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Friday, August 01 2014 @ 01:40 AM UTC
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Gross Negligence Bar Is High Hurdle

Bike Lawsfrom Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog

Judge Williams said that even if true, these facts fall short of gross negligence, citing Boyer v. State for proposition that gross negligence is inflicting injury with such indifference to "to the rights of others to the extent of acting like the victim had no rights at all." I'm paraphrasing and I still don't know what that means.
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Collateral source rule in Maryland

Bike LawsFYI if you happen to miss work due to a crash with an automobile:

"Maryland has had for - count them - 112 years, that the claimant is paid for time missed from work regardless of whether they used vacation time or their employer paid them out of the goodness of their heart"

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Legalize Changing Lanes to Pass a Bike in No Passing Zones

Bike LawsBy jtitus - WABA

An Opportunity to Help Motorists and Cyclists: A “Change-Lanes-and-Pass” Rule

My neighborhood has many polite drivers who wait behind me as I ride on two-lane MD-953, which has double yellow (no passing) lines the whole way. I am usually in the center of the 10-ft lane, pulling a trailer with my daughter.  Even when I don’t have the trailer, 95% of the drivers wait until the oncoming lane is clear, change lanes, and pass.  And when I am riding toward the right side of the lane for some reason, the vast majority still change lanes to pass.

Countless drivers have probably done you the same favor on another road. But they are technically breaking the law.

We think Maryland should legalize changing lanes to pass a bike riding in a no-passing zone. Not only are these drivers being safe, they actually enhance safety.

Why would cycling organizations initiate a reform that increases motorists’ rights? Aside from the fact that it probably will make us safer, cyclists probably understand this issue better than motorists. Cyclists have discussed many “rules of the road” that make sense for motor vehicles, but do not enhance safety when applied to bicycles. We would love to see those laws reformed. In some cases we may lack the political power to compel the changes we hope to see. But we probably do have the power to secure the right to change lanes and pass a bike when there is a double yellow line. So I think we should.

But Let’s Not Go Too Far: The “Partly-Cross-the-Line and Pass” Rule

By coincidence, some other Maryland advocates are considering a similar reform, but they would go even farther. Their idea is to allow drivers to cross the double yellow line to pass bikes, without the requirement to fully change lanes. This “partly-cross-the-line and pass” rule seems to be motivated by the observation that some cyclists ride far enough to the right so that a car barely has enough room to squeeze between the bike and the yellow line, and some drivers do. This rule would allow motorists to move only partly into the adjacent lane to pass the cyclist by the required three feet.

We prefer the requirement that the motorist fully change lanes. Motorists frequently report difficulty in gauging the three feet of space they are required to leave when passing, so why not apply the normal requirement that motorists change lanes? It is an existing behavior with clear rules and expectations. There is no need to encourage drivers to pass while occupying parts of two lanes.

Additionally, the requirement to change lanes before passing would discourage the idea of “squeezing” around others—whether the cyclist or a potential oncoming motorist. Finally, the State of Maryland will soon start erecting signs that say “Bicycles May Use Full Lane”. We think that “change lanes and pass” better reinforces the message of those signs, than partly crossing the line and sharing the lane.

Over the next few weeks, advocates in Maryland will be deciding which approach to take. While WABA took a major role last year in the promotion and passage of the Maryland vehicular homicide law, this year WABA intends to play a supporting role to Bike Maryland, which frequently leads statewide efforts to enhance cyclists’ rights through state legislation.

(Jim Titus is a member of WABA’s Board of Directors from Prince George’s County)

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    Alert: How many times do we have to correct the state in it's law summaries?

    Bike LawsAround this time last year Baltimore Spokes put the following out for discussion on how to summarize our new 3' law (as the State was issuing the poor summery mentioned here (and poor is a nice word for what they did):) What the 3' law says and doesn't say.

