Maryland Bike Accident Lawyer
The Maryland counties outside of Washington, DC, such as Montgomery and Anne Arundel, offer the best of both worlds: Direct access to the nation’s capital as well as all the perks of living in the suburbs. Moreover, it’s now becoming even more convenient, as Capital Bikeshare has docked bikes in various locations throughout nearby Prince George’s County.
Plus, getting around on a bicycle in Maryland and DC can save a lot of money and time. It’s a great convenience for your physical health, can help you avoid notoriously horrific DC Metro traffic, and saves wear and tear on your wallet and the environment. But If you were to look at a map of DC , you might be alarmed at how many streets throughout the District lack bike lanes. And what about Maryland? There are many areas that can be vastly improved for the purpose of bike safety.
Bike Lanes in DC
This section is for those of you who may be biking from Maryland into the District. While there are plenty east of 12th Street and between New York Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, once you get closer to the White House, it is almost as if bike lanes disappear. They are practically nonexistent from 17th Street west to the Potomac River north of Constitution Avenue. South of the National Mall, bike lanes are pretty few and far between in Southwest DC as well.
A 2016 study by NATCO showed that between 2006 and 2013, across seven major U.S. cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Portland, and San Francisco), bike lane networks grew, which led to an increased number of cyclists on the road, which actually translated to an improved safety rate for cyclists.
Without bike lanes, riders are forced to share the street with vehicles, which increases the likelihood of an accident. Also, many cities (DC included) have bike lanes blocked by vehicles, which also makes cycling more dangerous. This is one of the hazards that are all too common in high vehicle traffic cities.
Causes of Bike Accidents in Washington, DC & Maryland
Sometimes you can do everything in your power as a bicyclist to abide by the law, follow proper safety procedures, and still be injured by someone else’s negligence. Common causes of bicycle injuries include:
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk drivers
- Aggressive /overly anxious drivers
- Getting “doored”
Suppose the driver of a motor vehicle is not paying attention to their surroundings or is distracted. In that case, that person will probably fail to notice you on your bicycle and, as a result, may hit you and your bike, likely resulting in serious and/or life-threatening injuries. That’s why it’s important to understand your county’s and city’s bike laws.
Maryland and DC Bike Laws
Before you hop on a bike, you need to make sure you’re up to date on your local bike laws, including those in Maryland and Washington, DC. Some of those laws include:
- All bike riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet that meets or exceeds the safety standards set forth by the state of Maryland.
- All bike riders must use bike lanes when present and clear, except when preparing to make a left-hand turn, when passing another vehicle, or when reasonably necessary.
- Bicycles are prohibited on access-controlled freeways and interstate highways.
There are several other laws for both motorists driving around bikers and for bikers themselves. We recommend that all motorists and bike riders familiarize themselves with the laws. If everyone knows the rules and their rights, the vast majority of bike-related accidents are easily avoidable.
What Happens When You Get “Doored”?
One of the most common accidents that occurs is commonly referred to as getting “doored.” If you’re unfamiliar with what dooring is, it’s when you’re riding your bike next to parked cars, and someone in one of those cars neglects to check for traffic before opening their door (it can be either on the passenger or driver side).
At that point, with little to no time to react and nowhere to go (swerving into car traffic isn’t an appealing option), the cyclist crashes into the open door or is hit while a door is opening. You can even be stopped at a traffic light and get doored by a driver or passenger who merely doesn’t pay any attention when they fling open their door. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident after getting doored, you need to contact a Maryland bicycle accident lawyer.
What to Do After You Have Been Doored or Are in a Bicycle Accident
The most important thing to do after being doored on a bicycle or being involved in any type of bicycle accident is getting any necessary medical treatment. If you are unable to call 911 yourself, have someone else do it. Even if you do not feel as if you have been seriously injured, that may not actually be the case. Wait for the paramedics or, if necessary, allow an ambulance to transport you to the nearest emergency room for examination and treatment. If you can walk away from the accident relatively unscathed, you should still visit an emergency room or your doctor to get a complete evaluation.
Next, a police report is crucial to documenting the accident when there are injuries. It is also important to obtain the names and personal information of the driver of the vehicle involved. After this, you will need to file an insurance claim. It is strongly advised that you not attempt to deal with the insurance companies on your own when you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. This is where a lawyer comes in.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Call the DC & Maryland Bike Accident Lawyers at The Lapidus Law Firm. There are many, many bike laws in Maryland and DC, and they can be confusing. A bicycle accident lawyer knows the laws surrounding bike accidents and will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with bike accidents in the DC Metro area and will provide the expert legal advice you need if you are involved in an accident.
It is during this point in the process that your medical records become extremely important. One of the many aspects when you retain our services is obtaining your medical records and other necessary documents as evidence of your injuries and continued care for recovery.
Even when fault is determined, it is the insurance adjuster’s mandate to pay out as little as possible, and they have a legal team that enables them to do just that. You must have the same experience on your side.
Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Maryland
Our attorneys at The Lapidus Law Firm have experience with representing bicyclists who have been doored and injured in these and similar accidents. We have represented several clients with favorable outcomes and are committed to working on your behalf.
We will examine the details of your case and advise you on how best to proceed with the goal of obtaining a fair, reasonable settlement. Contact us at (301) 852-7500 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today. The lawyers at Lapidus Law Firm will stand with you and make it their mission to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement in your favor. We are committed to making justice work for you.