A 12-year-old North Carolina girl is dead and another woman has been hospitalized after a tragic accident late last month when they were struck by a passing truck while they were legally riding on the side of the road. According to a local news report, the driver of the truck has not been charged with a crime related to the death, and the cause of the accident appears to remain under investigation. The driver of the truck, a 36-year-old North Carolina man, stated that he was not able to see the cyclists in the road before he hit them. The accident occurred at just after 5:00 in the evening.
According to another report of the accident, the 12-year-old who was killed was riding bicycles with her mother at the time of the crash. According to the survivor, the two cyclists were riding near the right shoulder of the roadway and were unexpectedly hit by the truck. Neither bicyclist was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, although it is unclear if the outcome would have been different were they wearing helmets.
Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Laws
It’s a proven fact; helmets save lives, and anyone riding a motorcycle or bicycle should wear a helmet at all times. In fact, all motorcyclists and passengers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are required to wear helmets in order to legally operate their vehicles on public roads. However, bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet, although doing so greatly increases the chance of survival in the event of an accident. Maryland’s helmet law has stood up to several legal challenges and remained intact by justifying the restriction of rider freedom by the increase in safety and decreased severity of accidents. Sources vary on exactly how effective helmet laws are in preventing fatalities, but whether a biker is wearing a helmet at the time of the accident has nothing to do with the determination of whether another driver was negligent in causing the accident in the first place.
Helmet Non-Use Evidence
While some form of a motorcycle helmet law exists in nearly every state, motorcycle accident defendants and insurance companies have tried to use the fact that a rider wasn’t wearing a helmet to discount or deny a motorcycle accident claim. The issue has come to a head nationwide, and the states have split on whether evidence that a rider was not wearing a helmet can be used to show comparative or contributory negligence in an accident case.
Maryland courts do not allow helmet non-use to be introduced as evidence of a party’s comparative negligence in causing an accident. Helmet non-use evidence may be introduced for other purposes, however, and it is important for accident plaintiffs to ensure that the jury is adequately instructed not to make improper inferences from such evidence, if it is admitted.
Should You Call a Maryland Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you or a family member has been hurt in a Maryland motorcycle accident, retaining an attorney with experience representing motorcyclists can greatly help your case. The qualified Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have experience representing motorcyclists in accident and injury claims, and we can anticipate what the other side will try to do to weaken your case. Don’t let a savvy insurance company take advantage of you or your loved one. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Motorcyclist and Traffic Fatalities Increase in Maryland and Across United States, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 6, 2016.
Fatal Bicycle Accident Will Not Result in Any Charges Being Filed Against Motorist, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 20, 2016.