MVA, Driving Tests, and Laws

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  1. What are the rules / laws that apply to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians?  And how does that technical information become part of what people study when applying for a driver’s licence? Take a look at Maryland’s advice in their MVA and compare it to the advice in Virginia’s manual.  Then read the article on the MVA information written in the Maryland newspaper: (predominantly discussed on page 28)

Summarize the information

According to the Maryland MVA Handbook, pedestrians and bicyclists always have the right of way. For motorists, they are supposed to be given the same respect on the road as cars. The handbook mentions that motorcycles are way more dangerous to drive, and because of this, there is a list of things to watch out for when driving near or with a motorcycle. For example, the manual says that motorcycles can be hidden in the vehicle’s blind spot, so it’s important to look twice.

The words “caution,” “care,” and “be prepared” are key words in this area of the manual to remind drivers that bicyclists and motorcyclists have laws that contribute to safety on the road. When learning to drive, it is imperative to learn how to respect and share the road with others.

In the Virginia MVA Handbook, the area with information on bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists is titled, “Sharing the Road.” This section of the handbook reminds the driver that it is their responsibility to watch for other people’s mistakes as well as assure everyone’s safety. However, compared to the Maryland handbook, the laws and tips on how to handle pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists are posed differently here. For example, the handbook uses pathos by starting out with the sentence for pedestrians as, “Pedestrians are especially prone to serious injury when struck.” Under this, there are four bullet points on how to watch for pedestrians, as if the sentence, “pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way,” isn’t enough. Then, for bicyclists, they are treated just like vehicles, and given a paragraph on the three foot rule, similar to the MD handbook. Similar to the pedestrian section, the motorcyclist information begins with the statistic, Approximately half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve automobiles. Many crashes are caused by the motorist’s failure to see a motorcycle in traffic.” This language implies that motorcyclists aren’t cautious enough to be mindful of motorists.


In “In new drivers manual, MVA gets something right,” the author does a critical analysis of the drivers manual. The author asks the audience a rhetorical question, “Who of us has not griped about waiting in line at one of its offices?” Already setting a humorous tone to the article while making the MVA appear uneducated and biased towards bicyclists and pedestrians. The article includes the newest draft of the sections on driving laws associated with bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

The audience for the MVA handbook is primarily for people learning to drive, whereas the Baltimore Sun article was written for an audience of bicyclists that believe they are underrepresented in the MVA handbook. What seems more effective is the article because it includes more technical language referring to bicycles and bicyclists. Clearly, the person who wrote the new draft for the bike section had knowledge on how bicyclists operate their own vehicles as well as knowledge on the vehicles around them. This explains why cyclists would prefer this article over the small area that they have in the MVA handbook. For motorists, a similar article should be written to renew the draft in the MVA handbook, with assistance from a motorcycling expert.


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