Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Reminds Bicyclists Traffic Laws Apply To Them As Well

This follows complaints from motorists about bicyclists not obeying the rules of the road.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – The weather has gotten warmer and that means a lot of bicyclists taking to the roads for exercise,  fresh air and beautiful scenery.  . But the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is reminding them that the rules of the road apply to them as well as motorists. “You have to stop at a stop sign on your bicycle. You can’t blow through a red light. You have use your arm and show signal and intention to turn so someone behind you is able to take notice and adjust their speed on the roadway,” says Deputy Brian Bittenmaster with the Sheriff’s Office.

The law says bicyclists are not allow on roadways where the speed limit exceeds 50-miles per hour, and that includes Interstates 70 and 270, and Routes 15 and 340. “:Basically, the quick rule of thumb is any roadway where there’s a ramp access, you’re not going to be able to access with a bicycle,” says Depute Bittenmaster.

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office says it normally receives complaints about motorists not respecting bicyclists. But recently, motorists have been complaining about bicyclists not obeying the rules of the road.

Authorities also say if deputies see violations, they will warn the bicyclist. And if the violation is very serious, citations will be issued.

But Deputy Biitenmaster says motorists also need to be on the lookout for bicyclists. He says that means putting aside distractions such as hand held cell phones. “If you see a bicyclist in his lane, on the shoulder or legally in the roadway, we need to adjust our speed appropriately, and make sure if we do pass him, we do so in a safe passing area, give him plenty space, and we don’t take a second, get hung up and make a tragedy,”: he says.

And if there is an encounter between a bicyclist and a motor vehicle, and it  results in injuries, “we want to pull over. We want to call 911. And if we’re able to, we want to make contact with the injured party,”: says Deputy Bittenmaster. “Especially those who have medical experience, we want to start rendering some kind of aid,. and make that we have the Sheriff’s Office and EMS and fire and rescue services started out that way.”

Other rules that bicyclist need to remember, according to the Sheriff’s Office, include not carrying anything which prevents the bicyclists from keeping both hands on the handlebars; a bicyclist may not wear a headset and earphones which cover both ears; and when riding at night, Maryland law requires a white headlight in the front of a bicycle, and a red reflector on the back; and bicyclists should wear bright clothing during the day, and reflective clothing at night.

By Kevin McManus