In case you have been injured in a bicycle accident, and don’t know how to deal with legal matters on your own, contact Dubo Law Baltimore bicycle lawyers today. Our team will simplify the process by handling complicated laws and legal representation. As with every other accident, bicycle crashes can be confusing too and end up with she said/he said scenarios. The injury attorneys at Dubo Law have built a great reputation for fighting ruthlessly for their clients and handling all evidence to prove negligence and the real bike accident cause. Dubo Law will ensure that your medical bills, damages to property, lost income, and pain and suffering are fully compensated for. Contact top-trusted bicycle accident attorneys in Baltimore or call (443) 275-6345 today and schedule a free case evaluation.
Accidents between cyclists and other traffic participants are becoming common, with more Maryland residents riding bikes for recreation or commuting to work. But cyclists are more likely to die or be seriously harmed in a crash.
Bicycle Crashes Stats in Maryland
Bicycle crashes have increased by 10% from 2019 to 2020, and 935 cyclists ended up dead. In the state of Maryland, in 2021, there were 740 bicycle or pedal cycle crashes, with 580 injured, 155 property damages and 5 fatalities.
Common Bicycle Accident Causes in Maryland
It is not always the driver’s fault when an accident with a cyclist occurs. Those riding bikes should also obey traffic laws, and failing to do so makes them responsible for the crash.
There are four types of negligence in bicycle accident cases – drivers’, cyclists’, or even governments’ and manufacturers’.
Most common examples of negligence include:
- On many occasions, the driver’s error causes the accident. Drivers may be negligent by drinking and driving, being distracted by their phones, speeding or aggressive driving, cutting the bicycle rider, etc.
- Failing to signal properly
- Not maintaining the proper distance i.e., following the cyclist too closely
- Failing to stay in the specific space for vehicles and not crossing the bicycle path
- “Dooring” – when someone parks the car and opens the door without checking the upcoming cyclist first
- Sometimes vehicle makes the left turn in front of the bicycle and doesn’t check the blind spots
Other causes which don’t include drivers are:
- Those who oversee maintaining the roads, parks, and bicycle paths may be at fault because of the roadway’s poor design and inadequate keeping
- If the accidents occurred because of bicycle or vehicle malfunction, the one at fault will be the manufacturer, mechanic, or seller
- Weather conditions may also be responsible for the crash. Rainstorms result in poor visibility and slippery roads which can cause cyclists to crash.
Maryland Bicycle Safety Laws
Maryland state imposes important safety rules and regulations which concern the relationship between cyclists and other participants in traffic. Failing to obey these laws can result in serious and harmful accidents. Knowing your legal rights and duties is crucial in cases when a crash occurs and you seek personal injury claim compensation.
Laws Which Cyclists Must Obey
Bicycles are defined as vehicles that make them the same as other motor vehicles traveling on the road and they have the same rights and responsibilities. Maryland laws for cyclists include:
- Bicyclists aren’t allowed on highways i.e., on any road where the speed limit exceeds 50 miles per hour or more
- They aren’t allowed to carry passengers except if their bikes are designed for that purpose.
- Bicyclists are obliged to stay in the bike lane, if possible, travel in the same direction as other traffic participants, and stay on the right side of the road.
- They aren’t allowed any distractions, such as using phones, putting headphones or earplugs in both ears.
- Equipment plays an important part for cyclists since it can protect them from accidents or easy injury. Each cyclist must have lamp on the front as well as a red reflector on the rear. Bicycles must have adequate brakes and can be equipped with a bell or horn but not a siren.
- According to Maryland Transportation Article 21-1205(c), a bicyclist on a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a vehicle.
Helmet Law in Maryland
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration states that using the bicycle helmet can lessen the injury’s severity and even prevent death by 86%. All cyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding bikes on public property. Public property includes trails, sidewalks, and roadways and some local laws differ, such as:
- Sykesville, MD – requires cyclists of all ages, including adults to wear helmets.
- Allegany and Howard County – under 16
- Montgomery County – under 18
Buying the helmet includes ensuring it fits properly and that you feel comfortable wearing it. The helmet must sit between the ears evenly and fit low on your forehead. Putting the foam pads inside the helmet adds extra security and comfort.
