Few can deny that motorcycles have their appeal. On one hand they offer a feeling of freedom. On the other hand, they certainly can be dangerous. This is why some motorcycle owners describe riding a bike as an exercise in risk management. One of the biggest risks for bikers here in Maryland — regardless of whether they own a Honda, Kawasaki or Harley Davidson — is the potential for severe injury or even death as a result of a traffic accident.
As a Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer, I’ve met many motorcyclists and they all share an undying passion for riding, for the open road. Each person deals with the inherent risks in his or her own way. Sadly, however, all bikers face some formidable dangers in the guise of passenger cars, family minivans and commercial trucks. From being side-swiped by a distracted driver to catching a thrown tread off a poorly maintained semi tractor-trailer, the prospect of receiving cuts, bruises, broken bones and road rash looks downright sunny next to the dead-end alternative a fatal high-speed crash with another, larger motor vehicle.
Not long ago, two riders died in separate accidents on the same Friday evening here in Maryland. One could say it was a fluke, but with the number of motorcycle enthusiasts on the road these days, a more cynical person would suggest it was simply inevitable. In each of these cases — one in Joppa, MD, and the other in Hanover — the accidents involved questionable riding behavior on the part of each rider. Both motorcycle accidents involved a collision with an automobile.
According to news reports, the accident in Joppa occurred around 7pm on Friday on Joppa Farm Road near Foster Knoll Road. Harford County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an accident involving a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle and a 2010 Toyota Corolla. Apparently, 20-year-old Karl Michael Kunz had been traveling north passing vehicles at high rates of speed in a no passing zone when he struck a Toyota Corolla which had started to cross Joppa Farm Road westbound from Foster Knoll Road.
Police reports show that Kunz was ejected from the bike after striking the Toyota’s driver-side door. The Toyota ended up striking a tree and nearby street sign before coming to a stop. Police reports showed that Kunz was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The second crash involved a 2004 Suzuki GSX R 600 that ran a red light and hit a 1992 Nissan 300 ZX. Police reports indicated that 25-year-old Gustin Samuel Page was heading westbound on his Suzuki along Dorsey Road at about 6pm when a the Nissan made a left turn from Candlewood Road onto eastbound Dorsey Road. Page apparently couldn’t slow down for the red light, causing him to hit the passenger car on the left-hand side.
Page was taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The Nissan’s driver, Norman Walter Faber Jr., 52, of Churchton, also was taken to BWMC with injuries that were not life-threatening. Witnesses told police Page was driving recklessly and speeding before the crash, including riding on the rear wheel of the motorcycle.