Watchdog: Clarifying the road rules for bicyclists

By ALLISON BOURG, Capital Gazette

Problem: Paul Fields of Crownsville started noticing the signs on county roads over the last few months. “Bicyclists may use the full lane,” they say.

Matt Diehl, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel’s Department of Public Works, said the county has installed the signs Fields has noticed on about a dozen roads to remind drivers of what the law is.

Bicyclists have the right to use the entire lane if the lane is too narrow for a bicycle or motor scooter and another vehicle to travel safely side by side. Buck said the state defines that as 13 feet. So if a road, including travel lane and shoulder, is 13 feet or less, a bicycle can take the full lane.

On other roads, bicyclists traveling more than 10 mph under the posted speed limit are considered slow moving vehicles and should stay as far to the right as possible, Buck [spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration] said.

B' Spokes: Confused? We can take the lane but we have to ride as far right as possible??? It is if they want this sign instead:
imagePhoto credit: John Brooking

So let's look at the slow moving vehicle law:
§ 21-301.(b) Special rule for slow-moving traffic. -- On every roadway, except while overtaking and passing another vehicle going in the same direction or when preparing for a lawful left turn, any vehicle going 10 miles an hour or more below the applicable maximum speed limit or, if any existing conditions reasonably require a speed below that of the applicable maximum, at less than the normal speed of traffic under these conditions, shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic...

I will also note that cyclist road position is governed by SUBTITLE 12. OPERATION OF BICYCLES AND PLAY VEHICLES in the Transportation code.
§ 21-1202. Traffic laws apply to bicycles and motor scooters
Every person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter in a public bicycle area has all the rights granted to and is subject to all the duties required of the driver of a vehicle by this title, including the duties set forth in § 21-504 of this title, except:
(1) As otherwise provided in this subtitle; and

See § 21-1205. Riding on roadways or on highway, which Matt Dieh did a good summary of. (That is the bicycle subtitle provides the road position position for cyclists and not the (slow moving) motor vehicle code but they are similar in lane position but not in other things like the slow moving vehicle emblem requirement.)

It's pretty obvious that David Buck has gotten the cycling rules wrong, even more damaging when talking about the “Bicyclists may use the full lane” sign.

And it's not the first time someone at MDOT got the law wrong in total contradiction to the main subject.

So respectfully ask that SHA issue a correction and write:

James Smith <>
David Buck <>
John Kuo <>
Michael E. Jackson <>

And sugjest that it might be a good idea for them to watch this excerpt from the police training video.

by B' Spokes

Like most people I live a hectic life and who has the time for much exercise? Thanks to xtracycle now I do. By using my bike for daily activities I can get things done and get an hour plus work out in 15 minutes extra of my time, not a bad deal and beats taking the extra time going to the gym. In case you are still having trouble being motivated; the National Center of Disease Control says that inactivity is the #2 killer in the United States just behind smoking. ( ) Get out there and start living life! I can carry home a full shopping cart of groceries, car pool two kids or just get lost in the great outdoors camping for a week. Well I got go, another outing this weekend.
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

Share It!

Login required to comment
Be the first to comment