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Important Motorcycle Laws in Maryland

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jun 22, 2017 in Motorcycle Accidents

man riding motorcycleMotorcycle laws are extremely important as they help prevent motorcycle accidents. Because these laws vary from state to state, it is important that everyone sharing the road, both motorcyclists and other motorists, understand the motorcycle laws in Maryland.

Our Silver Springs motorcycle accident attorneys have compiled this list of some of the most important laws you should know.

We can also help you in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident if another’s actions caused your injuries or the death of a loved one. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Obtain a Maryland Motorcycle License

Because riding a motorcycle is different from driving a traditional passenger vehicle, there are specific laws for who can obtain a motorcycle license and how to do so.

Operating a motorcycle without a valid Class M license may result in a fine, suspension of your driver’s license or driving privileges, points being added to your driving record, and your motorcycle being towed away.

To obtain a motorcycle license or Class M endorsement, you must complete several steps:

Motorcycle Safety Course

Potential new riders only need to complete an approved motorcycle safety course if they are under the age of 18.

However, everyone is encouraged to take a course. If you do, you will not be required to:

  • Take the knowledge test
  • Obtain a learner’s permit
  • Take the skills test for adding a Class M endorsement to your driver’s license

Approved courses are provided at training centers operated by the Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program and include the Basic Rider Course and Alternate Basic Rider Course. The courses include classroom and riding training.

Knowledge Test

All applicants for a motorcycle license must receive a score 85 percent or better on a knowledge test that consists of 25 questions.

It is recommended that you study the Maryland Motorcycle Operator Manual to prepare for the test.

Learner’s Permit

Potential new riders are required to obtain a learner’s permit, which requires that you are accompanied by or under the immediate supervision of someone who is at least 21 years old and has had a motorcycle license for at least three years.

Skills Test

Applicants must also complete a driving skills test, where they will demonstrate their ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control of a motorcycle.

Maryland Helmet Laws

According to Section 21-1306(b) of the Transportation article of the Maryland Code, no one may operate or ride a motorcycle unless the individual is wearing a helmet that meets the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Administration. Those with a factory sticker or label from the Department of Transportation will meet these requirements.

The Administration’s protective headgear requirements state that a helmet should have a hard outer shell with a shock-absorbing liner, comfort liner and chinstrap.

Riders must also wear eye protection, such as goggles, a helmet shield or impact-resistant glasses, unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen.

Additional Required Motorcycle Equipment

In addition to the requirement that all motorcycle riders wear a helmet, the law also requires several additional pieces of motorcycle equipment. These laws are important because motorcyclists are only protected by the clothing they wear and their ability to be seen; they do not have protection from their vehicle.

The motorcycle must be equipped with:

  • Two brakes
  • At least one headlight
  • A red rear light
  • A red brake light
  • A white light that illuminates the license plate
  • A horn
  • Two mirrors
  • Two footrests for the operator
  • Two footrests for a passenger

A bike’s handlebars cannot be more than 15 inches above the rider’s seat.

It is also recommended that motorcyclists wear a long-sleeved jacket or shirt, long pants made of sturdy material, full-fingered gloves and over-the-ankle boots. 

Operating a Motorcycle in Maryland

Section 21-1302 states that motorcycle operators may only:

  • Ride a motorcycle on a permanent seat that is attached to the motorcycle
  • Ride a motorcycle while sitting straddling the seat, facing forward with one leg on each side of the bike
  • Carry another person on the motorcycle unless it is equipped to carry more than one person and has a permanent or firmly attached rear seat

Motorcycle operators may not carry any packages or passengers that interfere with their ability to keep both hands on the handlebars.

Lane Splitting

Although two motorcycles can ride next to each other in the same lane, known as lane sharing, lane splitting is illegal.

Motorcycles are prohibited from overtaking or passing another vehicle in the same lane, driving between two lanes of traffic, or driving between rows of vehicles.

According to Section 21-1303, every motorcycle is entitled to the full use of its lane, and  no motor vehicle can deprive it of the full use of the lane.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Attorneys

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you should contact our motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. We will investigate the accident and work to hold the liable party responsible for your injuries or loss.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis so you will not owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.

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