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Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 08:07 PM UTC

Contributory negligence - one persons story

Bike LawsB' Spokes: As you might know I try to collect various information about Maryland's contributory negligence doctrine and this is one disturbing report.
by Greg, a comment on The WashCycle

In Maryland, 70% of civil suits involving a pedestrian and a vehicle the pedestrian is at fault. Recently, as an example, my friend was hit by a truck on my block walking away from a tow truck with flashing sirens. In spite of Maryland's requirement that the driver yield right of way when approaching a vehicle using authorized flashing lights and slow to a prudent speed, he swerved around the truck and struck my friend resulting in medical bills and injuries.

My friend, because he was walking on *my property* but on the right hand side of the road as opposed to the left hand side of the road, was found to be contributory negligent and therefore not entitled to any relief.

Contributory negligence makes a lot of sense when you're talking about someone walking on ice with disregard for their own safety - however to infer that a pedestrian or cyclist needs to hold themselves to a higher standard of vigilance than someone driving a 2000+lbs vehicle is backwards and flies in the face of common sense. People holding hammers need to watch where they swing, I shouldn't need to walk around the edge of my property worrying about vehicles striking me down because I'm on the side of the road where my house is...

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