Maryland's New Bike Laws Take Effect

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    Bicyclists in Maryland can breathe a sigh of relief. A new law protecting riders takes effect today.

    The law requires drivers to pass cyclists at a distance of at least three feet when appropriate. Additionally, cyclists are allowed to use crosswalks in areas where riding on sidewalks is permitted.

    A previous law that required cyclists to travel on roadway shoulders was repealed. “People often bike as an alternative to driving, which is better for their health, traffic congestion and the environment,” said Neil J. Pedersen of the Maryland State Highway Administration. “By respecting each other, following traffic laws and using common sense, we can all share the road safely.”

    From 2005 to 2008, an average of seven bicyclists were killed and more than 650 were injured each year in traffic accidents in Maryland. According to preliminary data from the Maryland State Police, 10 bicyclists died in traffic collisions in 2009.

    “These bills modernize Maryland law,” said State Sen. Brian Frosh (D - Mont. Co.), who sponsored one of the measures. “They’ll increase bicycle safety and help all of us by encouraging people to leave their cars at home.”


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