By: Allan M. Siegel
In the state of Maryland, bicycles are considered by law to be vehicles.
This means that bicyclists have many of the same rights and responsibilities
as motorists, including:
- The right to use roadways
- Rights-of-way at intersections
- Duties to obey traffic signals
Even when bicycle riders ride safely and within the law, they are still
extremely vulnerable to accidents and injuries. This is because bicycles
are less visible and quieter than motor vehicles and because riders have
little protection. Given the risks riders face, all motorists are required
to drive safely and reasonably when near bicyclists in order to reduce
the risk of preventable accidents.
Important Bicycle Safety Laws for Motorists
Maryland has a number of traffic laws designed specifically to protect
the safety of bicycle riders. Some of these laws are:
Drivers must provide a
three foot clearance when passing a bicycle being operated lawfully, or at a
safe distance when roadway or traffic conditions prevent this.
- Bicycles have the right of way when motor vehicles are making turns.
- Drivers must yield to bicyclists when entering or crossing bike lanes and
- Drivers must yield to bicyclists crossing intersections in a crosswalk.
Depending on the circumstances, drivers who violate these laws can face
stiff penalties. When motorists fail to yield to bicyclists and cause
accidents that injure riders they can be penalized by a $1,000 fine and
three points on their driving record, according to the Maryland Motor
Vehicle Administration. At-fault drivers may also potentially be held
liable for victims' damages.
The Rights of Injured Bicycle Riders
Bicycle riders who obey the rules of the road and remain vigilant when
riding still face serious risks on public roadways. Fortunately, riders
who are injured as the result of a driver's negligence may have a
right to recover their damages by filing personal injury claims. If you
or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, speak with a
Maryland personal injury lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata &
Siegel, P.C. to learn more about your right to compensation.