Common Bike Accidents in Maryland

There are many different ways in which a bike accident can occur in Maryland. No matter what the cause, anyone involved in an accident should consult with a Maryland bike accident attorney to determine liability and see if there is a possibility that they might be eligible to collect damages.


One common cause of bike accidents is something known as “dooring,” when a bicyclist is on a highway or a street and a parked or stopped vehicle opens their car door into the path of the bicyclist, and the bicyclist then collides with the door. Dooring is a common accident than can result in severe injury to the bicyclist. It is the duty of the person opening the door to look for oncoming traffic before they open the door and exit the vehicle. This is a common cause of bicycle accidents along streets where there are parked vehicles and motorists not paying attention to the traffic around them. When they open the door, the bicyclist collides right into the door, not having time to avoid the accident.

Traffic Circles

Traffic circle accidents are also somewhat common because of vehicles and bicyclists entering, traveling within the circle and exiting the circle. Vehicles entering a traffic circle must give the right-of-way to bicycles already in the circle. The bicycle is deemed a motor vehicle and subject to the same laws. Just because it is a bicycle does not mean that the laws for giving the right-of-way are any different.

Passing and Turning Right

Passing too closely is another common cause of bicycle accidents in Maryland. Vehicles need to allow bicyclists at least three feet of distance between them. For passing the bicycle, the vehicle needs to be far enough away from the bicyclist before merging back into the lane. Experienced bikers go approximately 20 miles an hour, so it is easy for a vehicle driver to misjudge the location of a bicyclist and merge back too soon, striking the bicyclist.

Another example is turning vehicles. When turning right, the vehicle must yield to bicyclists in a bike lane, and the vehicle cannot cut off the bicyclists in the bike lane to turn right. Instead, the driver must merge into the bike lane behind any cyclist and turn right as close to the curb as possible.

Riding Outside the Bike Lane

Sidewalk-riding accidents are another type of accident. A bicyclist cannot ride on sidewalks unless allowed by a local ordinance. If a bicycle on the sidewalk gets into an accident with a pedestrian, the bicyclist generally is going to be liable for the injury because it is the bicyclist’s responsibility to be looking out for pedestrians. Riding outside of the bike lane can also cause accidents. Bicyclists are allowed to ride outside a bike lane in limited circumstances in Maryland. Nonetheless, even if the bicyclist is riding outside of the bike lane, vehicles have a duty not to strike or collide with the bicycle.

For the most part, the bicyclist is supposed to maintain themselves in the designated bike lane unless traffic conditions, the condition of the bike lane, and any other circumstance would really prevent them from being in that lane. If motor vehicles are not yielding to a bike that can also be a problem. Any motorist has to be on the lookout for bikes and has to accommodate them on the highway. If a bicyclist is in front of a car or is crossing the street, it is considered to be the same as a car and therefore the vehicle must yield the right-of-way if the circumstances require it.

Out-of-State and Electric-Powered Bicyclists

Out-of-state bicyclist need to be aware of the laws of the state in which they are riding. For example, in Maryland there is a doctrine of contributory negligence which impacts the effect of the bicyclist’s conduct on the outcome of a case, because if they contributed in any way, they may be barred from recovery.

Generally speaking, any bicyclist should go on the internet and research the laws of the state and local jurisdiction in which they are riding. They should educate themselves and be knowledgeable about the laws of the area in which they are riding. There are differences in different states.

With regard to electric-powered bicycles, there is no difference in the law due to the bicycle being powered by a motor. This is not the same as mopeds and scooters. These are bicycles, some of which can be or are powered by an electric motor. There is no difference in a case involving an electric-powered bicycle as compared to that of a manually-powered bicycle. They are both considered motor vehicles. They are on the highways, and they are bound by the same laws, rules, and regulations as any bicycle.