If you know anyone who has been hurt in a motorcycle crash, you can understand how serious a rider’s injuries can be especially when compared to a similar car or truck accident. The laws of physics apply equally to bikes and passenger cars, however when it comes to bodily injury size does matter — in the motorcycle versus car arena, the motorcycle usually loses out, and so does the rider.
As Baltimore personal injury lawyers and motorcycle accident attorneys, our office is well-equipped to represent victims of traffic collisions involving motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and other two-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycle injury accidents can take a devastating toll on riders and their passengers. Hospital bills can cause problems for families just getting by, and any lost wages due to extended rehabilitation, temporary or permanent disability can make it particularly hard.
The state of Maryland has laws on the books that are designed to help protect riders and in doing so provide safer and less dangerous traffic conditions for riders and drivers alike.
Motorcycle-specific traffic laws, such as helmet regulations and lane-sharing laws, vary from state to state. Still, it is crucial that all drivers on public roads understand and abide by these rules. Knowing and following helmet and riding laws will help prevent motorcycle accidents across Maryland. The flowing is a listing of some of the key laws in place that can help save your life, or the life of someone you know.
1) Every rider is required to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle on Maryland’s city streets, county roads, highways, and interstates — all public roads. Operators of off-road vehicles such as dirt bikes and trials bikes are not required to wear helmets – although helmet use has distinct safety benefits in this area as well.
2) Eye protection is required on all on-road bikes, unless that vehicle is equipped with a windscreen. Similarly, dirt bike riders and operators of other off-road vehicles are not required to wear eye protection.
3) Headlamp use is also an important safety point. And while Maryland law does not require motorcycle riders to operate their headlamp(s) during the daytime, it is highly advisable to always run with your headlamps on. In fact, it is more or less universally agreed that using your headlight during the day reduces your chances of being hit by another vehicle, such as a truck or passenger car.
4) By law, any motorcycle rider who carries a passenger must have a seat and footrests (or pegs) for that passenger.
5) In-helmet audio speakers are legal for use by motorcycle riders so long as only one ear is affected. It is generally understood that a helmet speaker makes it more difficult for a rider to hear traffic noises around them, which can increase the chances of a biker being involved in an accident. Earplugs which attenuate outside noises are typically prohibited by law, with a few exceptions.
Other motorcycle-specific regulations include the mandatory use of a muffler and handlebars that project no further than 15 inches about the rider’s seat. While two-abreast lane sharing is legal in Maryland, lane-splitting (that is, riding on the line dividing two adjacent vehicle lanes is strictly illegal.