    And we got it corrected to:

    Traffic Laws for Motorists

    • The driver of a vehicle passing another vehicle, including a bicycle, must pass at a safe distance and leave plenty of space.  The driver should be able to see the passed vehicle in the rear view mirror before returning to the original lane. After passing you must make sure you are clear of the bicyclist before making any turns.
    • Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD), or motor scooter being ridden by a person.
    • The driver of a vehicle must not pass any closer than three (3) feet to a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle is operated in a lawful manner. It is not lawful to ride against traffic.
    • The bicycle has the right of way when the motor vehicle is making a turn, and you must yield to bicycle.
    • Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists riding in bike lanes and shoulders when these vehicle operators are entering or crossing occupied bike lanes and shoulders.
    • ...
    MVA on: Current Bicycle Laws

    Well the Maryland Bikeways Program has the following link BICYCLE LAW FACT SHEET. Which you'll find the following:

    THIS IS WRONG!!! (The law does not say you can buzz cyclists who fail to ride far right.)
    Write Michael Jackson <> and kindly ask to have this file "destroyed" and remove the reference from this page (there may be more then just this page) and replace it with The latter is supposed to be the "master" bike law summery page on which others are based.
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    § 2-602. Public policy

    Bike Laws[B' Spokes: This is Maryland law which I reference from time to time so I thought I should just make a post about it ]

    . The General Assembly finds that it is in the public interest for the State to include enhanced transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders as an essential component of the State's transportation system, and declares that it is the policy of the State that:

    . (1) Access to and use of transportation facilities by pedestrians and bicycle riders shall be considered and best engineering practices regarding the needs of bicycle riders and pedestrians shall be employed in all phases of transportation planning, including highway design, construction, reconstruction, and repair as well as expansion and improvement of other transportation facilities;

    . (2) The modal administrations in the Department shall ensure that the State maintains an integrated transportation system by working cooperatively to remove barriers, including restrictions on bicycle access to mass transit, that impede the free movement of individuals from one mode of transportation to another;

    . (3) As to any new transportation project or improvement to an existing transportation facility, the Department shall work to ensure that transportation options for pedestrians and bicycle riders will be enhanced and that pedestrian and bicycle access to transportation facilities will not be negatively impacted by the project or improvement; and

    . (4) In developing the annual Consolidated Transportation Program, the Department shall:

    . (i) Ensure that there is an appropriate balance between funding for:

    . 1. Projects that retrofit existing transportation projects with facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders; and

    . 2. New highway construction projects; and

    . (ii) In transit-oriented areas within priority funding areas, as defined in § 5-7B-02 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, place increased emphasis on projects that retrofit existing transportation projects with facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders and increase accessibility for the greatest number of pedestrians and bicycle riders.
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    The Idaho stop law - should Maryland adopt?

    Bike LawsB' Spoke: It amazes me how much slack is afforded to motorists and when there is a crack down on "safety" it seems that it is just the cyclists and pedestrians that are targeted. Motorists going 10 mph above the speed limit is perfectly fine, motorists coming to a complete stop in the crosswalk way past the stop bar, well that's OK too but cyclists who do not put their foot down when stopping now that's dangerous and should be get the full vengeance of the law.

    It is time to get back to the spirit of the law and stop trying to get cyclists to do things that only really only make sense for 350 hp 2 ton killing machines then ones driven by human power at human speeds.

    Please participate in our poll and let us know what you think about Maryland adopting the Idaho stop law.

    Except from The Washcycle

    "After one summer of police stings on bikes running stop signs, and a lot of talk, we have reached a reasonable peace treaty on this issue.

    Local law enforcement here in Jackson Hole will ticket a bike that blatantly rolls a stop at speed with no care. Quick $100 fine, and no sympathy from bike advocates like me.

    Legally, bikes are required to stop at Stop signs in Wyoming. However - Jackson Police and Teton County Sheriff have publicly said they will not ticket a bicyclist that:

    - slows cautiously as approaching a stop sign,
    - rider carefully looks left and right, fully in control and able to stop,
    - rider signals properly if making a turn,
    - rider does not fully stop but continues after determining it is safe to do so.

    Our Sheriff and police have determined this is equal to a STOP and they will not harass cyclists. We agree."

    After one summer of police stings on bikes running stop signs, and a lot of talk, w
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    Stronger ban on texting and driving takes effect Sat

    Bike Lawsfrom Maryland Politics by Annie Linskey

    Glancing at a text message or an email from behind the wheel will cost $500 in fines starting Saturday when a new law goes into effect clarifying Maryland’s muddled driving-while-texting rules.
    Maryland drivers also aren’t supposed to talk on their cell phones per a year-old law, but doing so is remains a “secondary offense” meaning police can only pull over a driver who is also breaking another rule.

    Drivers will still be able to use GPS systems on their phone while driving, or text an emergency operator.
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    Comparative Negligence redux

    Bike LawsJust found some more links on the topic (mostly from 2007):

    Peter Angelos Opposes Comparative Negligence
    (with comparative negligence we could potentially lose joint and several liability... apparently a significant issue in asbestos cases.)

