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Baltimore Police Assist Local Cyclists

February 16th, 2011 | Categories: Programs | 12 comments

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:

By the next meeting (Tuesday, March 15th), the Major would like a list of :

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!

  • blackeye

    Regarding the first point, instead of this list, how about a list of locations where cyclists are routinely harassed by roving bands of disaffected youth? This would be much easier to pinpoint and isolate than areas of motorist harassment. In my opinion, it is also much more of a threat to the enjoyment of safe bike commuting in the city. I’m not even sure what the concept of “motorist harassment” means. In my experience, few drivers actively “harass” cyclists (some do, but in my experience, they are the exception). Their distracted and careless driving is more passive, though no less egregious. I don’t see how this can be pinpointed to a specific area in the city. Unfortunately, bad drivers are everywhere and seeing as they are in cars they move around quickly from one point to another, preferably as fast as they possibly can.

    Regarding the second point, I’m not sure what the Major considers a “common occurrence” but in the 5 years I’ve been biking to work at 111 Market Place, I have heard of at least 4 or 5 bikes stolen (including one of my own) from both the front and back racks, as well as countless wheels, seats, and accessories. I’m sure there have been more actual bike thefts, but these are just the few I’ve heard of by word of mouth. I initially found this surprising considering the amount of foot traffic in this area, but unfortunately people are generally unobservant and reluctant to get involved. Thieves are also very sneaky. The building security also seems to pay little attention to the exterior of the building.

  • Evan

    I agree with Blackeye. I rarely get harassed by motorists, but have been harassed, and even attacked (twice) by kids in certain neighborhoods. I avoid Madison/Monument streets between Hopkins and Mt. Vernon.

  • Anonymous

    What is the phone number for the Baltimore City DOT Parking Control?

    Like the two previous commenters I think zeroing in on harassment by motorist hot spots is impossible. True harassment beyond obnoxious honking or buzzing is rare, can happen anywhere and there is very little or nothing an increased police presence can do about it. It would be better to focus on assault, battery & theft from bands of disaffected youth. Count me in as someone attacked by groups of kids.

  • Nate Evans

    When Major Brown asked what was the #1 issue cyclists had, those at the meeting indicated being “harassed by motorists.” The Harford Rd & Walther Ave intersection was given as an example.

    The police would also like to know where cyclists are being targeted by area youth. Once incidents on Guilford & Jones Falls Trail became known, police patrols increased in these areas.

  • Nate Evans

    Parking Control can be reached at 410-396-1945

  • blackeye

    Did the cyclists give any details about the harassment, Nate? When I lived in small town Texas, harassment by motorists was commonplace. I was spit on from cars, run off the road, had stuff thrown at me, was routinely screamed at, etc. But I have not experienced any of that from drivers here, and I ride both in the city and the county. The drivers around here often show aggression with their speed, and are frequently distracted, but I have not found them to be directly hostile toward me. More often they are ignoring cyclists or simply not treating them as traffic, which is arguably worse than direct harassment. While I appreciate that BPD has taken an interest in the issue, I don’t feel that ticketing drivers for being aggressive toward cyclists is going to help much (difficult to prove, too, unless there are witnesses). It might just focus their rage more squarely on us. I would rather that they receive education on how to share the road with us.

    The state has just made hand-held cell phone usage a secondary offense, which clearly didn’t make a difference, and now the legislature is pushing for it as a primary offense. The problem is systemic. People aren’t paying attention when they drive. They are impatient. Drivers are more often aggressive toward other drivers. Cyclists and pedestrians are just objects in the way. I don’t know what the answer is but I think that a more holistic treatment of the problem is needed. Perhaps a well organized and exciting awareness campaign is in order. Behavior change is difficult but there are evidence-based solutions out there. At this point, we probably need to somehow incentivize good driving instead of merely punishing bad driving.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, yes, Harford and Walther. I ridden that intersection once a week for the past 4 years. Heading North there’s a fork, and unthinking motorists can right hook a cyclist if they presume the cyclist is turning right. I always demonstrably signal that I’m going straight with my left hand. I’ve never been harassed there. I think a lot of harassment is borne from frustration which in turn is borne from confusion. Eliminate the confusion and a lot of the harassment can disappear. I do sometimes get buzzed and horn blared after I cross through the intersection and pass the parked cars next to the church, as the door zone crosses into the only available lane. There isn’t much I can suggest to avoid that other than to say to grit your teeth and bear it.

    What is the phone number for the Baltimore City DOT Parking Control? I cannot find it using Google. I’ve tried.

  • Anonymous

    “The state has just made hand-held cell phone usage a secondary offense”

    Yes! Secondary traffic laws are completely useless. And now they’re talking about “toughening” the current texting law by making reading texts a secondary offense too? Ha!

  • Nate Evans

    Try 410-396-1945

  • Anonymous

    thanks :)

  • Donal Fagan

    Blackeye, I attended the meeting, for the first time, and don’t recall much detail given about harassment. Decades ago, I had bottles thrown at me in rural areas like Damascus and Laytonsville, and Baltimore seems mild in comparison. That said, my route here doesn’t require me to commute/compete with traffic all that much.

    I agree that people are self-absorbed and impatient, and I would expand that to include some drivers, some cyclists and some pedestrians. One fellow spoke up about cyclists following the law. If all three groups adhered strictly to the law there would be far fewer problems, but as a practical matter, we have to deal with all sorts on the road.

  • michael pantazelos

    100 block east 25t is hot spot for bike theives, alleys intersect creating throughfare for pedestrians etc



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