Bicycle Helmet Laws in Maryland
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists in Maryland. Part of that duty is to comply with the state’s bicycle helmet laws.
Understanding Maryland’s bike helmet law is critical for your safety. But following the law can also strengthen a potential legal claim if you’re hurt in a bicycle accident. If you obeyed the law and took every step to protect yourself but were hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your losses.
Find out your legal options today. Contact the Maryland bicycle accident lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC for help. We have the talent, experience, and resources needed to demand maximum compensation for your injuries.
What Are the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Laws?
Currently, there is no federal law that requires cyclists to wear a helmet. However, different states have set their requirements for cyclists. In Maryland, bicyclists under 16 years old must always wear a safety helmet when biking on public property. This includes trails, sidewalks, and roadways.
Some jurisdictions set and enforce their own helmet rules, such as:
- Montgomery County: Helmets required for those under 18
- Sykesville, MD: Mandatory helmet rule for all riders
Why Should You Wear a Helmet?
Although you can’t avoid an injury entirely, you could reduce the risk of a head injury by 50 percent if you wear a helmet while riding your bike. If you’re involved in an accident and suffer a blow to the head, a helmet could significantly soften the impact and could prevent you from suffering a severe or fatal injury.
You’re at a higher risk of injury if you ride your bike at night because motorists often have trouble seeing cyclists in low-visibility conditions. Cyclists can protect themselves by choosing a helmet with built-in reflectors or placing reflector tape on their helmets to help drivers see them while riding in the dark.
Even if you wear a helmet, it might not be effective if it’s the wrong size or fits improperly. Before buying a bike helmet, try it on. Make sure that it sits one to two finger-widths above your eyebrows and evenly between both ears. It should feel comfortable but remain snug on your head. If it falls off easily, it’s too large.
Bicycle Helmet FAQs
As a cyclist, you might have additional questions about helmet use in Maryland. We’ve provided the answers to some frequently asked questions below:
Do I have to wear a helmet if I’m an experienced cyclist?
If you’re 16 or older, you are legally not required to wear a helmet in most counties in Maryland, with a few exceptions. However, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet regardless of how experienced you are. While you might be a skilled rider, you can’t account for the actions of others on the road and could be severely injured if you encounter a reckless or careless motorist.
How often should I replace my helmet?
Some manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every three to five years, depending on how much a person uses it. You should definitely replace it if you get into an accident.
Even if the outer shell seems to be in good condition, there could be damage to the protective foam inside the helmet. It’s made for one-time use and becomes ineffective after being crushed in any way.
Do more expensive helmets work better than cheaper options?
Although there isn’t data comparing every type of expensive and inexpensive bike helmet on the market, some testing has shown similar performance for both.
Every helmet in the United States must meet impact standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, regardless of the retail price. If you want to protect your head while riding but don’t have the money to purchase an expensive helmet, there are affordable options that still meet this safety standard.
Maryland Bicycle Fatality Rates
Despite bicycle helmet laws, severe injuries and deaths still occur. The most current data from the Maryland Highway Safety Office reported 25 bike or other pedalcycle deaths over just two years in the state. A five-year average showed there were 11 fatal bicycle accidents and 672 injury crashes, and the numbers continue to rise.
Contact Our Maryland Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you were injured in a bicycle accident in Maryland, contact Trollinger Law LLC right away to learn your legal options. Our proven team of injury lawyers has extensive experience helping those who’ve been hurt by negligent motorists, bike manufacturers, government agencies, and other parties. We’ll investigate your bike accident, determine who might be liable, and seek full and fair compensation for your losses.
Don’t let someone else’s poor decisions cost you everything. Call our Maryland bike accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means you will never have to pay out of pocket for our services. We only get paid if we win your case.
Call or contact us today for your no-cost case review.