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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).

This is a general overview of Maryland’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Maryland’s Department of Transportation. For any questions about this State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact Maryland’s Bike Law Attorney Peter Wilborn directly. 

Right to the Road

Bicycles are defined as vehicles and generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.

Where to Ride

  • Bicyclists are required to ride as closely as practicable and safe to the right of the road in travel lanes.
  • Bicyclists are required to use bike lanes paved to a smooth surface when available and may not ride on the roadway except when passing, avoiding hazards and avoiding a mandatory turn lane.
  • Bicycles are generally allowed on sidewalks by local ordinances. Bicyclists on sidewalks must yield the right of way to pedestrians. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule.

How to Ride

  • Bicyclists may not ride more than two (2) abreast and may not impede traffic.
  • Bicyclists must come to a complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
  • Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop, and if safe to do so, at least100 feet before the turn. 

Bicyclists Overtaking Cars

Bicyclists must exercise due care when safely passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction of travel.

Car Overtaking Bicyclists

  • Motor vehicle drivers are required to pass leaving a minimum of three (3) feet of space when passing bicyclists.
  • Motor vehicle drivers should be able to see the bicyclist in their rearview mirror before returning to the original lane of travel. After passing, the driver must be clear of the bicyclist before making any turns. 

EQUIPMENT

  • Bicyclists under the age of 16 are required to wear a properly fastened helmet.
  • At night, bicycles must be equipped with a front white light and a rear red reflector or red light visible, both visible from 600 feet away.
  • Every bicycle must have brakes which will enable the bicyclist to stop from a speed of 10 miles per hour within 15 feet on dry, level, clean pavement.
  • Bicycles may be equipped with a bell or horn for audible signaling but sirens are prohibited.

Prohibitions

  • Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
  • Bicycles must be operated with both hands.
  • A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on any road with a posted speed limit of fifty (50) miles per hour or faster.
  • Bicyclists may not wear headsets or earplugs on both ears while riding 

Motor Vehicles & Dooring

  • Motor vehicle drivers may not throw articles at or in the direction of bicyclists.
  • Motor vehicle doors cannot be opened with the intent to strike, injure, or interfere with a bicyclist.

VRU

*04/06/21 – In the process of passing, will need to update this shortly*

Alcohol

  • Maryland’s DUI statute does apply to cyclists as bicycles are defined as vehicles.