Bike Safety and Accident Prevention in Maryland

Bicyclists need to be defensive when operating their bicycles on the roadway because they are at a disadvantage with motor vehicles, so caution is imperative. There are several bike safety and accident prevention considerations to keep in mind in Maryland. 

If you have been injured in a bike accident in Maryland, it is essential to contact a skilled bike lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How Helmet Use Can Impact a Case

All bicyclists under the age of 16 must wear a helmet. In the instance of someone under the age of 16 not wearing a helmet when they are required to do so, they are guilty of violating a law and that will have an impact on their case. Even for those over 16 for whom wearing a helmet is not required, if they elect not to wear it, a legal argument will probably be made that their injuries would not have been as serious if they had worn a helmet. Protective gear such as a helmet is designed to lessen damages and injuries.

If someone is choosing not to wear a helmet, either when they are required to or because they choose not to, there is likely to be a causation argument claiming they contributed to the seriousness of their injury by their failure to wear a helmet.

There is a doctrine of law called Mitigation of Damages, which means to lessen the damages someone may suffer. A bicyclist can do this by wearing a helmet, which lessens head and brain injuries. By not wearing the protective helmet and a more serious injury resulting, the bicyclist may be deemed to not have instigated their damages. The bicyclist will therefore potentially not recover anything or not recover as much, as a result.

Being Aware of Surroundings

A bicyclist should be a defensive driver and be aware of their surroundings and the other vehicles on the roadway.

Automobile drivers are required to keep a proper lookout and comply with the rules and regulations of road. This means that motor vehicles must treat bicyclists as they would any other motor vehicle, especially in terms of overtaking or passing a bicycle when it may be unsafe to do so.

Wearing as much protective gear as possible, even if it is a little cumbersome, is important. Many times, wrists are injured, elbows are injured, knees are injured. If someone wears protective gear such as wrist guards, elbow guards, and knee guards, that can help lessen the injuries they may suffer. They can also get a camera on their bike to video record what is going on, and that can help prove a case.

Reflective Lights and Clothing

Operators of bicycles are required to conform to the rules and regulations concerning the operation of a bicycle. Bicyclists are required to use due care, and maintain a proper lookout in operating bicycles in a safe and prudent manner upon the traffic conditions, weather conditions, or any conditions that existed at that particular point in time. Safety equipment is important for motorists to see the bicyclist at any time and especially at night.

Reflective lights on the bicycle are also important. There are metallic tapes and sun-reflective tapes for bicycles to help motorists see them at night. It is important to have lights on the bike. Also, if there are unfavorable visibility conditions, bicycles must be equipped with a headlight visible at a distance of 500 feet and a rear end reflector or tail light visible at a distance of 600 feet. This is required protective equipment. It is also important for the bicyclist to wear reflective clothing to help the driver see the bicyclist.

Hand Signals

Operators of bicycles, much like operators of all vehicles in the state of Maryland, are required to use reasonable due care in the operation of a vehicle, based upon the conditions that exist at that time.

If hand signals or lights are required by the law, bicyclists are required to conform to the law. If a bicyclist believes that utilizing hand signals or lights provide some additional layer of safety based upon the circumstances that existed at that time, a bicyclist should use any and all means available to him or her at the time to operate the bicycle in the safest manner possible.

It is important for bicyclists to use hand signals to alert drivers of cars to the anticipated movement of the bicyclist. Bicyclists must signal all turns, except to maintain control of the bicycle, and they must also signal that they are stopping. It is important that bicyclists instead use hand signals to signal their movement so that vehicle drivers can react accordingly.

Available Medical Information 

Identifying information is very important because if the bicyclist loses consciousness or has some other serious injury, identifying information can help Maryland emergency personnel treat that person. Information that is useful to keep on you includes blood type. If you are taken to the hospital and a blood transfusion or surgery is necessary, then the hospital knows your blood type and does not have to spend potentially crucial time gathering that information. Emergency contact information is important so that family members can be contacted. Information as to whether you are allergic to any medications or anesthesia is also useful.

Anyone who has a particular health condition or issue should take any and all necessary precautions to ensure his or her safety and/or notify anyone about any particular health issue. This is true whether the person operates a bicycle, a motor vehicle, a motorcycle or walks along the roadway. Anyone who has a particular issue should take the necessary precautions that he or she feels are appropriate to notify the public of these issues to avoid any complication.