For Drivers: Share the Road
Traffic Laws for Motorists
The following traffic laws were taken from the Motor Vehicle Association Bicycle Safety webpage.
- 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 past vehicle in the rear–view mirror before returning to the original lane. After passing a driver must make sure they 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 motorists must yield to bicyclists.
- 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 their route. Motorists are required to yield right–of–way to a bicyclist operating lawfully in a crosswalk. Drivers must 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, an 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 a driving record.
Law Enforcement Video
In fall 2013, Bike Maryland contributed to the finalization of a law enforcement video that will be used to educate police throughout Maryland regarding bicycle laws and the best way to reduce crashes and fatalities. We recommend that you view this highly educational video and share it with both motorists and bicyclists. Bike Maryland partnered with the Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Motor Vehicle Association, Cycle Maryland to produce this video. Currently, viewing the video is not a mandatory requirement for police but viewing it does offer educational credit to police officers. It is our goal to increase viewing and make it a mandatory requirement for all police to view this video.
Click here to watch the video.
We would like to give special thanks to John Brandt, Bicycle Coordinator University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services, Michael Jackson, Department of Transportation Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, and Michael Sonnenfeld, Bike Maryland Board Secretary.
Tips for Motorists
- Expect Bicyclists on the Road: Always expect to encounter a bicyclist on the road: on all types of roads, in all types of weather and at all times of the day and night. Bicyclists may be riding out in the travel lane for their own safety due to narrow roads, obstacles, or pavement hazards which you may not see. Before opening your car door, check for bicyclists who may be approaching.
- Pass with Care, Give Bikes at Least 3 Feet: Pass a bicyclist as you would any slow-moving vehicle. Slow down, wait until oncoming traffic is clear and allow at least 3 feet of clearance between your car and the bicyclist when passing. After passing a bicyclist, check over your shoulder to make sure you have allowed enough room before moving over. Experienced bicyclists often ride 20 to 25 mph and may be closer than you think.
- Be Careful in Intersections: Always assume bicyclists are traveling through an intersection unless they signal otherwise, and yield to them as you would to any other vehicle. Do not turn left or right in front of bicyclists unless you can do so safely. You can be fined $1000 and receive 3 points if you injure a bicyclist by violating their right-of-way.
- Watch for Children: Children on bicycles are often unpredictable – expect the unexpected. Strictly observe speed limits in school zones and in residential areas.
- Use Extra Caution in Bad Conditions: In bad weather, give bicyclists extra trailing and passing room. When uncertain in any situation, slow down until it’s safe to proceed.