Maryland and Baltimore Bicycle Law

Below is a copy of the current Maryland bicycle law, re-purposed from the MVA website.  This is current as of October, 2010. Traffic Laws for Motorists

  • The driver of a vehicle passing another vehicle, including a bicycle, must pass at a safe distance and leave plenty of space.  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.
  • Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD), or motor scooter being ridden by a person.
  • The driver of a vehicle must not pass any closer than three (3) feet to a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle is operated in a lawful manner. It is not lawful to ride against traffic.
  • The bicycle has the right of way when the motor vehicle is making a turn, and you must yield to bicycle.
  • Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists riding in bike lanes and shoulders when these vehicle operators are entering or crossing occupied bike lanes and shoulders.
  • When riding on a sidewalk, where such riding is permitted, or a bike path, a bicyclist may ride in a crosswalk to continue on their route. Motorists are required to yield right of way to a bicyclist operating lawfully in a crosswalk. So, look for bicycles coming from both directions. (TR §21-101, §21-202, & §21-1103)
  • A person may not throw any object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
  • A person may not open the door of any motor vehicle with intent to strike, injure, or interfere with any person riding a bicycle, and EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
  • Failing to yield right of way to a bicyclist, resulting in a crash in which the bicyclist is seriously injured can result in a $1,000 fine and three points on your driving record.

Traffic Laws for Bicyclists

  • Maryland's traffic laws apply to bicycles and motor scooters. (TR § 21-1202)
  • A bicycle may not carry a passenger unless it is specifically designed for and equipped with a seat for each passenger. (TR § 21-1203)
  • Bicycles, motor scooters and EPAMDs are not permitted on any roads where the speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour or higher. (TR § 21-1205.1)
  • A person riding a bicycle shall ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable and safe, except when:
    • Making or attempting to make a left turn;
    • Operating on a one-way street;
    • Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;
    • Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;
    • The right lane is a right turn only lane; or
    • Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane (TR § 21-1205)·
  • Where there is a bike lane, a person must use those and not ride a bicycle or motor scooter in the roadway except: (TR § 21-1205.1)
    • If passing safely cannot be done within the bike lane or shoulder;
    • When preparing for a left turn; o To avoid hazards;
    • When the bike lane is also a right turn or merge lane.
  • A person riding a bicycle or motor scooter may not cling to any vehicle on the roadway. (TR § 21-124)
  • A motor scooter may not be operated at a speed in excess of 30 mph. (TR § 21-1205.1)
  • An EPAMD may not be operated at a speed in excess of 15 mph. (TR § 21-1205.1)
  • A person cannot carry anything that prevents them from keeping both hands on the handlebars or that interferes with the view or balance of their bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD. (TR § 21-1206)
  • A bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD may not be secured to a fire hydrant; a pole, meter, or device in a bus or taxi-loading zone; a pole, meter, or device within 25 feet of an intersection; or where it would obstruct or impede traffic. (TR § 21-1206)
  • A person may not ride a bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD while wearing a headset or earplugs that cover both ears. (TR § 21-12010)

Helmets

  • Helmets are required for everyone under the age of 16, including passengers, who ride their bicycles on the road, bicycle paths, or any public property. (TR § 21-1207.1)
  • Helmets are also required for everyone under the age of 16 who are riding on a scooter or on in-line skates. (TR § 21-1207.2)
  • The helmets must meet or exceed the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials. (TR § 21-1207.1)

Equipment Required

  • A lamp is required on the front of a bicycle or motor scooter, if the bicycle or motor scooter is used on a highway when people and vehicles are not clearly visible at 1,000 feet. (TR § 21-1207)
  • A red reflector on the rear is required if the bicycle or motor scooter is used on a highway when people and vehicles are not clearly visible at 1,000 feet. (TR § 21-1207)
  • A bicycle or motor scooter may be equipped with a bell or other audible device, but not a siren or whistle. (TR § 21-1207
  • A bicycle or motor scooter must be equipped with a brake. (TR § 21-1207)