Wednesday, December 03 2008 @ 09:27 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
While Md law needs to become more equitable toward bicyclists, the law merely defines the boundary of proper conduct and doesn't teach one how to drive a car or ride a bicycle in traffic. One philosophy is that the fewer laws the better. The design of rotarys, merge areas, and certain shopping centers like Hunt Valley Mall illustrate this philosophy.
While motorists should generally stay out of bike lanes (and shoulders), there are certain exceptions like preparing to make a right hand turn or parking, where permitted. Md Law also permits traffic to use a right hand shoulder to go around traffic preparing to make a left hand turn.
Unfortunately, current Md Law has a high bar to convict someone of automobile manslaughter. Generally to convict, a driver must be either drunk or guilty of three or more violations. Bicyclists aren't the only ones harmed by this high threshold. People in a limo who were going straight were broadsided by a left turning truck who failed to yield the right of away. Several people in the limo were killed, and the Attorney General refused to prosecute the truck driver for manslaughter, saying that failure to yield didn't meet Md's stringent requirements. Another example several years ago was several people who were killed while waiting on the SIDEWALK of Woodlawn Blvd in dry weather for a bus. A car doing 50+ in a 30 MPH zone jumped the curb and killed several people. Again, this speeding violation didn't meet Md's threshold for an automobile manslaughter conviction, and the driver merely got a $500 fine for each person he killed.