Laws are essential as they let us know our rights and responsibilities and help maintain a just and fair society. Laws also guarantee orderliness, especially when on the road. This explains why there are federal and state rules on how road users should behave. The State of Maryland has laws that road users must follow, and some of them are specific to a particular type of automobile. This article looks at the precise motorcycle laws in Baltimore, Maryland. However, note that this law also applies to motor vehicle drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, particularly how they share the road with motorcycles.
If you need more information on the specific motorcycle laws in Baltimore, contact Pinder Plotkin, LLC, to speak with a Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney. We also offer excellent legal advice and representation.
Motorcycle Laws in Baltimore: How to Obtain a Motorcycle License
Although a motorcycle is classified as a vehicle, the operation mode is different from that of a motor vehicle. As a result, you need a separate license to ride a motorcycle. Even if you have a driver’s license, you can’t use it for a bike; you need a different permit.
Under motorcycle laws in Baltimore, riding a motorcycle without a Class M license is an offense and may result in:
- A fine
- Suspension of your driver’s license or driving privileges
- Points addition on your drifting record, and
- Your motorcycle getting towed.
So, you need to get licensed to enjoy riding your bike. To do this, you must take some necessary steps. We discuss them below.
Motorcycle Safety Course
Motorcycle license applicants below the age of 18 must undergo a safety course, as per motorcycle laws in Baltimore. However, any new rider should take this course. Doing so exempts you from:
- Taking the knowledge test
- Obtaining a rider’s permit; and
- Taking the skills test for adding a Class M endorsement to your existing driver’s license.
The Maryland Motorcycle Safety Program operates the training centers for the approved courses. The latter includes the Basic Rider Course and the Alternate Basic Rider Course.
Applicants must receive an 85% score or more on a 25-question knowledge test to get a license. We recommend studying the Maryland Motorcycle Operation Manual to ace this exam.
Under motorcycle laws in Baltimore, new riders must obtain a learner’s permit. To get it, you must be accompanied or supervised by someone at least 21 years and who has had a motorcycle license for at least three years.
Finally, motorcycle laws in Baltimore require that you complete a driving skills test. It examines your ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control of a motorcycle.
Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorney Discusses Maryland Helmet Law
Section 21-1306(b) of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code states that “an individual may not operate or ride on a motorcycle unless the individual is wearing protective headgear that meets the standards established by the Administrator.”
In addition, the law provides that a person may not operate a motorcycle unless:
- He is wearing an eye-protective device of a type approved by the Administrator; or
- The motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen.
Also, the helmet should have a sticker or label from the United States Department of Transportation. The approved helmet has a hard outer shell with a shock-absorbing liner, comfort liner, and chinstrap.
These motorcycle laws in Baltimore are essential as protective equipment helps minimize injuries when a crash happens. Crash victims who fail to do so would be deemed negligent, and the absence of the protective wear will:
- Be considered evidence of contributory negligence
- Limit liability of a party or an insurer; or
- Diminish recovery for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or operation of a motorcycle.
If you get in a crash while disobeying this law or some part of it, contact a Baltimore motorcycle accident attorney to learn of your compensation chances.
Additional Required Motorcycle Equipment
There is other additional equipment the law requires motorcycle riders to have. The motorcycle should be equipped with:
- Two brakes
- A red rear light and brake light
- At least one headlight
- A horn
- A white light that shows the license plate
- Two mirrors
- Two footrests for the operator and passenger, each
Furthermore, the motorcycle handlebars cannot be more than 15 inches above the rider’s seat. Finally, the rider should wear a long-sleeved jacket or shirt, long pants, preferably leather or made with sturdy material, a full-fingered glove, and over-the-ankle boots.
The Law on Operating a Motorcycle in Baltimore, Maryland
Section 21-1302 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code provides that a motorcyclist may only:
- Ride a bike on a permanent seat that is attached to it
- Operate a motorcycle while sitting straddling the seat, facing forward with one leg on each side
- Carry a passenger if it is equipped to transport more than one person and has a firmly or permanently attached rear seat
Under motorcycle laws in Baltimore, if a passenger or package interferes with the motorcyclist’s ability to keep both hands on the handlebars, they should not carry the person or parcel.
The Law on Lane Splitting
Section 21-1303 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code states that:
- Motorcyclists can ride on any roadway divided into two or more marked lanes for vehicular traffic. But this rule does not apply to police officers performing their official duty.
- The motorcycle operator may not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
- A person may not operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
- Every motorcycle is entitled to the full use of a lane, and a motor vehicle may not be driven in any manner that deprives any motorcycle of the full use of a lane.
- Motorcycles may not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? A Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
Motorcycles, unlike cars, do not offer riders protective covering. As a result, motorcyclists are prone to severe or catastrophic injuries. If you sustain injuries while riding a bike, and the crash is not your fault, Maryland, being an at-fault auto car accident, allows you to seek financial compensation.
However, you need a reliable legal team to handle your case. At Pinder Plotkin, LLC, we have an in-depth understanding of the different motorcycle laws in Baltimore. Our lawyers have helped several crash victims get financial compensation from the at-fault party.
To us, you are a real person who suffered an unfortunate and traumatizing event and not just a case number. So, we offer you emphatic representation. Also, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us until we secure financial compensation. So, contact us today for a free case review with a personal injury attorney in Baltimore.