Motorcyclists have a touch time of it, we know. While their mode of transport offers a wonderful feeling of freedom and ease of travel, the very nature of a motorcycle — be it a so-called crotch rocket, standard bike, cruiser or chopper — is that these motor vehicles are small and not easy to notice in traffic, at least this is the complaint of most drivers who get into accidents with bikers.
Add to their slim profile, most bikes are fairly fast and even quick to stop, putting less-than-inattentive drivers of four-wheeled passenger cars and 18-wheel commercial trucks in danger of running into them both coming and going. Insurance companies understand the dangers of motorcycles, to the point of making their policies less than attractive, or even placing certain motorcycle models on a list of “uninsurable” vehicles.
For anyone who hasn’t had a close call with a motorcyclist, as Maryland personal injury attorneys who represent bikers injured in traffic collisions, we can say that even the best drivers can be caught unaware by the “sudden” appearance of a bike in the roadway ahead of them. But it is conceivable that even police officers who have been trained in all manner of traffic safety, defensive driving and emergency situations, could from time to time be surprised by a motorcyclist.
Late last year, a news article described an accident between a biker and a marked police cruiser in the North Laurel, MD, area. According to news reports, a 43-year-old rider was sent to the hospital after a collision with a police car on Rte 216 near the Leishear Rd. intersection.
Police reports indicate that Frederick Adkins was riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster westbound in the left-hand lane of Maryland Rte 216 a little before 10am. At the same time, according to reports, a Dodge Charger police car belonging to the Howard County Police Department (HCPD) was going south along Leishear Rd. — the patrol car reportedly had its lights and audible siren in use at the time of the incident.
Apparently the traffic signal was red for the officer just prior to the accident and, based on police reports, the cruiser slowly eased into the intersection. As it did, the motorcyclist reportedly struck the front portion of the police car; apparently the force of the traffic collision caused the rider to be thrown from his mount. The victim, a resident of Columbia, MD, was transported to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was reportedly listed in stable condition at the time of the news article. The Howard County patrolman, Pfc. Bryan Mason, was uninjured, according to news reports.
Based on news articles, the Traffic Enforcement division of the HCPD was in the process of investigating the collision, however an initial statement from police authorities indicate that one contributing factor in the wreck was the biker’s failure to stop and yield to the approaching police car.
This could be a difficult situation for the motorcyclist involved in this traffic accident, since police officers are supposedly trained for situations such as this. In order to determine the extent of responsibility on the part of the patrolman or the police department would require a deep investigation by an experienced personal injury lawyer well-versed in accidents involving motorcycles. Regardless, such a case should at the very least be discussed with a Maryland motorcycle accident attorney to better understand one’s options.
North Laurel Police Car Crash Sends Motorcyclist to Hospital, Patch.com, November 13, 2011