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Driving motorcycles is significantly more dangerous than driving cars. The smaller profile of motorcycles leaves them vulnerable to car blind spots, and the open nature of motorcycles can throw drivers from the vehicle upon impact during a crash. Because motorcycle riders are not protected by their vehicle like the occupants of a car, approximately 72 percent of motorcyclists are injured when they crash. Unfortunately, Maryland drivers are all too familiar with the dangers of motorcycle driving. Maryland averages 73 motorcycle rider and passenger deaths per year, and on average, an additional 1,046 riders or drivers are injured each year. Additionally, this issue is not getting better in Maryland, with the state seeing an increase in motorcycle crashes from 2019 to 2020. A recent news article discussed a fatal motorcycle crash.

According to the news article about a recent fatal motorcycle crash, the accident occurred in the evening around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 14, when a motorcycle going at the intersection of Six Forks Road and Mt. Vernon Church Road was struck by a Nissan minivan. The driver of the minivan tried to make a left turn and hit the motorcycle. Unfortunately, the motorcyclists died at the scene. The motorcycle driver was wearing a helmet and reflective clothing. The driver of the minivan was taken into custody by law enforcement and charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to yield the right of way.

How Do Courts Determine Liability in Left Turn Accident Cases?

Under Maryland Transportation Code §21-601, drivers who make left turns must approach the intersection in the extreme left lane to traffic moving in the same direction. When the driver leaves the intersection, he or she must follow the flow of traffic. The driver must abide by traffic lights at an intersection. If the driver turns left on red and hits another driver, he or she is clearly liable for the crash. Left turns at a red light are only legal in certain situations, such as when the driver is turning left from a one-way street to another. Drivers who turn left at an intersection must also yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction as laid out by Maryland Transportation Code §21-402. Cases like this can be tricky, and an attorney with experience navigating automobile accidents can be a great help when addressing such a claim.

Most motorcycles can both accelerate and brake faster than other vehicles on the road. This responsiveness to user control is what attracts many bikers to motorcycles as a means of transportation and recreation. Although most bikes are mechanically capable of impressive stopping distances, the attention, and ability of the motorcycle driver limit the mechanical advantages of a motorcycle. A motorcyclist and his passenger were both killed late last month after the motorcyclist was unable to stop in time and rear-ended another driver.

According to a local news report discussing the tragic crash, a Florida motorcyclist was approaching another vehicle from behind and lost control of the bike while attempting to brake. The motorcycle flipped on its side and crashed into the leading vehicle. Both the driver and passenger of the motorcycle were killed in the crash. The article does not mention whether the rider and passenger were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Can Injured Motorcycle Passengers Sue a Negligent Motorcyclist?

Motorcyclists in Maryland owe a duty of care to others on the road, as well as to any passengers that are riding on the motorcycle. In the event of a Maryland motorcycle crash that injures or kills a passenger on the bike, the passenger or their representatives may be entitled to financial compensation from several parties. If the motorcycle driver was found to have negligently operated their vehicle before a crash, an injured passenger might be able to seek damages from the driver or their insurance company by pursuing a Maryland personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If another vehicle or dangerous condition is found to have caused the crash, an injured passenger may seek damages from the other responsible parties.

Blind spots are areas that drivers cannot see by simply using a mirror. Drivers should be especially mindful of their blind spots because of the possibility of failing to detect bicyclists or other vehicles. It is important to note that because vehicles vary in shape and size, a vehicle’s design can create impact how large a blind spot is. In order to prevent blind spot accidents, drivers should conduct a head-check every time before making any turns or changing lanes.

According to a recent news report from Delaware, a Honda Civic was traveling southbound in the left lane behind another vehicle. A bicyclist entered the left southbound lane, attempting to cross from east to west. The bicyclist entered the path of one of the vehicles, causing the vehicle to suddenly stop. As a result, the Honda changed lanes into the right travel lane. The bicyclist was crossing the right travel lane, and the front of the Honda struck the right side of the bicycle and ejected the bicyclist. The bicyclist was flown to a local hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to the injuries. The operator of the Honda was not injured. The crash is still under investigation.

In addition to drivers being mindful of their own blind spots and being sure to conduct a head-check, drivers should be mindful of the blind spots that certain vehicles have and proceed with caution. For example, large vehicles such as trucks may have large blind spots where they are unable to see objects, including bicyclists. With that in mind, bicyclists can be mindful of staying away from the space in front of a truck and can be mindful of the left-hand blind spot.

