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Saturday, November 01 2014 @ 12:57 AM UTC
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Davidson: Are the City’s New Pedestrian-Safety Measures Strong Enough?

News you will not see in Maryland[B' Spokes: Note that New York's pedestrian fatality rate is ranked at #17 while Maryland is ranked #7 by FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System by NHTSA.) The one thing New York has that we don't is: "The police department, too, has reclaimed traffic enforcement as a high priority" ]
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By Justin Davidson, New York Magazine

This should not be controversial: When the light turns green and you step off the curb and into a crosswalk, a car should not whip around the corner at the same time, causing your body to crumple and snap. If that does occur, it shouldn’t be legal. And if it’s illegal, it should be punished. And yet motor vehicles did hit 854 pedestrians all over the city last month, killing eight of them — a run of grief, violence, and horrific injuries that, statistically speaking, makes April a relatively peaceable month. And unless they were high or stoned, the vast majority of those drivers are back on the road. Menace a child with a baseball bat, and you will likely go to jail; kill that kid with an SUV and you’ll pay a few-hundred-dollar fine. Manslaughter by motor vehicle is a perfectly legal crime.

The de Blasio administration and its allies are pushing hard to change that state of affairs, but success will require more than just adjusting stoplights or redesigning intersections; it means transforming an entire culture. We have to recognize that crashes are preventable disasters rather than random events — not accidents at all, but the product of individual decisions. Reckless and distracted driving must become a new taboo.
...

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/05/davidson-on-the-small-steps-toward-vision-zero.html
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What Makes Some Intersections More “Elastic” Than Others?

Biking Elsewhereby Angie Schmitt. Streets Blog

Of all the places we encounter throughout the day, intersections have perhaps the most strictly prescribed rules. But the way people actually behave at intersections differs a great deal, depending on the mode of transportation, the place, the time of day — all sorts of factors.

Adonia Lugo at Urban Adonia says she’s seen observance of these rules vary wildly from city to city, and it got her thinking about why people negotiate some intersections differently than others:

There are laws, there are stripes, there are bollards, and then there are all these randos doing what they think is best. As a street ethnographer, I have observed that some intersections are more “elastic” than others, and this flexibility comes from people’s attitudes rather than road design.

When I first started bike commuting in Portland, the heart of Law Abiding Cyclist Country, I got really jazzed about always stopping at stop signs and red lights. It made sense to me that I could make drivers take me seriously by behaving predictably. I’d grown up in a place where jaywalking meant running across the street, because pedestrians having priority was more theoretical than real. So it followed that, using this new mode of transport, I should do what the signs told me to do…

Now I’m in Washington, D.C, and wow, I look like a country mouse when I hesitate at intersections. Every time I pull up on a bike or on foot at a corner, others stream past me. The signals here seem to be more suggestions than anything else. Drivers, too, inch forward as much as they can, sometimes being halfway through the intersection before the light turns green.

Since I’ve observed so many other bike users and pedestrians, and as I noted, even motorists, making the point, it’s hard for me to ignore the logic of pressing forward into empty space. Traffic signals should guarantee right of way, from a predictability standpoint, but should they impede the flow of people when there’s no right of way to protect?

I know that a lot of our road design standards have been developed through years of liability lawsuits and efforts to control safety. It’s just weird to me that the reality, as seen from the everyday scale of ethnography, is a lot more pragmatic. If we really want to promote active transportation, shouldn’t we legitimize the greater elasticity walking and biking afford? Does it really make sense to limit these modes according to the car-based paradigm of traffic engineering?



http://streetsblog.net/2014/05/27/what-makes-some-intersections-more-elastic-than-others/
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Tell HoCo on iTunes

Biking in the Metro AreaTell HoCo is an easy way for anyone to report non-emergency issues to Howard County, Maryland while on-the-go, such as potholes, damaged street signs, graffiti, street maintenance, street light issues, damaged trees, park maintenance and more. Using your phone’s GPS, you can help identify the exact location of the problem, and with the use of its camera, you can attach a picture, as well. You’ll be able to track your issue from the time it is reported until it is resolved. Tell HoCo makes it easier than ever to report a problem.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tell-hoco/id874344402

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[B' Spokes: It would be cool if other localities did this as well.]
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Anne Arundel County unveil inaugural bike ride event - Lifeline 100

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Christopher Johnson, NACO

Anne Arundel County, Md. PoliceDepartment, Department of Recreation and Parks and Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (BikeAAA) have teamed up to unveil the Anne Arundel County Lifeline 100 Century Ride set for Oct. 19.

bikeride.jpg
Courtesy Anne Arundel County, Md.

Anne Arundel Police Chief Kevin Davis speaks about the Century Ride and how it came to fruition. The event is scheduled for Oct.19.

A growing trend among counties is to get moving and healthier.

“This all began last year when officer Kam [Cooke] and I came up with an idea for a community bike ride,” Cpl. Dominic Scali, Anne Arundel County Police Department said. “This is also an opportunity for our department to show what a bike patrol is and what they do while raising money for county non-profits.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Anne Arundel County Lifeline 100 Century Ride offers a great experience for cyclists of all levels with 100–, 56– and 15–mile routes with a ‘kiddie and family’ ride option for younger children and their parents. The routes wind throughout the county with views of downtown Annapolis, the Severn River, southern parts of the county, BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport and more. The ride is a part of the all-day “Make Health Happen Community Health Fair” at Kinder Farm Park.

