Police in the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, and Maryland are cracking down on drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who violate the traffic safety laws that protect people walking and biking—fines range from $40 to $500.
The Maryland Vulnerable Road User Law mandates stricter penalties for causing harm to vulnerable individuals while operating a motor vehicle. As per the law, a “vulnerable individual” can be a pedestrian, cyclist, road worker or emergency personnel, among others. Any individual charged with a violation of this law must appear in court. A conviction can carry fines up $2,000, participation in a motor vehicle safety course and up to 150 hours of community service. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration will suspend a convicted driver’s license for a minimum of seven days and up to six months.
Maryland law provides for the right-of-way of bicyclists, just as it does for the operators of motor vehicles. Bicyclists also have the duty to obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, just as do drivers.
Where there are marked bicycle lanes paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle must use the bike lane and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations: