Articles Posted in Traffic Safety News

Accidents with a deer can often cause severe injury, both to the deer and the occupants of the vehicle that hit it. When drivers are about to hit a deer, their first instinct is often to swerve out of the way. However, swerving can cause drivers to collide with a vehicle in the opposite lane or drive off the road entirely. Motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable to injury. Unlike cars, motorcycles often lack the size and weight to absorb a collision with a deer. As a result, motorcycle riders must take extra precaution to stay safe in the event they encounter a deer on the road.

For example, a recent news article reported that two people suffered injuries after striking a deer. The accident occurred on a local roadway when a motorcycle rider hit a deer in the middle of the road. Both the motorcycle rider and his passenger suffered injuries, and the passenger required hospitalization.

What Should You Do If You See a Deer on the Road?

While you will likely encounter a deer on the road at least once, there are several steps you can take to stay safe on the road. Geico recommends a few simple safety tips to avoid an accident. First, minimize distractions when you are operating your vehicle. If your eyes are not focused on the road, you may not see a deer ahead of you. Additionally, if you are driving on a secluded road, use your bright lights so you can spot a deer as early as possible. This tip is important because deer tend to roam during periods of low light. Deer also will travel in packs: if you spot one deer in front of you, more are likely close behind. Finally, if your vehicle is about to approach a deer, honk your horn. The loud noise may cause the deer to run off the road.

The issue of lane splitting comes up in a number of Maryland motorcycle accident cases. Lane splitting refers to motorcycles driving on the lines between lanes, which allows motorcycles to go in between two vehicles to pass them. According to Maryland’s Code of Transportation, a person operating a motorcycle cannot drive “between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.” Thus, in Maryland, lane splitting is illegal. This means that on any roadway in Maryland that is divided into two or more lanes, anyone operating a motorcycle is required to travel to an adjacent lane before passing another vehicle. Motorcycles are entitled to the full use of a lane and other vehicles cannot deprive a motorcycle of the full use of a lane.

Why Do Motorcyclists Split Lanes?

Some people argue that lane splitting helps motorcyclists speed up the flow of traffic because there are fewer vehicles occupying a single lane. Supporters also argue that lane splitting does not increase the risk of injury to motorcyclists, that it may help remove the motorcycle from a dangerous situation, and that Maryland lane-splitting motorcycle accidents are less severe for motorcyclists than rear-end accidents. However, even where it is legal, lane splitting can be dangerous and motorcyclists have to exercise caution to do it safely.

Maryland motorists have a duty to ensure the safe operation of their vehicle at all times. However, given the high rates of distracted driving and aggressive driving, Maryland car accidents involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists continue to remain at an unacceptably high level.

Indeed, in 2017 alone there were approximately 500 people serious injury and over 110 killed in Maryland pedestrian accidents. That same year there were over 75 fatal Maryland motorcycle accidents, more than half of which involved at least one car or truck. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, “in a crash between a car and a motorcycle, the car driver is more likely to be at fault than the motorcyclist.”

Under current Maryland law, a motorist who strikes a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian with their vehicle is subject to a fine of up to $500 and a mandatory court appearance. However, practically speaking, most motorists are able to send in advance payment of a $110 fine and can avoid the court appearance altogether. Some state lawmakers rightfully believe that this lets those who cause these accidents off the hook too easily and have proposed a bill to increase certain penalties.

When law enforcement officers respond to a serious Maryland motorcycle accident, the scene is often chaotic. The injured individual must be attended to, witnesses must be located and spoken to, and the scene must be secured and eventually cleaned up promptly as to not create an increased risk of causing a subsequent accident. As a result, determining fault in a Maryland motorcycle accident has always been an art as much as it has been a science, and extraneous factors such as inclement weather and the amount of traffic on the road at the time may influence how thoroughness of a post-accident investigation.

Often, investigators base their conclusions on assumptions. Of course, assumptions must be made, especially when there are conflicting accounts of what happened. Investigators will often “play out” the various witness accounts of what occurred to see which account makes the most sense. This is a time-consuming process, but also a necessary one because it is only after concluding an in-depth investigation that a cause of an accident can be confidently determined. And even then, investigators cannot be sure that they got it right.

According to a local news report, some law enforcement agencies are hoping to use recent advances in technology to assist them in determining the causes of serious traffic accidents. Earlier this month, a Chattanooga police received a call for a motorcycle accident. When officers arrived on the scene, they could immediately tell that there were two fatalities.

Continue reading ›

Over the past few years, the advent of self-driving cars has brought much controversy and conversation regarding the safety of the technology. While early versions of self-driving technology have presented some challenges, it is expected that self-driving technology will continue to improve. However, the widespread use of self-driving technology presents both legal and practical questions.

The primary concern with self-driving technology is the safety of those on the road, including motorcyclists. Currently, motorcyclists are disproportionately represented in statistics recording fatal accidents. While motorcyclists account for only 1% of the population of drivers, they account for 14% of all traffic deaths. However, according to one industry news report, as the self-driving technology becomes more popular in newer models of vehicles, the dangers for motorcyclists may decrease.

The article uses left-turn accidents as an example. Left-turn accidents currently account for roughly 1,000 motorcyclist deaths per year, but these accidents rarely involve any fault on the part of the motorcyclist. In fact, most of these accidents are due to a driver either failing to see the motorcycle or failing to properly judge the speed at which the motorcycle is approaching. However, with self-driving technology, it will be possible for the two vehicles to “communicate” with each other, eliminating the chance that the car’s operator is unaware of an approaching motorcycle. Additionally, sophisticated algorithms will determine the speed at which an oncoming vehicle is approaching and prevent a motorist from pulling in front of a motorcycle, decreasing the risk of an accident.

