Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Students are heading back to class, which means it’s time for adults to brush up on their education when it comes to safe driving. Maine bicycle accidents can be unfortunately common, which can lead to serious injuries, particularly if the rider collides with a car.

Bangor School Department has announced schools will open Tuesday Sept. 4. School officials urge parents to start kids on their school sleep schedule now, so they will be properly adjusted for the first day of class. This can also help keep them safe while traveling to and from school. Portland Public Schools will also return to class Sept. 4.

The Bangor School Department also announced a partnership with the Bangor Police Department to put liaison officers in schools to work to ensure proper security and student safety. While parents may worry about bullying, school violence, or the rigors and risks of today’s school athletics, our experienced personal injury lawyers know the commute to and from school is most likely to be dangerous.

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As we recently reported on our Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. As riders hit the road each spring, they face the highest risks of the year. And already this month, we have reports of a slew of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents throughout the state, including the death of a 24-year-old Portland man and a motorcycle crash in Acton that resulted in serious head injuries for a Barrington couple involved in a Saturday evening crash.

Our Maine motorcycle accident lawyers also note safety advocates are focused on the other two-wheel riders hitting the roads this spring. Like motorcycle accidents, the number of serious and fatal bicycle accidents in Maine spikes each year as the last of the snow melts. Coastal Journal reports the City of Bath will be among those promoting Bike to Work Week on May 14-18, which culminates in Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18. Fitness advocates and environmentalists continue to promote cycling as a means of physical activity that offers environmental benefits and cost savings of up to $8,000 a year for those who regularly bike to work.

Maine Bicycle Accidents:  Men at Risk

A community in Central Maine is mourning the loss of a longtime family physician who was killed in a bicycle accident after she was struck by a pickup truck.

Bicycle vs. truck accidents are not necessarily more common than bicycle vs. car collisions, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, they tend to be more serious because cyclists are vulnerable road users, and pickup trucks are so much larger and heavier than typical passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, truck drivers are not required to carry more insurance than those operating smaller vehicles. This is why it’s a smart idea for all bicyclists to maintain ample uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, which will supplement damages in the event of being struck by a driver who is not identified (hit-and-run), uninsured, or underinsured (only carries minimum coverage).

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During this past summer, a 23-year-old suffered serious injuries in a Portland bicycle accident that occurred at the intersection of State Street and Cumberland Avenue. Although the cyclist’s injuries were not life-threatening, the incident raised questions for local news outlets about the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in Portland. 

The Bangor Daily News first turned to the Maine Department of Transportation, which revealed there were more than 250 bicycle accidents in Portland between 2011 and 2015. Reporters compared this data with the average daily traffic counts from 2013 to ascertain the most dangerous intersections for cars and bicycles.

In that five-year time frame, the Portland intersection with the most crashes was at Park Street and York Street. There were a total of five bicycle-versus-vehicle crashes counted at that location over the five-year period. Reporters conceded, though, that this particular intersection has a high traffic volume. When the numbers were controlled for traffic volume, the intersection with the most crashes-per-volume was Adelaide Street and Read Street at Forest Avenue, which had four crashes during the five-year time frame. The three-way intersection branches off Forest Avenue, which is one of Portland’s most active roadways.

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The latest report from The League of American Bicyclists puts Maine at the top when it comes to bicycle friendliest in New England.

The state ranked 15th nationally, behind the other New England states of Delaware, which ranked No. 3, and Massachusetts, which ranked No. 4. Meanwhile, New Hampshire ranked 27th, Connecticut 22nd and Vermont 17th.

The scoring criteria for “bicycle friendliness” was based on legislation and enforcement of bicycle safety laws, existing policies and programs, infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement and evaluation and planning.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court recently affirmed a judgment favoring a bicyclist struck and run over by a bus driver, dismissing defendant’s argument that the cyclist’s own actions prevented her from obtaining compensation.

At issue in Semian v. Ledgemere Transportation, Inc. was 29 – A M.R.S. § 2070 (6). This statute allows that a bicyclist may pass a vehicle on the right in certain situations, but does so “at their own risk.”

Because of this provision, defendant bus company argued it could not be held liable for injuries sustained to a bicyclist who was attempting to pass on the right.

One teen was killed and another seriously injured recently in Waldoboro, after a box truck struck the pair as they were stopped in the southbound lane speaking to some pedestrians.

According to authorities, the refrigerated lobster truck struck the back of the bicycle ridden by the 15-year-old, who was thrown from the bike, landing on the shoulder. His bicycle then struck his 14-year-old friend, who suffered a leg injury. The older boy was flown by helicopter to a nearby trauma hospital, but later died of severe head injuries. The 24-year-old driver of the truck insisted he did not see the boys until it was too late to stop.

While the investigation is ongoing, our Bangor bicycle accident lawyers hope this tragedy will spark an ongoing discussion between parents and children regarding safe bicycle riding practices. The lesson will be especially important as the school year begins, with many children in early fall choosing to ride their bicycles to school.

A spate of bicycle accidents throughout the state in recent weeks serve as an important reminder, particularly during the summer months, for drivers and others to be more cautious of those sharing the roads.

