Is It Actually Illegal to Hitchhike in Maine?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
In many rural parts of the United States, hitchhiking was as commonplace as the random gas station in the middle of nowhere with an old man sitting outside of it. Images of people wearing backpacks and looking for a ride out of town have permeated pop culture for decades. After hitchhiking reached the peak of its popularity in the 1970s, laws began being put in place across the country because of incidents involving motorists and hitchhikers. So, is it illegal to hitchhike in Maine?
No, Hitchhiking is NOT Illegal in Maine, With a Few Exceptions
As stated by Maine.gov, hitchhiking in general is not illegal in Maine. People who are hitchhiking for a ride after their vehicle has broken down or while walking alongside a rural road is not an arrest-able or fineable offense in Maine. But there are several exceptions to the rule that could get someone attempting to hitchhike into trouble.
Hitchhiking is Prohibited on Highways in Maine
Under the same statute above, hitchhiking is illegal in Maine along the Maine Turnpike and other limited access highway (interstates or spurs). The underlying reason for not allowing hitchhiking on highways isn't to deprive individuals of a chance to get a ride, but rather driver and pedestrian safety where speed limits are high.
Hitchhiking is Also Prohibited at Night in Maine
Another provision of the laws surrounding hitchhiking in Maine is that the practice is prohibited on public roads at night. After the sun sets, anyone spotted hitchhiking could be faced with fines if they're attempting to hitchhike on a public way.
Towns Can Also Choose to Prohibit Hitchhiking on Their Own
While the State of Maine has chosen not to put in a prevailing law about hitchhiking, each town or municipality in Maine can choose to prohibit hitchhiking if they choose, as long as they follow the state guidelines. Those guidelines include each town and municipality making the ordinance known through clear and visible signage.