The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed Maryland residents’ way of life, including their transportation habits. While there are fewer motor vehicles on the road than usual, in part because people are working remotely and generally staying at home, an increasing number of people have begun riding bicycles, either as a form of exercise or for transport or leisure. Individuals who used to rely on public transportation to get around town, for example, may choose to bike to avoid the crowds and possible contagions. Individuals working from home may also go on bike rides to stretch their legs and get outside of their house safely and responsibly. Generally, more people riding bicycles is a good thing—biking is cost-efficient, good for the environment, and a great form of exercise. However, something for all Maryland residents to keep in mind is that bicyclists are particularly susceptible to serious injuries when they are involved in a bicycle accident.
For example, take a recent bicycle crash that occurred just this month. According to a local news article covering the incident, the crash occurred one Sunday at 5:00 PM when a driver in a car struck a bicyclist. The local police department reported that the driver failed to use proper care when entering the lane, and thus hit the bicyclist. The bicyclist was injured and taken to the local hospital, but fortunately has since been released. Still, the crash is a recent example of the hazards that bicyclists could face on the road, particularly since they do not have the protection surrounding their body that those driving cars or trucks do, for example.
Maryland residents who are biking or plan to start biking soon can and should take certain steps to protect themselves from these potential hazards. First, bicyclists should always wear proper protective equipment. One important piece of this is a sturdy helmet that fits properly. While hopefully, one will not need it, a well-fitting helmet can be the difference between life and death in some Maryland bicycle accidents. Bicyclists should also make sure to take proper care of their bike by taking it in for regular inspections, and should inspect it at home as well—checking the tire pressure, making sure the brakes work, and checking on the chain and gears before going on a ride. While riding, bicyclists can protect themselves by driving with the flow of the traffic, obeying street signs and signals, staying vigilant and aware of the surroundings and any potential danger, and refraining from texting, listening to music, or doing anything else distracting.