Starting Saturday, June 10, cyclists in Maryland will be granted limited access to cross the Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge (US 301) on weekends and state holidays only. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has announced this new measure to promote the safe sharing of the bridge between motorists and bicyclists.
To ensure all users’ safety, bicyclists must stop before reaching the bridge and activate flashing warning lights by pushing a button. These lights will signal drivers for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the direction of travel, alerting them to the presence of a bicyclist on the bridge.
According to projected traffic volumes, the MDTA recommends specific periods for bicyclists to cross the bridge. On Saturdays, it is advised to cross between dawn and 10 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. until dusk. Sundays permit crossing from dawn until noon and then from 6 p.m. until dusk. State holidays will have access from dawn to dusk.
Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic and should position themselves in the center of the right lane. Motorists are urged to use the left lane for the entire length of the bridge when the warning lights are flashing.
There are specific restrictions and requirements for cyclists using the bridge. Bicyclists must be 18 years of age or older or possess a valid driver’s license. They are encouraged to ride a single file and follow all road rules. Stopping while crossing the bridge is not permitted. Additionally, pedestrians, skateboards, scooters, and skates are not allowed on the bridge. Access to bicycles may be restricted during periods of high traffic volumes, fog, wind, inclement weather, or incidents.
It is important to note that vehicles weighing more than five tons must use the right lane for general travel on the bridge, but they may use the left lane to pass bicycles safely. When the right lane is closed for maintenance or construction, bicyclists cannot cross the bridge.
The recently constructed Nice/Middleton Bridge incorporates more than $2 million in features to accommodate the new lane-sharing arrangement. These features include warning signs, push-button-activated flashing warning beacons, and bicycle-friendly modular expansion joints. These expansion joints have replaced finger joints commonly used on other Maryland Transportation Authority bridges.
On Wednesday, April 26, the Maryland Transportation Authority hosted an informational open house to educate the public about the bicycle system features on the Nice/Middleton Bridge. Attendees could view display boards and engage with agency representatives to gather information and provide feedback. The open house aimed to inform motorists and bicyclists about bicycle lane-sharing features and to gather comments regarding bicycle access on the bridge, including suggestions for safe hours and days of operation. The public comment period lasted from April 12 to May 10.
The Maryland Transportation Authority carefully reviewed and gave all public comments equal consideration. To view these comments, interested individuals can visit the MDTA’s website at mdta.maryland.gov/.
While the implementation of lane sharing is set to begin in June, the Maryland Transportation Authority plans to expand the bicycle warning system on the bridge based on the feedback received during the comment period. The MDTA appreciates all participants who contributed feedback and helped shape this new bicycle access policy on the Nice/Middleton Bridge.