Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Owings Mills
Bicycles are considered vehicles under Maryland law. That means that cyclists have the same rights to the road as motorists. Unfortunately, because bikes are smaller, quieter, less visible, and slower than passenger vehicles, motorists often do not give them the respect they are due.
If a motorist is distracted, impatient or aggressive, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent when driving near a cyclist, a severe or fatal injury accident could easily occur.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a bike accident in Owings Mills, contact Cohen & Dwin, P.A. immediately. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing people hurt in bicycle accidents in our community. We’re ready to put our skills and resources to work for you.
Why Bicycle Accidents Are So Dangerous
Accidents between bicycles and motor vehicles often result in more severe injuries than other motor vehicle-related accidents.
In Maryland, bicycles must be ridden on the street unless a municipality specifically allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk. In a recent year, there were 6 fatalities among bicycle and pedal cycle riders, a decrease from 15 the year prior, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.
MDOT’s Zero Deaths Maryland campaign highlights other statistics that demonstrate why bicycle accidents are so dangerous:
- Over 80 percent of bicycle accidents result in injury – more than twice the rate of other motor vehicle accidents in Maryland.
- A bicycle accident that occurs when a motor vehicle is traveling at 20 mph has a 10 percent chance of causing severe injury or fatality for the bicycle rider, while the likelihood of severe injury or death leaps to 80 percent when the motor vehicle’s speed increases to 40 mph.
Because a bicyclist has little protection from injury in the event of a crash, bicycle accidents can lead to a wide range of severe physical injuries, including:
- Road rash, abrasions, and avulsions
- Broken bones
- Ligament sprains and muscle and tendon strains
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash and herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Common Causes and Types of Bicycle Accidents in Owings Mills
Some of the most frequent causes of bicycle crashes in Owings Mills include:
- Speeding motorists
- Reckless driving
- Passing too closely to a bicycle
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of drug or alcohol
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Illegal turns
- Not signaling or checking mirrors before turning or changing lanes
Maryland Bicycle Laws
Under Maryland law, bicycles are considered vehicles. That means they are entitled to use the road but must follow the same laws and duties as motorists.
Some of the laws governing bicycles include:
- Bicycles may not carry passengers unless designed and equipped with a seat to do so.
- Bicycles may not ride on roads with a speed limit over 50 mph.
- Bicycles must ride in a designated bike lane unless passing cannot be done safely in the bike lane, when making a left turn, or when avoiding hazards in the bike lane.
- When riding on the road, bicycles must keep as close to the right side as possible, except when turning or avoiding vehicles, pedestrians, or road hazards.
- Helmets are required for all bicycle riders under the age of 16. Helmets must meet safety standards published by ANSI, the Snell Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Bicycles must be equipped with a front lamp and rear red reflector when operated on a highway. Brakes are also required.
- A motorist must leave at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle.
- Motorists must yield the right of way to bicycles.
Who Could Be Liable for a Bicycle Crash in Owings Mills?
In many cases, a negligent driver who hits a bicyclist will be held liable for the crash.
Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, other parties may have liability, including:
- The manufacturer of the vehicle that hit the bicyclist, or a manufacturer of an auto part used on the vehicle when a design or manufacturing defect causes an accident
- The bicycle’s manufacturer, if a defect causes an accident
- The at-fault driver’s employer, if the accident occurred while the driver was operating the vehicle within the scope of their employment
- Local and state governments, which may have liability for a bicycle accident that is caused by negligent maintenance or unsafe design of roadways or bike lanes
Insurance Coverage for Owings Mills Bike Crashes
If a driver hits you while you are on your bike, you may have several options for filing an insurance claim to seek compensation for your injuries and losses:
- If you have an auto insurance policy, you may be entitled to file a claim under the optional personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay coverage in your policy. PIP and MedPay can provide you with compensation for your medical expenses or lost wages immediately following a bicycle accident since you are entitled to coverage regardless of fault for the accident.
- You can file suit against the at-fault driver. In Maryland, drivers of personal passenger vehicles must have liability insurance coverage of at least $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage and $15,000 of property damage coverage.
- When the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or their coverage limits will not fully compensate you, you might also have the option of filing a claim with your insurer if you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in your car insurance policy. UM/UIM coverage means that your insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver’s insurance, paying compensation they would be liable to pay.
How an Owings Mills Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
After you have been hurt in a bicycle accident in Owings Mills, let a lawyer from Cohen & Dwin, P.A., help you pursue financial recovery from the at-fault driver or another liable party by:
- Collecting evidence from the accident scene and gathering your medical records, bills, and income statements to begin building your case
- Working with accident reconstruction, medical, vocational, and financial experts to help us persuasively explain the other party’s liability for your injuries and the losses you incurred
- Identifying your options for pursuing compensation, including applicable insurance policies
- Filing your claims with insurers to start the process
- Negotiating for a settlement that pays you a fair financial recovery
- Taking your case to court or trial if necessary to demand a favorable result on your behalf
Tips for Bicyclists and Motorists Sharing Maryland Roads
Motorists should always watch for bicyclists, especially since bicycles are much quieter and smaller than motor vehicles. Motorists should also leave room for cyclists and share the road.
Bicyclists can also take steps to help keep themselves safer on the road, including:
- Check tires and brakes before setting off.
- Always wear a bicycle helmet.
- Wear brightly colored clothing or add reflective tape to your helmet or clothing.
- Ride defensively, which means never assuming what a motorist will do and always being prepared to act to avoid an accident or collision.
Talk to Our Owings Mills Bicycle Accident Lawyers Now
If you were injured while riding a bike in Owings Mills, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced bike accident lawyer for help. Contact Cohen & Dwin, P.A., today for a free, no-obligation case review.