Below are some commonly asked questions about bicycling safetly and laws in Maine. Do you have questions? Please use our form to the right to submit your questions for inclusion on this page.
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- Is it legal in Maine to ride 2 abreast?
- No. Maine Law requires a bicyclist to ride as far right as practicable (operating at a speed less than the speed of traffic), except when it is unsafe to do so as determined by the bicyclist. As far right as practicable is never to the left of another bicyclist, except when passing.
- Does Maine's Operating Under the Influence Law apply to bicyclists?
- Can a bicyclist ride in the middle of the lane?
- Sometimes. There are times when it is legal for a bicyclist to ride in the center of the lane, and to cross lanes to get into the left turn lane. A bicyclist has the legal right to determine the safest location on the road. A bicyclists can ride in the center of the lane if riding the normal speed of traffic, or when he or she has determined it is unsafe to ride further to the right. Typical reasons that bicyclists use to determine it is safer to be in the middle of the travel lane include debris, rough pavement, car doors opening, and lanes too narrow for a motor vehicle and bike to share. Specific examples of when it is legal include:
- To avoid hazardous and unsafe conditions as determined by the bicyclist
- When preparing to make a left turn
- When proceeding straight at locations where right turns are permitted
- Construction zones where lane widths are reduced
§2063. Bicycles, roller skis, toy vehicles and scooters
- 2. Riding to the right. A person operating a bicycle or roller skis upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time and place shall operate on the right portion of the way as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so as determined by the bicyclist or roller skier or:
- A. When overtaking and passing another roller skier, bicycle or other vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- B. When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
- C. When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and
- D. When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, roller skiers, pedestrians, animals, broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, surface hazards or opening doors from parallel-parked vehicles, or a lane of substandard width that makes it unsafe to continue along the right portion of the way. For purposes of this paragraph, "lane of substandard width" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or roller skier and a vehicle to travel safely side by side in the lane.
- Do I have to wear a helmet?
- Yes, if you are under 16 years old.
- Can a group ride together and take up the full width of the lane?
- Sometimes. If the group is traveling at the same rate of speed as traffic, then it is permitted. For instance when a group of riders is approaching a stop sign. Otherwise, the law states "bicyclist must ride as far to the right as practicable and safe."
- Can a bicyclist ride on the sidewalk?
- Yes. In most locations, it is perfectly legal to ride on a sidewalk. A local municipality would have to specifically prohibit it for it to be illegal. Please check with your local municipalities.
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