Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading