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Police Investigate Hit and Run Bicycle Collision on Route 108 in Laytonsville Area

Biking in the Metro Area

8/15/14 – UPDATE:

A witness to this hit-and-run run collision contacted the police department with additional information about the striking vehicle.

The witness described the striking vehicle as:

  • a silver Toyota 4Runner
  • with a Maryland “War of 1812” (Star-Spangled) license plate – see example below
  • The tag should be similar to: 2 , unknown letter, unknown letter, 3, 9, 5 , 6 – see example below. The numbers may not all be correct.
  • Anyone with information on the striking vehicle is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Warof1812
2    ?   ?  3   9   5   6

 



This and more information: http://www.mymcpnews.com/2014/08/12/police-investigate-hit-and-run-bicycle-collision-on-route-108-in-laytonsville-area/
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For Cleaner Air, Get Out of the Car

Biking ElsewhereLondon study finds that bike commuters are exposed to less air pollution than drivers

http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/thehub/for-cleaner-air-get-out-of-the-car
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Bicyclists injured in early morning hit-and-run crash in Stevenson

Biking in Baltimore[B' Spokes: According to reports on Facebook the driver claimed they didn't realize they hit someone... look at the photo of the windshield, ya right, disgraceful.]


http://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81153034/
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The solution to too many cars.

Biking Elsewhere image

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=too_many_cars
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PET PORTRAITS BY CAROL SILLDORFF

Cyclist\'s Yellow Pages[B' Spokes: Wishing Carol all the best on her new adventures in life and a big thank you for what you have done for bicycling in Maryland! ]

A pet portrait oil painting makes an amazing gift for yourself,

friends and loved ones. A portrait is perfect for

all occasions - weddings, anniversaries,

Valentine's Day, birthdays, holidays or just to say

thank you to someone you care about. 

A pet portrait is a gift that will always be remembered!



image

http://carolsilldorff.wix.com/carolsilldorff-art
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Recent bike-related deaths renew safety debate

Bike LawsBy CATHERINE SHEFFO, Capital Gazette

After a rash of high-profile bicycle accidents, Maryland's General Assembly might consider strengthening laws that allow judges to punish careless drivers.

Last month saw the sentencing of a Calvert County driver who hit and killed bicyclist Patricia Cunningham, of Annapolis, while she was riding on Riva Road last year. Cunningham was an assistant track and cross-country coach at Annapolis High School.

A grand jury had charged the driver with four traffic violations. A judge found her guilty of three of them and imposed the maximum penalty: a $1,500 fine, as well as points on her license.

This angered some in the community. Prosecutors and bicycle organizations hope the Cunningham case will spark a debate about Maryland's laws on the rules of the road and the severity of charges that can be brought against reckless drivers.

"We're open to any changes in the law that give individuals the tools for justice," said House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis. "If the state's attorneys have any suggestions, we're willing to listen to them."

At the center of the debate is a 2011 Maryland law. The measure aims to establish a middle ground between the longer prison sentences associated with drunken driving and excessive speeding and the fines for minor traffic violations, such as running a red light.

The law uses the term "negligence" to describe the actions of a driver who is careless or not paying attention. Minor negligence is a traffic violation punishable by only a fine. Criminal negligence — legally, a "gross deviation" from careful driving — can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

Anne Arundel County Deputy State's Attorney William Roessler said that while the new law is a step in the right direction, juries and judges struggle to determine what should be considered criminal negligence.

Roessler, the prosecutor in the Cunningham case, said the law's wording is too similar to the laws on drunken driving for it to be effective. "It's so close that grand juries and judges are going to hold it to a very similar standard," he said.

"There may very well be a small category of cases, but it's not going to work very much. I haven't seen it yet."

Grand juries decide on how defendants are charged, so the way a law works depends on the way a grand jury interprets it, Roessler said.

In this case, the grand jury decided that defendant Whitney Decesaris' actions didn't amount to criminal negligence. She was charged with traffic violations instead, leading to fines instead of potential jail time.

"The loss from a human standpoint compared to $1,500 … it just seems grossly out of proportion," said Jon Korin of BikeAAA, an area bicycle advocacy group.

Roessler said prosecutors asked lawmakers to amend the law's wording to better reflect what they wanted it to accomplish. He said delegates were confident the law would work as intended.

Some delegates, however, said the problem is harder to fix than it seems.

"When something bad happens, people want to propose a law, but (Decesaris) didn't obey the current law," said Del. Herb McMillan, R-Annapolis.

McMillan said changing the law won't force people to follow the rules of the road that keep cyclists safe — namely, allowing 3 feet when passing at appropriate speeds.

