It may not happen as much as accidents involving passenger cars, but motorcycles have been known to strike pedestrians with fatal results. As we’ve suggested, however, a pedestrian likely has a greater chance of being injured or killed in a car accident or to be hit by a commercial delivery truck. Whatever the situation, a person on foot has virtually no protection against a 3,000-poind sedan, much less a 20,000-pound box truck.
Nevertheless, motorcycle-pedestrian collisions do occur from time to time, most often in densely populated urban areas where people on foot are likely to be crossing the road or standing at the curbside or even in the street waiting for traffic to clear. As personal injury attorneys helping victims of traffic accidents in cities all across Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia, we are sympathetic to those innocent people who through no fault of their own, save being in the wrong place at the wrong time, have been seriously hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident.
In the United States, there are almost eight million registered motorcycles and scooters, with about 85,000 in the state of Maryland. This is a fair number of motorbikes and equates to nearly seven vehicles for every square mile of Maryland real estate. While we know of the dangers that motorcyclists face themselves (when going up against a larger passenger car or commercial truck), but how does that factor into the pedestrian-related traffic scenario?
It’s already a known fact that annual motorcycle fatalities across the nation exceed 4,000 deaths each year. This is a smaller percentage of the total biker accidents that take place on U.S. roadways; about 90,000 motorcyclists are hurt to some extent in traffic accidents every year, with about one third of those being alcohol-related). Here in Maryland, 76 motorcycle riders lost their lives in 2011, which based on the injury-to-fatality rate nationwide, means that almost a couple thousand bikers risk injury in roadway wrecks every year in this state.
With Maryland’s climate, the riding season is longer than more northern states. This could be viewed as a negative, in that more days available for riding could equal more opportunities for injuries and fatal car and truck-related collisions. But also consider that a milder climate means that drivers of four-wheeled vehicles and large commercial trucks are more likely to be aware of bikers on the road, versus areas that have extended off-seasons, where drivers never see a motorcycle for months on end.
In any case, the opportunity for fatal motorcycling crashes still exists anytime a motorcyclist takes to the street. Keeping this in mind and focusing on active safety and risk management will help to keep many bikers alive during the riding season. But it’s rare to see crashes like the one we read about late last year involving a bike and pedestrian. According to news items, the accident occurred in Prince George’s County late on a Saturday afternoon when a motorcycle struck a 64-year-old Clinton, MD, resident in Branch Ave., killing both the rider and the man on foot.
Police reports indicated that the accident happened in Suitland, MD, as an older homeless man was crossing in an unmarked portion of the street, between Saint Barnabas and Inverson, an out-of-state rider was reportedly traveling in the southbound lane. The force of the crash killed the pedestrian on the spot and critically injured the 40-year-old motorcyclist. Emergency crews arriving at the site of the crash apparently treated the rider and then took him to Southern Maryland Hospital Center. Unfortunately, doctors could not help the man and he died from his injuries a short time later.
Motorcycle Crash with Pedestrian Claims Two Lives in Suitland, WUSA9.com, November 11, 2012
Two dead in motorcycle accident, WashingtonExaminer.com, November 11, 2012