Every year, dozens of motorcyclists are killed in Maryland and thousands end up injured. Recent figures suggest the state’s highways are becoming more deadly for riders. Some of the most common types of motorcycle accidents in Maryland are caused by other drivers. Few things are as harrowing as a motorcycle accident. Riders don’t wear seatbelt like car drivers and they lack the protection of a steel frame, airbags or any of the safety features drivers take for granted. If you crash on a motorcycle, almost inevitably you will be thrown onto the road and take a hit. Most studies suggest riding a motorcycle is 38 times more dangerous than driving a car.
Motorcycle accidents in Maryland often cause broken bones and serious compound fractures. Life-changing spinal cord injuries and brain injuries are also all too common. The extreme nature of motorcycle accidents means injuries are typically more serious. You must recover as much money as possible from the driver who hit you. Sadly, many insurance companies don’t treat bikers well. They assume riders are too fast or too reckless. Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer Randolph Rice will take your claim seriously and fight your claim vigorously with the insurance company. Keep reading for more information on motorcycle accident death statistics in Maryland.
Statistics on Motorcyclist Deaths in Maryland
Figures from the Maryland Department of Transportation point to a rise in fatal motorcycle crashes in recent years while the number of injury crashes remains steady.
In the five-year period from 2013 t0 2017, fatal motorcycle accidents in Maryland rose from 58 a year to 83. The number of motorcycle injury crashes fluctuated. There were 1,137 injury crashes in 2013 and 1,027 in 2017 when 1,219 people were hurt in Maryland biking wrecks.
The highest number of motorcycle wrecks over five years occurred in Prince George’s County (14.5%). Baltimore City accounted for 13.1% of wrecks and another 10.4% were reported in Anne Arundel County. Unsurprisingly, the highest numbers of motorcycle crashes occur in the most populous counties.
Claims that most motorcycle crashes are caused by speeding, drunk, or reckless riders don’t stack up. According to the University of South Florida, other drivers are to blame for at least 60% of motorcycle wrecks. The era of distracted driving means many car, and truck drivers spend less time with their eyes on the road. They are most likely to miss road-users on two wheels.
9 Most Common Reasons for Motorcycle Injuries and Deaths in Maryland
Cars Making a Left Turn
Motorcyclists dread car, van, and SUV drivers making left turns. You don’t have to scour the news reports far to find these crashes. In Aug. 2019, a 26-year-old rider died in Prince George’s County in a collision with a driver trying to make a left turn.
Left turns across traffic are one of the most hazardous maneuvers any driver can make. Motorists often get into the mindset of looking for cars but they miss motorcycles. The car driver is usually at-fault for these crashes whether he or she hits the rider, or the motorcyclist crashes into the side of a car making the turn. Even at slow speeds, left-turn crashes can prove deadly for riders. According to RideApart, motorcyclists should drive defensively and be ready for a car to turn. Riders should look at the wheels of the car rather than the car itself to see if they are moving.
Lane Changes by Cars and Trucks
Lane changes lead to sideswipe accidents among cars on the highway. This is also one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents in Maryland. While a sideswipe accident can cause serious damage to a car, drivers and passengers often escape serious injuries. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable. A car driver can miss a rider in a blind spot and suddenly change lanes, causing the bike to crash and may spill the rider onto the road where he or she is hit by other traffic. Spend as little time in blind spots and possible and look for possible signs of an imminent lane change like turn signals or the driver checking his mirrors.
Rear-end accidents are the most common type of car wreck. While rear-enders are often fender benders in two-car wrecks, these accidents may prove fatal to motorcyclists. If you have to stop suddenly aim to stop to the side of a lane rather than the center. Do the same at intersections when you stop for lights.
Gravel on the Road
Gravel or another substance on the road is a menace for riders. These accidents are most likely to occur when a rider goes around a curve and unexpectedly encounters gravel, sand or another material. Gravel may not cause a motorist to crash but can destabilize a motorcycle. Always slow down on curves and make sure you can see the road ahead. Although injured riders may struggle to make a successful claim over gravel on the road, it may be possible to sue a landowner or a trucking company if, for example, debris from a dump truck spills on the road in front of you, causing you to crash.
Car doors cause more injuries to bikers than many people realize. Dooring occurs when the driver or a passenger of a parked car opens a door without realizing a rider is approaching. The rider may hit the door or take evasive action, causing a wreck. Dooring is also a significant cause of injuries and deaths to cyclists.
Avoid riding between an active lane of traffic and parked cars. Not only is this a dooring risk but pedestrians can step out in front of you.
Single vehicle wrecks are one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents in Maryland. Slippery surfaces on the road are a constant danger to riders. Motorcyclists should avoid icy and snowy conditions. Rain can also be a hazard, particularly when the rain falls initially, turning the road slick. Watch out for oil and other hazards in industrial areas as well as potholes and railroad tracks that can trap a wheel and cause a crash.
Drunk driver and rider crashes occur far too often in Maryland. In 2017, about 28% of all motorcyclists who died in wrecks in the United States were drunk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Lane-splitting is illegal in Maryland. Lane splitting is when a rider tries to ride through the gap between two vehicles in slow or stopped traffic. Maryland and some other states considered making lane splitting legal in 2019 but legislation made little headway. Drivers often fail to see lane-splitting riders and may change lanes, knocking them off their bikes. You will have little success in claiming for your injuries after performing an illegal act.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Maryland Highway Safety Office states over 27,000 people are injured and 185 others die each year on Maryland’s roads because of distracted driving. Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to distracted drivers because motorists are less likely to notice them. If a biker is riding fast, a distracted driver often has less time to react.
Talk to a Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Lawyer About the Reason for Your Crash
The most common cause of serious motorcycle accidents is other drivers. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we know how vital it is to recover the most you can for serious motorcycle accident injuries in Maryland. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer from head injuries, spinal injuries or amputations of their legs than the occupants of cars. We can hold the negligent, distracted, drunk or careless driver to account for your injuries and help you recover as much money as possible. Please contact our Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys today at 410-431-0911.