    Will Maryland Drop Contributory Negligence
    "It would be a blessing for injury victims in Maryland if Maryland dropped [Contributory Negligence.]"

    What’s fair in fault-finding?
    ‘‘Basically this legislation [removing Contributory Negligence] is going to mean more lawsuits for employers and more damages paid to people who contribute to their own injuries. And we think that’s a bad idea,” said Ronald W. Wineholt, vice president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

    The Maryland Association of Counties agrees: It’s a balance of whether local governments should spend more money on lawyers or on services.
    ‘‘From that perspective, citizens would rather the funds go to their needs. ... And when someone’s hurt and they can’t recover against somebody, it’s the government that comes in and takes care of the unfortunate,” said David Bliden, executive director of the counties association.

    Ellen Valentino, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said Maryland prides itself on contributory negligence as a pro-business policy.
    Insurance groups oppose the change, too.

    David F. Snyder, vice president and assistant general counsel of American Insurance Association, said Marylanders pay the 12th highest automobile insurance premiums in the nation.

    ‘‘We just don’t believe there’s a margin of error in Maryland ... it would just get worse if you remove what we call a safety valve in the Maryland system,” he said.
    [B' Spokes: I'll note on this point that Allstate ranked Baltimore and DC the worst cities for frequent auto accidents. And I'll assert low traffic fines, low priority of enforcing traffic law AND the existence of Comparative Negligence all contribute to the making of a high insurance rate. If there was heck to pay for those who are at fault in a crash I would bet there would be fewer crashes but instead we got high insurance rates PLUS the 4th highest pedestrian fatality rate. Whatever Maryland is doing, it is doing it WRONG, that fact cannot be denied.]

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    Delaware’s passing law vs ours

    Bike LawsDelaware’s 3' law reads as follows:

    “The driver of a motor vehicle, when approaching a bicyclist traveling in the same direction, shall ensure the safety and protection of the bicyclist by:

    a. Proceeding with caution and yielding the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the bicyclist, if possible, with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a roadway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or,

    b. Proceeding with caution and reducing the speed of the vehicle to a safe speed and leaving a reasonable and prudent distance by providing a minimum of three feet of clearance while passing such bicyclist, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.”


    Maryland's 3' passing law:

    (a) Drivers to exercise due care. -- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, the driver of a vehicle shall:

    (1) Exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being ridden by a person; and

    (2) When overtaking a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter, pass safely at a distance of not less than 3 feet, unless, at the time:

    (i) The bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter rider fails to operate the vehicle in conformance with § 21-1205(a) of this subtitle ("Riding to right side of roadway") or § 21-1205.1(b) of this subtitle ("Roadway with bike lane or shoulder paved to smooth surface");

    (ii) A passing clearance of less than 3 feet is caused solely by the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter rider failing to maintain a steady course; or

    (iii) The highway on which the vehicle is being driven is not wide enough to lawfully pass the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter at a distance of at least 3 feet.


    [B' Spokes: Ya, I like Delaware’s better.]
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    Contributory Negligence Report

    Bike LawsHighlight:


    In its 2004 Report, the Department of Legislative Reference reviewed a number of the studies that had been made, including the ones presented to the Rules Committee, and drew this general conclusion:

    “Relatively few studies have attempted to address this subject. Some have found no or a small overall impact, while others have concluded that a switch from contributory to comparative leads to substantially higher costs. Regardless of result, those studies have been criticized for lack of academic rigor and/or for not having taken into account other factors that could have contributed to increased costs, in studies that reached this conclusion. In the absence of any comprehensive study, it is impossible to state with any certainty the direct and indirect consequences of changing to a comparative negligence system.”
    (Emphasis added).36

    The Rules Committee’s review of those studies leads it to the same conclusion. The basis of the MDLS conclusion is set forth in greater detail in Chapter 4 of its Report, and the Committee respectfully directs the Court’s attention to that analysis. The one salient factor, as to which there is no dispute, is that none of the 46 States that adopted a form of comparative fault have switched back to the common law contributory negligence approach, whatever the impact may have been from the initial change.

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    Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

    •  Strongly agree
    •  Mostly agree
    •  Undecided
    •  Mostly disagree
    •  Strongly disagree
    This poll has 0 more questions.
    Other polls | 322 votes | 0 comments

    The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

    •  Off-road bike trails
    •  On-road bike accommodations only on State roads
    •  On-road bike accommodations only on County roads
    •  All of the above
    This poll has 0 more questions.
    Other polls | 371 votes | 3 comments

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