Spring has arrived, and though it could be a little early for every motorcycle rider to dust off his mount, the warmer days are on their way. But from a public safety standpoint, we can’t help but wonder if we will be looking at some more passenger car-bike and truck-motorcycle accidents as the season progresses. Most anyone who follows the news here in Baltimore and other urban areas has heard for the potentially dangerous groups of dirt bike riders playing havoc with motorists and others in town.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff have helped bikers injured in bad traffic collisions. A serious roadway collision can turn out to be a life-threatening event for almost anyone, but for motorcyclists the risks can be even greater. And, while most conscientious riders obey our traffic laws and respect other motorists’ rights as well, there are bad apples among them.
As we write this, we are thinking specifically about the dangerous trend of urban dirt bike riding by mostly unlicensed and, some would say, reckless youth. While not involving the more thoughtful riders out there, this trend has continued much to local police departments’ dismay. Based on a news article published not long ago, we have to ask ourselves if Baltimore and other areas of the state are in for another round of dangerous dirt bike riding exploits.
We’ve seen news stories in the past of seemingly suicidal riders doing tricks on the street, many times in heavy traffic, that not only threaten the lives of the riders themselves, but also the motorists and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity. Although there are numerous city ordinances that regulate the operation of dirt bikes in cities like Baltimore, the existence of these laws never quite seem to dissuade some zealous riders, many of whom are not licensed or insured, to curtain their potentially deadly pastime.
The news article we mentioned, which only serves to signal caution to the general public of a possible resurgence of this problem, involved a young man who drove into the path of a larger passenger vehicle causing serious injury to the rider himself. According to that report, the bike-auto accident occurred in the southern portion of Anne Arundel County.
Apparently, a Ford van being driven by a North Beach, MD, resident was going westbound on a stretch of Friendship Rd. when the driver came up on a dirt bike headed in the same direction. The rider, a young man who was later determined to be just 12 years old, was apparently riding along the right-hand side of the travel lane.
Based on the news article, it appears, that the bike was traveling slower than the van, which reportedly began to overtake and pass the bike. At that moment, according to police investigators, the rider allegedly turned his bike abruptly to the left and into the path of the passing van. Without any notice of the maneuver, the driver of the van stated to police that he could not avoid striking the bike and rider.
As a result of the traffic accident, the dirt bike became wedged underneath the larger vehicle and the rider was thrown to the pavement. Police attributed the collision to rider error, though investigators told news outlets that neither speed nor alcohol appeared to be contributing factors in the wreck. Officials did state that the juvenile male was operating the dirt bike illegally at the time of the traffic accident. According to the news report, an investigation was still ongoing at the time of the article, and no formal charges had been pressed on either party.
Dirt Bike Crash Injures 12-Year Old In South County, EyeOnAnnapolis.net, February 24, 2013