A Guide to Improving U.S. Traffic Laws Pertaining to Bicycling (1,149)
This report is presented as a guide to improving the traffic law to provide fair and equal treatment for bicyclists. The analysis and recommendations should greatly assist those interested in preparing a comprehensive reform of the state vehicle code affecting bicycling in the states where they live. The report also is a resource for anyone interested in understanding how bicyclists are treated under the traffic laws.
I looked up bicycle-related provisions in the traffic laws of all 50 U.S. states to prepare this report. The official state websites have the traffic codes for each state, except for Georgia and Pennsylvania. The rules specifically mentioning bicycles for those two states are on unofficial websites. The web addresses for all 50 states are listed in the Appendix. A future version of this report will include the Canadian provinces. There are also thousands of local governments with traffic ordinances. As discussed below, the rules applying to bicycles in these codes may or may not be consistent with state law. The information presented in this report can also be used by those seeking to reform local laws affecting bicycling.
Why Traffic Law Matters
Articles of the State Code of Maryland (223)
These are the fundamental units of the State Code of Maryland. There are 79 articles, roughly divided up by topic. Each article is divided into sections, 31,649 in total.
Bicyclelaw.com is a web site that offers bicycling accident advice for cyclists including those injured by motorists, unsafe conditions and defective cycling products. At this site injured cyclists will find information about what to do after an accident to best protect their rights. Contact information and cycling links of interest are also provided.
In addition, at Bicyclelaw.com, you will find informative and sometimes entertaining articles of interest to cyclists. "This Cycling Articles" section is a potpourri of interviews, advice, rumors and stories of interest to cyclists provided by various authors. Check back every week or two for new content.
bumper stickers (762)
Low cost bumper stickers show support for pro-bikelane legislation.
DC Law (459)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
TITLE 18. VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC
CHAPTER 12. BICYCLES, MOTORIZED BICYCLES, AND MISCELLANEOUS VEHICLES
It's the Law in Maryland (623)
Bicycles are treated as vehicles in Maryland. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists. Do not attempt to share the lane with bicyclists. If you are unable to safely pass them, reduce your speed, and follow the bicycle at a safe distance. Wait for a safe opportunity to pass, allowing adequate clearance, about three feet from the side of your vehicle, and return to your lane when you can clearly see the bicyclist in your rear view mirror. A bicycle is not restricted to the right side of the road. Share the road and do not use your horn. The bicyclist can usually hear an approaching vehicle and loud noises can startle the bicyclist and may cause an accident.
TITLE 21. VEHICLE LAWS -- RULES OF THE ROAD
SUBTITLE 12. OPERATION OF BICYCLES AND PLAY VEHICLES
Maryland state laws that pertain to departmental requirements, etc. (PDF, 97KB) (407)
ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND
Departmental Requirements and Advocacy
2-602 Public Policy.
The General Assembly finds that it is in the public interest for the State to include enhanced transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders as an essential component of the State’s transportation system, and declares that it is policy of the State that:
(1) Access to and use of transportation facilities by pedestrians and bicycle riders shall be considered and best engineering practices regarding the needs of bicycle riders and pedestrians shall be employed in all phases of transportation planning, including highway design, construction, reconstruction, and repair as well as expansion and improvement of other transportation facilities;
2-604 Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan.
(3) Provides a model to guide political subdivisions of the State in enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access to transportation facilities;
(3) Initiate a program of systematic identification of and planning for projects related to bicycle and pedestrian transportation that qualify for funds under Federal Highway Administration guidelines;
3-216 Transportation Trust Fund
(d) Other uses of Fund
(5) For each fiscal year, the Department shall use the funds in the Transportation Trust Fund for the purposes specified in subsection (c)(2)(ii) of this section, which may include construction and maintenance:
(i) Public bicycle areas as defined in section 21-101 (k) of this article;
(ii) Bicycle ways as defined in section 21-101 (l) of this article;
(1) "Bicycle way" means:
(i) Any trail, path, part of a highway, surfaced or smooth shoulder, or sidewalk; or
(ii) Any other travelway specifically signed, marked, or otherwise designated for bicycle travel.
(2) "Bicycle way " includes:
(i) Bicycle path; and
(ii) Bike lane.
(e) Bike lane.- "Bike lane" means any portion of a roadway or shoulder designated for single directional bicycle flow.