Just as learning how to ride a bike is one of the most memorable milestones in any child’s life, it is also seen as a parental rite of passage. And while one of the most important aspects of teaching a child to ride a bike is imparting the importance of bicycle safety, some accidents cannot be avoided.bicycle

In fact, Maryland bicycle accidents injure, on average, about 67,000 riders per year and result in over 700 fatalities annually. Studies have shown that child riders account for a significant number of both the fatal and the non-fatal bicycle accidents. Most of these accidents occur close to the child’s home, often on their own street.

Motorists have a duty to avoid causing a bicycle accident. This includes following all traffic laws, paying attention to the road in front of them, and yielding to bicyclists when appropriate. When a motorist causes a bicycle accident, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of their negligence.

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Each year, about 60 people are killed in Maryland motorcycle accidents. Improper lane changes, including passing another motorist where it is prohibited or unsafe to do so, account for a large number of these fatal accidents.

A motorist may make an improper lane change for a number of reasons. The most common types of improper lane changes are illegal passing and changing lanes without signaling. In each of these cases, other motorists are put in serious danger. While most of the time, those who make an improper lane change do not end up causing a serious accident, when an accident does occur, the motorist can be held liable for any resulting injuries.highway

Recovering compensation in a Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit is much like any other personal injury lawsuit. However, motorcycle accident victims often encounter a difficulty that the drivers of other vehicles do not:  the stigma that is associated with riding a motorcycle. When people hear about a motorcycle accident, they often think “I wonder how fast the motorcyclist was going?” as though the default is that the motorcyclist was somehow at fault. Of course, that is not how the law views motorcycle accidents, and an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney can assist motorcycle accident victims in proving that they were a victim of another motorist’s negligence.

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scooterOver the past decade or so, car-shares and bike-shares have greatly increased in popularity. A car-share or bike-share allows for customers to rent a vehicle for a short period of time, typically for a commute to work, to the grocery store, or anywhere else someone may need to go. These vehicle-shares provide a good alternative to those who do not need to use a vehicle every day.

According to a recent news article, motorized scooter-shares are now also becoming more popular. However, some are concerned that as scooter-shares increase in popularity, there will be a corresponding increase in the number of scooter accidents.

Evidently, Dallas, Texas passed a series of laws allowing for scooter-share businesses to operate within city limits. The electric scooters that will be available to rent will be able to travel up to 15 miles after the user pays a small fee. Additionally, the scooters will be only able to travel up to 35 miles per hours. The scooters will also be routinely inspected to ensure that they are safe for users.

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Motor scooters are a good alternative for many commuters, especially those who do not need to take the highway to get to work. Motor scooters are more fuel-efficient than most motorcycles, and because they are not capable of traveling at fast speeds, they are also generally seen as a safer alternative. However, Maryland scooter accidents are still a serious risk for those who choose to commute by scooter.

Red ScooterEarlier this month, actor George Clooney was injured in a motor scooter accident on the Italian island of Sardinia. According to a recent news report, Clooney was in Sardinia filming a new adaptation of the 1953 novel by Joseph Heller, Catch-22.

Evidently, Clooney was riding on the scooter alone when the driver of a Mercedes failed to yield the right-of-way and collided with the scooter. The responding police officer told reporters that after the initial collision, Clooney slammed into the windshield of the Mercedes. Pictures taken after the accident show Clooney’s scooter lying on the pavement, as well as the Mercedes’ broken windshield.

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Each year, there are hundreds of Maryland bicycle accidents that occur for a number of reasons. While some accidents are the result of bicyclist error, the vast majority involve the negligence of a motorist. And although it may seem beyond the pale to most Maryland motorists, each year there are dozens of Maryland hit-and-run accidents where a motorist flees the scene after being involved in a collision.

Bike at SundownHit-and-run accidents are especially troublesome for a number of reasons. First, car accidents almost always involve some type of injury. And when a motorist leaves the scene, they run the risk of leaving stranded a person who is seriously injured and in need of medical assistance. Additionally, by leaving the scene, a hit-and-run driver abandons the accident victim without anyone to look to for compensation for their injuries.

