Personal Injury Blog

Share the Road: In Maryland, Bicycles are Vehicles

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 shoulders.
  • 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.