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Thursday, November 27 2014 @ 06:14 PM UTC
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PSA: why the heck don’t cyclists stay right?

Biking in MarylandBy Jack Cochrane, Cycle MoCo

Wouldn’t it be great to air a public service announcement saying why cyclists don’t stay right all the time?  After all, this blog can’t reach everyone.  How’s this?

[Sound of driving]
MAN: Hey, there’s a bicyclist.  Why is he riding so far to the left?  Shouldn’t he move over?
WOMAN: Not if he wants to be safe.  There are a lot of cars parked along the street.  Cyclists should always stay well away from parked cars because a driver might suddenly open his door.
MAN: Even if there’s a bike lane?
WOMAN: You bet.  A cyclist might also leave the bike lane to avoid leaves or potholes or to get ready to turn left.
MAN: I get it.  Look, there’s another bicyclist up ahead.  There’s no parking but he’s in the middle of my lane.
WOMAN: That’s because the lane is too narrow for cars to pass him in the same lane.  But some drivers will try anyway and it’s very dangerous.  If the cyclist rides in the middle of the lane, drivers will have to change lanes to pass or else wait until there’s more room.  Everyone is safer.
[pause with more sound of driving]
WOMAN: And one more thing Mike.  Drivers must always keep at least three feet to the left of cyclists when passing.  That’s the law.
MAN: Wow.  There’s so much I didn’t know.  I’ll definitely keep an eye out for cyclists in my lane now.

To be honest it should be broken up into a couple shorter PSAs.  For the next couple installments, maybe this:  1. Why aren’t cyclists using the bike path? (and what’s the difference between a bike lane and a bike path).  2. What are those funny bike markings with arrows in the middle of the road?



http://cyclemoco.com/2014/11/psa-why-the-heck-dont-cyclists-stay-right/
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THE LAWS IN QUESTION IN THE SCHILL CASE

Biking Elsewhere[B'Spokes: Previously l have been critical of LAB's involvement in this case but now it looks like that they are doing something, which is a good thing. Now don't take this the wrong way but I still would love to see more public service announcements that put to shame the kind of thinking behind the charges against Schill. And I'll take this time to give a special thanks to the Eldersburg police who rode behind me on Route 26, l assume for my safety when they could have been like the police in Schill's case and ticketed me. There are two ways police to react to something they perceive as unsafe, they can improve everyone's safety or start handing out tickets. We need to encourage more of the former!]
by Ken McLeod, Bike League

imageThis week, my colleague, Steve Clark, wrote about his experience riding with Cherokee Schill and the conditions she faces while biking to work in Kentucky. As he detailed, she confronts numerous difficulties while riding and faces both official and unofficial harassment for riding in the road.

Her fight for her right to road reflects our society’s decisions about how we create roads, how we create laws for those roads, and the culture of safety we choose to create for our roadways.

So what's the legal background for her fight? And are their signs of hope for Kentucky’s future? Keep reading...

The Legal Problem with Bikes in Kentucky

imageKentucky, like several other states, does not provide clear rules for bicyclists, or the motorists who share the road with bicyclists. The basic problem is that Kentucky does not address bicycles as their own type of vehicle — and this leads to rules that are not made for the situations that bicyclists actually face.

A bicycle in Kentucky is a vehicle, because the Kentucky Statute that defines "vehicle" does not exclude those propelled by muscular power. However, a bicycle is never actually defined in the Kentucky Statutes or Administrative Regulations that create Kentucky’s traffic laws.

While a bicycle in Kentucky is not defined as a motor vehicle, it is required to operate in the same manner as a motor vehicle with three limitations. But, unlike 48 other states, Kentucky does not give a bicycle rider the rights of an operator of the vehicle they must behave like.

How does failing to address bicycles as their own type of vehicle affect bicyclists in Kentucky?

One of the major differences between Kentucky and other states is that it doesn't have a law that tells bicyclists specifically where to ride. Instead, as in five other states, bicycles are treated as slow-moving vehicles. This by itself isn't necessarily problematic — but it does have practical repercussions.

In states where laws dictate where bicyclists are supposed to ride the vast majority provide numerous exceptions to the requirement to ride to the right. These exceptions help to remove interpretation about what is as far right as “practicable” and give bicyclists a positive right to move left (into or further into the travel lane) when facing common situations such as the need to make a left turn, hazardous road conditions, narrow traffic lanes, and right turn only lanes. You can find out more about these laws and common features in my Bike Law University article on Where to Ride laws.