“We are proud to be hosting the bike ride and health fair,” Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman said. “This first of its kind initiative emphasizes the health and economic benefits of safe bicycling in the county.”

...


http://www.naco.org/newsroom/countynews/Current%20Issue/5-19-2014/Pages/Lifeline-100,-Anne-Arundel-County-unveil-inaugural-bike-ride-event-.aspx
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Ride Around the Reservoir 2014

Biking in Baltimore

image    

Ride around the Reservoir in Druid Hill Park every Monday and Wednesday, May - Aug, 5 - 8 p.m.

  

Laps around the Lake at Lake Montebello every Tuesday and Thursday,   May - August,
5 - 8 p.m. 
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Baltimore #3 in least courteous drivers

Biking in Baltimoreimage

Via NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
[B' Spokes: A random survey of 2,500 people, so take this with some grain of salt. More info can be found here.]
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Motorists fined for overtaking cyclists? It’s about time

News you will not see in MarylandVia The Telegraph

A new proposal from the Department of Transport recommends a 15mph speed limit to help protect cyclists. It's a pedal revolution in the right direction, says Chris Harvey

I admit I was taken aback earlier this week when the Department of Transport released a proposal for designated “cycle streets” in cities.

All too often, the narrative around cycle safety focuses negatively on cyclists' behaviour. Take, for example, MP Kate Hoey (who once labelled cyclists "law-breaking lycra louts"), who now thinks that cyclists should have to pay for safety measures to protect them from motorists. Or Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's suggestion that cyclists have to "do their bit" to make the roads safer. Even Boris Johnson, who is normally admirably pro-cycling, copped flack from the cycling community after appearing to suggest that a series of fatalities on London's roads was down to "very risky" cycling manoeuvres.

So it's genuinely refreshing to see a proposal that aims to make the roads fundamentally safer for people to use. The plan would see cyclists given priority over motorists on “lightly trafficked roads where cycle flows are high”. A 15mph speed limit would be imposed, along with a potential £100 fine (and three penalty points) for overtaking a cyclist.

Quite frankly, it’s about time this kind of measure was introduced.
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/recreational-cycling/10830450/Motorists-fined-for-overtaking-cyclists-Its-about-time.html
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Monumental City by Bike: A Memorial Day Weekend Ride

Looking for local rides(ers)Via Baltimore Heritage

May 25 @ 9:00 am $10

From “Decoration Day” events in the 1860′s honoring Civil War soldiers to a transformation into a national holiday, Memorial Day is a time to learn about and reflect on those who have died serving our country. Baltimore’s abundance of monuments and public memorials offer a great opportunity to do just this.

Early on, our city gained a reputation for its remarkable monuments. The famous nickname, the Monumental City, comes from a 1827 toast by John Quincy Adams on a visit to Baltimore:

“Baltimore, the Monumental City: may the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy as the days of her danger have been trying and triumphant!”

The city’s reputation as the Monumental City has only grown as residents have erected hundreds of memorials in the intervening 190 years. We invite you to join Baltimore Heritage tour guide Dr. Ralph Brown this Memorial Day weekend to learn about the city’s monumental sculpture in our annual Baltimore by Bike tour.

Monumental City by Bike is free for veterans, currently enlisted military personnel and their families.



To register: http://baltimoreheritage.org/event/monumental-city-by-bike-a-memorial-day-weekend-ride/
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What should a US national bike strategy plan look like?

Biking ElsewhereBy Richard Layman, Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

I pissed off some people a couple days ago when I commented that three presenters (from Ontario, UK and Australia) providing guidance to US stakeholders about creating a national bike strategy didn't have much to offer us.

So I have been thinking about what should be included in the introductory components to a US national bike strategy plan.

Sure, some of these places have  more bike commuters than we do nationally, but the US is a lot more suburban and gasoline is taxed much less, which makes a huge difference, which was captured in an article by John Pucher, "Why Canadians cycle more than Americans: A comparative analysis of bicycling trends and policies" from Transport Policy journal:
In spite of their colder climate, Canadians cycle about three times more than Americans. The main reasons for this difference are Canada’s higher urban densities and mixed-use development, shorter trip distances, lower incomes, higher costs of owning, driving and parking a car, safer cycling conditions, and more extensive cycling infrastructure and training programs. Most of these factors result from differences between Canada and the United States in their transport and land-use policies, and not from intrinsic differences in history, culture or resource availability.
It should be no surprise that the US and the UK (e.g., "Britons unmoved by pro-cycling campaigns: Most regard bicycles not as legitimate form of transport but as children's toys or preserve of hobbyists, research finds," Guardian), given the prevalence of the "vehicular cycling" concept, have significantly fewer people cycling for transportation compared to countries where sustainable mobility is actively promoted.

That doesn't mean we can't learn from those places.
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2. Change how DC Government benchmarks its policies and regulations against the nation's leading cities with the aim of adopting best and leading practices, rather than being content with making changes that still lag best practice.
[B' Spokes: It amazes me how many in government are content in areas where we are below average. We need benchmarks that can help put us above average, at least a little bit. ]
...

2.  Transportation Physics and Mobility Throughput.  This is pretty basic, that you can move more people by walking or transit or biking in the same amount of space used by cars.  E.g.

image

image
Mobility efficiency diagram.  Central Washington Transportation and Civic Design Study, 1977.
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http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2014/03/what-should-us-national-bike-strategy.html
[B' Spokes: I highly recommend that the planers and advocates read the whole thing.]
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Get out and ride

Biking Elsewhereimage

Via Bicyclists Belong in the Traffic Lane

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