BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Some high-profile bike accidents have led to the passage of a law by the legislature.

While, as Mike Schuh reports, enforcement doesn’t begin until the fall, relief has already arrived.

No charges were filed in a downtown cycling death. The motorist who ran over Larry Bensky paid a fine and got three points on her license.

A Hopkins cyclist is still in a coma after being run over by an 83-year-old woman. She got two traffic citations.

With those incidents in mind, the legislature changed the law.

A negligent driver could face manslaughter charges, a $5,000 fine and three years in jail.

Mark Hachey was on a lunchtime ride Wednesday. He’s in favor of the changes.

“I would hope that a more severe penalty for a car hitting a bike would make drivers more aware of cyclists out there,” Hachey said. “The question is whether it will make a difference.”

The change could help survivors in civil courts when they sue drivers for damages. If a driver pleads guilty under the new law, it will make it much easier for the family to win a civil case.

Cyclists welcome the change, but knowledge of the consequences might not be widely known until the next tragedy.

“Once it gets put into the news, unfortunately it’s going to take a couple of people getting hit before you realize how serious it is,” said Tom Brown, Princeton Sports.

The new law goes into effect on Oct. 1.

Comments (19)
  1. j says:

    all for it as long as the cyclists don’t take it as an opportunity to be reckless and not obey traffic laws-YES they ARE supposed to obey traffic laws.

    1. Allen says:

      sure, anyone dumb enough 2 play with a 3 ton auto who DOESNT PAY ATTENTION, , to the laws shall get hit in time.( but there are the ones that hit you 2 because thier only concern is the other car ) but do u ride a bike yourself ?? then maybe you nor the many other millions of others think of nothing more then your selfs and the large metal auto they drive around like they king of the road——lets see how you all act when a semi-tractor trailer thinks of that little 3 ton car as you do the one on the bicycle——

  2. Allen says:

    i have been tagged twice by autos–they dont seem 2 care, either drive 2 closely, scare, sweep near or over you out there…they dont see any fear in a average bike and cyclist weighing in at less then 180 lbs, considering they got a metal auto of 3 tons or better—–

  3. Allen says:

    oh yea, bet they pay real great attention 2 detail when that 18 wheeler with 80,000 lbs comes floating by them ???? HUH

  4. ray says:

    how about fines to the bike that ride through red lights & stop signs.. I noticed when the group of cyclest were riding to Hopkins a couple montbs agoo in support of the cycllest that was hit it showed them all riding straight throught a STOP sigh with out stoping..

    1. FD says:

      They are susceptible to fines. Just like cars are when they run red lights or speed. That’s not a cycling issue. It’s an enforcement of traffic laws issue.

  5. pigeon says:

    I still think they should go back to the old way – ride against the traffic. At least that way the cyclist can see what is approaching them.
    Now, if we could just get to the stupid parents who let their kids ride wild on the streets without head protection. I know there’s a law but I have NEVER seen one police officer take any action. What happened to teaching children the “rules of the road” before letting them run loose the way they do – it’s like they just don’t care or have/take the time to talk to their children about safety. Don’t they have these “talks” in schools anymore?

  6. Cheryl Sherpinski says:

    When I visited my mom on the Jersey Shore( in the 1970’s0 kids were required to have their bike inspected and take a test at the local police station, we got a tag for our bikes and it had to be renewed every year. It didn’t cost anything and all the kids got to know the officers and vice versa. It was good crime prevention because the kids were active and knew everything going on and had relationship with the officers.

    1. pigeon says:

      Look at the crime statistics in the ’70s and nowadays. Unfortunately the police are so darn busy with criminals they don’t have time for the good people, including our children. Maybe if we got back to basics… I don’t think that’s going to happen ever.
      Like owning and using guns & cars, there needs to be some kind of class set up for cyclists. A day of their time just may save their lives, and I think that is worth it.
      Someone needs to get back into the class rooms and speak to these children especially since they don’t seem to be getting any safety instructions from home.

  7. whatnow says:

    The adult bicyclists are the rudest people on the face of the earth. I live right next to a bike trail but they insist on riding 3 abreast in the middle of the road. If you go around them, safely, not blowing the horn or anything, they flip you the bird. Then they laugh when they catch you at the red light that they go right through and give you the bird again. I think the bikes need to stay off the road. If there is no shoulder, do not ride there. Are you that desparate for a ride or are you just being stubborn. The adults on bikes today don’t have as much sense as the kids on bikes did back in the 70’s. My parents taught me better then to ride in the middle of the road. If there were no shoulder, we weren’t not permitted to ride there. Period.

