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Monday, July 28 2014 @ 02:22 PM UTC
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Nearly $3.8 Billion in Stimulus Aid to Maryland

Bike Laws

Cardin Annapolis Reports

Delegate Jon S. Cardin  District 11, Baltimore County

Week 6 Annapolis Report (2/20/09)

On February 13th Congress passed the $789 billion Economic Recovery Act. For numerous reasons, including our proximity to Washington and the numerous federal agencies and military installations located here, Maryland stands to receive a significant influx of capital and programming money. I expect to see road and bridge projects ($600 million), Medicaid stipends ($1.2 billion), education ($1 billion), and renewable energy jobs among others growing in our state because of this important federal initiative.
 
We will receive nearly $3.8 billion over three fiscal years.  While this is an incredible amount of money, much of the funding is based on federal formulas or block grants and will not be part of the state's general fund budget. This will require us to be careful and creative when using these funds, with an eye towards using the money to sustain ongoing concerns, not creating new programs.

[Unless we change MDOT policy bicyclists will NOT be getting their fair share of this.]
...
This is the fourth year for HB 496 - my bicycle safety bill - a law that would require a safe three-foot bubble around a cyclist when being passed by a car. Whether in a car or on a bike, this is a common-sense rule which would keep all parties from mishaps. A little bit of patience and attentiveness goes a long way in avoiding accidents. The hearings in the House and Senate went well, and now I encourage all of you bike enthusiasts to remind your legislators to pass this nationally recognized and effective safety effort.
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We currently regulate vehicles based on velocity but not mass.

Biking in BaltimoreIf the bill passes, it would create the new weight class and instruct state and local law enforcement agencies to index their traffic violation fines to match the weight class of the offending vehicle.

I spoke with Representative Bailey last week, and he explained his reasoning behind the bill. “It’s your basic physics equation,” he said. “Force equals mass times velocity, squared.”

“We currently regulate vehicles based on velocity,” Bailey explained, “but not mass. You can do a lot more damage the faster you’re going, and the fines reflect that. But heavier vehicles do much more damage than lighter ones. The fine in Oregon for rolling through a stop sign — no matter how slowly — is $242 for a bicycle or a heavy truck. This law would change that.”
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Hopes and wishes

Biking Elsewhereimage
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Tragedy in AA County now a national example of whats wrong with our streets

Biking in the Metro AreaThe recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included $48 billion for transportation infrastructure investments. Of that $48 billion, more than $27.5 billion are in funding categories that make funds eligible for use in projects with complete streets elements, and another $3.8 billion are available for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

The Problem:

The ARRA funding should not be used to expand a system of roads that do not provide safe travel for people who are walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation along a corridor. Too many streets around the country are designed to be wide and fast, without sufficient sidewalks, crosswalks, safe bus facilities, or bicycle lanes. Little consideration has been given for the safety of older people, children, or people with disabilities. These incomplete streets are dangerous and create barriers for people to get to jobs, school, the doctor, and fully participate in civic life. Many cities and towns now recognize the need to re-design their streets to enable safe, comfortable movement along and across streets by food, bicycle, and public transportation.

Tragic Example:

A 14 year-old girl was killed at 5:45 pm Friday while trying to cross Ritchie Highway (Route 2) on her bicycle in Pasadena, in Anne Arundel County. Police said that that the intersection isn't "designed, marked or engineered as a pedestrian crossing." What goes unmentioned is that there is no marked crossing anywhere nearby. The closest traffic signal, at Eastwest Boulevard, has no crosswalks or sidewalks.
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HB 25 Motor Scooters - Prohibited Roads for Operation - dead in House, yea!

Bike LawsAltering regulations relating to the operation of motor scooters on roadways so that a person may not operate a motor scooter on a roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 30 miles an hour and may not operate a motor scooter at a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour.

>>>Unfavorable Report by Environmental Matters
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Is not wearing a bike helmet punishable with pepper spray?

