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Maryland's New "Share The Road" Law Gets Underway Today

On the heels of the tragic death of a Senate candidate in a bicycle / car accident back on September 19th and years after the national "share the road" PR campaign was rolled out, Maryland has a new law on the books starting today. The law stipulates new rules for bike riders and motorists on our state's increasingly congested roadways. In order to prevent future bicycle vs. car accidents, drivers now face fines upwards of $500 for passing within three feet of someone on a bicycle.

Some figures to put things into perspective: last year saw 630 bicyclists killed and 51,000 suffering injuries in accidents with cars. 11 of those 630 riders died in Maryland, which represents an increase over 2008 deaths likely due to increasing popularity of new bike lanes among recreationalist and commuting cyclists paired with ever-expanding rush hour times on our freeways. Those who ride often claim the most dangerous situations are either caused by distracted drivers or aggressive drivers who are in a rush or are angry about being inconvenienced by a biker's presence on the road.

The new law is designed to protect cyclists, but it also holds them accountable for their behavior on the road. Riders are to maintain a steady course, ride to the right of traffic and utilize bike lanes or smoothly paved shoulders to the extent they exist. Drivers heading towards a designated bike lane or the shoulder of the road now must officially yield to bicyclists.

Most riders hope the new law raises awareness and makes drivers think about their behavior when behind the wheel.

Source: The Washington Post "Law to protect bicyclists gets underway in Md." 10/1/10

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