With so many people choosing alternative modes of transportation — meaning something other than owning and driving a personal car or SUV — one’s it is obvious that there has been a relative explosion of two-wheeled conveyances plying Maryland’s roadways over the past several years. Bicycle and motorcycle use has been on the rise here in the Baltimore area, as well as in other cities such as Rockville, Bowie and the District. The point is that with the growing use of smaller, less expensive transportation comes a potential increase in injuries and deaths due to traffic-related collisions.
As a Maryland personal injury law firm, we are well aware of the risks that individuals take when traveling by bike or cycle. And we are in no way being judgmental when we remind people that the opportunity for serious injury or even permanent disability can be significant when riding a motorcycle in highly dense urban areas or in heavy traffic on the highway. Still, we know enough about the motorcycling community to understand that accepting certain risks associated with the sport are just part of the overall experience of riding a Harley, Kawasaki, Triumph or Ducati.
Whether one rides for sport or necessity, every biker understands the potential downside to being caught up in a traffic accident with a passenger car, city bus, commercial delivery truck or a large semi tractor-trailer. The rule that most cyclists follow is to never assume that the other drivers see you. Assuming that one is invisible has probably saved more lives than not.
Of course, for many hobbyists and motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing is more exhilarating than feeling the wind in one’s face and hearing the roar of that engine. Being one with the road as you travel past fields, streams and beautiful countryside is an experience that few passenger car drivers will ever know. And so we certainly understand the draw of the sport and joy that these free-spirits derive from their pastime.
Now, on the darker end of the motorcycling spectrum is the possible injury or even death that can take place as a result of an unexpected crash with a car or truck. Even single-bike wrecks can result in critical injuries depending on the speed of the crash, as well as other factors. With all of the dangers that motorcycle riders face, it’s important to note that the statistics coming out of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that motorcyclists are five times more likely to hurt as the result of a traffic accident than other non-motorcycle drivers.
Furthermore, in the case of fatal traffic wrecks, bikers are 25 times more likely to be caught up in a deadly accident than motorists who operate cars, trucks or other larger, enclosed vehicles. One example, pulled from daily news articles, illustrates the typical danger that bikers face every day across Maryland and the rest of the United States. According to news reports, a 53-year-old motorcycle rider from Union Bridge, MD, was seriously injured following a traffic collision on Maryland Rte 31.
Police reports indicate that the victim, Jeff Thompson, was riding his bike during the afternoon, traveling westbound along a stretch of Md. 31, when he was hit from behind by a Cadillac a little before 3pm. The car, which was being driven by an elderly resident from New Windsor, MD, also struck another vehicle also going west on the same stretch of road. The victim’s bike was apparently dragged by the Cadillac to the intersection of Uniontown Rd. and Md. 31, where the vehicles reportedly came to rest.
Although the woman in the Cadillac was taken to Carroll Hospital Center, she apparently had no serious injuries. Mr. Thompson, on the other hand, was taken to shock trauma for evaluation by emergency physicians at that facility. According to information coming out of the Westminster Police Department, the 78-year-old Cadillac driver was charged with negligent driving as a result of the crash.
Union Bridge man flown to shock trauma after motorcycle accident, CarrollCountyTimes.com, May 17, 2012