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.
The recently proposed bill aims to increase the penalty for hitting a Maryland bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian. Under the new senate bill, the maximum fine for hitting one of these “vulnerable individuals” would increase to a $2,000, and would require a mandatory court appearance. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, the new bill would also allow for a court to suspend the driver’s license, impose community service requirements, or require the driver take a traffic safety course. These new sanctions would only be imposed when the accident causes serious bodily injury or death to a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist. This is the second time the bill of this nature has been proposed. Last year, a similar bill passed the House, but was rejected by the Senate.
The state delegate who introduced the House version of the bill explained his belief that the current law does not do enough to discourage the “nasty behavior” that can lead to accidents. Supporters of the bill argue that bicycling and walking have become more popular as society becomes more environmentally conscious, and that the law should reflect this reality by protecting those who choose not to use cars to get around.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Bicycle Accident?
If you or someone you live has recently been injured in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent clients across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. in all types of traffic accident claims, including Maryland pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today. Calling is risk-free, because we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries.