Many of Maine's more populated areas like Portland and Lewiston-Auburn have added bike lanes on many of their streets and roads. According to, cities that add bike lanes to their streets benefit bikers and drivers in many ways, such as keeping bikers and pedestrians safe and improving traffic flow. But are bicyclists required to use them?

Portland has many bike lanes throughout the city in various configurations. In some cases, the bike lane is along the right side of the road. In others, it may share the lane with automobile traffic. Some lanes are green-colored, while others are just the color of the pavement already there.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The bike lane is a big benefit for everyone on the road, but not every bicyclist uses them. Are they breaking the law? The answer is no.

The State of Maine's bicycling laws say this:

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

So if you see a bicyclist in your lane and not the bike lane, they have every right to be there. However, there are other rules they must follow, which I see broken regularly. Bicyclists must obey traffic laws like stopping at stop signs and red lights, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, and yielding to traffic when they enter from a road or driveway. Bicyclists also must ride with traffic and not against it.

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