What You Need to Know About Biking in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia

Young woman cycling in the park at sunsetAcross Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the law generally treats cyclists the same laws as motor vehicles, with several exceptions.  Bicycle exceptions include things like basic safety equipment, riding abreast other cyclists, speeding, obeying road signs and signals, signaling intent to turn or stop, and yielding to pedestrians.

Cyclists in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are also expected to ride in a manner that will not endanger themselves or others.  When riding on sidewalks and crosswalks in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, cyclists are afforded all the same rights as pedestrians but must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Generally, cyclists are expected by law to ride in the right lane of roads, unless the roads are too narrow, have more than two lanes, or hazards are present in roadways.  Bike laws have been put in place to protect cyclists when being passed by cars or when cyclists are passing and changing lanes.  In Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, cars must give cyclists three feet of space when overtaking the rider.

The Cochran Firm, DC personal injury attorneys represent cyclists that have been struck by negligent drivers. Our experienced and accomplished group of attorneys are ready to fight to get you the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. If you or a loved one was struck while riding a bicycle and suffered serious injuries, please give us a call.

Differences Between Bicycle Laws in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia

Race in night cityCyclists in Washington, D.C. must have their bike equipped with a bell to give a warning to pedestrians.  In Virginia, it is illegal for cyclists to travel between two lanes, except when passing vehicles or avoiding hazards.  In Maryland, cyclists must keep both hands on the handlebars to control their bike.  Maryland and Virginia have restrictions on biking on highways with certain speed limits.

Generally, cyclists may travel on sidewalks and crosswalks but Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have special provisions in their laws which may restrict riding on the sidewalk.  Cyclists younger than 16 must wear helmets in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, Virginia has no such state law but allows local governments to adopt their own laws on helmet use for riders younger than 14.  It is a crime in Maryland to allow minors to break bicycle laws.

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