Motorcycle accidents that involve cars or trucks can be devastating for the parties involved, especially to motorcyclists who have less protection than other motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 42 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes that involved another motor vehicle involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking a vehicle. NHSTA also reports that 41 percent of all motorcycle crashes are due to drivers failing to see motorcycles. This can be due to the smaller size of the vehicles and a driver’s blind spots.

According to a recent news report from Maryland, a Chevrolet was traveling northbound attempting to make a left turn, and at the same time, a 1997 Harley-Davidson motorcycle was traveling southbound entering the intersection in Seaford. The Chevrolet turned left directly in front of the motorcycle, and as a result, the front left of the Chevrolet struck the left front of the motorcycle. This resulted in the ejection of the motorcyclist from his bike. The 59-year-old male motorcyclist was transported to a local hospital and pronounced deceased. The driver of the Chevrolet was not injured. The intersection was closed for approximately 3 hours after the crash, and the accident is still under investigation.

What Should Drivers Do to Keep Motorcyclists Safe?

Drivers must be mindful of the wide range of vehicles that they share the road with, including motorcycles. Because of the high number of fatal motorcycle crashes that occur at intersections, it is important for drivers to be mindful of the dangers at intersections and for drivers to take extra precaution and time to check rear and side view mirrors. Checking one’s blind spots helps ensure that smaller vehicles like motorcycles do not get overlooked. Additionally, depending on weather conditions, it can make it harder for vehicles to see one another, including in foggy conditions that can limit visibility, and conditions such as rain or snow may decrease traction and cause skidding. Being mindful of the weather before proceeding can be an important factor in deciding whether to get on the road, and can also be important in deciding the speed at which one drives. While these are just a few tips to stay mindful of when driving a motor vehicle, there are additional tips and resources for drivers of cars or motorcycles that can be found online. If you find yourself injured in a motorcycle accident, it can be especially important to connect with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate your claims.

In our line of work, we often see firsthand how the carelessness of others can create devastating consequences for a loved one’s family and friends. Just one misstep can take away an innocent person’s life, and while there is no amount of money that can make up for the resulting loss, it is important for beneficiaries to explore their options for potential compensation after a collision.

Senseless accidents happen much too frequently, especially in more urban and populated areas. Recently, a bicyclist in Michigan was riding at around 10:30 one evening when a car crashed into him from behind. According to reports and to witnesses, the vehicle hit the bicyclist and dragged him for several blocks. The bicyclist was then left lying on the road with significant injuries. First responders rushed to the scene, and the victim was taken to the hospital. The driver quickly left the scene of the crime.

Unfortunately, the bicyclist later died from his injuries. Police were later able to locate the vehicle that had caused the accident and took the driver into custody. He was charged with driving while intoxicated causing death as well as hit and run causing death.

Learning to ride a bicycle can be an exciting and exhilarating time for youth, as they are able to explore this new mode of movement. For both children and adults who ride bicycles, there can also be risks of serious injury. According to accident statistics from sources including the National Safety Council, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and Stanford Medicine, each year, approximately 100 children are killed and 254,000 are injured as a result of bicycle-related accidents. The drivers of motor vehicles share the roads with cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and bicyclists have the same rights as those of drivers of motor vehicles. Children, who have a much smaller stature and can be harder to identify and see from a distance, may also not be fully aware of the rules that may keep them safe. Drivers must pay close attention to their surroundings, including paying special attention to any children who may be around and riding their bikes.

A recent news article revealed that a man has been criminally charged with a misdemeanor in connection with a crash that resulted in the death of an 11-year-old boy in Arizona. The 11-year-old boy was riding a bicycle at the time of the accident, and the car driver stayed at the scene of the crash and cooperated with the investigation.

Accident Prevention

At a “T” intersection without a stoplight, drivers run the risk of a left turn accident. This type of car or motorcycle accident often occurs when one driver either stops or travels straight ahead at an intersection and is then struck by another driver attempting to turn left. When turning onto a local road from a highway, a driver may collide with another vehicle if they fail to stop or notice oncoming traffic. If drivers making a turn at an intersection do not yield to oncoming traffic, they may find themselves in a left turn accident, which could result in serious injury or death.

Recently, a motorcycle rider in Missouri died after suffering a left turn accident. According to a news report, he was riding east when a driver turned onto his street, and the two collided. The motorcycle rider hit the side of the driver’s van. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

How Does Maryland Law Treat the Right of Way at Intersections?

