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Maine Bicycle & Pedestrian Laws

Maine Bicycle Laws

  • Maine bicycling laws generally give bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators. Bicyclists may use public roads, and they must obey traffic laws such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks and yielding to traffic when entering a road from a driveway.
  • Bicyclists must ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Bicycle are expected to ride on the right as far as is “practicable,” but there is a variety of situations in which a rider may legally take a larger share of the travel lane, including: setting up for a left turn, proceeding straight where a right turn is also permitted, passing other vehicles, and to avoid obstacles or other unsafe situations.
  • Bicyclists MAY ride on designated bike paths and in bike lanes, but they are NOT required to do so, even when such paths or lanes parallel a road. Bicycles have a right to be on most roads in Maine, but may be prohibited from riding on divided highways and other roads as per local and state ordinances and rules. Bicycles are not required to ride in shoulders or bike lanes in Maine.
  • Bicyclists must have and use headlights at night, as well as rear reflectors and foot/ankle/pedal reflectors. They also must have functional brakes on their bikes.
  • Cyclists under 16 must wear bike helmets.
  • In most cases, sidewalk riding is allowed and legal unless specifically prohibited by a municipality/local ordinance. Please check with your local municipalities.
  • Maine Motor Vehicle Laws Related to Biking:
    • Motorists must give at least three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists.
    • Motorists who are passing bicyclists proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn unless they can do so with reasonable safety.
    • Motorists may cross the centerline in a no-passing zone in order to pass a bicyclist if it is safe to do so.
    • Motorists should not unnecessarily sound a horn. Honking your horn when approaching a bicyclist could startle them and cause a crash. Maine law states "a person may not unnecessarily sound a signaling device or horn". (Title 29A, Chapter 17, Section 1903)
    • Motorists may open car doors only after checking to see that it can be done safely, without interfering with traffic.

Maine Pedestrian Laws

  • Maine Pedestrian Laws
  • Pedestrian traffic. When use of a sidewalk next to a public way is practicable, a pedestrian may not walk on that public way.
  • Pedestrian on way. Where sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian shall walk facing approaching traffic on the left side of the public way or the way's shoulder when practicable.
  • Pedestrians on sidewalks. An operator shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian on a sidewalk.
  • Pedestrians in marked crosswalks. When traffic-control devices are not in operation, an operator must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing within a marked crosswalk.
  • Pedestrian crossing. A pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle when crossing a way:
    • Other than within a marked crosswalk; or
    • With an available pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing.
  • Pedestrian prohibitions. A pedestrian may not:
    • Cross between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control devices operate, except in a marked crosswalk;
    • Cross an intersection diagonally, unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; or
    • Suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield.
  • When vehicle stopped. When a vehicle is stopped at an intersection or a marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross, the operator of another vehicle approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
  • Due care. Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter or of a local ordinance, an operator of a vehicle shall:
    • Exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian;
    • Give warning by sounding the horn when necessary; and
    • Exercise proper caution on observing a child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.
  • Failure to yield right-of-way to a visually impaired pedestrian. Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, an operator who fails to yield the right-of-way to a visually impaired pedestrian who is carrying a cane that is predominately white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or using a guide or personal care dog as defined in Title 17, section 1312, commits a traffic infraction. Notwithstanding section 103, subsection 3, the fine for a violation of this subsection may not be less than $50 nor more than $1,000.