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Bicycle Laws in Maryland

In most scenarios, bicycles are treated like motor vehicles in the state of Maryland. Limited exceptions exist in some instances, like occasionally being allowed to ride on a sidewalk. However, as far rules and regulations go, a bike rider is held to the same standards as any other vehicle.

Bike safety is a two-way street, and vehicles need to ensure they are looking out for bicyclists at all times. Given that a bicycle weighs a fraction of a car, there is a greater likelihood of injuries when a cyclist is in an accident with a motor vehicle.

Bicycle Laws

Bicycles in Maryland are required to ride in the same direction as traffic. When a bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk where permitted, or on a bike path, he or she may ride into a crosswalk to continue on the intended path. Vehicles are required to yield the right of way to a bicycle that is being operated lawfully in a crosswalk at a signalized intersection.

If you are riding a bike and traveling slower than traffic, you should stay on the right hand through lane and as close to the right side as possible. You can only move left to pass a stopped or slow vehicle, to avoid a hazard, or to make a left turn. Bicycles cannot ride on roads where the maximum speed limit exceeds 50 mph, but a bicycle may use the shoulder of these roads.

If there is a marked bicycle lane that is paved, you are required to use the bike path and only ride on the roadway when:

  • Overtaking another bicycle, pedestrian, or motor scooter in the bike lane, if the maneuver cannot be safely completed in the bike lane;
  • Preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or other spot like a driveway, alley, or private road;
  • There is debris or another hazardous condition; or
  • It is necessary to leave the lane because it has a right-turn lane, merge, or some other marking that breaks the bike lane’s continuity.

Vehicle Laws Related to Bicycles

Vehicles must treat bicycles the same as any other vehicle, which includes yielding the right of way when required. Motorists must leave at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle or motor scooter. Motorists must yield to cyclists who are traveling in bike lanes and shoulders when the driver is entering or crossing occupied shoulders or bike lanes.

Motorists cannot target bicycles or throw any object at or in their direction. In addition, occupants of a vehicle are prohibited from opening the door of a motor vehicle with the intent to injure or strike a bicyclist.

Electric Bikes

In Maryland, electric bikes are defined as bicycles with a motor that does not exceed more than 20 mph on flat surfaces. They must be designed to disengage at 20 mph and have fully operational pedals. Currently, there is no special registration required for electric bikes, but you must wear a helmet at all times. Electric bikes are authorized on any roadway allowed by the Maryland Transportation Authority, and all bikes must yield to roadway traffic and pedestrians.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Accident

In the event that you have been injured in an accident, whether it was on a bicycle or in a motor vehicle, it is important to retain a Maryland accident attorney who can help ensure your rights are protected and you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Robert. R. Castro today at (301) 870-1200 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.

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