Continue reading ›

While motorcyclists only account for a small number of the vehicles on the roads, the number of serious or fatal accidents involving motorcycles is fairly high. While some motorcycle accidents are caused by rider error, many of the fatal motorcycle accidents we see each year are caused by other motorists and their inexperience with sharing the road with motorcyclists. In fact, one of the major causes of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents is another motorist’s failure to see a motorcyclist.

Whether a motorist drives a car, truck, or motorcycle, they have a duty to those with whom they share the road. This duty requires that the motorist operate their vehicle in a manner that is safe and responsible. Of course, this also includes refraining from distracted or intoxicated driving. When a motorist violates this duty and creates a danger on the road, he or she can be held liable for the damages that result through a Maryland motorcycle accident lawsuit.

Injured motorcyclists should be prepared for a fight, however. Routinely, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies try and shift the blame onto the motorcyclist. For example, if a motorcyclist is injured while not wearing a helmet, an at-fault driver may attempt to use that fact against the motorcyclist. However, the fact remains that without the at-fault driver’s negligence, there would have been no accident in the first place.

Continue reading ›

In a recent study cited in a Bloomberg Business report, a group of researchers claims that the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is the driver’s loss of control over the bike. The article, which was released just a few weeks ago, claims that motorcyclists are 3.5 times as likely to get into a single-vehicle accident as they are to get into an accident involving one or more other cars or trucks.

Not surprisingly, the most common cause of single-vehicle accidents, the article claims, is speed. Another common occurrence of single-vehicle accidents is alcohol. The article advises that all motorcycle riders take motorcycle safety classes that are available through the State’s Motor Vehicle Association. However, no matter how cautious and educated a rider is, there is always the possibility for a freak accident to occur with another driver who may not see the motorcyclist.

Motorcycle Accident Victims Have an Uphill Battle

This article is good evidence of what the general public mistakenly believes to be the case in most motorcycle accidents:  that the riders themselves are at fault and should be prevented from any financial recovery. Indeed, it cannot be denied that there are cases where a negligent motorcyclist is driving while intoxicated and gets into a single-vehicle accident, severely injuring him or herself. However, this is not always—or even often—the case.

Continue reading ›

Spring has arrived, and though it could be a little early for every motorcycle rider to dust off his mount, the warmer days are on their way. But from a public safety standpoint, we can’t help but wonder if we will be looking at some more passenger car-bike and truck-motorcycle accidents as the season progresses. Most anyone who follows the news here in Baltimore and other urban areas has heard for the potentially dangerous groups of dirt bike riders playing havoc with motorists and others in town.

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my legal staff have helped bikers injured in bad traffic collisions. A serious roadway collision can turn out to be a life-threatening event for almost anyone, but for motorcyclists the risks can be even greater. And, while most conscientious riders obey our traffic laws and respect other motorists’ rights as well, there are bad apples among them.

As we write this, we are thinking specifically about the dangerous trend of urban dirt bike riding by mostly unlicensed and, some would say, reckless youth. While not involving the more thoughtful riders out there, this trend has continued much to local police departments’ dismay. Based on a news article published not long ago, we have to ask ourselves if Baltimore and other areas of the state are in for another round of dangerous dirt bike riding exploits.

Continue reading ›

The economy has been a real driver, over these past several years, in purchases of motorcycles, scooters and even bicycles for commuting and general travel. While two-wheeled transportation may have been a pastime or hobby for most, now we are finding a growing percentage of the motoring population using these modes of transportation for more than just enjoyment or relaxation. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen is dedicated to assisting victims of motorcycle, automobile and commercial trucking-related roadway collisions.

Certainly, for many in the motorcycle community the growth of bikes for use more as transportation has contributed to a greater number of these machines on Maryland highways and in the city streets of Bowie, Rockville, Columbia and the District. Hardly a bad thing, the added numbers of motorcycle riders on Maryland roads adds to a presence that helps to keep car and truck drivers aware that they are sharing the roadways with bikers. Still the dangers abound for riders of Honda, Harley, Kawasaki and Ducati motorcycles, not to mention Vespa scooters and among many others.

Based on nationwide data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that motorcycle riders are five times more likely to be injured in a traffic accident than occupants of larger passenger vehicles. On top of that, the NHTSA also has determined that bikers are up to 25 times more apt to be killed in a car crash, truck collision or other type of roadway wreck. One of the biggest causes is drivers of automobiles or commercial trucks who are simply not paying attention to whether there is a motorcycle in their area.

Continue reading ›

As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, I and my staff of experienced legal professional know the law and understand its implications for the citizens of this state. Having represented many people who have been victimized by others through negligence, inattentiveness, thoughtlessness and even outright aggression, we know the pain and anger that these victims can feel after such a tragic event as a motorcycle, car or trucking-related highway accident.

Not only does an accident victim have to suffer through the pain and potentially long-term effects of the physical collision, there are also medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs, all of which come out of that one, momentary lapse of judgment on another person’s part. Quite often the resentment is palpable. As auto accident attorneys, however, our job is to see that our clients’ rights are recognized in a court of law, and that justice is served on those who caused the injuries to or death of the victim.

Our traffic laws help to keep people safe on the road, though words and the threat of punishment is not always a deterrent for those either too unconcerned or unthinking to worry about the others he leaves in his wake. Take, for instance, aggressive driving, which has become a big problem on our roadways and a cause of many traffic accidents, both here in Maryland as well as throughout the county. Over the past few years, Baltimore and other cities have experienced a rise in unlicensed ATVs and motorcycles being involved in incidents that can only be categorized as aggressive in nature.

Continue reading ›

Contact Information