In the state of Maryland, there are roughly 70 motorcyclists killed in
traffic accidents annually and at least 1,400 riders and their passengers
who are injured each year. According to Maryland traffic accident data,
it has been observed that most of the traffic accidents that occur where
a motorcycle rider and/or passenger were involved was due to the fault
of the operator of a motor vehicle. Data has shown that most of these
accidents are attributed to drivers who are either not paying adequate
attention to the road, are impaired drivers, violate the right of way
of the motorcyclists, or do not see or hear the motorcycle as it is making
its way around the car. Additionally, it is estimated that most accidents
that involve motorcycles occur when the majority of the riders are between
the ages of 21-49, nine out of 10 of the motorcycle drivers are male,
and three-fourths of the passengers are female. In Maryland, 40% of the
crashes involving motorcycles occur in Baltimore city, Baltimore, Anne
Arundel, and Harford Counties.
Laws in Place to Increase Safety in Motorcycle Riding
The data is overwhelming about the seriousness of the accidents involving
motorcycles. Though there are laws put in place to make motorcycles safer,
accidents and associated injuries and fatalities are still happening. These
laws require that motorcyclists and their passengers utilize required equipment
like helmets, eye protection, and turn signals, and generally the motorcycles
should have auxiliary lightning. Additionally, the law prohibits motorcyclists
from driving between the lanes of traffic nor driving more than two abreast
in any single lane.
No Current Law Prohibiting Children From Riding Motorcycles
Currently there are no laws restricting the age of a passenger of a motorcycle.
However, a new bill has arrived in the
Maryland legislature that looks to prohibit who may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, due
largely to the significant danger associated with the vehicle. Current
law only requires that a motorcycle be designed to accommodate a passenger
to be legal. If the motorcycle is designed to have more than one person
on the vehicle, the passenger may come along for the ride and must sit
astride, face forward, and must not interfere with the operator’s
view or mobility.
New Law Would Provide Age Ban for Passengers Under the Age of 10
According to the new bill, not only must the passenger ride as designated
and is not interfering with the operator’s view or mobility, the
passenger must be older than age of 10 years of age. Between the
ages of 10 and 12, the law further designates that any child between these years must be
able to reach and rest his or her feet the footrests of the motorcycle.
If the child is not long enough to extend his or her feet to the footrests
and is under the age of 12, he or she cannot ride the motorcycle.
Purpose Behind the Age Restriction
The purpose behind this new age restriction for passengers on motorcycles
is due to the fact that adults, when they ride their motorcycles, they
are able to appreciate the risk associated with being on a motorcycle.
A child, on the other hand, is not mature enough or able to appreciate
the extent of the risk associated with being a passenger on a motorcycle.
By creating an age restriction for motorcycle passengers, this allows
for the children to be better prepared for what to expect on a motorcycle
and to understand the rules of the road relating to being a passenger.
There are more expectations for a child riding as a passenger on a motorcycle
than as a passenger in the back seat of a motor vehicle.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important
to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.