A recent and tragic accident in Annapolis highlights the need for motorist awareness when sharing the road with cyclists.
The Baltimore Sun reports that, over the weekend, one cyclist was killed and two others suffered serious injuries when an SUV crashed into a group of seven at East College Parkway and Bay Head Road. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. Jon Korin, one of the riders with the group who escaped without serious injury, said, “This was seven experienced riders, doing what we were supposed to be doing. Hugging the right side of the road and with our reflector lights on.” Korin is also president of Bicycle Advocates For Annapolis And Anne Arundel County, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a safer, healthier Ananpolis.
Our hearts go out to the victims and the families, and we pray for a safe and full recovery for the injured riders.
What drivers can do to help keep cyclists safe
Incidents like this, for whatever reason they occur, only underscore the importance of understanding how to safely share the road with bicyclists. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Association offers guidelines for motorists on current traffic laws relating to bicyclists. As a driver, you must:
- Not pass a cyclist any closer than three feet.
- Ensure you are clear of a cyclist before making any turns; the bike has the right of way.
- Yield to cyclists riding in the shoulder or bike lane when entering or crossing these areas.
- Yield to cyclists riding lawfully in a crosswalk or intersection.
The above are traffic safety rules, and breaking them is against the law.
Other tips for sharing the road with cyclists include:
- Be careful passing, ensuring you have enough room to move over once you do.
- Expect cyclists on the road at all times, even during inclement weather or low light.
- Be careful in intersections and always look in all directions.
- Use extra caution around children on bikes.
Under Maryland law, bicycles are considered vehicles, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep our roads safe. If you have questions about these laws, please contact Plaxen & Adler, P.A.