A bike lane provides a presumably safe space for Maryland bicyclists to avoid dangers associated with riding near moving traffic. Still, an accident could occur even when bicyclists remain in their lane. A vehicle that drifts or deliberately drives into the bike lane might hit a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Sometimes, these incidents result in fatalities.
Bike lane abuse
Bike lane abuse refers to drivers using the bike lane when they should stay out of it. Under Maryland law, drivers must yield the right of way to bicyclists in a bike lane or when turning. However, only some drivers do so. A driver might cut into the bike lane at an unnecessary distance from the corner in anticipation of making a right turn. Others, such as motorcyclists, might enter the bike lane to pass a car on the right.
Other situations could involve a reckless driver hitting a bicyclist or pedestrian because of gross negligence. For example, an intoxicated driver might cause a deadly drunk driving accident after speeding into the bike lane.
Bicyclists and pedestrians cannot rely on the frame and other protections a vehicle possesses. When hit by a car, bicyclists and pedestrians could suffer severe injuries, including broken bones. Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and commercial trucks, may inflict worse damage, although even a compact car might inflict fatal wounds. Most alarming, many bicycle and pedestrian accidents result from negligence.
Injury victims may file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Be aware that bicyclists or pedestrians might be partially at fault, however. If that is the case, Maryland’s stringent contributory negligence law would bar recovery.