Biking Elsewhere[Could this happen here if HB 187 passes?]
Last Tuesday Shaun Taylor was riding his bike to work in Nelson without his helmet on. The police pulled him over. Then he was pepper sprayed and rammed by the police car.
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WABA's take action page

Bike LawsThe Maryland General Assembly is now considering several bills that are important for cyclists. Three in particular are being debated by the House Environmental Matters Committee and are particularly deserving of attention. Below is a list of the relevant bills along with a summary of each, and the position WABA is urging you to take on each. At the bottom of this page is a sample letter that you can send to the committee to express your opinion on the legislation. Please note that while WABA has provided you a sample letter below, personal stories are much more effective. It is also recommended that you reach out to your particular House member. A list of members on the Environemental Matters Committee can be found here.

These bills are:

Bill: House Bill 437-Protective Head Gear
WABA Position: Oppose
Summary: This bill would raise the mandatory helmet law age from 15 to 17. While WABA supports the use of bicycle helmets, and helmets are effective in reducing traumatic brain injuries during crashes, helmets to not prevent crashes from happening in the first place. Instead of pursing mandatory helmet laws, which are difficult to enforce, the state should focus on bike education efforts and on policies that foster safe roadway design. Currently, less than 1% of highway safety funds given to the state are used on bike and pedestrian projects.

Bill: House Bill 496-Three Foot Passing Law
WABA Position: Support
Summary: Would establish required motorists to give at least three feet of space when passing cyclists. This bill would also require drivers to yield right of way to cyclists traveling in a bike lane. WABA feels that by establishing a formal safe passing distance drivers can be better educated on how to properly pass cyclists.

Bill: House Bill 1197-Removal of Mandatory Use of Shoulders for Bicyclists
WABA Position: Support
Summary: It explicitly permits cyclists to continue to ride in a shoulder if one is present and that is where the cyclist would prefer to ride, but permits cyclist to take the lane. This is essential when shoulders are less than AASHTO recommended width for safe cycling and the existing law does not address narrow shouders. It removes the ambiguity to determine if a shoulder is of adequate width to require use.

WABA
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The Green Wave in Copenhagen - Video

Biking ElsewhereThe Green Wave in Copenhagen is in place on routes with high levels of bicycle traffic. If you cycle at 20 km/h the lights are timed so that you'll hit green all the way into the city centre.

I rode a section of it one morning and then filmed the rush hour bicycle traffic.

35,000 bikes use this stretch each day.
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Quote of the day

Biking ElsewhereThis is my favorite comment...posted in response to a comment stating that motorists fail to "look" for cyclists...

"Not always. I heard a loud scraping sound one night recently and the first thing I looked for under my car was a bike. Unfortunately, it was my muffler. 20 more dollars down the drain."

Man, that is sick...but it makes me LOL for some reason. I bet the guy was dead seriously defending his practices of "looking" for cyclists.
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David Brooks, Denver and the American Dream

Biking Elsewhere...
I’ve spent some time in the Dutch cities and suburbs. I’ve done it on foot, by car, by train, but it is best seen by bike. I even wrote about it for Urban Land in an article entitled Suburban Snapshots. What I found comparing American and Dutch master planned communities was many similarities that Brooks espouses - open space, pedestrian meeting places, the choice to live in a single family home with a yard, some toys, and perhaps even a boat in the back yard. People here and there like that stuff. It is an American Dream and a Dutch Dream.

The differences are some core values like transportation and affordable housing. Our suburbs have recreational bike trails. The Dutch have bike lanes that take you places you need in your everyday life. Transit is often an afterthought here. The Dutch take transit seriously. When they build new suburbs, few homes or places of work are more than 400 meters (the standard five minute walk) from a bus or rail station. New suburbs also include town centers with a major rail station. 30% of all new housing is affordable. Across the board. Sure it is top down planning, but it is right and largely represents the values of the population. We don’t do that here.

If you look at the built environment, in many ways the Dutch are providing the American Dream better than America is. In the built environment at least.
...

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