Late last month a Carroll County bicycle rider died when he was hit by a tractor-trailer that police said did not yield to the cyclist. As a Baltimore trucking accident attorney and personal injury lawyer serving Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area, I can attest to the fact that heavy commercial trucks and bicycles are a bad mix when it comes to traffic collisions.
The result of a bicycle-motor vehicle accident can vary widely, but it is not uncommon for a rider to fall and suffer broken bones and possible severe head injury. Even under the best of circumstances a cyclist may suffer cuts and bruises as well as road rash and other minor, yet painful bodily injuries.
A recent news story shows how dangerous and deadly a collision between a bike and a large commercial truck can be. According to reports, 51-year-old Arthur Martin Jr. of New Windsor, MD, was biking along Shepherds Mill Road on a Tuesday afternoon when a semi trailer made a right turn onto Route 75 directly in front of the cyclist.
The rider, a Carroll County man, was pronounced dead at the scene according to Maryland State Police. Based on a preliminary investigation, police said that the tractor-trailer driver, 37-year-old Anthony E. Woodie, apparently failed to yield the right of way to the bicyclist.
At the time of the news report, police had all but ruled out alcohol or high speed as possible factors in the accident. Charges were reportedly still pending against the truck driver in connection with the fatal crash.
This isn’t an isolated incident since Maryland cyclists and pedestrians are ofter involved in traffic accidents. Since 1999, the State Highway Administration estimates that an average of eight cyclists have been killed in Maryland annually in traffic-related bicycle accidents. In fact, earlier this year one rider died and another severely injured when the two cyclists were hit by the same car near Falls Rd. and Butler Rd. in Baltimore County.
As a result of that deadly crash, the Maryland General Assembly passed a new law clarifying the rights of cyclists in their use of travel lanes as opposed to only the shoulder of the road. That new law requires motorists to observe a three-foot “buffer zone” whenever passing a cyclist sharing the roadway.
Carroll Co. cyclist killed after collision with truck, BaltimoreSun.com, August 25, 2010