As Baltimore injury accident lawyers, we are well aware of the laws and statutes created to protect motorists, including motorcycle riders, here in Maryland. These laws, while seeming to some as interfering with personal freedom were nonetheless written with good intentions in mind, especially where they provide safer and less dangerous traffic conditions for riders and passenger car drivers alike.
When it comes to traffic laws specifically written with bikers in mind — helmet regulations and lane-sharing laws immediately come to mind — these likely vary from one state to another. All the same, it is critical that every motorist who shares our public roadways clearly understands and follows these rules.
By all bikers being aware of and abiding by Maryland’s helmet and other mototcycle-related traffic laws, this can go a long way toward helping to reduce the instance of motorcycle crashes in cities like Frederick, Rockville, Hagerstown and Bowie.
Anybody who has ever seen a friend or relative in a hospital ward following a serious motorcycle crash can understand how extensive a rider’s injuries can truly be. Compared a person injured in a passenger car or commercial truck accident, under similar circumstances, the motorcyclist is usually worse off following the wreck.
The laws of physics being what they are, fate does not lend a biker much margin of safety when tangling with an SUV, pickup truck or 18-wheeler. In cases where a rider is hit by a car or box truck on a city street or highway, size is a big factor in who ends up in the emergency room. Sadly, in such accidents the motorcyclist typically loses that encounter hands down.
Whether a person is riding a motorcycle, scooter, bicycle and other two-wheeled vehicle, a traffic accident can land the rider in the hospital with cuts, bruises and road rash, if they are lucky. Worse accidents can result in neck and spinal damage, or traumatic brain injury. Here’s a short list of some Maryland state laws that may help save your life.
1) All motorcycle riders are required to wear a helmet while operating a motorbike on city streets, county roads, highways and interstates. ORV operators, such as dirt bike and trials bike riders are not required to wear helmets, however many experts agree that helmet use has safety advantages in this type of pastime.
2) Eye protection is required on by law for all on-road bikes without windscreens. Riders of ORVs are not required to wear eye protection.
3) Although Maryland law doesn’t require riders to operate their cycle’s headlamp(s) during the day, turning on your headlamp will help make you more visible to other traffic. Most traffic safety experts recommend using your headlight during the day to reduce the possibility of being hit by another vehicle, such as a passenger car or commercial vehicle.
4) According to the law, a motorcycle rider who carries a passenger on his or her bike must have a seat and footrests provided for that additional rider/passenger.
5) Helmet-mounted audio speakers are allowed by Maryland law, but only so long as only one of the rider’s ears is affected. It is a generally accepted fact that helmet speaker systems tend to interfere with a rider’s ability to hear other traffic noises. When this happens, it increases the odds that a biker will be involved in a traffic accident. Earplugs used for the attenuation of outside noises are typically prohibited by law, except under certain conditions.