Despite the lingering snow and general nastiness of the past few days’ weather, there were a lot of B’more people on bikes. Yesterday, in a 2 blocks span of Howard, I saw riders utilizing the Lombard St lanes, a BMXer riding a wheelie down Pratt and an older gentleman putting his bike on the light rail.
I walked the Little Italy Bike Route with a community leader there. We discussed amending some signs, while another sign completely disappeared. Yes, bike signs have been stolen in Bolton Hill, Park Heights and now Little Italy. Is it a “badge of honor’ to have a bike sign or do people just not want bikes coming through their community?
If you are pedaling through Little Italy, the residents kindly request that cyclists:
- yield to pedestrians crossing the road and
- please keep the volume down if you’re part of a regular early morning ride (Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays)
Little Italy is a unique community and an excellent place to bike with the quieter streets and fine restaurants. Let’s make sure the cycling community is maintaining a positive image to the rest of the city.
Bike Maryland’s 14th Annual Bicycle Symposium took place in Annapolis on Tuesday, February 22. The Symposium is a great event for bike advocates and planners across Maryland, DC and Northern VA to share ideas and meet with state legislators. True to trend, it snowed Tuesday morning, making access by bike a little more challenging.
Andy Clarke, Director of the League of American Bicyclists, gave an overview of what is happening across the country to promote cycling. Clarke stated that cycling is the “simple solution” to reduce foreign oil dependence, reduce traffic congestion, get some exercise and improve the livability of our communities. WE just have to ask for it. Bike lanes will not fund or build themselves, so each of us need to call our elected officials and make sure the funding is there, especially in these economically trying times. If you are interested in getting more involved, attend the National Bike Summit, sponsored by the League, in DC, March 8th – 10th.
Throughout the day, state senators and delegates stopped into the Symposium to express their support for cycling including Del. Jon Cardin (leader of the Maryland Bike Caucus), Sen. Jim Rosapepe of College Park, Del. Al Carr, Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and newly elected Del. Luke Clippinger. I had a chance to speak with Del. Clippinger, a South Baltimore native, who shared his cycling stories with me. He would like to do more riding once the legislative session ends in April, including the Ride For The Feast in May.
This session, the General Assembly will consider House Bill 363 – Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel. Currently under Maryland law, a sober driver who causes a fatality may get off with a $1000 fine. HB 363 will increase the penalty for this offense from simply sending in a check to facing a jury of your peers and potential jail time. Last year in Maryland, two cyclists lost their lives and those responsible are back on the road. Check out other potential bike-related state legislation here
Special Thanks to Carol Silldorff and Bike Maryland to putting together the Bike Symposium!
With the inclement weather, the Symposium will begin at 10am.
Travel safely! There’s ice underneath that snow
Bike Maryland is collecting information that will help to develop education programs to keep kids safe in Baltimore City. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey:
As the Bike Ambassador Program is developed, volunteers are needed to teach bike safety. If you are interested in becoming a bike ambassador please feel free to contact Alex Ticu at Bike Maryland.
Tomorrow, the 14th Annual Bicycle Symposium takes place in Annapolis!
Visit BikeMD for more information
Congratulations to Michael Cohen on winning the B’more Chilly Winter Biking Contest! Michael won with 64 Foursquare “check-ins” at various bike-related locations across Baltimore. Michael also became “The Mayor” at most of these locations. The contest’s end coincided with some amazing spring-like weather that has brought more riders to city streets.
Other B’more Chilly Participants that racked up the ‘check-ins’ are:
Bilqis Rock &
We thank everyone for participating in our first bike contest. If you didn’t win, don’t dispair, we have 2 more contests coming in May!
In other news:
I’ll be on WYPR 88.1 FM giving props to bike stuff in Baltimore Friday morning and just after 4pm on All Things Considered
If you’re a Facebook member, check out this page to let Congress know how you would like federal transportation dollars to be spent! (Thanks to Chris Yoder for the link)
At last night’s Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (MBAC) meeting, we were joined by Major Tony Brown of the Baltimore Police Department. This is the second meeting that local cyclists have had with the police department as Baltimore moves to promote a safer cycling environment.
Major Brown shared important information all cyclists should know:
- Accident reports are not always taken, even with vehicular accidents. If personal injury occurs, then an accident report will be taken.
- The Baltimore Police Department will not tolerate aggressive driving against cyclists. While accidents do happen, if the accident is intentional, it is classified as an “assault” and should be reported.
- The police department is developing a cyclist informational video to be shown at roll call and during the department’s on-going annual training. MBAC needs to provide a script and actors for the video (Any volunteers?)
- All cyclists must obey the rules of the road! As most officers’ exposure to cycling is by observing the practices of bike messengers, this has not helped encourage a positive image. Please stop at red lights, stop signs and yield to pedestrians.
- If you are planning a large bike ride, please contact the shift commander at the local precinct just to let them know.
- DOT’s Parking Control should be contacted to cite cars illegally parking in bike lanes.
By the next meeting (Tuesday, March 15th), the Major would like a list of :
- locations where cyclists are routinely harassed by motorists and
- locations where bike theft is a common occurrence
The police department will increase patrols where the harassment occurs and set up a ‘sting’ operation where bike theft occurs. Please post these locations below! or email me.
These are the first steps in helping promote a positive relationship and understanding between the Baltimore Police Department and area cyclists. We thank Major Brown for his time and efforts!
The wayfinding signs for the Park Heights and Southeast Bike Networks are being installed. Aside from a few minor gliches, all the signs are going in as planned. The new signs include destination, distance and direction for local landmarks and neighborhoods.
The Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meets Tuesday, February 15th at 6pm in the Planning Department’s Conference Room on the 8th Floor of 417 E. Fayette St. The meeting is open to the public and all interested cyclists are encouraged to attend. Major Tony Brown from the Baltimore Police Department will join us to address concerns from area cyclists. Please bring your bike inside & up the elevator to the 8th floor. (More bikes have disappeared from these racks lately.)
Check out WYPR or WAMU on Monday, February 14th during All Things Considered (between 4pm & 6pm) and you might hear me given a brief history of Baltimore’s bike network and the local benefits thereof.
The B’more Chilly Contest closes on Monday, February 14th so get as many check-ins as you can! The king or queen of winter riding claims an REI gift certificate and bragging rights until next year!
53cm black Raleigh Sport Road Bike
It was stolen from 417 E. Fayette St. yesterday afternoon despite having a u-lock and cable. That’s right: Stolen from right in front of the city’s Benton Building.
It’s an added bummer that Bilqis (pictured) was training for the 4K for Cancer Ride and “checking-in” frequently with the B’more Chilly contest.
If your bike is stolen, report the theft to the police and be sure to make copies of the bike’s serial number for better tracking. (Just another recommendation from our police meeting last week.)
Last night, the Baltimore County Council unanimously passed Bill 2-11 which will create the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee. The bill now goes to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz for final passage. Before the final vote, Council Chair John Olszewski added “I’m voting for this bill since there is no duplicate work created with the County Master Plan with minimal costs to the county. I, for one, would love to have bike and walking paths throughout the county.”
Two amendments to this bill were added that would focus this bill inside the URDL, the Urban/Urual Demarcation Line and encourage the creation of similar subcommittees for each council district.
Thanks to everyone who contacted their council representative to support this bill!
UPDATE: Check out Richard Layman’s take on the bill at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space
There are a few things going here at DOT that everyone should be aware of.
1. You may have noticed a different format here at the unofficial Bike Baltimore blog. We made an executive decision to deactivate our FORUMS. Keeping a ‘PG’ rating on the blog became increasingly difficult with the invasion of the spammers. We tried a couple different options to limit this invasion, but alas, nothing seemed to do the trick. (Sorry, this isn’t Bike Naked Day)
2. SO, we created a page on FACEBOOK to air comments and concerns. If there’s something serious going on, you can always email me and I’ll post it here and the public can chime in. (You can also access the Facebook link on the right.)
3. I’d like to introduce Andie Murtha, DOT’s new bike planner! Andie has been on a couple weeks now and has jumped in on several different initiatives.
4. Yesterday, members of Baltimore’s cycling community met with the Baltimore Police Department. This was the first step to incorporating police cooperation in promoting cyclists safety. I’ll post more on this event later on.
Until then have a great weekend and Go Packers!