Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Attorney
Maryland is the seventh riskiest state for pedestrians. In 2015, over 3,000 traffic accidents involving pedestrians occurred, 100 of which were fatal. The same year, Maryland saw over 800 bicycle-involved crashes.
Furthermore, Maryland’s contributory neglect law states that even pedestrians or bicyclists who are only 1% at fault in an accident have no claim against the driver, even if the driver is 99% at fault.
To avoid crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, drivers should follow state traffic laws, which include stopping for pedestrians at all times, coming to a complete stop at crosswalks, and maintaining a safe distance from bicyclists.
An at-fault driver in a crash involving a pedestrian or bicyclist may face civil liability, meaning he or she must compensate the victim for damages and/or injuries sustained in the crash. Additionally, if the driver was found violating any state laws, he or she may face criminal liability as well – meaning the state has the right to prosecute for acts such as driving under the influence, speeding, and hit and run. Depending on the circumstances, the driver may incur fines, driver’s license suspension, and imprisonment.
Pedestrians should use marked crosswalks where possible in crossing the street, and look both ways before crossing. Bicyclists must obey traffic laws and wear properly fitting bike helmets.
A pedestrian or bicyclist who neglects state laws may be found partly at-fault in a vehicle-related accident. Under Maryland’s law of contributory neglect, this means the personal injury victim may not be able to file a claim against the driver – even if the fault lies chiefly with the driver – if so much as 1% of the fault lies with the victim. In order to avoid contributory neglect in an accident, pedestrians and bicyclists should always be aware and follow state laws.
- On average in the U.S., a bicyclist dies every six hours in a traffic-related accident.
- Most bicyclists killed in accidents are male, and the average age is 40 to 45.
- A bicyclist without a helmet is 14 times likelier to die in a bicycle accident, and 50 to 80 percent of bicycle accident brain injuries could be prevented by helmets.
- In 2015, 841 bicycle-involved crashes occurred in Maryland. Out of those, 153 resulted in property damage, 678 caused injuries, and 10 were fatal. Altogether, 11 people died and 712 were injured.
- In 2015, 3,089 pedestrian-involved crashes occurred in Maryland. 266 resulted in property damage, 2,724 caused injuries, and 99 were fatal. A total of 100 people died in pedestrian-involved accidents in Maryland in 2015, and 3,050 people were injured.
Laws for drivers:
Drivers must come to a complete stop when pedestrians are using the crosswalk. Once one driver stops, all the cars behind must come to a complete stop as well, and all must wait for the pedestrian to finish crossing the street before moving forward.
Even drivers turning at green traffic lights must wait for pedestrians. Drivers must slow down when conditions are dangerous for pedestrians, and honk in order to warn pedestrians when necessary.
A driver passing a bicycle going in the same direction must pass to the left and keep at least three feet away from the bike. The driver must then wait until he or she is clear of the cyclist before making any turns, and must yield right of way to the bicyclist. Drivers must also give bicycles the right of way when crossing a bike lane or shoulder.
Laws for pedestrians:
Maryland law defines a crosswalk as “the part of the roadway that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings” or “is an extension of the sidewalk across the street at an intersection.”
Pedestrians must use sidewalks and crosswalks, as defined above, whenever possible, and must wait for the walk signal before crossing the street.
In the absence of a crosswalk, the pedestrian may cross at an intersection (where there is an “implied” crosswalk).
Pedestrians are responsible for looking both ways before crossing the street and watching for oncoming traffic and cars turning into driveways.
By state law, all bicyclists under age 16 must wear a helmet when riding on public property. However, certain counties have more specific laws. Bikers are responsible for making sure their helmet fits properly.
Bicyclists riding slower than the traffic must ride in the right-hand lane. In cases where there is no bike lane, a bicyclist may use the shoulder.
It is illegal to ride a bike in the travel lanes of a roadway with a maximum speed limit higher than 50 mph, but bicycles may still use the shoulder on these roadways. Bicycles are also illegal to ride on expressways and on sidewalks.
Bicycles must have working brakes allowing the bike to stop within 15 feet from a speed of 10 mph.
Contact an Experienced Salisbury Accident Attorney
If you were struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle or getting around on foot, you should consult with an experienced lawyer. The attorneys at Otway Russo, P.C., can evaluate your case and help plan a strategy for pursuing maximum available compensation for your medical bills, lost wage replacement, and pain and suffering.
A bicycle accident injury claim or a pedestrian accident injury claim can bring you much-needed financial relief. It takes time and persistence to recover what you deserve after you have suffered a catastrophic injury. Once you meet our attorneys, we believe you will be ready to help us help you recover compensation for injuries and losses. Our service ethic, our genuine interest in our clients and our track record of results are all reasons that many clients refer friends and colleagues to us.