Campus Bike Regulations & Safety

The campus bike guidelines listed below are a critical resource for UMD cyclists.

In addition to outlining important bicycling traffic laws and parking restrictions, the guidelines explain how to claim a lost or stolen bike, or donate your bike to charity through the DOTS office.

We recommend that cyclists become acquainted with the campus bike regulations as soon as they complete the required Bike Index registration

Bike Parking

Maryland State Law indicates that bicycles must be operated on the road and follow all traffic laws. This includes, but is not limited to, stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic signals, riding in the direction of traffic, the prohibited wearing of headsets or earplugs in both ears, and yielding to other vehicles and pedestrians.

Cyclists should ride on the road. If it is necessary to access a destination on a bicycle via sidewalk, dismount your bicycle and walk. Always yield to pedestrians. Stick to low-traffic and low-speed areas and use bike lanes when possible. Exercise caution if it is necessary to cross or briefly travel on a busy road.

When riding in roadways, note that many streets on campus have shared-lane markings. Bicyclists are allowed to use the whole lane and cars are required to give at least 3 feet of room when passing. Cyclists must also obey traffic control signs, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and use hand signals to indicate direction.

All state regulations related to traffic laws are enforced by the UMD Police Department. Maryland State Uniform Citations may be issued by police personnel for bicycle moving violations. The bicycle operator is responsible for all traffic citations.

BIKE PARKING REGULATIONS

Bikes may only be parked on bike racks. Locking to trees, benches, railings or other objects is prohibited. Improperly parked bikes will be impounded. You may view all of the bike racks on campus by opening the Interactive Campus Map. DOTS is responsible for enforcing bike parking regulations.

If you feel there are not enough bike racks or need to report a bike rack repair, please submit a request.

HOW TO LOCK YOUR BIKE

When locking your bike, use a u-lock. U-locks are the most secure type of bicycle lock for the price. The solid steel of a u-lock is more difficult to cut than the braided steel of cable locks or the thinner steel of chain locks. The thicker the lock you purchase, the more difficult it will be to cut.

Entry-level u-locks are available for purchase from the DOTS office at Regents Drive Garage and from the RecWell Bike Shop. Always lock your frame to the bike rack with the u-lock. Locking just the front fork or single wheel is easier but allows thieves to get away with most of the bike. If you have questions about where or how to best lock your bike, email bike@umd.edu.

Impounded Bikes

Bikes that are not parked at bike racks may be impounded immediately for improper parking. This includes bikes that are locked to trees, railings, gates or signs. Parked bikes may not block disabled access or be a fire hazard. Abandoned bikes left on racks surrounding residence halls are removed every summer. Bike racks near academic buildings are checked for abandoned bikes on an ongoing basis. Bikes that appear abandoned (excessive rust, flat tires, missing components) will receive a warning tag. This tag indicates that the bike must be moved before a set date, usually two weeks from the placement of the tag. If the bike is not moved, it will be impounded.

Lost or Stolen Bikes

If you are unable to locate your bike, check the impounded bikes database and follow the reclaim procedures in the next section. All reclaimed bikes will be assessed a $35 bike impound fee.

If you think your bike was stolen, call the Department of Public Safety immediately at (301) 405-3555.

DOTS currently has hundreds of bicycles in our bicycle impound that have been lost, abandoned or impounded. Many of these bikes are similar models and colors and therefore we are unable to identify your bicycle without detailed information and time to look for it. If you think your bicycle has been impounded, check the Bicycle Impound Database and see if you can identify your bicycle. All impounded bikes are on this list. 

If you can identify your bicycle in the database: 

Please fill out the Bicycle Reclaim/Retrieval Form to reclaim your bike and arrange for a contactless pick-up. DOTS will confirm your pick-up time via email. At the time of your appointment, your bike will be locked to the bike rack outside of Regents Drive Garage, which is now dedicated for contactless pick-up.

In advance of reclaiming your impounded bicycle, you'll need to:

  • Email proof of ownership (bicycle registration, a purchase receipt, or a picture of you with your bike) to bike@umd.edu.
  • If your bike is not registered with the Bike Index, you will need to do so and include the email address you linked to your registration in your proof of ownership email to bike@umd.edu.
  • Pay a $35 impound fee to reclaim your bike by calling DOTS to pay over the phone or arrange to charge the fee to your student account.

If you cannot identify your bicycle in the Bicycle Impound Database:

DOTS does not have your bike and we highly recommend you contact the Department of Public Safety (301) 405-3555 to report it as missing.

Students, staff and faculty who no longer want their bicycles are encouraged to remove them from campus property by donating it to the DOTS Bicycle Recycle program. Your bike will be refurbished by RecWell bike mechanics and sold at a discount at select events throughout the academic year. DOTS also works with a number of local non-profit organizations that will accept non-refurbishable bikes as donations.

HOW TO DONATE

Bikes may be donated at the DOTS office in Regents Drive Garage or at the RecWell Bike Shop during regular business hours throughout the year, or email bike@umd.edu. Want to schedule a pickup? Fill out this form and we will contact you.

Bike safety

Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights

Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights is a coordinated outreach effort that promotes the shared use of roadways on campus. Whether you bike, scoot or drive, it’s important to know how to safely interact with others in traffic.

During the month of October, we promote the Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights principles through a series of fun events!

Circle with cars, bikes, e-scooters co-existing on the road with "Same Roads, Same Rules" printed in a banner through the middle.

Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Rights principles:

  • Make Space for Each Other: Leave 3 feet between yourself and another vehicle when passing—don’t try to squeeze by.
  • Be Predictable: Make your intentions clear to everyone. Don’t make abrupt turns or swerve around other vehicles.
  • Ride on the Road: Bikes and e-scooters should generally be used on roads. If you must use a sidewalk to access your destination, dismount your bike and walk. Remember to always yield to pedestrians.
  • Follow the Law: Obey traffic signals, stop at stop signs, stay in your lane and always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Take the pledge to demonstrate your commitment to share the road and help keep our campus streets safe!

Use Lights When Riding At Night

See and be seen when riding at night!

If you are cycling after dark, your safety depends on other motorists’ ability to see you. Maryland state law requires your bike to have, at a minimum, a front white light visible from at least 100 feet and a rear red reflector. In addition to this, BikeUMD recommends a rear flashing-red light and, if possible, additional reflective clothing or bike reflectors. Light sets are available for purchase from the DOTS office in Regents Drive Garage and the RecWell Bike Shop.

Wear a Helmet

In the State of Maryland, helmets are not required for bicycle riders 16 years of age or older. However, BikeUMD recommends that all people, regardless of age, wear a helmet when they bike. Helmets can be purchased from the DOTS office at Regents Drive Garage or from the RecWell Bike Shop for a discounted rate of $20. RecWell Bike Shop mechanics can help you fit and adjust your helmet. We recommend that you replace your helmet every five years. Immediately replace your helmet if it has sustained impact in a fall or collision, or if it has visible cracks or major dents.