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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roads are a critical component of our daily lives. We rush along and often take for granted that there will not be any obstructions on the roads we rely on. But have you ever wondered why you have this perception?
The law imposes specific duties of care on states and cities. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Bangor, it may have been because of the failure of your state or municipality to maintain the streets.
Our experienced Bangor injury attorneys understand that when you have been injured, your main concern should be getting better. Let us concentrate on getting you the justice you are entitled to while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
Himmelstein v. Town of Windsor is a highway defect case that arose because the plaintiff was in a bicycle collision with a police radar trailer that was parked on the side of the road. The main question in this case was whether a town can be held liable for injuries the plaintiff suffered as a result of a defect in a state road. There was significant confusion surrounding municipal and state liability, thus the court defined several applicable legal doctrines.
Himmelstein (“Plaintiff”) was riding a bicycle in heavy traffic. This traffic caused the plaintiff to ride onto the outer part of the road, in between the fog line and the curb. On this portion of the road, the city police department had a radar trailer stationed. Plaintiff hit the radar trailer and suffered several physical injuries and economic damages. Because of these injuries and damages, plaintiff sued the town claiming that because they breached their statutory duty of care, the town acted negligently. Plaintiff argued that in the alternative to negligence, the town should be held liable under nuisance.
Negligence is a reason for the imposition of liability where the defendant has a specified duty of care. Statute is often created to impose a duty of care on specific parties. This duty imposed by statute is called a statutory duty of care. In a negligence claim, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the four elements of negligence. These elements are:sthe defendant has a duty of care, the defendant breached their duty, the breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages, and the plaintiff must prove damages.
Conversely, nuisance is a principal of civil liability imposed where there is an intrusion on an individual’s rights to be free from injury or distress. Nuisance is comprised of two classifications:sprivate nuisance and public nuisance. Private nuisance is where a property owner or leaseholder is obstructed from their right of quiet enjoyment of property. In order to assert a claim under this theory of private nuisance, the plaintiff is required to have a legal interest in the land that is affected by the intrusion of a third party which causes some type of damage to the plaintiff.
On the other hand, public nuisance is where the acts or omissions of party causes damage or inconvenience to the public at large. This is most commonly seen in the areas of public health, safety, peace and convenience.
In Himmelstein, plaintiff argued that his injuries were the result of the placement of the radar trailer , which should be considered a highway defect. Because of this classification as a highway defect, plaintiff argued that the town created this unsafe condition thus imputing liability onto the town. Furthermore, plaintiff argued that the town had failed to comply with their statutory duty of care when they did not warn the public that the radar trailer was on the side of the road. It was because of this failure to comply with their duty, plaintiff was injured and suffered damages.
Conversely, the town argued that the road where the collision occurred was a state highway and the town is not liable for the maintenance of state highways. Because this was a state highway, the town argued that they had no duty to warn of any unsafe conditions or make the road safe.
Because the town cannot be held liable for the lack of warning and maintenance of a state road, the court entered summary judgment for the town. However, the court did explain that the plaintiff could sue the state for their failure to warn the public of the potential dangers associated with the placement of this police radar trailer.
This case is an example of how important it is to identify the proper parties in your Bangor personal injury case.
As we work our way out of the harsh winter, we look forward to Spring and the warm weather activities that we enjoy. As we move the clocks forward this weekend, our days will begin to get longer. As the weather gets warmer, we are bound to see more bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadways. And, of course, summer tourist season is just around the corner.
Our Maine personal injury lawyers want to remind motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists because it only takes a split second of distraction to find yourself involved in a crash. Negligent drivers can cause serious injuries to victims in Bangor bicycle accidents and bicycle and pedestrian crashes elsewhere in the state.
The U. . Department of Transportation recently published the 2009 data on bicycle accidents. In 2009, there were a total of 630 cyclists killed nationwide, and another 51,000 injured. Cyclists accounted for approximately 2% of all traffic injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle crashes for 2009. The highest percentage of cycling fatalities occurred in urban areas (70%), non-intersections (67%), and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (29%).
The average age of cyclists killed in 2009 was 39. However, bicyclists under age 16 accounted for 13% of cycling fatalities and 20% of those injured in 2009 motor vehicle crashes.
The good news is Maine reported no fatalities for cyclists in 2009. The bad news, cycling accidents are unpredictable and can occur at any time so motorists need to be on guard at all times. One way to reduce the risk of a bike accident is to not allow yourself to get distracted behind the wheel. Cyclists are often hard to spot or come from nowhere so getting distracted increases the chances of an accident dramatically.
The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety urges cyclists to wear a helmet. It is a state law that anyone under age 16 is required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Failure to wear a helmet increases the severity of the possible head and spinal cord injuries that can occur. It is reported that most fatalities related to bicycle accidents are from head injuries. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85% in most cases.
The Bureau of Highway Safety offers the following tips when fitting a helmet to purchase:
-Purchase a helmet made specifically for cycling. It must be approved by ASTM, CSA or Snell.
-The best way to measure comfort is to try on several helmets. Helmets are padded differently so some may be more comfortable and fit better than others.
-The helmet must cover the forehead and the chin strap should be adjustable so that it fits tight enough to keep your helmet from moving on your head.
-A light-colored helmet stands out better and is easier to spot than a dark-colored helmet.
-Your helmet should not move in any direction on your head. Movement from side-to-side or back-to front will not provide the proper safety if an accident occurs.