In Kentucky the slow-moving vehicle statute (Kentucky Revised Statute [KRS] 189.300) does not reflect the situations that bicyclists face. In fact, it does not give a slow-moving vehicle, including a bicycle, any situation in which it is okay to move left — other than it not being “practicable” to keep to the right-hand boundary of the highway. This “practicable” standard leaves a lot of discretion to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges, who may not understand safe cycling practices or believe that bicyclists should be treated with the same respect as other road users.

In Kentucky, the slow moving vehicle statute is especially problematic for bicyclists for two reasons:

  1. It requires bicyclists to keep to the right-hand boundary of the “highway,” which includes the entire right of way. In 43 other states, bicyclists are required to keep to the right of a “roadway,” “way,” or “highway” that excludes portions of the right of way, typically the berm, shoulder, sidewalks, or portions not ordinarily used for vehicle travel. This creates a situation where officials interpreting the law can find that what is “practicable” pushes bicyclists out of the travel lanes.
  2. The Kentucky Administrative Regulations for bicycles (601 KAR 14:020) permit bicycles to be operated on the shoulder of a highway and require bicycles to use bicycle lanes, where marked. While it isn't bad that bicyclists are given the opportunity to use the shoulder of a highway, this helps create the conditions for interpretations of the law that require the use of the shoulder.

A bicyclist, like Cherokee Schill, who chooses to not use the shoulder, is forced to identify why the shoulder was not “practicable” to use even, though it is within the right-hand boundary of the highway and a place that a bicyclist explicitly can ride. Bicyclists must also fight the idea that a shoulder is set aside for their use, and not the use of motor vehicles, just like the bike lanes they're required to use when they are marked. This is a difficult task and without exceptions to the “practicable” requirement the court does not have to accept that the existence of a particular condition, like a debris-filled shoulder, made the use of that shoulder not “practicable.”

Making laws that recognize bicycles as their own type of vehicle allows legislatures, or the officials who make traffic law regulations, to recognize the conditions actually faced by bicyclists. In Kentucky, Cherokee Schill is caught fighting laws that did not anticipate her situation and do not give clear guidance to the officials interpreting them. We can only hope that her appeal goes well and that Kentucky enables safe cycling going forward.

A Failure of Laws and Culture

Cherokee Schill was also convicted of violations of KRS 189.290, which requires vehicles to be operated “in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of … other vehicles upon the highway.” She was convicted for taking the lane, rather than riding as far to the right of the highway as “practicable,” and prioritizing her safety. By charging Schill, and not the motor vehicles that erratically react to her or harass her, the officials of Jessamine County are prioritizing the convenience of motorists over the safety of bicyclists.

It's both a legal and a cultural failure that we have laws, and enforcement, which prioritize the safety and convenience of motor vehicles over the safety and convenience of bicyclists and other persons who are more vulnerable than the occupants of motor vehicles with whom they share the road.

What happens next?

For Schill, she has an upcoming appeal of her convictions for failing to ride as far right as “practicable” under KRS 189.300 and for failing to operate her vehicle carefully under KRS 189.290.

For Kentucky, there is a proposed amendment to 601 KAR 14:020, which would substantially deal with the issues brought up by Schill’s case. The two major statutes at issue in her case have not been updated since 1942 and the regulations have not been updated since 1994. The proposed amendment could be better, but it is a reasonable first step.

The League is sending a letter in support of the amendment to the members of the Kentucky Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee, which has postponed considering the amendment until Schill’s case is resolved.

Stay tuned for another post tomorrow, from League President Andy Clarke, on what's next...



http://bikeleague.org/content/laws-question-schill-case
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Cycling community, policy experts call recent bike safety report ‘misleading’ and ‘baloney’

Biking Elsewhere[B'Spokes: To many think that cycling is dangerous and go out of their way to look for things to back up their point of view (conformation bias). This is even more disturbing from "professionals".]
*****************************************************************
By Shaun Courtney, Urbanful

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety , raised the specter of an upward trend in the number of bicycle fatalities in the U.S. But critics have been quick to note that the report fails to consider the overall increase in cycling and the downward trend in the rate of fatalities.

Cycling advocates and academic experts in urban planning and policy quickly heaped criticism on the GHSA report, calling it everything from “baloney” to “junk science” to “deliberately misleading.” Ouch.
...

http://urbanful.org/2014/11/03/cycling-community-policy-experts-call-recent-bike-safety-report-misleading-baloney/
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This should be everywhere not just in Howard county

Biking in the Metro Area. . .
In addition, BAHC presented a plaque to Captain (retired) John McKissick for his 5 years serving as the bicycling liaison to the HC Police Department. Captain Mike Yetter John's replacement was introduced at the Forum and will be an excellent replacement for John (he was even a bicycle policeman at one time in his career). He reiterated what we have put out in the past:

* call '911' if you experience any harassment or near accident as soon as possible with as much identifying information as possible.
* If you are reporting an incident at a later time you can also file a report on the HCPD non-emergency numbers: 410-313-2200 or 410-313-2929.