It is common knowledge that motorcycle riders are at greater risk of injury and or death than car riders, but the actual disparity in risk is rather stunning. In fact, some sources claim that for every mile traveled, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely than car riders to have a fatal accident. Given the tremendous risk of motorcycle accidents and the potentially fatal results of such crashes, both motorcyclists and drivers of cars should take extreme precautions when it comes to navigating traffic situations involving motorcycles and sharing the road. A recent news article discussed a local fatal motorcycle crash.

According to the local news article about a motorcycle accident in Maryland, the accident occurred late in the evening on Wednesday, August 31, after the motorcyclist lost control and was thrown from the vehicle. The preliminary investigation by law enforcement revealed that the rider was driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on the outer loop approaching MD-214 when he lost control. The motorcycle rolled on its side before the rider was thrown from the motorcycle and hit by several vehicles that did not remain at the scene, the police said. The rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

This tragic and horrifying accident is unfortunately all too common in Maryland and shows the need for car drivers and motorcyclists to engage in exceedingly careful when driving at high speeds near or around motorcycles. The smaller profile of motorcycles creates a greater likelihood of motorcycles occupying blind spots of larger vehicles and the open nature of motorcycle riding creates unique harm for riders involved in any crashes. When operators of larger vehicles only look out for other large vehicles and cars and fail to pay special attention to motorcycles and smaller vehicles, it places the smaller vehicles at great risk. In the event that a driver fails to see another vehicle, resulting in a crash, they could face both civil and criminal legal liability.

High profile motorcycle accident cases can be a long and arduous process, compounded by delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In one instance, a 2019 case that killed seven motorcycle drivers only recently saw resolution—a resolution that likely brought little peace for the families and loved ones of those who died.

According to the prosecution in the case, a truck driver used heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine before beginning work. In addition to a history of drug use and a reckless driving record, the driver reportedly took his eyes off the road and reached for a drink, causing him to swerve into or past the center line of the road and strike the motorcyclists, killing seven members. The motorcyclists were part of a veteran motorcycle club out on a ride. Mixed reports state that the motorcyclists were driving under the influence of alcohol, and that the leader of the club was driving recklessly.

A recent article reports that jurors found the truck driver innocent when evidence contradicted whether or not he actually drove over the center line. In addition, conflicting evidence showed that the motorcycle club members called as witnesses were potentially lying about the sobriety level of the other members as part of an oath to protect and not disparage other members. The prosecution and defense presented very disparate theories of fault in this case, leading to the not guilty verdict.

Drivers of cars share the roads with not only the drivers of other motor vehicles but also with bicyclists and pedestrians. In today’s world, it is common to see increased use of bicycles as a way to commute. Unsurprisingly, when an accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a bike, it is very likely the cyclist will be the person who is injured in such a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bicyclist deaths are highest during the summer months between June and September. In addition, NHTSA reports that nearly three-quarters of all bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas and that failing to yield the right of way is the highest factor in fatal crashes involving bicycles, followed by bicyclists not being visible.

According to a recent news article, a 42-year-old driver was recently criminally charged in a deadly bike accident in Michigan that injured three and killed two bicyclists who were participating in the Make a Wish Bicycle Tour. The Tour was a three-day endurance ride that covered most of the state of Michigan. The 42-year-old driver was heading north when a UPS truck in front of her began to slow down. According to officials, the accident took place on a straight roadway where there were no vision obstructions. The driver moved into the other lane in an attempt to try and go around the UPS truck and ran into a group of bicyclists. The driver has been charged with two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, one count of operating while intoxicated, and a second offense notice operating while intoxicated.

What Are Drivers' Responsibilities to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident?

All road users should take steps to keep themselves and others safe. There are certain safety precautions that cyclists should take, and certain precautions that drivers of motor vehicles should take in order to make the roads a safer place for everyone. Cyclists should be sure to always begin their bike ride by putting on a helmet that properly fits so that they can have some protection. Wearing bright clothing, reflective gear, and having reflectors on your bike can be other safety precautions taken by bicyclists. Drivers of cars share the road with cyclists and should be sure to yield to bicyclists. When turning right on red, drivers should look to the right and behind them to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching, in addition to stopping completely and looking left-right-left, and behind before making the right turn on red. Drivers should be sure to give cyclists room. Finally, under no circumstances should drivers get behind the wheel while intoxicated, and if someone is planning to drink, they should be sure to arrange alternate transportation that does not include them behind the wheel.

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