Motorists May Face Stricter Penalties for Hitting CyclistsMarch 29, 2019
As the temperatures continue to rise, and the days are getting longer, more people are riding their bikes, whether it is to school, work, or as a recreational activity. While riding a bike is a great form of exercise, it is also much less expensive than other forms of transportation, and it is does not have a negative impact on the environment. However, when motorists are not paying attention to their surroundings, or a driver becomes aggressive toward a cyclist, this can quickly become very dangerous for cyclists, since there is nothing protecting them from the impact of a vehicle, other than their helmet, if they are wearing one. A new bill aims to raise the penalties against drivers who hit cyclists.
In Maryland, the current fine for striking a cyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or other mobile transportation vehicle is upwards of $500. However, most drivers end up paying a $110 prepaid fine without having to appear in court. Since cyclists, pedestrians, and other mobile riders can suffer serious, often fatal injuries when hit by a car, two senators and 23 delegates sponsored the bill, which would increase the fine to as much as $2,000. In addition, the bill would impose a mandatory court appearance. If the motorist fails to pay the fine or appear in court, they would need to complete 150 hours of community service and participate in a motor vehicle safety course. Depending on the circumstances, the driver could lose their license.
Current Laws are Not Strict Enough
According to one of the lead sponsors of the bill, the current laws are not strict enough. Ideally, increasing the penalties will be an effective strategy toward holding people accountable for their actions. Ultimately, we want to change driver behavior so that no more cyclists, pedestrians, or motorcyclists are injured, said one of the sponsors. While cyclists in Maryland support the bill, many believe that things are unlikely to change. One motorcycle owner said that motorists are not interested in sharing the road with motorcycles, and that even when they try to make eye contact with a driver, they pretend not to see them. This can be extremely dangerous, since there is nothing protecting the cyclists from the impact of the car.
According to the Transportation Department’s Annual Attainment Report, there were 111 pedestrian fatalities and 11 bicycle fatalities in 2017. In addition, the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration reported that there were 76 fatal motorcycle accidents in Maryland in 2017, half of which were caused by motor vehicles. When there is an accident involving a car and a motorcycle, in most cases, it is the driver of the motor vehicle who is at fault.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Cyclists Injured in Car Accidents
If you were seriously injured in a car accident while riding your bike, the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side and will work tirelessly to determine who is responsible for your injuries. We will thoroughly investigate the details of your case and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.