Section VIII. Legislative Language

C. State of Maryland and Maryland Counties

1. MARYLAND LEGISLATION, AS INTRODUCED

HOUSE BILL 974

(As introduced February 10, 1995)

By: Delegates Conroy, Perry, Harrison, Hubbard, Love, and Pitkin

Introduced and read first time: February 10, 1995

Assigned to: Commerce and Government Matters

An ACT concerning

Vehicle Laws - Bicycle Helmets Required

FOR the purpose of prohibiting a person from operating or riding on a bicycle unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that conforms with certain standards; providing for the application of this Act; establishing certain penalties; authorizing a court to waive a fine assessed under this Act under certain circumstances; providing for the distribution and use of the fines collected; providing that the failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence and may not limit liability of a party or an insurer or diminish recovery of certain damages; establishing certain requirements for persons regularly engaged in the business of selling or renting bicycles; providing that this Act prevails over all local laws and regulations; authorizing the issuance of warnings for violations of this Act during a certain period; and generally relating to the mandatory use of bicycle helmets.

BY adding to

Article - Transportation
Section 21-1207.1
Annotated Code of Maryland
(1992 Replacement Volume and 1994 Supplement)

HOUSE BILL 974

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:

Article - Transportation
21-1207.1.


(A) (1) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION APPLY:

(I) AT ALL TIMES WHILE A BICYCLE IS BEING OPERATED ON ANY HIGHWAY, BICYCLE WAY, OR OTHER PROPERTY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC OR USED BY THE PUBLIC FOR PEDESTRIAN OR VEHICULAR TRAFFIC; AND

(II) TO ANY PERSON RIDING ON A BICYCLE INCLUDING ANY PASSENGER WHO RIDES ON A BICYCLE:

1. IN A RESTRAINING SEAT ATTACHED TO THE BICYCLE; OR

2. IN A TRAILER BEING TOWED BY THE BICYCLE.

(2) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION DO NOT APPLY TO PASSENGERS IN COMMERCIAL RICKSHAWS.

(B) A PERSON MAY NOT OPERATE OR RIDE AS A PASSENGER ON A BICYCLE UNLESS THE PERSON IS WEARING A PROPERLY FITTED AND FASTENED HELMET THAT MEETS OR EXCEEDS THE STANDARDS OF THE AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE, THE SNELL MEMORIAL FOUNDATION'S STANDARD, OR THE STANDARDS OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF TESTING AND MEASUREMENTS FOR PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR FOR USE IN BICYCLING.

(C) (1) A PERSON CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS SUBJECT TO:

(I) FOR A FIRST OFFENSE, A FINE OF UP TO $25 PLUS COURT COSTS; AND

(II) FOR A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE, A FINE OF UP TO $50 PLUS COURT COSTS.

      (2) A COURT MAY WAIVE A FINE ASSESSED FOR A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IF:

(I) THE VIOLATION IS THE OFFENDER'S FIRST VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION; AND

(II) THE PERSON CONVICTED OF THE VIOLATION SUPPLIES THE COURT WITH PROOF THAT BETWEEN THE DATE OF THE VIOLATION AND THE APPEARANCE DATE FOR THE VIOLATION THE PERSON PURCHASED A HELMET THAT MEETS THE STANDARDS SPECIFIED IN SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION.

(D) (1) THE CLERK OF THE COURT SHALL DISTRIBUTE ANY FINES COLLECTED

UNDER THIS SECTION TO THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE VIOLATION OCCURRED TO BE USED BY THE GOVERNING BODY FOR BICYCLE RELATED PURPOSES INCLUDING THE FUNDING OF BICYCLE SAFETY EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

(2) THE GOVERNING BODY OF A COUNTY RECEIVING FUNDS UNDER PARAGRAPH (1) OF THIS SUBSECTION SHALL CONSULT WITH THE BICYCLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED UNDER § 21-1307 OF THIS SUBTITLE REGARDING APPROPRIATE USES OF THE FUNDS.

(E) THE FAILURE OF A PERSON TO USE A BICYCLE HELMET AS REQUIRED UNDER THIS SECTION MAY NOT:

(1) BE CONSIDERED EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENCE;

(2) BE CONSIDERED EVIDENCE OF CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE;

(3) LIMIT LIABILITY OF A PARTY OR AN INSURER; OR

(4) DIMINISH RECOVERY FOR DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE OWNERSHIP,

MAINTENANCE, OR OPERATION OF A VEHICLE.

(F) (1) A PERSON REGULARLY ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF SELLING

BICYCLES SHALL PROMINENTLY DISPLAY A SIGN AT THE PERSON'S PLACE OF BUSINESS SUMMARIZING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTIONS (A), (B), AND (C) OF THIS SECTION.

(2) A PERSON REGULARLY ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF RENTING BICYCLES SHALL:

(I) REQUIRE EACH PERSON SEEKING TO RENT A BICYCLE TO SIGN A FORM INDICATING RECEIPT OF A WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTIONS (A), (B), AND (C) OF THIS SECTION; AND

(II) PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF EACH PERSON SEEKING TO RENT A BICYCLE, A HELMET THAT CONFORMS WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION UNLESS THE PERSON ALREADY HAS SUCH A HELMET IN THE PERSON'S POSSESSION.

(3) A PERSON REGULARLY ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF SELLING OR RENTING BICYCLES WHO COMPLIES WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPHS (1) AND (2) OF THIS SUBSECTION MAY NOT BE HELD LIABLE IN A CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES FOR ANY PHYSICAL INJURY SUSTAINED BY A BICYCLE OPERATOR OR PASSENGER DUE TO FAILURE TO WEAR A PROPERLY FITTED AND FASTENED HELMET IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

(G) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION PREVAIL OVER ALL LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE USE OF BICYCLE HELMETS.

SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED. That during the first 90 days after the effective date of this Act, the provisions of § 21-1207.1 of the Transportation Article may be enforced only by the issuance of a warning that:

  1. Informs the offender of the requirements of § 21-1207.1 of the Transportation Article; and
  2. Provides educational materials about bicycle helmet use.

SECTION 3. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED That this Act shall take effect
October 1, 1995.