By Maryland law, bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists have rights and responsibilities just as do drivers of motor vehicles – but bicycles are less visible, quieter, and don’t have a protective barrier around them.
Motorists should drive carefully around a bicyclist; even a slight mistake can result in serious injury or death. Bicyclists fare best when they act like and are treated as drivers of vehicles.
Traffic Laws for Motorists
Traffic Laws for Bicyclists
Maryland law provides for the right-of-way of bicyclists, just as it does for the operators of motor vehicles. Bicyclists also have the duty to obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, just as do drivers.Riding in Traffic Lanes and on Shoulders
Riding in Bike Lanes
Where there are marked bicycle lanes paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle must use the bike lane and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:
The Maryland highway safety program includes a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle safety program that promotes safe pedestrian and bicycle practices, educates drivers to share the road safely with other road users, and encourages safe facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists through a combination of education and engineering strategies. In the Washington DC metro area, the Street Smart Campaign continues to address pedestrian safety issues through coordinated education and enforcement activities.
In 2009 the Street Smart program was expanded to include the Baltimore metropolitan region. Managed through a grant with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the Baltimore Street Smart campaign has successfully administered media and public outreach efforts during the month of July, typically the month with the most amount of bicycle and pedestrian crashes, and targeting specific corridors were identified in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
Components of the Baltimore Street Smart campaign included:
Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety:
This campaign operates with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA), and continues to promote the Maryland Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education Program in collaboration with the Maryland Safe Routes to School program. Bicycle and pedestrian safety training trailers are used to educate children on basic pedestrian safety issues and bicycle operation skills.
Maryland Highway Safety Office and its Community Traffic Safety Programs
(CTSP) partners distributed more than 200,000 pieces of educational material in 2010, including Street Smart branded materials, school system electronic pedestrian safety alerts, pedestrian safety law cards, booklets for school aged children, copies of the Bicycling in Maryland booklet and the DVD Competence and Confidence: an Adults Guide to Safe Cycling, and other materials.
Bicycle Safety Law Enforcement Video TrainingThe Maryland Department of Transportation, under a grant from SHA, is developing a training video for law enforcement agencies and officers on traffic law enforcement for bicyclist safety.
Bicycle Safety Ambassadors ProjectBikeMaryland, under a grant from SHA, is developing a bicycle safety outreach program for the Baltimore City area, targeting high risk areas and populations.
Resource Guide on Laws relating to Bicycle or Pedestrian SafetyNHTSA’s Bicycle Safety Info Page—Access material for kids, videos, brochures, and more
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3601
Main Business Line – 410-545-0300
Safety Campaigns – 1-800-323-6742
For emergencies, call MDOT SHA's Statewide Operations Center at 410-582-5650.
Frequently Asked Questions
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