Bicycle Safety

Bike Safety

Bike Safe. We're On This Road Together

In 2020, The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) launched the Be Street Wise initiative to educate Marylander’s on best practices to Drive Safe, Walk Safe and Bike Safe. For Bike Safe, the reminder to both bicyclists and drivers is that We’re On This Road Together. That means that all roadway users must follow the laws of the road and look out for each other.

Through a combination of grassroots outreach, social media, marketing and public relations, the campaign’s goal is to raise awareness, reinforce safe riding and driving behaviors and reduce the number of bicycle-related crashes. Useful tips for bicyclists and drivers are listed below as well as available as downloadable tip cards.

Tips for Bicyclists

By Maryland law, bicycles are vehicles, and bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. Bicyclists fare best when they act like and are treated as drivers of vehicles. If you're a bicyclist, you should:

  • Stop at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Ride defensively – expect the unexpected.
  • Ride with traffic, never against it.
  • Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • Yield right of way to pedestrians.
  • Pass on the left when overtaking a vehicle.
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths when present.
  • Use sharrow lane markers to navigate in shared travel lanes.
  • Use caution when crossing ramps.
  • Never ride more than two abreast.
  • Only ride on sidewalks where it is allowed by local ordinance.
  • Stay visible when riding at night and during inclement weather.
  • Wear a helmet correctly.
    • It is recommended that all bicyclists and bike passengers wear helmets. Maryland law requires all bicyclists under the age of 16 to wear a bicycle safety helmet when riding on public property. This includes roadways, trails and sidewalks. Please click HERE to view the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's guide for proper helmet fit.

Tips for Drivers

Remember, a bicycle weighs 20 pounds; a car weighs 4,000 pounds. Even the slightest mistake on the part of the driver can result in tragic consequences for the bicyclist. If you're a driver you should:

  • Expect bicyclists on the road.
  • Always keep a safe following distance.
  • Allow at least three feet when passing.
  • Yield the right of way to bicyclists when turning right.
  • Look for bicyclists before opening a car door.
  • Stay alert when pulling out of driveways or side streets.
  • Watch for children.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. It’s illegal to text and use hand held devices while driving.
  • Stay alert – avoid all distractions.

Bicycle Safety Tip Card for adults​​​

Bicycle Safety Tip Card for adults

Bicycle Safety Tip Card for children​​

Bicycle Safety Tip Card for children

Bicycle Safety Activity Sheet for children​​

Bicycle Safety Activity Sheet for children

MDOT SHA Celebrates National Bicycle Safety Month

Inspired by efforts led by The League of American Bicyclists, each May, MDOT SHA celebrates National Bicycle Safety Month. While bicycle safety is important year-round, MDOT SHA uses the occasion to kick off its bicycle safety campaign season. This May, the campaign will be primarily digital with an emphasis on bicycling while maintaining social distancing. Be sure to click on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram icons at the top of this page and follow us on each platform for campaign content. For more information about biking during the pandemic, please visit MDOT’s Active Transportation Page.

Bike to Work Day is usually a highlight of this month with many regions hosting pit stops that offer bicyclists an opportunity to network and receive bicycles safety gear and educational items. Due to current restrictions on public events, the 2020 Bike to Work Day for the Baltimore Region will take place on Friday, September 25th. For more information, please go to biketoworkmd.com.

Bike Safety