People who love motorcycles agree; their motorcycles are not just transportation; they are a passion. There’s nothing better than an adventure on the open road, and Maryland offers some of the best scenery in the U.S. Unfortunately, motorcycles are also risky. Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable and more likely to be seriously or fatally injured than those in a car. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, there were 76 motorcycle fatalities in Maryland in 2017 (over 15% of the total US motorcycle fatalities). National statistics show 4,990 motorcyclists were killed in crashes during 2017.
Motorcycle laws, such as helmet laws and lane sharing laws, vary from one state to another, so it is important to know the rules to protect yourself and prevent accidents. Note that some rules are different for motorcycle riders than for off-road dirt bikers. Motorcycle laws in Maryland include:
- All motorcyclists must wear a helmet while driving on the streets, roads, highways, and interstates in Maryland.
- All on-road motorcyclists must wear goggles or other eye protection while driving their bikes unless their motorcycle has a windscreen.
- A motorcycle must be equipped with a passenger seat and passenger footrest if there is a passenger on the motorcycle.
- Motorcyclists are not required to use their headlights during the day, but most safety experts recommend it.
- Motorcycles must be equipped with a muffler.
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot extend more than 15 inches above the rider’s seat.
- Helmet speakers are permitted if they are in only one ear. However, many safety experts believe helmet speakers make it difficult to hear surrounding traffic noises and contribute to accidents.
- Motorcycles may ride two abreast in one lane (also known as lane sharing).
- Passing on the road by driving between two occupied lanes (lane splitting) is not legal.
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