Bicycle accident fatalities in Maryland on the rise

Bicycle riders that are struck by a car may be eligible for legal remedies.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports bicycling is increasing in popularity throughout the country. This is not surprising, as bikes offer a convenient and economical means of transportation. Although this mode of transportation is often safe as well as enjoyable, the rate of fatalities due to motor vehicles striking bicyclist has increased in recent years in Maryland.

What are the statistics for bicycle fatalities in Maryland?

Maryland's Highway Safety Office (MHSO) puts together a five-year review of fatalities and injuries on an annual basis. The State Police Central Records Division provides the data used to develop the report. The MHSO's publication provides data on the various types and causes of accidents in the states. The most recent report found 16 bicyclists killed due to motor vehicle accidents in 2016. This is up from 10 in 2015 and 5 in 2014. The total number of car accidents involving a bicycle have also increased from 801 in 2014 to 841 in 2015 and 851 in 2016.

The agency does not delve into the reason behind the increase.

How can bicyclist decrease the risk of an accident?

The NHTSA encourages bicycle riders to wear properly fitted helmets and use a bike that is the right size for their body. The agency also encourages a quick equipment check before going out for a ride. Make sure the handlebars and seat are secure, the tires are properly inflated and the brakes are in proper working order.

Wearing bright clothing and using lights are also methods that can help increase visibility and decrease the risk of a crash. Defensive bike operation can also help mitigate this risk. Ride the bike with the flow of traffic and obey street signs and other street rules just like a car.

Are there remedies for those injured in a bicycle accident?

Bicycle riders that are struck and injured by a vehicle may be able to hold the driver liable through a civil lawsuit. This lawsuit can result in monetary awards to help cover medical expenses, lost wages and other cost that result from the accident.

It is important to note that the driver will likely try to fight against this claim. Maryland state law considers bikers the same as vehicles. As such, the driver may try to prove the biker was in violation of regulations in an attempt to reduce his or her liability. Proactive measures can better ensure that your case is successful. An attorney experienced in these matters can help protect your legal rights and remedies.