"I don't really know what to think, aside from this was a tragic accident," he said. "I'm not sure a law new could have fixed it."

Busch said this is the first he has heard of attorneys having problems with the law, and lawmakers will consider working with prosecutors to make it more effective.

Meanwhile, bicycle advocates said harsher penalties for careless drivers are the key to reducing injuries and deaths.

"Enforcement is important," Korin said. "You can do education, but enforcement is a very, very critical element of changing behavior."

He expects the state level of BikeAAA to discuss legislative changes it may take to the legislature.

"It's a conversation that needs to be had so that proper charges can be applied."


http://touch.capitalgazette.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81045583/
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Just because drivers complain does not make it illegal

Biking Elsewhere image image image

I am Traffic
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Why US Pedestrian Safety Remains Elusive

Biking ElsewhereBy Klaus Philipsen, Community Architect


Even though overall traffic fatalities continue to fall, pedestrian deaths not only stayed stubbornly high, they even increased in some areas. How come?

The first guess may be technology. While improved vehicle safety protects the life of the driver and passenger better and better, those outside the vehicle, primarily bicyclists and pedestrians, are left out. Even worse, the bigger, faster, and quieter that cars and SUVs have become, the more they have mutated into effective killing machines for those who are in their way. The safer the roads are made for driving (curves, straightened, sightlines improved, trees felled etc.) the more drivers are lulled into a false sense of security and the faster cars can safely go – both possibly to the detriment of the pedestrian.

That the pedestrian carnage isn't an immutable price one has to pay for technological progress becomes obvious if one realizes that there are significant differences in pedestrian safety between different countries and states, between rural areas and cities, and between the various "cultures" of how to plan and design villages, towns, cities and suburbs. My home state Maryland has 1.75 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents, a fatality rate almost twice that of Massachusetts (0.88). In fact we are among the most unsafe states: only Florida, New Mexico and Puerto Rico are significantly worse. What are the safer states doing that the others are not? What can be done to make walking safer and what have those states with the low crash rates done right?

Some think that education is the answer. In the Baltimore area, a current billboard campaign advocates "smart walking," with drastic images showing a person lying in the street in front of a car. The flaw of this campaign is obvious – the message seeks to address the problem by placing the blame on "dumb" walking, a clear case of blaming the victim, a strategy well know from campaigns that try to curb violence against women. Ironically, those billboards for "smart walking" are placed along arteries for the benefit of drivers who, peering through their windshields, probably don't identify themselves as the intended target. Thus, the blame is even further shifted from where the real responsibility lies: the drivers. While education is always good, it needs to address the root cause of the problem which is likely not just the wrong behavior.


Maybe it isn't dumb walking as much as dumb street design that lies at the heart of the matter. The low pedestrian fatalities in some areas are likely not caused by brighter pedestrians that just walk smarter; it is equally unlikely that the drivers are just smarter there.
...

http://archplanbaltimore.blogspot.com/2014/08/why-us-pedestrian-safety-remains-elusive.htm
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Pushing buttons gets pedestrians nowhere in downtown Dallas

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Can you imagine as a pedestrian being accommodated automatically at intersections just like a car? (I will note this is similar to my request on the Reisterstown streetscape,) Phase out pedestrian "beg buttons" makes a lot of sense as this article points out.]
*****************************************************************************************************************
By DANIELLE GROBMEIER, Dallas News

...
Many other cities, including New York and Boston, have gone to pre-timed lights or similar systems that they say ensure a safer and more consistent traffic flow at crosswalks. Doing so means the push buttons become purely decorative or, as described by a New Yorker, “mechanical placebos.”
...


He said busy intersections would have push buttons deteriorate faster. And if they’re mechanical buttons, that could happen in a little over a year.

Majumdar said the city might get complaints about the nonworking buttons [they are not fixed unless someone complains] But he said the pre-timed signals are safer for pedestrians.
...


http://www.dallasnews.com/news/metro/20140730-pushing-buttons-gets-pedestrians-nowhere-in-downtown-dallas.ece
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Bike tour of Baltimore's community gardens!

Biking in BaltimoreRegister for the Charm City Garden Tour! Enjoy a nine mile leisurely ride to some of Baltimore's most beautiful community gardens and urban farms. August 16, 8:30 am, starts at the Druid Hill Park City Farm. This year's ride will feature some of North-Central Baltimore's creatively designed and maintained greenspaces. The tour concludes for a celebratory swim at Druid Hill Park pool!

For more information or to register: http://charmcitygardentoursupper.wordpress.com/
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