Posts Categorized in 'Programs'
As the 2014 Maryland legislative session progresses, potential laws meant to benefit cyclists are loosing support while some have already been defeated. During previous successful sessions, bills were crafted after vetting from statewide advocates and state legislators before being introduced in either the House of Delegates or State Senate. This year, individual bills were introduced in a patchwork pattern, having more regional than statewide support, with many facing an early death; even before the Maryland Bicycle Symposium, where advocate support surges.
The first bicycle related bill to see defeat was House Bill 0241; which would have allowed motorists to cross a double yellow line to safety pass cyclists with the required 3 feet when safe to do. HB241 was introduced by 42nd District Delegate Stephen Lafferty, a long-time champion for cyclists’ rights in Maryland. The bill was referred to the Environmental Matters Committee where it received an ‘unfavorable’ report by a vote of 14-8. (The voting record is available online here) While the intent of the bill is to increase cyclists safety, Maryland drivers may not be ready for this bill. Double yellow center lines are installed primarily for lack of sight distance on roads.
Instead of passing a law that will likely meet resistance from insurance companies and bewilderment from motorists, a public service announcement should be produced with an emphasis on roadway patience. Some tag lines to consider: .
“I’ll be out of your way in just a few seconds”
“Is my life worth a minute of your time?”
“Thanks for your patience! My kids appreciate having their dad home safely”
“I’m trying to get to work too. I’m just going a little slower” (and not supporting big oil in the process)
House Bill 0092 sponsored by 11th District Delegate Jon Cardin is another bill that has received little to no support. HB0092 would have required motorists to pass cyclists with a minimum of 4 feet, up from the legal 3 feet. Like HB0241, this bill was referred to the Environmental Matters committee and received an unfavorable report by a vote of 22-0! Passing distance is relative to speed, vehicle size and roadway context. 3′ is plenty of space for a compact car passing a cyclists at 30 mph or less. 12′ is not enough space when a tractor trailer passes as cyclists at 50 mph. Traffic situations aside, several legislators did not support this bill because “what more are [cyclists] going to ask for?” With the 3′ law just passing a couple years ago, why the need for an extra foot this year? While there be a 5′ Bill next year? Additionally, with all the media produced by state agencies informing motorists of the 3′ Law, a complete revamping of this media would be needed if a 4′ bill passed. This bill, more than any other in recent years, has caused bike supporting legislators to question the intent of cyclists legislative requests.
Another bill that’s managed to survive is House Bill 0052 introduced by 18th District Delegate Al Carr. HB0052 intents to modify existing law by stating: “Every person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter in a public bicycle area HAS all the rights granted to and is subject to all the duties, AND ONLY THE DUTIES, required of the driver of a vehicle…” This means that a cyclist is granted the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users (including obeying those laws) and nothing more. With this law in place, police and insurance companies would provide the same rights to cyclists. Insurance company could therefore no longer deny a cyclist’s claim who had been doored because they were riding ‘too far to the right.’ This bill would also help minimize faulty police reporting of bike-involved accidents, like that of Jack Yates and Henry Densmore. Facing a potential unfavorable report in the House Environmental Matters committee, this bill has survived by being reintroduced as Senate Bill 0808 by 10 District Senator Jamie Raskin. This bill will be heard by the Judicial Proceedings committee on Friday, February 28th.
House Bill 0530 introduced by 12A District Delegate James Malone and Senate Bill 0520 introduced by 13th District Senator James Robey are essentially the same bill which allows cyclists to operate on a roadway with a posted speed limit exceeding 50 mph. While many cyclists prefer not to bike on these types of roadways, sometimes its necessary. With these bills, utilizing a shoulder for biking will be allowed. HB0530 received a favorable report from the House Environmental Matters Committee and is likely to pass.
Other bike-related bills are making their way through Annapolis like House Bill 0205 and Senate Bill 0378 which clarify the difference between electric bicycles and mopeds. These bills will be important as electric bicycles become more popular and enable cyclists greater range of travel.
At the end of the 2014 legislative session, Bike Maryland has proposed a closure meeting to discuss this year’s wins and losses and plan for the 2015 session. Holding this type of meeting will identify strengths and flaws in bills’ processes and language while helping to galvanize bike supporters.
Look for a recap of these bills after the end of the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session.
Baltimore County’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) is seeking community input to help identify the next round of pedestrian and bicycle projects to be targeted for implementation. Members of the public are invited to voice their preferences on which projects to fund at a Citizen Input Meeting to be held:
Tuesday, March 11 at 5 p.m.
Jefferson Building Hearing Room (Room 104)
105 West Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
The PBAC is looking for projects that will provide County citizens with the greatest benefit at the lowest cost, using state, federal, and private grants. Projects should have been recommended by Baltimore County’s Eastern and Western Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plans.
Bikemore & the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are collaborating on a Bicycle Attitudes Study, specifically aimed at those who do not ride bicycles.
There’s a lot of data available about what cycling people want. This survey will help to determine what measures might make someone want to ride, but who doesn’t currently ride, without asking them?
