Maryland - Rules of The Road


Subtitle 1 Definitions;

General Provisions

21-101 Definitions

  1. In general –In this title and Title 25 of this article the following words have the meanings indicated.

  2. Alley – “Alley” means a street that:

    1. Is intended to provide access to the rear or side of a lot or building in an urban district; and

    2. Is not intended for through vehicular traffic.

  3. Bicycle Path – “Bicycle Path” means any travelway designed and designated by signing or signing and marking for bicycle use, located within its own right-of-way or in a shared right-of-way and physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by berm, shoulder, curb or other similar device.

  4. Bicycle Way –

    1. “Bicycle Way” means:

      1. Any trail, path, part of a highway, surfaced or smooth shoulder, or sidewalk; or

      2. Any other travelway specifically signed, marked, or otherwise designated for bicycle travel.

    2. “Bicycle Way” includes:

      1. Bicycle Path; and

      2. Bike Lane.

  5. Bike Lane – “Bike Lane” means any portion of a roadway or shoulder designated for signal directional bicycle flow.

  6. Business District – “Business District” means an area that adjoins and includes a highway where at least 50 percent of the frontage along the highway, for a distance of at least 300 feet, is occupied by buildings used for business.

  7. Controlled Access Highway – “Controlled access highway” means a highway or roadway to or from which persons, including the owners or occupants of abutting lands, have no right of access except at the points and in the manner determined by the public authority with jurisdiction over the highway or roadway.

  8. Crossover – “Crossover” means a traverse roadway or opening that connects the separate roadways of a divided highway at a point other than an intersection of the divided highway with another highway.

  9. Crosswalk – “Crosswalk” means that part of a roadway that is:

    1. Within the prolongation or connection of the lateral lines of sidewalks at any place where 2 or more roadways of any type meet or join, measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway; or

    2. Distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings.

  10. Electric personal assistive mobility device – “Electric personal assistive mobility device” or EPAMD means a pedestrian device that:

    1. Has two non-tandem wheels;

    2. Is self-balancing;

    3. Is powered by an electric propulsion system;

    4. Has a maximum speed capability of 15 miles per hour;

    5. Is designed to transport one person.

  11. Expressway – “Expressway” means a major highway of 2 or more traffic lanes in each direction that is designed to eliminate principle traffic hazards and has the following characteristics:

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

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

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

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

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

  17. Intersection –

    1. “Intersection” means:

      1. The area within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines or, in the absence of curbs, the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways that join at or approximately at right angles; or

      2. The area within which vehicles traveling on different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict.

    2. If a divided highway includes two roadways that are 30 feet or more apart, every crossing of each roadway of the divided highway by an intersecting highway is a separate intersection. If the intersecting highway also includes two roadways that are 30 feet or more apart, every crossing of two roadways of these highways is a separate intersection.

  18. Play vehicle – “Play vehicle” means a vehicle that:

    1. Has two or three wheels;

    2. Is propelled only by human power; and

    3. Is not a bicycle as defined in Title 11 of this article.

  19. Private road or driveway – “Private road or driveway” means any way or place that;

    1. Is privately owned; and

    2. Is used for vehicular travel by its owner and by those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons.

  20. Public bicycle area – “Public bicycle area” means any highway, bicycle path, or other facility or area maintained by the State, a political subdivision of this State, or any of their agencies for the use of bicycles.

  21. Railroad – “Railroad” means a carrier of people on cars that are operated on stationary rails.

  22. Railroad sign or signal – “Railroad sign” or “railroad signal” means any sign, signal, or device place by authority of a public body or official or by a railroad to warn of the presence of railroad tracks or the approach of a railroad train.

  23. Railroad train – “Railroad Train” means any locomotive or any other car, rolling stock, equipment, or other device that, alone or couple to others, is operated on stationary rails.

  24. Residential district – “Residential district” means an area that:

    1. Is not a business district; and

    2. Adjoins and includes a highway where the property along the highway for a distance of at least 300 feet, is improved mainly with residences or residences and buildings used for business.

  25. Right-of-way – “Right-of-way” means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner on a highway in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian.

  26. Safety zone – “Safety zone” means an area in a roadway that:

    1. Is officially set apart for the exclusive use of pedestrians; and

    2. Is protected or is so marked or indicated by adequate signs as to be plainly visible at all times while set apart as a safety zone.

  27. Shoulder – “Shoulder’ means that portion of a highway contiguous with the roadway for the accommodation of stopped vehicles, for emergency use, and for the lateral support of the base and surface courses of the roadway.

