Maryland - Bicycle Law - General

Maryland Law pertaining to bicycles generally

Maryland law requires all bicyclists under the age of 16 to wear a bicycle safety helmet when riding on public property. This includes roadways, trails and sidewalks.


Bicycle-Related Definitions and Laws


Subtitle 1 Definitions; General Provisions

8-101 Definitions

  1. In general. – In this title the following words have the meanings indicated.

  2. Administration. – “Administration” means the State Highway Administration.

  3. Administrator. – “Administrator” means the State Highway Administrator.

  4. Bicycle and pedestrian priority area. – “Bicycle and pedestrian priority area” means a geographical area where the enhancement of bicycle and pedestrian traffic is a priority.

  5. Commission. – “Commission” means the State Roads Commission.

  6. Controlled access highway. – “Controlled access highway” means a major highway with the same characteristics as an expressway, except that the conflict of cross streams of traffic is not eliminated necessarily at each intersection by grade separation structures.

  7. County road. – “County road” means any public highway:

    1. The title to which or the easement for the use of which, is vested in a public body or governmental agency; and

    2. That is not a State highway or located in Baltimore City.

  8. Expressway. – “Expressway” means a major highway of two or more traffic lanes in each direction that is designed to eliminate principal traffic hazards and has the following characteristics:

    1. A median divider separating opposing traffic lanes to eliminate head-on collisions and sideswiping;

    2. Grade separation structures to eliminate the conflict of cross streams of traffic at each intersection;

    3. Points of entrance and exit limited to predetermined locations;

    4. Vertical curves enough to provide long sight distances; and

    5. Shoulders wide enough to permit vehicles to stop or park out of traffic lanes.

  9. Highway. – “Highway” includes:

    1. Rights-of-way, roadway surfaces, roadway subgrades, shoulders, median dividers, drainage facilities and structures, related stormwater management facilities and structures, roadway cuts, roadway fills, guardrails, bridges, highway grade separation structures, railroad grade separations, tunnels, overpasses, underpasses, interchanges, entrance plazas, approaches, and other structures forming an integral part of a street, road, or highway, including bicycle and walking paths; and

    2. Any other property acquired for the construction, operation or use of the highway.

  10. Interstate highway. – “Interstate highway” means a State highway that is part of the national interstate system in the State, as designated by the Administration and approved by the United States Secretary of Transportation under Title 23 of the United States Code.

  11. Maintenance.

    1. “Maintenance” means the upkeep and repair by which a highway, building, equipment, and other property is kept in an ordinarily efficient operating condition.

    2. “Maintenance” does not include construction, reconstruction, or relocation.

  12. Primary highway. – “Primary highway” means a State highway that has been designated a primary highway by the Administration with the approval of the Secretary.

  13. Project. – “Project” means the construction, reconstruction, or relocation of one or more sections or parts of the State highway system.

  14. Railroad grade separation.

    1. “Railroad grade separation” means any overpass or underpass that eliminates a railroad grade crossing.

    2. “Railroad grade separation” includes:

      1. The overpass and underpass structure and the approaches to them;

      2. Any related entrance plazas, interchanges, connecting highways. And other structures; and

      3. Any other property acquired for the construction, operation, or use of the railroad grade separation.

  15. Road. – “Road” means a highway.

  16. Secondary highway. – “Secondary highway” means a State highway that is neither a primary highway nor interstate highway.

  17. State highway. – “State highway” means any public highway owned by this State.

  18. State highway system. – “State highway System” means the system of State-owned primary and secondary highways throughout the State.

  19. Street. – “Street” means a highway.


Subtitle 1 Definitions

11-104 Bicycle

“Bicycle” means a vehicle that:

  1. Is designed to be operated by human power;

  2. Has two or three wheels, of which one is more than 14 inches in diameter;

  3. Has a rear drive; and

  4. Has a wheel configuration as follows: (i) If the vehicle has two wheels, with both wheels in tandem; or (ii) If the vehicle has three wheels, with one front wheel and with two rear wheels that are equidistant from the center of the vehicle

11-127 Highway

“Highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of any way or thoroughfare of which any part is used by the public for vehicular travel, whether or not the way or thoroughfare has been designated to the public and accepted by any proper authority.

Shoulder included – The public highway includes not only the paved portion of the highway but also the shoulder.

11-151 Roadway

  1. In general. – “Roadway” means that part of the highway that is improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, other than the shoulder.

  2. Two or more separate roadways. – If a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term “roadway” is used in the Maryland Vehicle Law refers to any one roadway separately, and not to all roadways collectively.

11-176 Vehicle

  1. In general – “Vehicle” means, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any device in, on, or by which any individual or property is or might be transported or towed on a highway.

  2. Exceptions – “Vehicle” does not include an electric personal assistance mobility device as defined in 21-101(j) of this article.

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