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The world is bigger than car-bike conflicts.

I'd agree the mid-atlantic is being a bit different on this. And not exactly sure why.

That being said, a more useful approach would be to carve out a exception on traffic accidents involving pedestrians and bikes.

>> "..a sweeping shift in public policy would increase litigation, insurance rates and taxes."

Can opponents point to this being the case in the 46 states that have comparative negligence standards? How do MD litigation rates or insurance rates (or VA or DC for that matter) compare to other states with different standards? I do note that my car insurance went down when I moved to MD from MA, for whatever that's worth.

Hooray for tort reform!

charlie, without going too far off track, when I look at the list of organizations supporting the status quo, I'm not encouraged. Basically, it is a list of groups that are likely to be defendants (Businesses, insurance companies and doctors) not a list of people likely to be victims. This lets me know who the winners and losers will be.

The losers will be individuals who are partly (but not entirely) to blame for their injuries. And they'll lose because they aren't easily organized. That doesn't not sound like something Maryland should support.

Agree with Charlie - the best next step is to find an appealing traffic injury case and use it to convince the legislatures to carve out an exception.

Then we'll only be fighting the insurance industry with, perhaps, the trial lawyers on our side :)

I think we should switch to a comparative negligence standard, but the way it's written, the Court can't just say it's so without the MGA rewriting the code.

And, I don't think that's going to happen so I think we should push for a caveat to the last chance doctrine. Basically have it codified and used as a mechanism to say that cases of pedestrian or cycling will be treated different because the car has the last chance to maneuver away, stop, downshift, or otherwise avoid the collision AND because we know that the act of that collision is far more damaging to the receipient than to the offending driver (ie, they're driving a several ton vehicle and your 25lb bike is like a blade of grass to an elephant's foot; it doesn't stand a chance.

The existent standard is supported by some industry groups--really it's insurance companies and doctors more so than anywone else, but that doesn't mean it's worthless. Consider that the legalise to date has been built around this standard, if you remove it then you've not leveled the playing field but rather significantly changed it to a lawsuit happy field day. A real change requires a legislative package that addresses a lot of it.

Do I have the last chance when "(Hey) I didn't see you"?

@T: To some extent the last clear chance rule already gives plaintiff cyclist a way around contrib rule, but only in those cases there truly is a last clear chance. A big problem is that no claims agent will ever provide a claimant with sound legal advice so no claims agent will ever tells cyclist who only wants a bit if money.

So are you arguing for a law that defines last chance as a matter of law when in reality there is none? Eg two vehicles both run stop signs at same time. No real last clear chance. Do you want cyclist to recover in that case?

I think a possible problem with last chance doctrine is need for three separate acts of negligence. Driver who hits negligent cyclist is treated differently from driver who hits contributor only negligent cyclist. That aspect might be more readily curable by changing duties to observe.

Informal comments with chamber suggest. They might be ok with a safe harbor for cyclists complying with transportation code.

Above I wanted to say that a driver who strikes a contributorily negligent cyclist after driver was already negligent will be subject to last clear chance rule. But driver whose simply commits the last of two negligent acts is not.

So: fail to see cyclist with strobe, cyclist going too fast, left turn into cyclist. Last clear chance and cyclist wins.

Cyclist tailgating a truck, driver left turns after truck into cyclist. Driver negligent but if cyclist was negligent as well for tailgating, then no last clear chance.

As long as this is still alive, I have another naïve question: How hard is it to convince the average suburban juror that merely _riding_ on busy road X fails to meet the reasonable and prudent standard or whatever it is in these cases?

"They might be ok with a safe harbor for cyclists complying with transportation code."

Yeah, that would be fine too.

haha. Smedley, you stole the words out of my mouth!

Of course, *Everyone Knows* its dangerous to ride on the rode, what was made for cars, because cars are bigger than a bike and will lose when physics makes things real. Why, it's just foolish for someone to cycle in the road! **Bang! Negligent! Next case!**

Wonder if it works for the Sardine Can that cuts off an 18-wheeler?

JimT,
Cyclist on sidewalk without light? Cyclist riding without reflecto-vest?

Obviously, this doesn't change status in Maryland, but I'd think it a decent time to question what counts as negligent in terms of cycling. In terms for a safe-harbor for complying with code, that'd be nice, but the write up I'd read was that the courts planned to leave it all with the legislature.

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