Maine Bike Law

Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Law
June 2013


From Title 29-A
Chapter 1—General Provisions


  • Bicycle.  “Bicycle” means a device primarily propelled by human power, operated by a person usually seated on a seat and driven on the ground on wheels by the operator 
  • Pedestrian.  “Pedestrian” means a person on foot or an operator of a wheelchair or a 4-wheeled or 3-wheeled motorized wheelchair 

From Title 29-A
Chapter 19—Motor Vehicle Operation 

§2060. Turning at intersections
An operator intending to turn at an intersection may do so as follows: 

  • Right turns.  The operator shall make both the approach and a right turn as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the way. 
  • 1-A. Right turns near bicyclists or roller skiers.   A person operating a motor vehicle near a person operating a bicycle or roller skis and proceeding in the same direction may not make a right turn unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with the safe and legal operation of the bicycle or roller skis. 

§2063. Bicycles, roller skis, toy vehicles and scooters  

  • Definitions.  For the purpose of this section, “bicycle” includes a motorized bicycle, a motorized tricycle or a motorized scooter.  
  • 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:
    1. When overtaking and passing another roller skier, bicycle or other vehicle proceeding in the same direction; 
    2. When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; 
    3. When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted; and 
    4. 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. 
    • This subsection does not apply in a municipality that, by ordinance approved by the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation, makes other provisions regarding the operating location of a bicycle or roller skier on a roadway.

From Maine DOT Website

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.
  • Bicycles 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