Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Road Rage: Cyclist vs. Motorist

Were public highways constructed for motor vehicles or bicycles?  Who has the right of way, the bicycle or the motor vehicle?  Many motorists believe that cyclists are endangering themselves since they are no match for tons of metal on wheels.  Many a debate has arisen when it comes to the rules of the road, who rules, cyclist or driver?   

Most people would be surprised to learn that legally bikes do have the right to ride their bikes on the roadways, in most jurisdictions.  In Maryland and D.C., those rights have been expanded where a 3 foot rule was passed by the Senate on May 20, 2010.

Many motorists feel that this bill is not fair.  Motorists have to pay for tags and insurance and obey the laws of the highways.  If cyclists have the right to the roadways, then they too should have to pay for insurance and tags and obey the traffic laws and be cited if they disobey those laws.  As simply stated by one motorist, "if we're going to level the playing field, then let's level it completely and equitably."  Why not construct bike paths for the safety of cyclists and leave the highways to the motorists?  

In a recent Harford County bicycle accident, 17 year old, Albert Wayne Glass was riding his bicycle on Sandpiper Court heading toward Willoughby Beach Road in Edgewood, Maryland.  According to the Harford County Sheriff's Office, Glass proceeded through a stop sign at the intersection of Albantowne Way and Willoughby Beach Road when he was struck by Timothy James Foster.  Mr. Foster was traveling east on Willoughby Beach Road through the intersection when he struck Mr. Glass.  Mr. Glass sustained serious bodily injuries and was flown by medevac to Shock Trauma, where he underwent emergency surgery to relieve massive blot clots on his brain.  Should Mr. Glass have been operating his bicycle on the highway in the same capacity as a motorist?  Could this accident have been avoided if the State Highway Administration approved a bill for Bicycle and Pedestrian Access?  While it appears several of these issues are before the legislature, the question the motorists and cyclists need to know is when will it be implemented and what should be done in the meantime?  

If you, a family member or someone you know has been involved in a bike accident or car accident or you need more information on car and bike accidents, please contact Portner & Shure for a free consultation with one of our Maryland personal injury lawyers.