Speed May Kill, But Other Factors Can Also Conspire Against Maryland Motorcycle Riders

Here in the Baltimore area, we see many bikers out and about on their motorcycles during the summer months. As automobile injury attorneys, we know that a certain percentage of these motorcyclists may be hurt or killed before the year is out. Is this a reason in and of itself to swear off bikes? For those “dyed in the wool” bikers, probably not. As for the rest of you, well, let your conscience be your guide.

Being Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues know that human nature is difficult force to reckon with when it comes to dangerous or, at the very least, somewhat risky pastimes. We know that with so many individuals on this planet it is hard to use a cookie-cutter approach to pigeonholing any one person or group as practicing this or that lifestyle or recreational hobby. As long as the law doesn’t prohibit a pastime, then people should be free to pursue whichever activity they choose.

Again, motorcycling certainly cannot be placed in the same category with fishing or tennis. Injuries in those sports do occur, but they are rarely life-threatening. But when a motorcyclist gets into an accident of his own making or through no fault of his own, the ante is much higher than most any other leisure pursuit. In fact, when a rider (and likely his passenger as well) is lying in a hospital room and more than likely physically compromised, the driver of the passenger car or commercial delivery truck who may have actually caused the traffic accident in the first place might be perfectly fine and walking around.

Being “dead right” is something that more than one biker’s headstone could have carved into it. This is not a particular comforting thought for the friends and families of motorcyclists riding around today, but it is only a reminder of the dangers associated with such a free-wheeling and enjoyable sport. As with many of life’s more rewarding activities, there is usually a trade-off. The sad thing is, with motorcycles at least, the thing that bikers tend to trade very often is life itself.

This comes to mind today only because of a news articles that we have run across, which describe a string of crashes that took the lives of several riders. According to reports, in one instance, a biker was killed in Frederica when he apparently lost control of his mount, left the roadway and collided with a tree. Police responding to the accident found the 46-year-old man dead at the scene. The rider crashed in the early morning hours on his 2005 Harley-Davidson when he apparently failed to negotiate a sharp right-hand corner, applied the brakes and skidded about 150ft before leaving the roadway. Police stated that the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

In another fatal incident, a biker died in what police indicated was a high-speed crash, possibly exacerbated by a mechanical issue with the motorcycle’s steering. According to reports, witnesses saw a Suzuki Hayabusa going southbound on Maddox Rd. at a high rate of speed. The victim, a 43-year-old local resident, passed one vehicle as he was approaching a sweeping curve in the roadway. Witness descriptions seem to indicate that the bike exhibited a high-speed wobble, which made it impossible for the rider to safely negotiate the curve.

The bike apparently left the roadway and sideswiped a guardrail before it crossed back across the road, hitting the opposite curb and ejecting the rider. According to police reports, the man died of his injuries after being admitted to the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital.

In a third bike accident, a motorcycle and its rider left the Beltway on a Sunday afternoon and struck a roadside directional sign. The accident happened on the ramp from Interstate 695 to I-95 sometime before 1pm. The rider was taken to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, but doctors could not save his life.

Motorcyclist Killed in Frederica Crash, WBOC.com, June 8, 2012
Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Chaptico, TheBayNet.com, April 16, 2012
One killed when motorcycle hits road sign on beltway, ABC2News.com, April 16, 2012

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