Serving Maryland and Washington D.C. 301.870.1200

Bicycle Accidents

Even if cyclists take all necessary precautions, they are at risk for being injured in a bicycle accident. Bicycle accidents often involve both the cyclist and a car or truck, and accidents involving another vehicle are especially dangerous. Most bicycle accidents, however, are avoidable and are often caused by a driver’s negligence.

Causes

Most bicycle accidents that result in serious injury involve a car or other motor vehicle. These accidents are often caused by a driver’s negligence, such as:

  • Not checking blind spots before switching lanes;
  • Opening a car door into a bike lane;
  • Backing out of driveways or parking spots without checking the rearview mirror;
  • Driving while intoxicated;
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way;
  • Failing to stop at stop signs or red lights;
  • Passing a cyclist too closely and sideswiping him or her; or
  • Abruptly merging into the bike lane.

To avoid liability in an accident, both drivers and cyclists must comply with Maryland law in operating vehicles safely.

Other bicycle accidents are caused by defective bicycles or parts. If a manufacturer puts out a bicycle with an unsafe design, or if a bicycle or part is manufactured defectively, the manufacturer may be liable for any resultant injuries.

Sometimes, a municipal or state agency may be liable for accidents caused by poorly designed intersections, bike lanes, or shoulders, or by the failure to maintain roads and trails.

Injuries

The rate of injury in bicycle accidents in Maryland is over double the rate of injury in crashes overall. Over 80% of bicycle crashes result in injury.

The seriousness of the injury depends on several factors, including:

  • Whether any automobiles were involved;
  • The speed of the cyclist and any other parties involved;
  • Whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet or other protective gear; and
  • Road or trail conditions.

Because bicycles lack the protective devices of automobiles and because cyclists are left exposed in a collision, injuries sustained in bicycle accidents are often severe, especially when a car is involved. Common injuries include:

  • Cuts, lacerations, and road rash;
  • Broken bones;
  • Dislocated joints;
  • Head and neck injuries;
  • Traumatic brain injury;
  • Spinal cord damage and paralysis; and
  • Death.

Maryland Laws

Maryland state law governing bicycle use has several protections for cyclists, including:

  • Drivers of motor vehicles must maintain a safe passing distance, no closer than three feet, when passing a bicycle;
  • When driver makes a turn or crosses a bike lane, the bicyclist has the right-of-way and the motorist must yield;
  • Cyclists generally must ride as close to the right-hand edge of the road as is safe and practicable;
  • Cyclists must use bike lanes when provided; and
  • Helmets are required for cyclists under age 16 riding their bikes on roads or other public property.

If a driver or cyclist violates one of these laws and a crash results, the violation may serve as evidence of negligence.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

Bicycle accident injuries can be serious, but an experienced attorney can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Please call the dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a free initial consultation.

Categories: