Articles Posted in Bicycle Safety

In August, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a preliminary report of an investigation into a motor vehicle accident that killed five bicyclists and injured four others. According to the report, nine cyclists in Michigan were riding in a four-foot-wide roadway shoulder when a pickup truck veered off the road and plowed into them from behind. In addition to the report, local news organizations have reported that the driver of the pickup truck is being charged with both second-degree murder and operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating pain medications and muscle relaxants.

CyclistThe NTSB is a federal agency charged with investigating rail, air, and automobile crashes. According to a recent article, the agency chose to investigate the bicycling accident, due to an uptick in cycling on public roadways. The article also states that in 2013, over 900 bicyclists were killed in cycling accidents, and nearly 500,000 were treated for injuries in hospital emergency rooms. The NTSB last studied crashes involving cyclists in the early 1970s.

Bicycling Accidents on Maryland Roads

In Maryland, motor vehicle drivers owe bicyclists and pedestrians a duty of care while driving. This means that they must drive as a reasonable driver would under the same or similar circumstances. A failure to take such care is called negligence. Drivers who commit negligence may be liable for damages to injured bicyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers and their passengers.

Continue Reading

Earlier last month in Dallas, Texas, a 26-year-old bicyclist was seriously injured after she was struck and knocked off her bicycle by a drunk driver. According to one local news source, the bicyclist spoke to reporters after the accident, telling them that the key to avoiding accidents like the one that seriously injured her is driver education.

bike-wheel-1539723Evidently, the bicyclist had stopped at an intersection and was waiting for traffic to clear before crossing. However, once she started to cross the intersection, a vehicle approached. The vehicle entered the intersection and didn’t slow down until it hit her, knocking her off her bike and seriously injuring her. Thankfully, the woman was wearing a helmet. However, she still suffered serious injuries, including a concussion and neck injuries. She is expected to make a full recovery over the next several weeks.

The driver who struck the bicyclist was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and intoxication assault.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, researchers from the University of Arizona at Tucson released a study they conducted regarding helmet use and its effects on bicycle injuries. As the reader may expect, helmets do prevent injury if they are worn by a rider involved in an accident. However, this study looked a bit deeper.

two-bikers-1436570The idea of the study was to determine if wearing a helmet somehow helped those who did suffer a traumatic brain injury. In other words, it is well known that a helmet can reduce the chance of getting severely injured in a bicycle accident, but of those who are severely injured, did the group of those who were wearing helmets fare any better than those who were not?

The Study

The study looked at 6,267 bicycle accidents that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Of those, roughly 25% of the riders were wearing their helmets. The results of the study indicated that of those who were involved in a bicycle accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, those wearing a helmet at the time were 58% less likely to sustain a “serious” brain injury, and 59% less likely to die as a result of their brain injury.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month in Vermont, a doctor was struck by an allegedly drunk driver as he was enjoying an afternoon bike ride before dinner. According to one local Vermont news report, the man and his wife were preparing to have guests over for dinner, and, while his wife was preparing dinner, the man left to go on a bike ride on his regular route. Sadly, he never returned home.

bike-lane-1443943-mEvidently, the man was riding his bike south on Greenbush Road in Ferrisburgh when a 2013 Chevy Cruze struck him from behind. The woman stopped and remained on the scene until police showed up.

After police arrived and began their investigation, it was discovered that the woman driving the Chevy Cruze was allegedly intoxicated. Specifically, the officers administered a blood-alcohol test and found that her blood-alcohol content (BAC) was .123. The legal limit for BAC in both Vermont and Maryland is .08. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI and released a short time later.

Continue Reading

It has been a long winter, and most of us are ready to shed our winter jackets and parkas in favor of shorts and T-shirts. Along with the new clothes, many of us will also opt for new modes of transportation, opting for bikes and motorcycles instead of cars, trucks, and busses. However, as Marylanders from across the state begin to hop on their bikes, the issue of bicycle safety should be in the front of everyone’s minds.

gears-1428393-mThe State of Maryland Department of Transportation has a website dedicated to bicycle safety. It goes over some of the things that all cyclists and motorists should keep in mind when riding or driving on Maryland roads.

For motorists:

  • Expect bicycles to be on the road and when you see one, maintain a safe distance;
  • When passing a bicyclist, leave a three-foot distance between the car and the cyclist;
  • Be extra careful when backing out of driveways;
  • When merging with a bicycle, yield as you would to another motorist; and
  • Always be sure to stay alert, keep your attention on the road, and use your signals.