Laws That Motor Vehicles Must Follow
Motor vehicles, as traffic participants must follow the laws to keep cyclists safe. Some of the main rules that vehicle drivers must follow are:
We already mentioned dooring as one of the major causes of bicycle accidents. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings when parking their vehicles and opening the door to prevent injuring or striking the cyclist.
Vehicle operators aren’t allowed to pass a cyclist at any distance closer than 3 feet.
Drivers must do everything they can and pay extra care to avoid a crash with a cyclist. Commonly, motor vehicle operators are at fault in these accidents, so they should pay additional attention and follow the laws.
Throwing objects such as snack bags, plastic bottles, or any kind of thing through the window while driving is strictly prohibited.
Right of Way
When making a turn, the right of way must be obeyed even though the cyclist is the one passing. If crossing the occupied bicycle lane, cyclists must be given the right of way.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident?
There are several important steps to take after being involved in a bike accident, especially if you are looking to seek an injury claim.
Right after the accident, you should call the police and emergency medical care. Maryland law doesn’t require calling the police and having the police report. Sometimes, the police don’t come because there aren’t any major injuries or property damage. But if you are planning to contact the insurance company and ask for compensation, the police report may help since it prevents parties from changing their stories.
Also, sometimes injuries can be hardly noticeable, or we don’t feel them because of the shock. It is very important to seek medical attention right away. Medical report, emergency ride, hospital checks and stay can be fully compensated later.
When filing a personal injury claim some evidence can be of crucial importance. Photos, videos, and witness statements can help your personal injury attorney a lot to prove the negligence of the driver.
Never argue, yell, attack others, or respond to someone’s provocations. Stay calm, and wait for the authorities to handle the matter. You never know what can be used against you. Make sure to contact the attorney, as this is the best option in the case of an accident.
Other Laws in Maryland Important for Bicycle Accidents
This depends mainly on whose negligence caused the accident. So, we divide them into two categories:
Negligence lawsuits – This includes driver’s negligence and failure to obey traffic laws.
Product liability lawsuits – This lawsuit can be filed against the manufacturer who didn’t provide a safe product for the cyclist.
Statute of Limitations
Cyclists involved in an accident with other motor vehicles have three years to file a compensation claim. If they fail to meet the deadline, the statute of limitations will expire and they will be banned for seeking compensation for the losses ever again.
There is an exception to this rule if a child is injured in a bicycle accident. The three years deadline starts after their 18th birthday. For wrongful death cases the time starts from the date of death. A person who was mentally incomprehensible at the time of the accident can file a claim from the moment he/she becomes sane again.
Maryland strictly follows contributory negligence rule which states that if a bicyclist who is injured in an accident is found to be 1% at fault, will be banned from seeking any compensation for the losses.
The thing is, both motor vehicle operators and cyclists must obey sets of rules and traffic laws. Every distraction, DUI, or disobedience of the law will result in being at fault for causing the crash. Hiring a legal representative is the best way to outsmart insurance companies that will use contributory negligence cards to prevent being fully compensated. Bear in mind to collect all on the scene evidence, if possible, since contributory negligence may work in your favor too.
Damages in Bicycle Accidents
Damages caused by an accident may be divided into two categories and those include:
Economic damages include financial losses and can be calculated based on receipts, medical bill reports, and employers’ statements on lost current and future incomes. They include:
- Lost wages
- Damages to property – vehicle or bicycle
- Medical bills – hospital stay, checkups, recovery, etc.
Non-economic damages are hardly calculated as they don’t have monetary value. Some people suffer from depression, anxiety, or even PTSD after an accident. These conditions are caused by trauma, and it affects the quality of life extensively.
Speak With Dubo Law Lawyers for Bicycle Accidents in Baltimore, MD
Working with Neil Dubovsky, the founder of Dubo Law, gives you a worry-free experience since he handles every case with care and devotion. The goal of our law firm is to offer personal attention and responsive service for all our clients, as we are always available for questions and consultations. The Dubo Law team has a very comprehensive approach to each client and case. We understand how hard it can be to recover from a bicycle accident, both emotionally and financially, and we are here to give you our support.
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