Is a “Bike-lash” Occurring in Baltimore?

Baltimore Bicycle Accident Injuries

Some people think that Baltimore might be experiencing a biking backlash, or a “bike-lash,” as some are calling it. It’s happening because the city has decided to reconfigure a bike lane project on Potomac Street in Canton because some residents complained that the street had become too narrow for fire trucks. The project was one the city formerly supported. The new lane, between Eastern Avenue and Boston Street on Potomac, was supposed to be part of a biking network that the city was building and promoting in order to increase ridership. For many years, Baltimore has lagged behind other cities in encouraging the use of bicycles. Some residents have been against the plan since the beginning, although the Canton Community Association supported it. Those against the plan claimed either that parking spaces would be lost—in reality, 10 were—or that the plan was not needed because bicyclists had other areas where they could travel. The issue of fire truck accessibility is more recent. The mayor’s office has gone on record saying that it would change the lane configurations on Potomac Street if necessary. Doing so, it is claimed, might make the bike lane less safe for riders, because there would no[…..]

Watching Traffic Like a HAWK

Pedestrian Injuries

Earlier in 2017, the Maryland state legislature was considering bills that would have increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in our state, calling for special traffic signals where trails intersect state highways. On such roads, vehicles often travel faster than 45 mph in the areas with crossings used by both pedestrians and cyclists. One problematic area is the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Turkey Branch Parkway in Montgomery County. Two bicyclists have been fatally struck at that intersection recently: Frank Towers, in December 2015, and Mauricio Osorio, in July 2016. Unfortunately, all the bills died in legislative committee during March 2017. Those who advocated for the bills believe that the state of Maryland is shortchanging safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicyclists Are No Match The use of bicycles, especially as commuter vehicles, has been growing in popularity. But it’s no contest when it comes to a crash involving a car or truck and a bicycle—those on bikes have virtually no protection. Even for cyclists wearing helmets, about three-fourths of serious injuries and deaths are due to head and brain trauma. An increase in bicycle usage plus heavier vehicular traffic means that bicyclist fatalities have been going up—they doubled from[…..]

What Will We Learn from Bicycle Tragedy?

Bicycle Hit and Run

I’m feeling an uneasy sense of déjà vu. Not quite a year ago, I wrote about a hit-and-run driver who collided with two women riding bicycles in Davidsonville in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. According to recent updates on that accident, one victim was treated for minor injuries but the more seriously wounded woman had to be hospitalized for six months, enduring numerous surgeries including amputation of one leg above the knee. The driver has never been captured, or even identified. Two days after Christmas 2014, a bicyclist was killed in a Baltimore hit-and-run accident. Thomas Palermo, a seasoned cyclist and bike builder, was riding on Roland Avenue where there are two lanes of traffic and two bike lanes, when he was hit from the rear by a Subaru which continued without stopping. Mr. Palermo died after being transported to Sinai Hospital. About 45 minutes after the accident, the damaged car returned to Roland Avenue and its driver surrendered to law enforcement. In the following hours, news reports brought us a description of the hit-and-run driver: A 58-year-old woman Who had a blood alcohol level of .22, nearly three times the legal limit, even when she later returned to the scene[…..]

Resolving To Drive Safely In 2015

Safe Driving

As New Year’s Day approaches, many of us look back at the past year and resolve to do things a little differently over the next twelve months. Less red meat, more fish and veggies. Less lounging, more working out. Less angst, more peace. It’s a good time, too, to resolve to give up some behaviors that endanger ourselves and others sharing the highway. Here are a few suggestions from Steve Heisler, The Injury Lawyer: Don’t drink and drive. In 2012, 160 Marylanders lost their lives in drunk driving car crashes. If you plan on drinking – on New Year’s Eve or any other time — make sure you have a designated driver or call a taxi. Don’t use a cell phone while behind the wheel. Not only will this keep you safer, it will keep money in your pocket as using a handheld cell phone is a primary offense in Maryland and could subject you to a fine of up to $160. Don’t break the speed limit. In 2014 Maryland considered, and rejected, the idea of raising the speed limit to 70 mph on some highways – don’t drive as if you thought the measure passed. Wear your seat belt[…..]

Road Shoulders Can Be Deadly

Bicycle Accident Injury

The family and friends of a 24-year-old Baltimore woman are mourning her death on Friday, June 13. Jamie Roberts, a Catholic University basketball coach, was part of a group on a cross-country charity bicycle ride, “4-K for Cancer,” from Baltimore to Portland. Having left Baltimore on June 1, the bicyclists were on a state highway near Lexington, Kentucky, when the tragic accident occurred. The five riders had pulled onto the side of the road to do maintenance on their bikes when a pick-up truck hit and killed Jamie and injured another rider. The Scott County Sheriff described the highway as “a very rural road, not much in the way of shoulders, a lot of curves and hills which again makes it dangerous.” The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing. Interstate Highway Risks The shoulder of the road is a dangerous place for anyone to be. And that applies to interstate highways as well as country roads. According to the AAA, approximately 12% of all interstate highway fatalities are pedestrians in the roadway or on the shoulder. Often these are drivers who have stopped to fix a flat tire. In January a drunk driver hit and killed a[…..]

