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!