If it wasn’t clear already, riding a bicycle in Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick or Washington, D.C., was and continues to be fraught with hazards. Everyday, bicyclist, walkers and joggers are either hit by a passenger car or commercial delivery truck, or come within inches of being struck by a motor vehicle. It’s not a stretch to say that our asphalt jungles take a toll on pedestrians and bike traffic on a daily basis.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my colleagues urge both cyclists and pedestrians to be extremely cautious whenever they mix with vehicular traffic. Furthermore, we also implore those passenger car drivers, motorcyclists and heavy motor vehicle operators to be extra careful when traveling in urban areas and certain rural roadways where foot traffic is encountered.
Accidents can happen anywhere, any time. But there are measures that can be taken which can sometimes prevent or, the very least, lessen the potential for bodily injury by both motorists and pedestrians. A little while back, an article brought up the subject of pedestrian safety and the ways in which everyone who uses our public roads can participate to make Maryland’s highways and byways safer.
According to that piece, cycling advocates were unified in urging care on Maryland’s roadways, taking their message to the streets to educate automobile drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians regarding proper safety measure to take while sharing the road together. The author of that article talks about a couple who went for a Memorial Day bike ride with friends from their house in Clarksville, MD, to Montgomery County.
Sadly, the husband and wife never made it to their destination; the man was injured in a traffic-related accident near the Brighton Dam. The man reportedly crashed into something on his bike; he still doesn’t know what it was. The 40-year-old rider was thrown over his handlebars and onto the surface of the road. Just moments before, another rider in the party swerved his bike to avoid the same obstacle that caused the husband to crash.
In the aftermath of that incident, the husband received a severe concussion, while another rider ended up under a roadside guardrail suffering from a number of broken ribs. Although none of the riders could say with any certainty what caused the crash, the husband attributed his survival to the fact that he was wearing a helmet.
It’s important to note that although bicycle riders must take the proper precautions before striking out on the road, passenger car drivers and commercial truckers must understand that regardless of the circumstances, one should always be ready for the unexpected; like a bicyclist lying in the road just around a bend or over a hill.
One of the articles numerous “Street Smart” tips for motor vehicles drivers is to allow the mandatory three feet of clearance when passing cyclists. Another is to always yield to pedestrians as well as bike riders when making a turn. And finally to look in one’s sideview and rearview mirrors before opening the door of a parked car.
Bicycle advocates urge care on the roads, BaltimoreSun.com, June 23, 2011