Bicycle accident injuries in Bangor can be serious and potentially life-threatening, and they are frequently caused by motor vehicle drivers who aren’t being careful and attentive. We recognize that Maine tends to have fewer bicyclists year-round than many other states, particularly in the Southern region, so many drivers aren’t automatically trained to scan the roads for them.

However, this will not excuse liability in a courtroom, and it certainly won’t make you feel better, waiting helplessly for the ambulance to arrive for victim lying on the pavement. It seems graphic, but we’d rather you be jarred by the mental picture than a real one.

A 23-year-old rider was hit and killed in Maine recently. It wasn’t just any ordinary ride either. It was a part of the American Lung Association’s Trek Across Maine — a 180-mile bike tour, according to the Boston Globe.According to Maine State Police, the rider was biking down Route 2 just before 9:00 a.m. when a passing tractor-trailer struck him. According to accident reports, the truck didn’t even stop after the collision.

Our Portland bicycle accident lawyers understand that this trek across Maine is very important to a lot of people. The “trekkers” are required to raise $500 in order to ride, and that’s money raised for a good cause. And bicycle safety is also important to many others.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of work to do in helping to keep these riders safe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 1,000 bicyclists killed on America’s roadways in 2011. These fatalities accounted for about 2 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s more serious that you might think.

In addition to all of the bicyclists killed, there were another 50,000 who were injured. And many of these accidents could have been prevented with a little more awareness.

The truth of the matter is that bicycling is not only a popular form of transportation for residents and visitors throughout the area, but it is also a recreational and fitness activity enjoyed by those of all ages — with close to 90 million adults and children riding their bikes every year. Bicycling enhances your physical health, mental outlook and overall quality of life.

Luckily, officials with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) are here with some important bicycling safety tips to help to make sure that everyone gets to where they’ve got to be safely.

Simple Safety Tips:

-Whenever you go out riding, make sure you’re wearing a helmet. A helmet is your best bet against injury and death in the event of an accident.

-Always obey the laws of the road. You have to follow these laws, too.

-Ride with traffic (in the same direction as it). Use a bike path whenever there is one available.

-Keep an eye on your bicycle with routine checks and inspections. Maintenance is a good way to avoid a potentially dangerous bicycling mishap.

-Stay visible. Wear bright and reflective clothing to help ensure that motorists see you.

-Keep an eye out for road hazards. You can avoid dangers and risks by staying aware of your surroundings at all times.

-Never overload your bicycle. When carrying items with you, use a backpack, a secure rack on the back of your bike or safe bike bags.

-Be sure to signal all stop and turns.

-Be ready to ride in all conditions.

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Warm weather in Maine is right around the corner, and as the temperatures start to rise, the number of bicycle riders on the road is also likely to increase. Biking in Bangor and throughout Maine is a popular pastime and both locals and visitors enjoy taking to the trails or opting to use a bicycle for fun or fitness.

Unfortunately, as the number of bike riders climbs along with the temperature on the thermometer, there is also an increased chance of bicycle accidents occurring. Our Bangor bike accident lawyers know that bicycle riders are often seriously hurt in bike accidents because they have no protection from impact when struck by a vehicle. Bicycle riders, therefore, should do everything possible to stay safe and avoid becoming involved in a crash. Drivers, too, need to be responsible and respectful of bikers with whom they share the road.

Bicycle Safety Tips to Avoid Maine Bicycle Accidents
Bike Maine provides some important safety tips for all bicycle riders, whether they are on a path, a dirt trail, or the road. Bike Maine’s tips address everything from choosing the right bike to how to dress to how to make sure your bike is ready for the road. Some of the tips include:

  • Ensuring you choose a bicycle that fits you. You should be able to stand with your flat feet on the ground over the bike without the bike touching your body. Your seat height should also be high enough that you can almost extend your full leg each time you pedal.
  • Wearing a helmet every time you ride. The helmet should have a CPSC or Snell sticker and should be replaced if the helmet is cracked or if it becomes damaged. The helmet should also be replaced every five years.
  • Wearing tight, bright clothing. Bright clothing will help to ensure that drivers see you approaching. If you are riding at night, you are required by state law to use a headlight that is visible for 200 feet as well as a reflector on the pedals and on the rear of your bicycle. Tight clothing will help to ensure that your clothes don’t get taught in the bicycle.
  • Doing the ABC test before you begin to ride. The ABC test is an acronym to remind you to check the air in your tires; the brakes on the bicycle and the chains and cranks.
  • Following the rules of the road. This includes riding with traffic, riding on the right, riding in a straight line so your movements are predictable, obeying traffic signals and signs, communicating with hand signals and always yielding to pedestrians.

By following these rules, bicycle riders can ensure they are doing everything they can to protect themselves and to make sure they are safe on their bike ride.

Drivers also need to remember that bicycle riders must be respected. This means yielding to bike riders and leaving them sufficient space in bike lanes and roadsides.

When a driver makes a careless error or breaks the rules of the road and a bicycle rider is injured in a bike accident, the driver can be held legally liable for any injuries that result.

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