Please share this survey with those who currently do not bike in Baltimore
Instead of a blog post, tweeting from the Bike Symposium hosted by Bike Maryland was much easier and instantaneous.
Catch what you missed at on Twitter #BikeSym
As the state transportation bike & ped plan is now complete, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on the final draft of the Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, developed to enhance recreation areas and services on State lands. The plan was devised using public input gathered during a random telephone survey, an online survey and through four regional stakeholder meetings.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the release of the Twenty-Year Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The final Plan can be accessed here.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation in Maryland. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan supports the Maryland Transportation Plan, or “MTP”, and other key statewide planning efforts. This Plan updates the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in 2002 and, going forward, will be updated every five years.
MDOT thanks all participants for their contributions to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. We look forward to continuing to work together with all partners to improve walking and biking in Maryland, using this Plan as a foundation.
1. Join a local bike advocacy group - C’mon what’s $25 a year? Whether it’s Bikemore, MORE, or Bike Maryland, your membership funds along with hundreds of others add up to fund full time advocacy positions which in turn creates a more bike-friendlier environment for everyone.
2. Participate in a local fundraiser ride – Whether its Tour dem Parks, Patapsco 100 or Tour du Port, these rides help fund many other bike events throughout the year. Even though more competitive in nature, the Charm City Cyclocross also qualifies here.
3. Request a bike rack – Now that Baltimore City Department of Transportation has bike racks in stock, let them know where you’d like to legitimately park your bike. Email the city’s new bike & pedestrian planner Caitlin Doolin or post on Social Cyclist to file a request
4. Bike commute or semi-bike commute at least once – So you live 15 miles from your office, drive a little closer and ride in. Try it first on a weekend, just to test the routes. If you need route suggestions, post questions below.
5. Attend the ABW Winning Campaign or the Bike Symposium
6. Take a non-riding friend for a bike ride There are few things more rewarding than seeing a friend discover the joy of riding. Besides the whole exercise/zero emissions thing, its the ‘fun factor’ that can’t be overstated.
7.Set a personal biking goal and do it! Biking across the U.S. isn’t for everyone, but if that’s your goal, then do it! Consider a mileage goal for the year, biking to a destination, participating in a bike race, or trying a new type of riding (mountain, road, distance, touring, cyclocross, etc.). If you need help meeting goals, Strava can help.
8. Attend the Maryland Avenue Cycletrack public meeting, February 4th.
9. Go for a slow bike ride Not every ride needs to have a purpose. Go for a ride as slow as possible and just have fun! A beach cruiser would probably be best suited for this ride.
10. Take a spin class The winter is the best time of year to do a spin class. Not only will you get a decent workout, but also awaken different muscle groups to improve your overall riding. Spin classes are available at local gyms, rec centers and the YMCA.
11. Volunteer for non-riding bike event like bike counts, assist with any of the events listed in #1 above, table for any of the organizations in #3 above or for Rides Around the Reservoir or Laps Around the Lake. The Baltimore Family Bike Party can always use shepherding help as the parents are typically tending to their children.
12. Ride the Kinetic Sculpture Race, this year held on May 3, because no Baltimore Bike Year is complete without it.
Happy New Year! Pedal On Safely!
It might not be an official ‘cyclovia’ but the Department of Public Works opens Loch Raven Drive to people every Sunday afternoon. Just by closing two gates, the drive becomes accessible to walkers, cyclists, dogwalkers, rollerbladers and skateboarders. While there is no immediate economic benefits for businesses along this cyclovia and most users must drive to the starting points, this open street does allow people to enjoy the autumn colors. This area also becomes a great place to teach kids how to ride. The wide pavement, absence of motor traffic and (mostly) gentle rolling hills create the ideal location for new cyclists.
Adopting bicycles in urban centers as a transport option has shown to improve human health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower one’s carbon footprint. However, cities investing in bicycle infrastructure face numerous challenges, such as the high risk for bicycle-related injuries if adequate infrastructure and planning is not implemented.
To address safety concerns, researchers Sauleh Siddiqui, Kavi Bhalla, and David Love will use a mathematical framework to quantify and analyze health impacts in Baltimore’s transport settings, while also drawing on knowledge of local government officials and the Baltimore bicycle community. The broader aim for this research is to develop a framework to tackle general urban infrastructure so that cities as a whole benefit from safe, attractive and comfortable transportation, including bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, commuters and residents in general.
The Making Baltimore Bicycle Friendly project is led by a research team at Johns Hopkins and is sponsored by the Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute (E2SHI) of Johns Hopkins University. Each volunteer will receive a gift! Counts will take place NEXT WEEK on Oct 29 – Oct 31 at 10 locations across central Baltimore. Sign up today to help out!
The Baltimore City Department of Transportation will close the Waterfront Promenade Bicycle Access survey on Friday, October 18th. Let DOT know how you feel about bikes on the promenade. The survey will be incorporated into the final report with recommendations on how to safely improve bicycle access to the Waterfront Promenade.