Bike Lanes in Maryland

As gas prices have risen in recent years, bicycles have become an increasingly popular form of travel, particularly in cities. In Maryland, this increase in bikers has fostered the development of bike lanes in more populated areas of the state, resulting in mixed views from the public. While some have come to embrace the newly created bike lanes as a necessary adaptation for transportation opportunity, others have disregarded them as a nuisance to society and as an infringement on traffic lanes. If you have been the victim of bicycle discrimination or suffered an accident as a result of the negligence of another, a Maryland bike accident attorney can explain to you what options you have for proper recourse.

Maryland Bike Lane Rules

Bicyclists are to use the available designated bike lane. There are some exceptions. A bicyclist may move outside the bike lane if they are overtaking another vehicle in the bike lane, they are making a left turn, the bike lane is hazardous for some reason, or the bike lane is overlaid with the right-turn lane or merge lane. On the other hand, motor vehicles must give right-of-way to bicyclists in bike lanes.

Prominence of Bike Lanes

Bike lanes are not particularly commonplace. Most times bike lanes are seen more in planned communities where there is a definite design for them to accommodate riders on roadways. That is where we typically see bike lanes in Maryland. Even in cities they are not commonplace at all, although that is probably where they are most needed. City streets were not designed that way, and most of the roadways do not contain bike lanes. More frequently what is happening is when local governments are planning changes or upgrades to the roads, then they decide to incorporate bike lanes. The dangers of bicycling in certain areas has become more prevalent and more known, so planners are trying more and more to take steps to accommodate bicyclists.

How Bike Lanes Affect Driver Behavior

Bike lanes are designed to accommodate bicyclists so that it is easier for bicyclists to share the highway with cars. Roads have a limited lane width and bicyclists must share that space with vehicles. The problem becomes that vehicles travel at higher speeds than bicycles and often motorists become impatient with the slower-moving bicycles in the flow of traffic, even though bicycles are to be treated the same as vehicles. The motorist just does not want to be behind the bicycle. Bicycle lanes help accommodate bicycles on the roadways such that vehicles and bicycles can share the roadway without impacting one another as much.

Impact on Accidents in Maryland

When someone is cycling legally in the bike lane and is then struck by a vehicle, it is easier to show that the motorist was at fault in the accident because bicyclists have the right-of-way in the bike lane. There are few situations where a driver of a vehicle is not going to be held responsible when they are involved in a Maryland bike accident while driving in a bike lane.