    1. pigeon says:

      And we were allowed to ride on the sidewalks (that’s no longer in line with the law) and when we rode in the streets/on the roadways we rode against the traffic.
      However, I disagree with you that adult bicyclists are the rudest. How many drivers of cars/trucks/SUVs do the very same thing to the cyclist (that’s a statement not a question). We all have a problem with “entitlement”.
      And when did a cyclist stop being considered a pedistrian – what law changed that?

    2. HappyCyclist says:

      most cyclist ride single file. Most abide by the road signs. Most appreciate cars yeilding to them. Unfortunately, it is the disrecpect of “bad” cyclist that ruin it for everyone else! As for the NRC bike trail, for avid cyclist, the trail is more frustating than helpful. The cyclist must yeild to walkers, horseback riders and traffic. Plus, there are no endurance challenges, such as hills, to thrill the avid cyclist. It all falls back to the age old adage, “Share the road.” If you come across “bad” cyclist, report them to the police. Believe it or not, they are breaking the law, by not following traffic rules. Bikes must follow the same traffic signs, assitive devices and yeilding as cars or motorcycles. Maybe if we stop the “bad” cyclist, Motorist won’t be so intolerant to cyclist, extreme or leisure.

      1. whatnow says:

        How do I report a bad cyclist? Officer, he was skinny, had on black spandex shorts and a white and red helmut. Yeah, that ought to narrow it down. The path near me is the B&A path, not NRC. I’m glad the ones near you are courteous but the ones near me are not. I’m tired of doing 10 mph in a 30 mph zone because they want to ride side by side with their boyfriends. If you are looking for a thrill, I quess riding in traffic will give it to you. Roads are for transportation from one place to the other, not thrills or exercise.

    3. cctrekker says:

      “…My parents taught me better then to ride in the middle of the road”

      What the law is (vs what you want it to be). Direct from the Maryland State Code.

      A person riding a bicycle shall ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable and safe, except when:
      Making or attempting to make a left turn;
      Operating on a one-way street;
      Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;
      Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;
      The right lane is a right turn only lane; or
      Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane (TR § 21-1205)·

  8. jess says:

    Im a parent of a 7yr old and a 10 yr old. When they go out to ride their bikes, they have on helmets at minimum! most of the time they wear knee and elbow pads too! We are in a small country town. They are only allowed to ride in our neighborhood, They must stay together and stay to the side of the road (we have no sidewalks but extra wide roads) . And they have both been talked to about road safety and bike safety. My husband and I are both Vol. Fire Dept members. As an EMT, I have seen what can happen to a child or an Adult when they are hit on a bike by a vehicle. The results can be horrific!

  9. VWGirl says:

    Whatnow…I luv u! Thank you!!!!!!! I HATE BYCYCLIST! HATE HATE HATE! They ride down my back @$$ road everyday is large groups. My road has no shoulder and is incredibly dangerous. So I let my three big @$$ dogs out whenver I see them coming jus to c them pedal their @$$e$ off trying to get away from my dogs. Little do they know that my dogs are on a radius and cannot get out of the yard. So I get to laugh at them (loudly) and not worry bout anything bad happening to my dogs. Ride on roads with shoulders or get hit by cars!!!!! Thats how I feel a bout it! Also, YOU ALL LOOK STUPID AS HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will flick my cigarette at each of them as they pass me thru a red light or stop sign or cut me off, flip me off….anything. No remorse. U hav no respect for me. I have none for you! I dont break the laws, or consider myself special enough for the rules to change just for me. I dont expect that for byciclist either. Its a stupid hobby. Ride on bike trails….not the road. Cars and Trucks are on the road. what are you stupid?!? They obviously have a death wish when they go out and ride…..but then get mad when one of their Stupid @$$e$ gets killed or injured. CTFO!!!!!!

    1. Dialectable says:

      Dear VWGirl:

      Congratulations! You won! To collect your free Mavis Beacon typing software and Hooked On Phonics tapes, please just post your social security number, credit card numbers, full name, date of birth, address, and current favourite ice cream flavor.

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  10. cctrekker says:

    There are bad cyclists and there are bad drivers. The difference is a bad driver will kill a cyclist. People remember that cyclist that illegally ran the red light but forget before they get to work about the driver that did the same thing.

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