It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Maine. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).
This is a general overview of Maine’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Maine’s Department of Transportation. For any questions about this State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact Maine’s Bike Law Attorney Lauri Boxer-Macomber directly.
Right to the Road
Bicycles are not defined as vehicles but bicyclists generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.
Where to Ride
- Bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right of the roadway as practicable when riding at a speed slower than traffic.
- Full lane use is allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic, preparing for a turn, overtaking and passing, avoiding hazards or unsafe conditions, traveling in a lane too narrow to share, and avoiding a mandatory turn lane.
- Bicyclists may, but are not required to, utilize any usable path for bicycles that has been provided adjacent to a roadway.
- Bicycles are permitted on the sidewalks but must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
HOW TO RIDE
- Maine state law does not explicitly prohibit riding two or more abreast but bicyclists should check local ordinances for variations on this rule.
- Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red.
- Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.
Bicyclists Overtaking Cars
Bicyclists on roadways must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
Cars Overtaking Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers are required to pass bicyclists with a minimum of three (3) feet clearance.
Right Turns Near Bicyclists – “Right Hook Law”
Motor vehicle drivers may not make a right turn unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety without interfering with bicyclists.
Left Turns Near Bicyclists
Motor vehicle drivers turning left must yield to the right-of-way of traffic, including bicycle traffic.
- Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a properly fastened helmet.
- At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from at least 200 feet to the front, a rear red reflector visible from at least 200 feet to the back, and reflectors on the bicycle pedals, unless the bicyclist is wearing reflective material on their feets or ankles.
- Every bicycle must have a brake sufficient to enable the bicyclist to stop within a reasonable distance.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
- A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
- Bicyclists may not ride other than upon or astride a regular and permanently attached seat.