Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bicycling and Rules of the Road

Although the below Maryland statute is not new it is worth looking at.  Bicyclists are often told to ride as far right as possible and although this is generally correct it is not always the case.  Further, it is not unusual to hear car drivers tell bicyclists to ride single file.  That is also not always the law.  If you review the below statute you will see that there are exceptions to these general rules.

Paragraph 6 allows a bicyclist to "hold" the lane if the Lane is too narrow for a another vehicle to share the Lane with the bicyclists safely.  My interpretation of that is I can "own" the Lane when it would be unsafe for others to pass me while in my Lane.  This is not only a decent law, it makes common sense.

Subsection (b) specifically permits riding two abreast in limited circumstances.

MD Code Transp. 21-1205 Riding on roadways or on highway (Maryland Code (2013 Edition))

(a) Riding to right side of roadway. -- Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter at a speed less than the speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing on a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable and safe, except when:

(1) Making or attempting to make a left turn;

(2) Operating on a one-way street;

(3) Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;

(4) Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;

(5) The right lane is a right turn only lane; or

(6) Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motor scooter and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

(b) Riding two abreast. -- Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway may ride two abreast only if the flow of traffic is unimpeded.

(c) Passing. -- Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a vehicle.

(d) Walking bicycles on right side of highway. -- Each person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter on a roadway may walk the bicycle or motor scooter on the right side of a highway if there is no sidewalk.

Even though the statute gives certain rights, I will still use common sense.  I would rather be alive than dead right.  If you are involved in a bicycle accident and suffer injury and you believe someone else is at fault, call me and I can help you.

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