Move Over, Buster!

Cop car

Maryland lawmakers have expanded the scope of the state’s “move-over law” to include tow trucks. Effective October 1, 2014, motorists must move over when they see a tow truck stopped on the side of the road with its lights flashing. If that is not possible, due to traffic in the adjacent lane, the driver must slow to a “reasonable and prudent speed” to protect the tow truck operator and others on the side of the road from injury or death. Most states have move-over laws. Maryland’s was passed in 2010 but it was limited to the following categories and didn’t include tow trucks: Vehicles of federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies Vehicles of volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, fire departments, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute State vehicles used in response to oil or hazardous materials spills State vehicles designated for emergency use by the Commissioner of Correction Ambulances Special vehicles funded or provided by federal, state, or local government and used for emergency or rescue purposes in Maryland. Moving over is not optional. Violating the law can cost you one point on your driver’s license and a $110.00 fine.[…..]

Violation of 3-Foot Law Injures Baltimore Bicyclists

According to the 2011 Annual Report from the Maryland Highway Safety Office, an average of eight bicycle riders lose their lives each year and 635 are injured on Maryland roads. But 2014 has gotten off to a bad start in the Baltimore area; on Saturday, February 22, three cyclists were injured in two separate crashes. Late Saturday afternoon, two women were riding in single file on the edge of Central Avenue in Davidsonville, near the Patuxent River Bridge, when an SUV struck the first bicycle, causing the second one to crash as well. The SUV fled the scene and is still being sought by law enforcement. One woman was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and is in critical but stable condition. The second bicyclist was treated and released. This accident was due to driver error. Just over an hour later, a teenager was hit by a car when he tried to cross Ritchie Highway in Severna Park. He had been riding with a group of cyclists, who stopped for the approaching traffic. Fortunately, the boy’s injuries were not life-threatening and he was treated and released. No charges will be filed against the motorist. This[…..]

Bicycle-Bus Collision in Ocean City Claims Life of Popular Baltimore Restaurant Owner

A 49-year-old bicyclist suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a municipal bus and the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) is working to determine the cause. As reported by DelMarvaNow.com, the Ocean City, MD accident occurred on August 24 when the bicyclist was traveling in the northbound lanes of Coastal Highway near 132nd Street. The fatal traffic accident was reported at 8:38 p.m. The male victim, a resident of Cockeysville, was taken to Berlin’s Atlantic General Hospital for treatment and then to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, where he later succumbed to his injuries. The victim was a popular Baltimore bar and restaurant owner remembered for helping to revitalize a popular city neighborhood. The man owned Nacho Mama’s and Mama’s on the Half Shell in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore. The eatery owner was also well known in Ocean City, where he worked in the summer as a teen and young adult. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski stated he “was the spark of the revitalized community,” according to a Washington Post report. The accident is presently under investigation, and the OCPD chose not to release the name of the bus driver. A spokesman for the OCPD declined to say if[…..]

Bicyclist Killed in Maryland Truck Accident

A 51-year-old Carroll County, MD resident died recently after being struck by a tractor-trailer while riding his bicycle in Union Bridge, the Baltimore Sun reported. The cyclist was riding along Shepherds Mill Road when he was struck. According to police, the accident occurred when the truck’s 37-year-old driver was making a right turn onto Route 75. The truck pulled out in front of the cyclist, hitting him. The Maryland State Police cited the truck driver for failing to yield to the bicyclist, who had the right of way. The cyclist died at the scene. The police do not believe alcohol, high speeds, or road conditions played any part in the accident. Due to their large size, tractor-trailers often limit the driver’s ability to see road hazards clearly. They also require more time to stop, start, and turn. A truck’s large size also means it can do much more damage in an accident than a passenger car or bicycle. Even a small mistake on a truck driver’s part can result in tragedy for a bicyclist, motorist, or pedestrian unlucky enough to be involved in the Maryland truck accident. If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident,[…..]

Avoiding Bicycle Accidents in Maryland

Once warm weather hits, increasing numbers of Maryland bicyclists take to the streets. Before you join them, be sure to follow standard bicycle safety rules. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 600 and 800 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. each year between 1998 and 2008. The best thing you can do to prevent a head injury from occurring during a bicycle crash in Maryland is to wear a properly fitting helmet. In addition to fitting your helmet, adjust your bicycle to fit your body. Is the seat level high or low enough for you? Is the handlebar height the same height as the seat? You should also make sure all other bicycle equipment is working. Do your brakes work? Are your tires properly inflated? It is crucial to remember that you should not ride a bicycle if you are under the influence of alcohol. It sounds like common sense, but tragically, alcohol was a factor in 37 percent of the traffic crashes that resulted in bicycle fatalities in 2008 either because the bicyclist or a vehicle driver was drinking. Another important way to avoid Baltimore bike accidents is to make sure you can[…..]