When law enforcement officers respond to a serious Maryland motorcycle accident, the scene is often chaotic. The injured individual must be attended to, witnesses must be located and spoken to, and the scene must be secured and eventually cleaned up promptly as to not create an increased risk of causing a subsequent accident. As a result, determining fault in a Maryland motorcycle accident has always been an art as much as it has been a science, and extraneous factors such as inclement weather and the amount of traffic on the road at the time may influence how thoroughness of a post-accident investigation.

Often, investigators base their conclusions on assumptions. Of course, assumptions must be made, especially when there are conflicting accounts of what happened. Investigators will often “play out” the various witness accounts of what occurred to see which account makes the most sense. This is a time-consuming process, but also a necessary one because it is only after concluding an in-depth investigation that a cause of an accident can be confidently determined. And even then, investigators cannot be sure that they got it right.

According to a local news report, some law enforcement agencies are hoping to use recent advances in technology to assist them in determining the causes of serious traffic accidents. Earlier this month, a Chattanooga police received a call for a motorcycle accident. When officers arrived on the scene, they could immediately tell that there were two fatalities.

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With the increased prevalence of smartphones, distracted driving has become a major cause of Maryland traffic accidents over the past decades. Indeed, according to one government report, over the past few years there have been about 48,000 Maryland car accidents caused by distracted driving each year. Most of these accidents occur in the urban areas around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The report acknowledges that determining the actual number of Maryland distracted driving accidents is difficult because verifying that a driver was distracted before causing an accident is difficult. However, the most recent report issued by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distracted driving is involved in about half of all Maryland motor vehicle accidents.

In 2016 alone, Maryland law enforcement officers issued over 34,000 citations for cell phone use while driving and another 1,800 for texting while driving. While these numbers have gone down over the past few years as government efforts to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving have increased, distracted driving is still a significant concern, especially for Maryland bicyclists.

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One of the most important lessons children are taught when learning how to ride a bicycle is the importance of always wearing a helmet. While it is impossible to determine exactly how effective helmets are at preventing serious injuries, bicycle helmets are estimated to save thousands of lives per year. In addition, helmets reduce the chance of a rider sustaining a serious head injury in the event of a Maryland bicycle accident.

While the importance of bicycle helmets cannot be overstated, a recent trend concerning the prevalence of counterfeit bicycle helmets is very alarming. According to a recent news report by National Public Radio, counterfeit helmets are often manufactured outside the United States and sold through online retailers. Counterfeit helmets may look very similar to their name-brand counterparts, however, the protection provided by counterfeit helmets pales in comparison.

The U.S. government, as well as helmet manufactures, have taken up the fight to eliminate counterfeit helmets from the marketplace. Also, some online retailers have developed technology to weed out counterfeits.

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Commercial semi-trucks and construction vehicles are designed to perform a specific function, whether it be carrying a large amount of cargo across the nation’s highways or hauling away waste from a construction site. They are not, however, designed to travel the smaller streets of an urban or suburban area. When large trucks are required to operate on smaller surface streets, those who routinely use these roads are put at great risk of being the victim of a Maryland truck accident.

Operators of large trucks have a difficult time driving on smaller roads for several reasons. Most often, these trucks have enormous blind spots making it difficult to see nearby pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists. Additionally, commercial trucks and construction vehicles have a large turning radius, making it difficult for drivers to maintain their lane when executing tight turns. While those who are forced to share the road with a large truck should take precaution to avoid an accident, the duty to safely operate the truck rests with the driver.

Fatal On-Campus Bicycle Accident Claims One Student’s Life

Earlier this month, a Boston University graduate student was killed in a bicycle accident involving a dump truck. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the accident occurred on campus, near the school’s museum.

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Maryland accident victims can face substantial medical expenses, as well as other economic and non-economic challenges. Victims must show that a defendant acted negligently by acting or failing to act in a certain way. A plaintiff has to prove the following elements to establish a negligence claim: the defendant had a legal duty to use due care toward the plaintiff; the defendant failed to meet that duty; the plaintiff suffered damages, and the defendant’s failure to meet the duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

The driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Every driver must use the degree of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under similar circumstances. The care expected under the circumstances can vary depending on the type of the vehicle, weather conditions, and the time of day. A driver also must exercise reasonable care when presented with an emergency. Examples of negligent conduct are failing to yield at an intersection, failing to pay attention to the road, speeding, and tailgating.

