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Bicycle Safety Policy
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BA Policy #02-08
June 24, 2002

SUBJECT:Safe Bicycling at the Beltsville
Agricultural Research Center

The following establishes guidelines governing the safe use of bicycles at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), including when biking to/from the George Washington Carver Center (GWCC), and National Agricultural Library (NAL).

The BARC has adopted the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), "A Safety Handbook for Bicycle and Moped Owners," which provides the relevant laws and regulations. Listed below are the regulations pertinent to BARC, provided in this handbook, along with some additional BARC requirements.

If you commute to BARC, GWCC, or NAL from offsite, then it is recommended that you obtain the complete Maryland Department of Transportation handbook for riding on public roads. It is available from Motor Vehicle Administration Full Service Offices, and from the MDOT Bicycle Affairs Coordinator (1-800-252-8776).

Every individual riding a bicycle in a public bicycle area has the same rights and duties as an operator of a motor vehicle. A public bicycle area is any street, highway, bicycle path, or other facility maintained by a public agency on which bicycle use is permitted.

Travel Restrictions:

Bicycles have the same legal requirements and restrictions as motor vehicles, with these exceptions:

Operational Requirements:

Since a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle in Maryland, cyclists have the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle. On all public highways where cycling is allowed, the operator must:

Under Maryland law it is specifically prohibited for a cyclist to:

Bicycle Equipment:

By law, all bicycles must be equipped with:

  • Brakes that enable the operator to make the braked wheel skid on dry, level, or clean pavements.
  • An audible device (bell or horn) that can be heard for at least 100 feet, note that sirens and whistles are prohibited.
  • A white beam headlight visible at a distance of 500 feet and a red rear reflector visible at a distance of 600 feet, if ridden at night or during unfavorable light conditions.
  • A bicycle basket, rack, or bag if small articles are transported so that both hands may be kept on the handlebars.
  • Care of Your Bicycle:

    A bicycle requires periodic inspection and maintenance:

    Guidelines Specific to BARC:

    Since bicycling is a physical exercise, it is suggested that employees operating the Government-owned bicycles participate in the Occupational Medical Surveillance Program or obtain certification from their private physician indicating the employee is medically fit to operate a bicycle.

    Means of communication (cell phones, etc.) should be provided to employees while operating Government-owned bicycles.