Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

Maine biking accidents can have disastrous effects on cyclists, pedestrians, and any road user in the vicinity. The cyclist experiences the most significant injuries and subsequent damages in many cases. As a result of the growing concern about bike accidents in Maine and throughout the country, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) lead a study to understand the prevalence and risk factors of bicycle crashes. The NTSB analyzed crash and injury data and interviewed national and local traffic safety stakeholders.

The agency identified three primary safety issue areas in the report: (1) improving roadway infrastructure for bicyclists, (2) enhancing conspicuity, and (3) mitigating head injury. According to the study, while more bike crashes involving motor vehicles occur at intersections, crash severity is higher when an accident occurs at a midblock location. The agency asserts that improving public road infrastructure with distinct bike lanes and road diets can reduce the likelihood of accidents at intersections and midblock crossings. Road diets refer to a roadway reconfiguration that eliminates travel from the road and utilizes space for other uses, such as bicycles.

Further, although there are different reasons why drivers and bikers may not detect each other in time to prevent an accident, enhancing conspicuity can reduce these occurrences. Cyclists wearing reflective clothing, bikes with lights, and in-vehicle crash warning systems could alert motorists to bicycle traffic. Finally, because head injury is the leading cause of bike-related deaths, bike helmets are an effective way to mitigate this concern.

Recently, a cyclist was seriously injured after being involved in a bike accident in Portland, Maine. According to a local news report, the collision occurred on the corner of Mellen St. and Park Ave. at around 2:30 in the afternoon. When emergency responders arrived on the scene, they found the cyclist in critical condition and transported him to the Maine Medical Center. The driver of the vehicle involved in the accident suffered minor injuries and was transported to a different hospital.

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, and are asking anyone with knowledge of the collision to come forward.

Maine Bike Accidents

Bicycles are a great way to get around Maine in the warmer months. However, cycling is not without its risks. For example, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2019, nearly 850 people were killed in bike accidents. The vast majority of these collisions were entirely preventable.

How to Stay Safe When Cycling in Maine

Cyclists should always follow some basic safety tips when riding on Maine roads.

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Under Maine law, motorists involved in an accident must stop at the incident scene or return to the scene. Those who leave the scene of an accident may face severe criminal and civil penalties. In addition, engaging in this negligent conduct can exacerbate a victim’s injuries and cause a fatality that could have otherwise been prevented. While a hit-and-run can occur in an accident, they tend to occur after a motorist hits a pedestrian or cyclist. These accidents often occur in the early morning or late evening hours on roads without a designated bike lane.

There are many reasons why a motorist may leave the scene of an accident; however, these explanations rarely excuse the driver’s conduct. Drivers frequently leave the scene of an accident because they were:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • Operating their vehicle without a valid license or insurance,
  • Avoiding liability or fearful of confrontation,or
  • Experiencing a medical event.

In some situations, the driver may claim that they did not know they hit another person.

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With spring in full swing and summer almost here, we’re seeing more bicyclists take to the streets in Maine cities like Bangor and Portland. Our Bangor injury lawyers are encouraging all drivers to use extra caution and remember that Maine Bicycling Law affords bicyclists most of the same rights, and responsibilities, as any motorist.

State law also requires those behind the wheel maintain a three-foot distance when passing bicyclists and to use extra care if they observe a child bicyclist.

It’s easy sometimes to forget how dangerous Maine roads can be for bicyclists, thanks to drivers who are careless, distracted or drunk. May is National Bike Month, and the National Safety Council reports a nearly 30 percent increase in collisions during the last eight years. There were more than 1,000 bicyclist deaths in 2017, nearly 700 of those involving motor vehicles.

Unfortunately, many who cause bicycle accidents – even serious ones – are often given a slap on the wrist. Continue reading

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.

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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