Continue Reading

Earlier last month in North Baltimore, an accident between a bike and a Subaru left one man dead. According to a report by one local news source, the accident occurred around the 5700 block of Roland Avenue, around 2:45 in the afternoon.

bicycle-symbol-1383407-mEvidently, when police responded to report of a bicycle accident, they found the 41-year-old victim but no other driver. It wasn’t until a little bit later that the driver of the car that had hit the bicyclist returned to the scene of the accident. The victim was transported to Sinai Hospital in critical condition, but he was not able to overcome his injuries. He died a short time later.

As it turns out, the driver of the Subaru was given probation in a 2010 case involving drunk driving. According to court documents, her blood-alcohol level back then was over three times the legal limit.

Continue Reading

Earlier this week in Shelby Township, Michigan, a man was killed as he was riding his bike to work. According to a report by one local news source, the accident occurred at around four in the morning.

shadow-of-the-past-1432188-mEvidently, the bicyclist was on his way to work at a nearby factory when he was hit by a semi-truck. Although there was a sidewalk where the accident occurred, the bicyclist was riding on the road. Police say that the truck driver stopped at the scene of the accident and remained cooperative through the investigation. They do not believe that drugs or alcohol had a role to play in the accident.

Police also told reporters that bicyclists should be using the sidewalks, but often bicyclists ride in the street. This is contradictory to laws in most jurisdictions that require bicyclists to ride on the street and follow posted traffic laws.

Continue Reading

Riding a bicycle has always been a preferred mode of transportation in urban environments. It’s free, fast, and provides the rider with physical exercise as well. However, it can also be more dangerous given the speed at which the riders are traveling and the exposure they have to vehicle traffic.

bicycle-1443880-m-thumb

In fact, since 1987 over 100 bicyclists have lost their lives in bike accidents in the Washington DC area. This led GreaterGreaterWashington.org to conduct a study about where the accidents were occurring, hoping to establish a pattern where the most dangerous intersections were located. The study took data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System as well as from media reports in local sources.

According to the study, Prince George’s had the most fatal accidents of the jurisdictions studied. The breakdown of where the fatal bicycle accidents occurred is as follows:

Continue Reading

As most any parent will tell you, keeping their kids safe is one of their top-most priorities, especially these days with all of the dangers and unknowns that surround us on a daily basis. Being hit by a car while riding one’s bike has always been a concern, for parents as well as anyone who rides a bike regularly in or near traffic. With the number of bicycle-related traffic accidents in cities like Gaithersburg, Bowie and Washington, D.C., it not strange that many cyclists would be overly cautious whenever they go out on the street.

Being personal injury lawyers here in Maryland, we truly understand the value of protective and other safety equipment for bicycle riders, and motorcyclists alike. Protective clothing, helmets and lights are all important factors affecting survival for any bicycle rider or motorcyclist involved in a traffic collision. But sometimes we wonder whether the use of a helmet gives riders a false sense of security, dare we say invulnerability. Whatever the situation, a cyclist should never let down his or her guard simply because they are wearing a helmet. It’s important to remember that other parts of one’s body are also exposed to injury, not just one’s brain.

Of course, closed-head trauma (aka traumatic brain injury) is a major cause of death and paralysis among bicycle and motorcycle riders. This is not in dispute. It’s just that other kinds of injuries can be just as deadly. Applying defensive riding techniques is essential to avoiding a devastating roadway accident while on a bike of any kind. We are bringing this up because of an article we came across recently, reminding us that biking accidents are much more commonplace than one would expect, and often very deadly.

Continue Reading

While it is not uncommon to see helmetless bicycle riders in the Gaithersburg, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., areas, it is more and more becoming less accepted as a typical practice for even causal cyclists not to wear a protective cycling helmet. Here in Maryland, there are numerous bicycle and pedestrian accidents involving cars and commercial vehicle, so it goes without saying that bike riders in the know would go to great lengths to outfit themselves with proper safety equipment.

Still, as personal injury lawyers practicing in the Baltimore area, we find it difficult to believe that asome people would choose to risk their health, not to mention their life, by not wearing an approved form of head protection against the potential of a traffic-related crash. Of course, times have changed over the past several decades and bicycle helmets have become much more evident in their use all around the U.S. But for people in such a densely populated urban area like ours, one would hope that there would be more adherents than scoffers.

We mention this because of an article we ran across detailing a study that was made in the Boston area concerning members of the public who took advantage of that city’s bike-sharing program. What one might have expected, especially from those who opt to ride a bicycle in a city environment, is a high percentage of helmet use. However, the results of the study showed that bike-share participants who wore helmets were severely under-represented versus non-wearers. Considering the frequent severity of bicycle-related personal injuries, this is rather disconcerting.

Continue Reading

Contact Information