In light of some recent bicycling events, a general increase in bicycle traffic, and a recent accident involving a bike and a vehicle, I thought it might be helpful to review bicycling laws in Maryland. The following highlights are provided by the State of Maryland. For complete rules regarding bicycles in Maryland, please refer to the Annotated Code of Maryland, Transportation, Title 21 – Rules of the Road.
Bicyclists fare best when they act like, and are treated as, drivers of vehicles. By Maryland law, bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.
•Ride defensively – expect the unexpected.
•Ride with traffic, never against it.
•Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
•Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
•Yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
•Pass on the left when overtaking a vehicle.
•Use marked bike lanes or paths when present.
•Use sharrows (markings in the travel lane that indicate where people should preferably cycle) to help guide you in shared travel lanes.
•Use caution when crossing ramps.
•Bikes must be ridden as close to the right side of the road as possible, unless making a left turn, riding on a one-way street, passing a halted/slowed vehicle, avoiding pedestrians or hazards, the right lane is a right turn only lane or the lane is too narrow for a bike to travel safely.
•Never ride more than two abreast.
•Only ride on sidewalks where it is allowed by local ordinance.
•Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
•All riders 16 and under are required to wear a helmet and wear the helmet correctly.
Remember, a bicycle weighs 20 pounds; a car weighs 4,000 pounds. Even the slightest mistake on the part of the driver can result in tragic consequences for the bicyclist.
•Expect bicyclists on the road.
•Allow at least three feet when passing bicycle.
•Always keep a safe following distance.
•Yield the right-of-way to bicyclists when turning right.
•Look for bicyclists before opening a car door.
•Stay alert when pulling out of driveways or side streets.
•Watch for children.
•Keep your eyes on the road. It’s illegal to text and use handheld devices while driving.
•Stay alert – avoid all distractions.
Please keep these rules in mind when you are riding a bicycle on our streets and whenever you encounter bicyclists.
As always please contact me with any concerns at 301-606-9458 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.