Maine Summer Bicycle Accidents Spike

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.

There have been enough of those.

According to the Bangor Daily News, a bicyclist was struck in Old Town by a man driving a sedan on Main Street. The female cyclist suffered minor injuries, and the driver fled.

Even more recently, a 9-year-old boy in Rumford was injured after reportedly failing to yield to ongoing traffic while riding his bicycle in the street. Most traffic safety experts recommend that children under 12 ride on the sidewalk, and that all children who do ride on the street be thoroughly trained in traffic safety rules. The child was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 66-year-old, who will not be charged.

Although the child is expected to recover, residents near where the incident occurred on Falmouth Street said it is the third such incident in as many months. One neighbor feared a fatal crash was on the horizon if more wasn’t done to both educate parents and perhaps redesign the intersection.

Street redesign is at the core of what Smart Growth America teaches. In its recent Dangerous by Design 2014 report, it indicates that over the last decade between 2003 and 2012, researchers mulled over the ways that streets were solely designed for fast-moving, motor vehicles, with little or no thought given to those on foot or sometimes even public transit. Numerous “Complete Streets” initiatives offer federal funds to those local governments who commit to street and intersection redesigns that make roadways safer for walkers and cyclists.

Portland adopted a Complete Streets resolution in 2011, and Lewiston did so last year.

Maine generally has a low number of bicyclist fatalities, mostly because it’s not a year-round activity due to the weather. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Reports that of Maine’s 164 traffic fatalities in 2012.

However, this is not an opportunity to become complacent, particularly as bicycling continues to gain popularity, both as a recreational activity and as a commuting option, especially during warmer months.

Adults cyclists should take care to educate themselves on the rules of the road. Parents of child cyclists need to take the time to teach them about always wearing a helmet, using the appropriate signals, learning the rules of the road (even if you aren’t riding on the road), making eye contact with drivers and ensuring they are always visible to drivers, regardless of the time of day.

Drivers, meanwhile, need to make sure they are alert and always double-checking for bicyclists, particularly at intersections.

If you are the victim of a car accident in Portland or Bangor, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Rumford boy, 9, injured in bicycle accident with truck, June 10, 2014, By Terry Karkos, River Valley Sun Journal

More Blog Entries:

Bangor Pedestrian Accidents Increase With Maine Thaw, April 12, 2014, Bangor Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Blog


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