The issues involved in a hit-and-run accident are worsened when one of the vehicles involved is a bicycle. Bicyclists are less protected than motorists, and more likely to suffer serious injuries following an accident. Thus, a Maryland bicycle accident victim is likely in need of serious medical attention following an accident.

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Teaching a child to ride a bike can be a rewarding experience for both the child and the adult. However, bicycle safety is a critical component of learning to ride a bike and should never be overlooked. Not only is it important to teach children always wear a helmet, but also to follow the rules of the road and to always be aware of drivers that may not be paying attention.

Child Bike SafetyAccording to a recent news report based on a study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Maryland bicycle accidents involving children may be more common than most people believe. Evidently, nationwide there are there are about 608 bicycle-related injuries per day, which comes out to about 25 accidents per hour.

Of course, most of these accidents are minor. In fact, the top reported injury types were bruises, scrapes, and cuts. However, a very significant 11% of all child bicycle accidents resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Unsurprisingly, when a motor vehicle is involved in the accident, the chance of the child suffering a traumatic brain injury greatly increases.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case requiring the court to determine if a group of city contractors that designed and landscaped the foliage around an intersection could be held liable after a motorist was killed at the intersection. Ultimately, the court concluded that because the city approved the work and the alleged hazard was readily apparent, the contractors were absolved from liability.

Motorcycle HeadlightThe case is important for Maryland car accident victims because, while the exact doctrine applied in Maryland differs slightly from that which was applied in this case, the concepts and considerations underlying the court’s rationale are consistent with Maryland law.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the mother of a man who died after being struck by a truck upon entering an intersection on his motorcycle. The plaintiff claimed that the foliage surrounding the intersection obstructed the motorists’ view of the intersection as they approached, causing the accident.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raises an important issue for Maryland motorcycle accident victims who believe that their injuries were due to a poorly designed road or intersection. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff established that the government’s negligent planning and design of the road were the proximate cause of her injuries.

Dangerous IntersectionThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger on a northbound motorcycle being driven by her husband. The couple approached an intersection in which they did not have a stop sign. At the same time, a pick-up truck was traveling in a perpendicular direction and had stopped at a stop sign. The driver of the pick-up truck looked both ways before entering the intersection; however, as he pulled into the intersection, the plaintiff and her husband collided with the side of the truck.

The plaintiff was seriously injured, and her husband died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the government in charge of designing and maintaining the road, claiming that the road was negligently designed. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the government was negligent in failing to install a four-way stop at the intersection, allowing too high a speed limit, and failing to provide adequate signage in advance of the intersection.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that raised an interesting perspective on an issue that commonly comes up in Maryland motorcycle accidents. The case involved an accident victim’s claim that he was an “occupant” in the vehicle that struck him because, after the collision, the man landed atop the car, which was insured by the defendant insurance company.

Rear-EndedWhile the court rejected the plaintiff’s creative argument, the case illustrates the type of outside-the-box thinking that can sometimes be successful in Maryland personal injury cases.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was stopped at a red light when he was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. After the collision, the plaintiff fell backwards, landing on the hood of the defendant’s car and rolling up the windshield before falling onto the ground. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries in the accident and filed a personal injury claim against the defendant.

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As a general matter, Maryland government employees, entities, and organizations are entitled to immunity from Maryland personal injury lawsuits. However, under the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), accident victims can pursue a claim for compensation against the government in certain limited situations.

Gravel RoadUnder the MTCA, victims can pursue a variety of claims against government entities up to the statutory limit of $400,000 per claimant per incident. However, certain conduct is removed from the MTCA and will not be covered. Namely, this is if the person or entity that caused the injury acted with malice or gross negligence or took actions not within the scope of the person’s employment. Other important exceptions also apply, and anyone considering a claim against a government agency or official in Maryland should consult with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney.

A recent case discusses one motorcycle accident plaintiff’s difficulties when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a local government for the condition of the roads that she believed caused the accident. While the state’s tort claims act involved in the case is different from Maryland’s, the case illustrates some of the common difficulties plaintiffs have when attempting to bring a lawsuit against a government entity.

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