Captain Yetter emphasized that the police do reposed to every complaint with at least a letter if not a personal visit to the registered driver. If we don't go through the effort of filing a complaint they can't enter in the Police data base to look for individuals with a history of harassment or distracted driving.


Again thanks to everyone that attended and to Chris Eatough, Dave Cookson and Mike Yetter for presenting.

Jack Guarneri

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/FriendsofBAHC/conversations/messages/731
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Police out of control: It's illegal to walk on a residential street when there is no sidewalk

Biking Elsewhere[B'Spokes: I'm sure the charge "blocking traffic" is familiar to cyclists, now it is being applied to pedestrians on residential street with no sidewalks.]
*******************************************************************
"In Tuesday's incident, officers were patrolling the 500 block of Dunn Street off Old Bainbridge Road shortly after 5 p.m., DeLeo said in the news conference.

Several people were walking in the street but moved out of the way when another officer drove past them. They walked back into the street behind behind the officer, who then pulled over and approached them. Police reports say the people were blocking traffic."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/01/1333699/-Out-of-control-police-It-s-not-just-the-tasing-it-s-the-everything-else
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New law fines careless drivers

News you will not see in MarylandBy Patricia Gay, Wilton Bulletin

A new Connecticut law holds accountable careless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians or cyclists.

The Vulnerable User law, Public Act 14-31 went into effect on Oct. 1 and requires a fine to be imposed on reckless motor vehicle drivers who cause the death or serious injury of a pedestrian, cyclist, wheelchair user, or other “vulnerable users” who were using reasonable care. The fine is capped at $1,000.
...

http://www.wiltonbulletin.com/29121/new-law-fines-careless-drivers/
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Hey Carroll County, you don't want our public transit? We don't want your cars

Mass TransitBy Baynard Woods, City Paper

The Baltimore Sun's editorial board made a nearly perfect response to Carroll County's so-called "Mass Transit Protection Resolution," the bill that "would allow rides on buses or other forms of public transit inside the county but not beyond its borders." The Sun notes that "It would be easy to excoriate such a piece of legislation as thinly veiled racist provocation," given that there are currently no transportation routes from Baltimore City to Carroll County. And again, they're right.

But we'd like to urge the Baltimore City Council to respond. Baltimore City should refuse to allow cars registered in Carroll County to enter the city. Certainly, your cars, with their pollution, lost man-hours due to traffic congestion, and infrastructure costs, harm our city far more than our junkies harm your county.
...

http://touch.citypaper.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81839664/
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This school has bikes instead of desks - and it turns out a better way to learn

Biking Elsewhere"While some elementary schools no longer have recess, and people like New Jersey Governor Chris Christy argue that school days should be longer, a few schools are already moving in a different direction. Some are testing outstanding desks, and realizing that a little bit of activity can actually improve attention spans Others, like Ward Elementary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are starting to fill classrooms with exercise bikes, so students can work out while they learn."

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3036607/this-school-has-bikes-instead-of-desks-and-it-turns-out-thats-a-better-way-to-learn
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How Does Question 1 Affect Bike Projects?

PoliticsBike Maryland puts forth the argument that a lock box on transportation funding will protect bike funding.

https://www.bikemaryland.org/how-does-question-1-effect-bike-projects/

B' Spokes: No doubt transportation funds have been in trouble for a long time since current taxing methods do not keep up with inflation but still I will strongly assert bike funding is a matter of political will and not the amount of money available. Currently bike projects are roughly 0.1% of the funds available. It is not like bike projects are expensive and I strongly disagree with what the amendment really implies; that more major road projects will fix Maryland's "traveling by car is misery" issues. In my humble opinion MDOT just throws money at the problem with little effect on actually fixing anything and too often makes maters worse for cyclists and pedestrians.

Witness the upcoming election for Governor, the Republican side is going to postpone major mass transit projects under the assumption that the money would be better spent on car only projects. This is like our battle, if the political will says we have the money we have the money, if the political will says we don't have the money then we don't.
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How to Decide If You Can Live Without a Car

Biking ElsewhereBy Eric Ravenscraft, Life Hacker

Cars are a way of life in the US (and around the world). While most of us enjoy the freedom they offer, their costs can be a burden on the budget. Not everyone can live without that red mark in the ledger, but we'll help you find out if you might be a candidate.
...

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-decide-whether-you-can-live-without-a-car-1651713372
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