Every year across the nation more a half million people are hurt in bicycle-related accidents; about 700 of those individual die each year from injuries received while on a bike. As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues are well aware of the seriousness of some traffic-related accidents that involve a car or truck and a person riding his or her bicycle.
When we hear of biking-related injuries, it’s natural to think immediately of children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Washington, D.C., youngsters under 15 years of age typically account for more than half of the bike-related injuries every year; based on statistics from 2001, 59 percent of emergency room cases involving a bicycle injury happened to a child 15 years or under.
When cyclists mix with motor vehicle traffic, the stakes increase for the bicycle rider many times over, if only because larger and heavier cars and commercial trucks are less forgiving than another bicycle or a pedestrian. Based on figures from 2009, 630 bicyclists died as a result of a car or trucking-related traffic accident. That’s almost two cyclists a day, every day, killed by a motor vehicle.
For areas of high vehicle density and with younger, more active residents — such as the Baltimore area — one can only imagine that fatal bicycle-car accidents happen more frequently than elsewhere in the country. While the majority of bicycle injury accidents do not necessarily involve a motor vehicle, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that more than 50,000 riders were sent to the hospital in 2009 as a result of a crash with a car, truck or other motor vehicle.
Apparently, not all of these accidents are, just that, accidents. Some of these crashes become more of a criminal act, especially when a driver leaves the scene of a traffic accident; case in point, a wreck that occurred about six months ago in the Annapolis area when a bike rider was struck by a hit-and-run driver. That incident was recently discussed in a news article after police identified the vehicle involved in the crash.
According to news articles, a 30-year-old Pasadena, MD, resident was charged last month with the hit-and-run car-bicycle accident along a stretch of Forest Dr. last August 23. Based on police reports, the victim was a 20-year-old man who was hit from behind by a minivan. The injured cyclist received serious injuries as a result of the collision and was transported by emergency personnel to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Police eventually located the minivan and its driver after an apparently long and involved investigation that resulted in charges being brought against Jason R. Bowen. According to reports, the suspect is now facing various allegations including failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury, negligent and reckless driving, and failure to use due care to avoid a pedestrian collision, among others. Bowen was reportedly released on $100,000 bond pending a future court appearance.
Annapolis Police Charge Pasadena Man in Hit-and-Run, Patch.com, January 20, 2012