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Maryland Bike Laws

MARYLAND BICYCLE LAWS

It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Maryland. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Peter Wilborn directly.

Right to the Road

  • Maryland bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.

Prohibitions

  • Clinging to motor vehicles while biking is not permitted.
  • Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed.
  • You cannot ride with your hands full; both hands must be on the handlebars
  • Bikes may not have passengers unless they are equipped for it with proper seats and bikes are not permitted on any road with a posted speed limit of fifty miles per hour or faster.
  • It’s also illegal to ride your bike hitched up to a car.
  • Maryland prohibits the wearing of headsets or earplugs on both ears while riding

Helmets

  • Required for operators or passengers under age 16.

Alcohol

  • Maryland’s DUI statute applies to bicyclists.

Where to Ride

  • When in travel lanes, Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic as closely as practicable to the right side of the roadway.
  • Full lane use allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic, operating on a one- way street, passing, preparing for a turn, avoiding hazards, traveling in a lane too narrow to share and avoiding a mandatory turn lane.

Sidewalks

  • Sidewalk riding is permitted by local ordinances but bicyclists riding on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Motor Vehicle Doors

  • A person may not open the door of any motor vehicle with intent to strike, injure or interfere with any bicyclist.

Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths

  • Use of bike lanes required when available except when passing, preparing for a turn or avoiding hazards. No required us of separated paths.

Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices

  • Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.

Signaling

  • Bicyclists use hand/arm signals when turning or stopping. (If safe to do so, 100 feet before the turn).

Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists

  • Motor vehicle drivers must allow at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
  • The driver should be able to see the passed vehicle in the rear view mirror before returning to the original lane. After passing you must make sure you are clear of the bicyclist before making any turns.

Bicycles Passing Cars

  • Exercise due care when passing.

Group Riding

  • Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.

Equipment

  • Front white light and rear red reflector (or rear red light) required when dark.
  • Bikes must have functioning brakes that can stop a bike traveling 10 mph within 15 feet on dry, level, clean pavement.
  • Each bicycle may be equipped with a bell or other device capable of giving a signal audible, sirens are prohibited.

Electric Assist Bikes

  • The state of Maryland (MD) defines electric bikes as a bicycle with fully operational pedals, a motor of not more than 500W and a maximum speed of 20mph on flat surfaces. Electric bike motors must be design to disengage at 20mph.
  • Any person operating and motorized devices, including electric bikes, must be wearing a helmet.
  • E Bikes are allowed on bike paths, but not sidewalks.

Comments

Brendan Kevenides Nov 11, 2019

A federal government agency is making a controversial recommendation to all 50 states that all bicyclists be required to wear helmets.   Mandatory bicycle helmet laws are a terrible idea.  Cycling as a form of recreation and transportation offers a myriad of benefits to the individual and the community as a whole.  An adult or child […]

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Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 07, 2019

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, the family of Kathleen (“Kate”) Kirsch placed a ghost bike in her honor near the site of the tragic September 13, 2019 motor vehicle operator versus bicyclist collision that ultimately led to the loss of her life. Ghost bikes are public memorials parked on public ways near fatal crash sites […]

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Rachael Maney Nov 01, 2019

November 1, 2019: Daylight Savings ends this Sunday, November 3rd, and we are counting down to fewer day time hours and the most dangerous time of year to ride a bike in the U.S. With approximately 65% of all crashes occurring in low light conditions, and the number of fatal crashes at a 30 year […]

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Rachael Maney Oct 28, 2019

CLICK HERE FOR .PDF OF THE LETTER. [CLICK AGAIN ON THE .PDF AFTER JUMP FOR DOWNLOADABLE VERSION] To all members of the media and Associated Press: Crash fatalities amongst cyclists and pedestrians are at a 30 year high with more than 2 people on bikes being killed every day and pedestrians at an alarming rate […]

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Bruce Hagen Oct 23, 2019

In the quaint downtown of Hogansville, Georgia, the memories of a once thriving economy are visible at every turn, from the old Opera House to the Royal Theater.   In this quiet corner of Troup County, south of the hustle and bustle of Newnan and the revitalized town of Senoia, Hogansville sits like a memory […]

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Rick Bernardi Sep 13, 2019

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Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

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Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

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Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

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Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

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