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Maryland Bicycle Laws

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 By

Maryland Bicycle Laws

Riding bicycles is always a fun way to get exercise, not to mention it’s great for the environment when you bike as your way of commuting to and from work. Unfortunately, biking can also pretty dangerous no matter where you are throughout the state of Maryland.

That’s exactly why bicyclists and vehicle drivers must work together in order to keep Maryland’s roads safer. It’s important to first and foremost distinguish that bikes are considered vehicles in Maryland, so bicyclists must adhere to the same amount of care and attention as motor vehicle operators. On the other hand, motorists must also give cyclists the same amount of respect that they would provide to another vehicle.

It’s a distinct rule that motorists should provide at least three feet of space between cyclists when passing. Motorists can also do their due diligence in terms of keeping the roads safer by stopping for cyclists at crosswalks and always being prepared for when they may make turns. Bicyclists should also always wear a proper helmet, be as visible as possible, and be aware of their surroundings to do their due diligence towards safer roads.

At DuBoff & Associates, our highly experienced team of bicycle accident specialists is here to help you through these tricky legal scenarios. In this article we are going to go over Maryland’s bicycle laws so you can be more cognizant towards the rules of the road that everyone must obey when riding a bike.

Maryland’s Bicycle Safety Laws

By Maryland law, bicyclists are legally authorized users of every roadway, and bicyclists have the same rights-of-way and general duty to obey traffic signals as all motorists. But of course, bicycles are much less visible than cars, they’re quiet, and they don’t have any type of protective barrier to support a cyclist in the case of an accident, which is why all motorists must drive carefully around cyclists.

Right to the Road

As we mentioned above, bicyclists in Maryland in general must adhere to the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers.

It’s crucial to know your legal rights and obligations while cycling throughout Maryland. The following is a list of laws you should always keep in mind while riding your bike:

Prohibitions

  • Any type of clinging to another motor vehicle while biking is not allowed at any time.
  • Bicycles must only carry the specific number of people to which the bike model was designed to carry.
  • You are not allowed to ride a bike with your hands full in any way, and you must always be keeping both hands on your handlebars.
  • Only bikes that are equipped with proper seating may have passengers, and bikes are not allowed on any road with a 50-mph speed limit or higher.
  • You’re never allowed to ride a bike while hitched to a motor vehicle.
  • In Maryland, you are not allowed to use both earplugs or headsets while riding a bicycle

Helmets

Helmets are required for all bike operators and passengers under 16-years-old.

Alcohol

Maryland’s general DUI statute is the same as it applies to those riding bicycles.

Where to Ride

Bicyclists must always ride with the flow of traffic as close as they can to the right side of a roadway.

Cyclists are allowed full lane use within certain situations, including when they are traveling at the same speed as traffic, on a one-way street, passing another motor vehicle or bicycle, preparing to turn, avoiding certain hazards within the road, or biking in a lane that is simply too narrow to share.

Sidewalks

There are local ordinances throughout Maryland that may permit bicyclists to ride on sidewalks, but throughout the entire state cyclists must always yield to the right of way of pedestrians while on a sidewalk.

Motor Vehicle Doors

It is illegal for anyone to open a motor vehicle door with the intention of striking or interfering with a bicyclist in any way.

Bike Lanes and Multi-Use Paths

It’s required that cyclists ride in a bike lane when it’s available, but they are allowed to exit the bike lane when they are passing other cyclists, preparing to make a turn or avoiding any kind of hazards on the road.

Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices

Bicyclists must always come to full stops at stop signs and must adhere to red lights.

Signaling

Bicyclists must always utilize hand or arm signals when they are stopping or making a turn, and it’s best to begin making these signals around 100 feet before the turn (if it’s safe to do so).

Drivers Passing Bicyclists

Motor vehicles must always give a minimum of 3 feet of space when they are passing a bicyclist on the road.

A motor vehicle driver should also always be able to see passed the bicyclist in their rearview mirror before returning to the original lane, and this includes ensuring you are clear of the recently passed bicyclist before conducting any turns.

Bicycles Passing Cars

The general rule is that cyclists must exercise extreme care when passing motor vehicles.

Group Riding

The law here is that bicycles are only allowed to ride next to each other in groups of two, and they generally cannot impede motor vehicle traffic.

Equipment

  • A rear red reflector (or red light) and a front white light are required when biking at night.
  • Bicycles must have properly functioning brakes. The general test here is that a bike must be able to brake itself properly when traveling at 10 mph within 15 feet (on dry, clean, level pavement).
  • Bicycles are allowed to have audible signal devices like bells, but they are not allowed to have sirens.

Electric Bikes

  • Electric bikes must have motors that are designed to disengage at 20 mph, and the motor cannot have more than 500 watts.
  • Anyone operating an electric bike must always be wearing a helmet.
  • Electric bikes are generally allowed on bike paths, but they are never allowed on sidewalks.

Bicycle Safety Tips

The following are some tips to keep in mind while you’re out on the road here in Maryland:

  • Obey all the rules of the road
  • Ride with traffic
  • Signal all turns
  • Make your left-hand turns as safely as possible
  • Be prepared for changing conditions
  • Always be visible — use lights at night or all day
  • Maintain your bicycle with checkups before every ride
  • Always wear a helmet, and wear it properly!

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one were injured in a biking accident, then it’s important to retain a Maryland personal injury attorney who can help you better understand your legal rights and get you on the right track towards your rightful compensation. Our team of specialists is always here for you when you need us most, so contact DuBoff & Associates, CHTD to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled lawyers.

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