  28. Sidewalk – “Sidewalk” means that part of the highway:

    1. That is intended for use by pedestrians; and

    2. That is between;

      1. The lateral curb lines or in the absence of curbs, the lateral boundary line of a roadway; and

      2. The adjacent property lines.

  29. Though Highway – “Through Highway” means a highway or part of a highway:

    1. On which vehicular traffic is given the right-of-way; and

    2. At the entrances to which vehicular traffic from intersecting highways is required by law to yield the right-of-way to vehicles on the highway or part of the highway, in obedience to either a stop sign or yield sign placed as provided in the Maryland Vehicle Law.

  30. Urban district – “Urban district” means an area that;

    1. Adjoins and includes any street; and

    2. Is built up with structures that are:

      1. Devoted to business, industry or dwelling houses; and

      2. Situated at intervals of less than 100 feet, for a distance of at least a quarter of a mile.

  31. Wheelchair – “Wheelchair” means a mobility aid belonging to any class on three- or four- wheeled devices that:

    1. Is usable indoors;

    2. Does not exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length, when measured 2 inches above the ground; and

    3. Is designed for and used by a mobility impaired individual, whether operated manually or powered.

Subtitle 3. Driving on Right Side of Roadway; Overtaking and Passing; Use of Roadway.

21-313 Restrictions on Use of Controlled Access Highways

  1. State Highway Administration and local authorities may prohibit certain uses. – The State Highway Administration, by order, or any local authority, by ordinance, may prohibit the use of any controlled access highway in its jurisdiction by parades, low speed vehicles, funeral processions, bicycles, or other non-motorized traffic or by any person operating a motorcycle.

  2. Sign Required – The State Highway Administration or the local authority adopting any prohibition under this section shall place and maintain signs on the controlled access highway to which the prohibition is applicable. If the signs are so placed, a person may not disobey the restrictions stated on them.

Subtitle 6 Turning and Starting; Signals on Stopping, Turning, and Starting

21-604 Turning, slowing, and stopping movements; required signals.

  1. Manner of making turn. – A person may not turn a vehicle at an intersection, unless the vehicle is in the position required by sub-section 21-601 of this subtitle.

  2. Entering private roads or driveways. – A person may not turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move it right or left on a roadway or from a shoulder or bikeway onto a roadway, unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety.

  3. Required signals. – A person may not, if any other vehicle might be affected by the movement, turn a vehicle until he gives an appropriate signal in the manner required by this subtitle.

  4. Where signals to be given. – When required, a signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during at least the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning; except that a bicyclist may interrupt the turning signal to maintain control of the bicycle.

21-606 Method of giving hand and arm signals

  1. In general – Except as otherwise provided, each required signal given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of the vehicle in the manner specified in this section.

  2. Left turn – A left turn signal is given by the hand and arm extended horizontally.

  3. Right turn – A right turn signal is given by the hand and arm extended upward; except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right;

  4. Stop or decrease speed – A stop or decrease speed signal is given by the hand and arm extended downward.

Subtitle 11. Miscellaneous Rules.

21-1103 Driving on sidewalk

  1. Driving prohibited – Except as provided in subsection (b), (c), or (d) of this section, a person may not drive a vehicle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area unless it is a permanent or authorized temporary driveway.

  2. Exceptions – Bicycles, play vehicles, etc. –

    1. For the purposes of this subsection, “bicycle” does not include “moped”, as defined in Section 11-134.1 of this article.

    2. Where permitted by local ordinance, a person may ride a bicycle, play vehicle, or unicycle on a sidewalk or sidewalk area.

  3. Same – Special vehicles of individuals with disabilities person. – Unless prohibited by local ordinance, an individual with a disability may use a special vehicle other than a wheelchair on sidewalks or sidewalk areas.

  4. Use of wheelchair on sidewalks. – An individual may use a wheelchair on sidewalks or sidewalk areas in accordance with subsection 21-501.1 of the title.

Subtitle 12. Operation of Bicycles and Play Vehicles

21-1201 Scope of Subtitle

  1. Authorizing minor or ward to violate provisions. – The parent of any minor or guardian of any ward may not authorize the minor or ward to violate any provision of this subtitle.

  2. Knowingly permitting minor or ward to violate provision. – The parent of any minor or the guardian of any ward may not knowingly permit a minor or ward to violate any provision of this subtitle.

  3. Applicability of subtitle. – With the exceptions stated in this subtitle, the provisions of this subtitle that are applicable to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle, an EPAMD, or motor scooter is operated on any highway or whenever a bicycle or an EPMAD is operated on any path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

21-1202 Traffic laws apply to bicycles and motor scooters

Every person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter in a public bicycle area has all the rights granted to and is subject to all the duties required of the driver of a vehicle by this title, including the duties set forth in 21-504 of this title except:

  1. As otherwise provided in this subtitle; and

  2. For those provisions of this subtitle that by their very nature cannot apply.

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