a driver in this situation might cause this type of accident while turning left. Perhaps the driver is intoxicated, and thus their judgment is clouded. Or, if it’s dark at night, drivers might find it hard to see motorcycles and assume that if they do not see a car coming then the path is clear. Drivers also could make risky moves like this if they are distracted while driving—by their phone, or by someone in the backseat—or if they have been driving many hours and are feeling fatigued. Whatever the reason, drivers who are at fault in causing accidents such as these can be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit.

Maryland motorcyclists generally understand the importance of being safe and careful on the road to avoid getting into an accident. Because motorcyclists have less protection than those driving other vehicles, getting in an Maryland motorcycle accident can be incredibly dangerous, leading to serious injuries or even death.

Accidents can be caused by many different things, but one common cause is drivers in cars or trucks driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and then crashing into a motorcyclist. While intoxicated, drivers may not see the motorcyclist, or may mid-judge how far away they are and how fast they are going, causing sometimes fatal accidents.

For example, take an accident from earlier this month. According to a local news report, the accident occurred around 8:30 one night, with a motorcyclist going west and a Chevy Camero going east on the same road. The Chevy Camero, driven by a 51-year-old woman apparently intoxicated from drinking alcohol before driving, made a left turn into the motorcyclist’s path, causing a crash. Tragically, the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene by the responding officials. The driver was brought to the hospital to receive medical care for her injuries. The next day, she was arrested on numerous charges, including vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and careless driving resulting in death.

Maryland motorcycle accidents are incredibly dangerous. Unlike cars, which provide a significant barrier between other vehicles and the bodies of the drivers and passengers and have safety features such as automatic braking and airbags, motorcycles provide very little protection to riders. Motorcycle accidents also tend to occur at higher speeds, and almost always result in the motorcyclist being thrown off the bike. These are a few of the reasons that motorcycle accidents so often result in serious injuries and fatalities.

Recently, a tragic motorcycle accident resulted in the death of a 31-year-old woman. Not much is known about why the accident occurred, but according to a local news report the motorcycle was being driven by a 35-year-old man when it crashed around 2 a.m. The passenger on the motorcycle was killed as a result, and the driver also suffered injuries. The driver walked away from the scene of the accident, however, leaving his deceased passenger and wrecked motorcycle behind. State troopers and county sheriff’s deputies searched all night for the driver, finally locating him around 8:30 a.m. in a convenience store. The crash is currently under investigation, and it is not clear whether or not charges will be filed against the driver.

This accident is a tragic illustration of how fatal motorcycle accidents can be. Every year, many Maryland residents lose loved ones in accidents like this, causing pain and heartbreak. While nothing can undo the damage that is done in these crashes, or bring the deceased back to life, Maryland state law has developed a doctrine to allow grieving family members to hold whoever caused their loved one’s death responsible in court. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the family can recover financially to cover things such as funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills.

Another fatal motorcycle accident claimed a 41-year-old man’s life last week, yet another sobering reminder of the irreparable harm that Maryland motorcycle accidents can cause. According to a local news report, the motorcycle accident occurred a little after 5 PM on a Wednesday evening. Evidently, the motorcyclist was traveling south when a 2007 Jeep Patriot, traveling north on the same road, crossed the center line, striking the guardrail and causing a collision with the motorcycle. The incident caused both the driver and the passenger of the motorcycle to be sent to the hospital with severe injuries. The motorcycle driver, unfortunately, passed away in the hospital. Authorities say that the incident remains under investigation, and it is not clear why the Jeep crossed the center line and caused the collision. However, the driver of the Jeep was arrested at the scene for violation of a probation warrant and is currently in jail.

This case may result in criminal charges for the driver of the Jeep, who not only violated his probation warrant but also caused a deadly accident by crossing over the center line. However, this case may also lead to a civil suit. Depending on how or why the Jeep crossed over, the injured passenger and the family of the deceased driver may be entitled to financial compensation for the resulting harm. This doctrine was developed in Maryland and other states to protect accident victims who are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. By proving that the driver violated the duty of care he owed to be a responsible driver, and, that this action caused the accident and resulting injuries, the victims may be able to recover financially from him for the costs associated with their hospitalizations and subsequent recovery.

While the money the family may receive from a civil negligence suit cannot undo the harm caused, or the pain caused by the loss of life, it can, however, provide for the victim and their families in the aftermath. Those affected by the accident are now having to deal with medical bills and will likely have future medical needs and expenses as a result as well. The deceased victim’s family also likely has funeral and burial expenses, and then there’s the economic toll that the motorcyclist’s’ lost wages can have. A wrongful death lawsuit can help to provide for a grieving and recovering family and hold the negligent driver responsible for his actions. But filing these suits can be complicated, or overwhelming, particularly right after an accident. This is why Maryland residents are encouraged to find a local personal injury attorney to help them through the process.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), accidents are among the leading causes of death in the United States. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) reports that their most recent data indicates that the state experienced an average of over 500 car accident-related deaths and 48,000 injuries over the most recent five-year period. Although some accidents are avoidable, the vast majority of accidents occur because of one or more parties’ negligence. Statistics indicate that these accidents are especially deadly when a motorcycle is involved.

Most Maryland motorcycle accidents involve a read-end or head-on collision, left-turn collision, low-speed crash, or hit-and-run accidents. The majority of these accidents involve a negligent motorist. The most common reasons for these accidents are speeding, driving while impaired, distracted driving, driver fatigue, weather conditions, and sudden, unsafe traffic movements, such as hasty lane changes.

Motorists who change lanes endanger motorcyclists or pedestrians, and everyone else on the road. These reckless drivers may be liable for their unsafe driving. Sudden, unsafe lane change accidents typically occur when drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings or other vehicles. Similarly, these accidents also occur when a motorist is speeding or cutting through traffic. Further, inclement weather and unsafe road conditions may cause drivers to quickly change lanes, resulting in an accident. Finally, in some cases, sudden traffic changes may occur when a motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In any event, these accidents frequently involve motorcyclists, which are more difficult to see due to their slim profile.

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always dangerous, for both the drunk driver as well as for others on the road. And, unfortunately, it can be especially dangerous for Maryland motorcyclists. Sharing the road with an intoxicated driver is never safe, but for Maryland motorcyclists, crashes can be more serious or even fatal than those in cars. Additionally, they may be more likely to be hit by intoxicated drivers in a Maryland motorcycle accident than cars or trucks, because motorcyclists take up less space and are less visible, particularly to drivers operating their vehicle under the influence at night.

There’s a reason that operating a vehicle under the influence is against the law. When driving drunk or otherwise intoxicated, a driver is less likely to be aware of their surroundings or to know what is going on. Additionally, intoxicated drivers have slower reflexes to respond to other drivers—or motorcyclists—and are also more likely to drive recklessly by not following traffic rules or speed limits. All of these things can result in incredibly serious accidents, including one that happened in Maryland last month.

According to a local news article covering the incident, a 37-year-old man from Temple Hills was driving, presumably under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, when he crossed over the yellow line on Route 54 in Nesquehoning. He hit a motorcycle driven by a 30-year-old Landford man, tragically throwing the cyclist from the motorcycle and killing him. When police arrived on the scene, they reported a strong smell of marijuana and paraphernalia in the intoxicated driver’s car.

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