Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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

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.

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