The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland has established a Bicycle & Pedestrian Infrastructure Advisory Committee for the purpose of promoting, planning, and furthering implementation of bicycle and other non-motorized transportation in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
The overall objective is to increase bike trail connectivity throughout the Southern Maryland Region. The Committee shall concentrate on accessing funds that create trails that increase bicycling tourism both in the local community and attract riders from outside the region to increase economic activity.
The committee is comprised of a diverse group of planners and residents that are interested in making Southern Maryland a better place to bicycle and walk. This includes, but is not limited to cyclists of all skill levels, from casual weekend riders to year-round commuters; and people of all ages. The appointments to the Committee are made by the Council’s Executive Board, following an application and recommendation process.
The Bicycle & Pedestrian Infrastructure Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Regular meetings of the BIAC are held from 12:30pm – 2:00pm at the offices of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland at 15045 Burnt Store Rd. Hughesville, MD 20637. Meeting notices will be posted on the Council’s website.
The Bicycle & Pedestrian Infrastructure Advisory Committee members serve two year terms with opportunities to be reappointed. You can apply to serve on the committee by completing an application and returning to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARYLAND’S BICYCLE SAFETY LAWS
By Maryland law, bicycles are vehicles. Bicyclists are authorized users of the roadway, and bicyclists have rights-of-way and the same duty to obey all traffic signals as motorists. But bicycles are less visible, quieter, and don’t have a protective barrier around them. Motorists should drive carefully near bicyclists; even a slight mistake can result in serious injury or even death.
Traffic Laws for Motorists
- The driver of a vehicle passing another vehicle, including a bicycle, must pass at a safe distance and leave plenty of space. The driver should be able to see the passed vehicle in the rear view mirror before returning to the original lane. After passing a driver must make sure they are clear of the bicyclist before making any turns.
- Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (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.
- The bicycle has the right-of-way when the motor vehicle is making a turn, and motorists must yield to bicyclists.
- 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. Drivers must look for bicycles coming from both directions. (TR §21-101, §21-202, & §21-1103)
- 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.
- 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 a driving record.
Traffic Laws for Bicyclists
- Maryland’s traffic laws apply to bicycles and motor scooters. (TR§21-1202)
- A bicycle may not carry a passenger unless it is specifically designed for and equipped with a seat for each passenger. (TR§21-1203)
- Bicycles, motor scooters, and EPAMDs are not permitted on any roads where the speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour (MPH) or higher. (TR§21-1205.1)
- A person riding a bicycle shall ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable and safe, except when:
- Making or attempting to make a left turn;
- Operating on a one-way street;
- Passing a stopped or slower moving vehicle;
- Avoiding pedestrians or road hazards;
- The right lane is a right turn only lane; or
- Operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane (TR§21-1205).
- Where there is a bike lane, a person must use those and not ride a bicycle or motor scooter in the roadway except: (TR§21-1205.1)
- If passing safely cannot be done within the bike lane or shoulder;
- When preparing for a left turn;
- To avoid hazards; or
- When the bike lane is also a right-turn or merge lane.
- A person riding a bicycle or motor scooter may not cling to any vehicle on the roadway. (TR§21-124)
- A motor scooter may not be operated at a speed in excess of 30 MPH. (TR§21-1205.1)
- An EPAMD may not be operated at a speed in excess of 15 MPH. (TR§21-1205.1)
- A person cannot carry anything that prevents them from keeping both hands on the handlebars or that interferes with the view or balance of their bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD. (TR§21-1206)
- A bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD may not be secured to a fire hydrant; a pole, meter, or device in a bus or taxi-loading zone; a pole, meter, or device within 25 feet of an intersection; or where it would obstruct or impede traffic. (TR§21-1206)
- A person may not ride a bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD while wearing a headset or earplugs that cover both ears. (TR§21-12010)
- Helmets are required for everyone under the age of 16, including passengers, who ride their bicycles on the road, bicycle paths, or any public property. (TR§21-1207.1)
- Helmets are also required for everyone under the age of 16 who is riding on a scooter or on in-line skates. (TR§21-1207.2)
- The helmets must meet or exceed the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials. (TR§21-1207.1)
- A lamp is required on the front of a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle or motor scooter is used on a highway when people and vehicles are not clearly visible at 1,000 feet. (TR§21-1207)
- A red reflector on the rear is required if the bicycle or motor scooter is used on a highway when people and vehicles are not clearly visible at 1,000 feet. (TR§21-1207)
- A bicycle or motor scooter may be equipped with a bell or other audible device, but not a siren or whistle. (TR§21-1207)
- A bicycle or motor scooter must be equipped with a brake. (TR§21-1207)
BICYCLE SAFETY TIPS
- Obey the rules of the road: Ride straight and single file in a predictable manner. Plan ahead and allow time to maneuver around road hazards and to negotiate with traffic and open car doors. Yield to pedestrians and obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Ride with traffic: Always ride on the right side of the road. Use caution when passing other traffic on the right. When approaching an intersection, use the appropriate lane for the direction you intend to travel (left, straight ahead, or right).
- Signal all turns: Be predictable and look quickly behind you before changing lanes or turning. Signal safely in advance.
- Make left -hand turns safely: You may turn left as a vehicle by moving into the left side of the travel lane (or left turn lane) OR cross like a pedestrian by stopping, dismounting, and walking across crosswalks.
- Be prepared for conditions: When braking in the rain or snow, allow extra distance to stop and look for pavement markings, utility covers, and debris which may be slippery.
- Be visible – use lights at night or all the time: When riding at night, Maryland State Law requires a white headlight on the front and a red reflector on the back visible from at least 600 feet. In addition, we recommend you wear bright clothing in the daytime and reflective clothing for night riding.
- Maintain your bicycle: Check your tires, chain, and brakes before every trip. Take your bicycle to a bike shop at least once a year for a professional inspection and tune-up. Make sure your reflectors and lights are in working condition.
- Wear a helmet and wear it properly: Helmets are required by law for anyone under 16, but everyone should wear a helmet to prevent a head injury. Your helmet should be level and snug and should not shift while riding.
- Expect bicyclists on the road: Always expect to encounter a bicyclist on the road—on all types of roads, in all types of weather and at all times of the day and night. Bicyclists may be riding out in the travel lane for their own safety due to narrow roads, obstacles, or pavement hazards which you may not see. Before opening your car door, check for bicyclists who may be approaching.
- Pass with care; give bicyclists at least (3) three feet: Pass a bicyclist as you would any slow-moving vehicle. Slow down, wait until oncoming traffic is clear, and allow at least (3) three feet of clearance between your car and the bicyclist when passing. After passing a bicyclist, check over your shoulder to make sure you have allowed enough room before moving over. Experienced bicyclists often ride 20 to 25 MPH and may be closer than you think.
- Be careful at intersections: Always assume bicyclists are traveling through an intersection unless they signal otherwise, and yield to them as you would any other vehicle. Do not turn left or right in front of bicyclists unless you can do so safely. You can be fined $1000 and receive three points if you injure a bicyclist by violating their right-of-way.
- Watch for children: Children on bicycles are often unpredictable – expect the unexpected. Pay extra attention for children and strictly observe speed limits in school zones and in residential areas.
- Use extra caution in poor weather conditions: In bad weather, give bicyclists extra trailing and passing room. When uncertain in any situation, slow down until it’s safe to proceed.
BIKE SAFETY TIPS 2016 presented by Charles County Sheriff’s Office
A Reminder about Bicycle Safety presented by Maryland State Police
NHTSA’s Fitting a Bicycle Helmet
Maryland State Highway Administration
Maryland Department of Transportation
Maryland Park Service