If anyone thinks that bicycle riders are completely safe as they travel the city streets of Baltimore, Annapolis, the District, or any other large urban area across Maryland, think again. While much has been done to improve riders’ safety, the fact remains: When motorists and cyclists are constantly sharing the same public roadways, the potential for bike-car accidents exists as does the possibility of injuries and even fatalities.
As a Maryland injury lawyer, I and my colleagues understand the dangers that cycling enthusiasts face every day across our state and even in the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., has its share of bicycle riders and, hence, it’s share of bicycle accidents. A discussion on the pluses and minuses of bicycle and rider safety caught our eye not long ago, which addresses some of the concerns out there.
According to the article, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s Shane Farthing answered a barrage of questions from concerned riders and other citizens. In particular a question came regarding whether or not the police would be doing anything more to prosecute motorists who hit bike riders, much less commercial trucks that occasionally kill cyclists.
Farthing responded that over the past couple years he knew of no significant steps taken by the police to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. He said that the WABA was stepping up its outreach efforts to the police agencies by trying to open a dialog between law enforcement and the association.
Additionally, he reportedly said that the group would like to see existing traffic laws enforced more vigorously — apparently the group is considering some ways to advocate for the cycling community by educating police officers on the issues and perhaps help to improve the situation. Other laws, he added, the WABA would really like to see changed altogether, such as abolishing the contributory negligence standard and replacing it with a comparative negligence standard, which would be more in line with the rest of the country.
Sadly, however, Farthing believes that things, at least in this region of the country, have a long way to go before people will see any major improvement in cyclist and pedestrian safety.
WABA’s Shane Farthing answers the rest of your questions, GreaterGreaterWashington.org, August 6, 2010