Laws For Drivers, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists
Police in Maryland are cracking down on drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists who violate the traffic safety laws that protect people walking and biking. Fines range from $40 to $500.
Maryland LawsLaws for Pedestrians
- At an intersection, a pedestrian is subject to all traffic control signals.
If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching on the roadway.
- If a pedestrian crosses a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing is provided, the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching on the roadway.
- Between adjacent intersections at which a traffic control signal is in operation, a pedestrian may cross a roadway only in a marked crosswalk.
- A pedestrian may not cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by a traffic control device for crossing movements. If authorized to cross diagonally, a pedestrian may cross only in accordance with the traffic control device.
- If practicable, a pedestrian shall walk on the right half of a crosswalk.
Where a sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian may not walk along and on an adjacent roadway.
- Where a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian who walks along and on a highway may walk only on the left shoulder, if practicable, or on the left side of the roadway, as near as practicable to the edge of the roadway, facing any traffic that might approach from the opposite direction.
- A pedestrian may not walk along a controlled access highway.
- A pedestrian who crosses a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to any approaching emergency vehicle that is using audible and visual signals.
- Police vehicles using audible signal – a pedestrian who crosses a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to any approaching police vehicle that is lawfully using an audible signal.
The Maryland Vulnerable Road User Law mandates stricter penalties for causing harm to vulnerable individuals while operating a motor vehicle. As per the law, a “vulnerable individual” can be a pedestrian, cyclist, road worker or emergency personnel, among others. Any individual charged with a violation of this law must appear in court. A conviction can carry fines up $2,000, participation in a motor vehicle safety course and up to 150 hours of community service. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration will suspend a convicted driver’s license for a minimum of seven days and up to six months.
The driver of a vehicle must stop for a pedestrian at crosswalks and intersections without signals when:
- The pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling.
- The pedestrian is approaching within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling.
- The driver of a vehicle must stop for a pedestrian at intersections with signals:
- When proceeding on a green signal, drivers turning right or left shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within the crosswalk.
- When turning right on red after stopping, drivers shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within the crosswalk.
- The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle, including a bicycle, which is going in the same direction, shall pass to the left of the overtaken vehicle at a safe distance.
- The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle that is going in the same direction, until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle, may not drive any part of his vehicle directly in front of the overtaken vehicle.
- Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being ridden by a person the driver of a vehicle must not pass any closer than three (3) feet to a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle is operated in a lawful manner. It is not lawful to ride against traffic.
- After passing you must make sure you are clear of the bicyclist before making any turns. The bike has the right of way, and you must yield to bike, when you are turning. Failing to yield right of way to a bicyclist, resulting in a crash in which the bicyclist is seriously injured can result in a $1,000 fine and three points on your driving record.
- Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists riding in bike lanes and shoulders when these vehicle operators are entering or crossing occupied bike lanes and shoulders.
- When riding on a sidewalk, where such riding is permitted, or a bike path, a bicyclist may ride in a crosswalk to continue on their route. Motorists are required to yield right of way to a bicyclist operating lawfully in a crosswalk at a signalized intersection. Look for bikes coming from both directions.
- A person may not throw any object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
- A person may not open the door of any motor vehicle with intent to strike, injure, or interfere with any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter. Don't open door into traffic.
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.
A bicyclist riding slower than the speed of traffic is confined to the right hand through lane (much the same way as a slow moving vehicle is) and as close to the right side of the road as is safe. A bicyclist can move further left to:
- Make or attempt to make a vehicular style left turn;
- Pass a stopped or slower moving vehicle; or
- Avoid pedestrians or road hazards.
- This ride-to-the-right provision does not apply when operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side with another vehicle within the lane. The provision also does not apply where the right-hand lane is a turn lane, or the bicyclist is operating on a one-way street.
- A bicyclist riding at the speed of traffic can operate in any lane, just as any other vehicle can. Where there is not a bike lane, a bicyclist may also use the shoulder of the roadway.
- Bicycles may not be ridden in the travel lanes of any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles an hour; however, bicycles may be operated on the shoulder of these roadways.
- Bicycles may not be operated on expressways (access-controlled freeways and interstate highways), except on an adjacent path or facility approved by the State Highway Administration.
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:
- When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motor scooter, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the bike lane;
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway;
- When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane to avoid debris or other hazardous condition; or
- When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane because the bike lane is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane.
- By law, all bicycles must be equipped with brakes capable of stopping from a speed of 10 miles per hour within 15 feet on dry, level, clean pavement.
- If operated in low visibility conditions, bicycles must also be equipped with a white beam headlight visible at a distance of 500 feet, and a red rear reflector visible at a distance of 600 feet if night time or during unfavorable visibility conditions. Alternately, a bicyclist may be equipped with a functioning lamp that acts as a reflector and emits a red light or a flashing amber light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear instead of, or in addition to the red reflector above.
- A bicycle or motor scooter may be equipped with a bell or other audible device, but not a siren or whistle.
- Any rider under the age of 16 must also wear a helmet that meets or exceeds the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials.