There’s no shortage of action on bills that effect cyclists circulating in Annapolis. While three bills will directly effect Maryland riders, the bill most effecting cycling conditions is the one flying under the radar: HB524: End The Gridlock! introduced by Delegate Brian Feldman (Montgomery County) (Seriously, that’s the official name of the bill)
Aside from the gun control bill, no other bill will generate more debate this session. With funds depleted from the state transportation “trust’ fund, HB524 will establish the means by which future transportation projects are funded AND provide a specific list of projects that will be commenced. Given the name of the bill, the implied intent is to make it easier to drive a car. With induced demand, there’s no way that we can realistically build our way out of this transportation crisis. The real crisis will occur if Marylanders, who know the benefits of sustainable transportation (walking, biking, transit) do not contact their state delegates & senators to focus more responsible funding on these types of projects.
Here’s an update on the other three bills:
HB445 (Overtaking Another Vehicle) – As a modification of the “3 Foot Law’, this bill would have given some teeth toward enforcement and leniency to well-intentioned motorists by allowing cars to cross a double yellow line to pass a bike, or any other slower-moving vehicle. This would have been nice, but the bill died in committee on Monday, February 25th. The bill was sponsored by Delegate Jon Cardin (Baltimore County), chair of the Bike Caucus.
HB160 (Riding on Sidewalks) – This bill would have reiterated the statewide status quo for allowing bicycle riding on sidewalks. Sponsored by Delegate Aruna Miller (Montgomery County), this bill received mixed reviews from the cycling community. Yes, sometimes riding in the roadway is treacherous, but many times sidewalk riding is more treacherous to pedestrians. This bill would have had no effect on Baltimore City’s law prohibiting sidewalk riding. Suffering a similar fate to HB445, HB160 also died in committee in Monday, February 25th.
HB339 (Required Use of Protective Gear a.k.a. Mandatory Helmet Law) remains alive in the Environmental Matters committee. Given Delegate McIntosh’s impeccable bill passage record, HB339 is likely to survive committee. While the Maryland Department of Transportation initially submitted a ‘neutral’ written testimony on the bill, the testimony has now been changed to FAVORABLE! Therefore, if the bill does survive committee, what options do Maryland cyclists favor?
- Nothing! We need this bill dead! The existing helmet law applying to those 16 and younger is good enough
- For all people of all ages on bikes travelling on roadways with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or greater
- For all people of all ages on bikes no matter what type of facility they’re travelling on
Heavy rains have delayed the Memorial Ride for Nathan Krasnopoler until Wednesday evening at 7pm. Follow the Facebook event page for updates.
Hosted by Bike Maryland, the 16th Annual Bicycle Symposium happens tomorrow in Annapolis. Participation is FREE but registration is requested. Join this all day event and hear from presenters on how Maryland is becoming more bike friendly. Arrange to meet with your state legislators during the day and encourage them to vote in a pro-bike manner.
Contributed by Dave Blum
I just attended the latest quarterly Reservoir Coalition Meeting hosted by the GVC. While the meeting proceeded as it typically does, there was direct reference to mountain bikers building trails at Merrymans, including two eye witnesses to the work off the fire road coming from Pot Spring Road. Needless to say, this presents a rather significant concern for mountain bike access at Loch Raven.
The ranger at this meeting said they will look into the new trails and that they are looking to catch those responsible for trail proliferation. They are looking to make an example of those responsible, and there was reference to violations of both state and federal law for those who willfully damage the forest buffer. They have been using hunting cameras to track various violations throughout the reservoir, and made a vague reference to using them to identify trail builders on site and at local access points (such as Pot Spring Rd.).
Access to Loch Raven in general are threatened by the construction of these new trails and log obstacles/bridges. This activity will be used to completely remove mountain biking from Loch Raven.
- We need to put an end to the trail proliferation. It will be the end of mountain biking at Loch Raven, especially given the addition of greater than 5 miles of new trails on the south side of Merrymens alone.
- We also need to have the new bridge and other obstacles removed, and the new trails closed.
There are many of us that do not want to lose our access to Loch Raven trails. Please don’t ruin it for the rest of us. There isn’t a square inch of land that they don’t monitor annually, it is not the place to build new trails. Likewise, we have numerous parks, like Patapsco, etc., that are always looking for help building new trail, and welcome our assistance.
Please help us keep access at Loch Raven. Thanks again, for your support!
Sparse showers and a slight chill were not going to stop February’s bike party, just as torn biceps and a 4th and 29 were not keeping the Ravens from winning it all! Celebrating the World Champion Baltimore Ravens, the bike party was decked out in purple and thumped to “Seven Nation Army.” Even a Redskins fan got into the action by wearing an Elvis Grbac jersey.
Two years ago JHU engineering student Nathan Krasnopoler was lost in a tragic bicycle accident. Nathan was biking in a bike lane with all the proper cycling gear when an elderly driver turned in front of him. The Krasnopolers are launching an organization, Americans for Older Driver Safety, to help prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. .
Tomorrow’s Bike Party route is now available. As usual, the meetup begins at 7pm at the Washington Monument (although some are coming earlier) and the roll out happens about 7:30. The 10 mile route will end at Little Havana on Key Highway.
The weather appears to cooperate for the ride! Minor showers are expected tomorrow afternoon but clear out in time for the ride. Temps are expected in the upper 30s/lower 40s so icing shouldn’t be an issue. Either way, bundle up and WEAR PURPLE!!
In case the weather turns and the ride status is in questions, check out the Facebook event page
A limited run of XLVII (47) high quality prints has been printed for this month’s “Ravens Championship” Bike Party.” Created by Ryan Dupre, the posters will be available at the Little Havana after-party for $20 each.
Printed on 90# cotton stock, each is numbered and stored in a protective print sleeve. There will also be shipping tubes available so that you can get your poster home safely. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Baltimore Bike Party.
With the recent resurfacing on Light Street, bike lanes were added between Key Highway and Hamburg Street. Light Street narrows significantly at Hamburg Street where the bike lanes end. With traffic speeds greatly reduced through the Federal Hill business district south of Hamburg Street, bike lanes are not necessarily needed.
To plan for future bicycle improvements, the Department of Transportation and Bikemore will attend the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association on Tuesday evening, 7pm at Christ Lutheran Church (701 South Charles Street). Both organizations would like to hear from the community on how and where to make bike-related improvements.