Scooter Accident Reports Rising as Electric Scooter Rentals Increase

According to one news source, rental scooter accidents are becoming more common throughout the country. In Dallas earlier this year, the city passed regulations allowing bike share companies to rent motorized scooters to customers in a six-month pilot program. The scooters can travel up to 15 mph. The scooter share companies rolled out hundreds of scooters soon after the regulations were passed. Dallas estimates there are about 6,000 e-scooters in the city now.

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Anyone who has been involved in a serious Maryland traffic accident knows that the recovery process – physically, emotionally, and financially – can take quite a bit of time. Accident victims are often left upset, frustrated, confused, and with lingering physical ailments. And all too often Maryland accident victims are also left without adequate compensation to help them cover the medical expenses and other costs incurred as a result of the accident.

Arguably, Maryland hit-and-run accidents present accident victims with the most hurdles and roadblocks to a complete recovery. One reason for this is that the at-fault party may never be located, leaving an accident victim without someone to hold responsible for their injuries.

Thankfully, Maryland law requires all motorists maintain uninsured motorist protection, which will generally cover a Maryland hit-and-run accident. However, a victim’s recovery will be limited to the policy-maximum under their policy. In Maryland, the coverage limits for uninsured motorist protection are just $30,000 per person or a total of $60,000 per accident.

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Perhaps the single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists is when they are approaching an intersection in which an oncoming driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn. These left-turn accidents are responsible for a significant portion of the total Maryland motorcycle accidents that occur each year. Indeed, it is estimated that left-turn accidents account for about 42% of all motorcycle accidents.

Left-turn accidents are not unique to motorcycles; however, the slim profile of a motorcycle makes it more difficult for other motorists to see that a motorcycle is approaching and correctly assess its speed. Thus, motorists routinely begin a turn when they do not have time to complete it, cutting off the motorcyclist as they enter the intersection. The motorcyclist is then left with little to no time to react.

As a general rule, a motorist making a left turn is required to yield to motorcycles that are continuing straight through an intersection. Thus, most left-turn accidents are determined to be the fault of the turning motorist. However, if the motorcyclist is speeding at the time they enter the intersection, the motorcyclist may be found to have caused the accident.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a bicycle accident case discussing a plaintiff’s claim against a city that maintained the park where he was injured. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the precision with which a personal injury plaintiff must plead their case in an initial complaint. The case raises an important issue for Maryland bicycle accident victims, especially those who were injured while riding on public property.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his bike through a park owned by the defendant city. While riding through the grass, the front tire of the plaintiff’s bike got caught in a storm drain that was covered up by some grass. The plaintiff fell off his bike and fractured several bones.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the city, making a single claim of “negligence.” Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the city was negligent in allowing the hazard to exist in the first place, and also for failing to warn park visitors of its existence.

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Earlier this month, one man was killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident in Berkeley County. According to a local news report, the accident occurred in the early morning hours on the 4000 block of Winchester Avenue.

Evidently, a pick-up truck was traveling northbound when it collided head-on with a southbound motorcycle. After the initial collision, both vehicles immediately caught fire. Emergency responders were quick to arrive on the scene, were unable to save the motorcyclist’s life.

Police began a preliminary investigation into the fatal Maryland motorcycle accident, and at this point believe that the pick-up truck had started to drift out of its land an into oncoming traffic prior to the collision. It remains to be seen if the driver of the pick-up truck will face criminal charges for his role in the fatal accident.

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Given the state of today’s technology, one hardly has to go a single minute without having access to their music. Indeed, on any given day it is common to see people with their headphones in while engaged in a wide variety of activities including running, walking their dog, riding on public transportation, shopping and riding their bike. And while this unrestrained access to media provides comfort for many, it can also be dangerous.

According to a recent news report, bicyclists are being warned not to ride with large noise-cancelling headphones. The article discusses the death of a 30-year-old investment banker who was run over by a bus while he was riding his bike while wearing over-the-ear headphones.

Experts explained that it is important for bicyclists to be able to hear – and not just see – their surroundings, and that having headphones in while riding prevents bicyclists from taking in much of the surrounding noise. These experts argue that this may result in a situation where a bicyclist is involved in an accident that they may have otherwise been able to avoid. If you were injured while riding a bicycle, contact a Maryland bicycle accident attorney to discuss your options.

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