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Saturday, November 22 2014 @ 02:44 AM UTC
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Please join fellow Democrats for an evening of fun, food, and drinks in Annapolis!

PoliticsUnity Night Reception

Chat with your Democratic state legislators [about bicycling and why our bills failed in the House Subcommittee and why is the Baltimore County Bike Master Plan Dead? (Because the State is not following Federal Policy in allowing matching funds.)] and watch an evening of the Maryland General Assembly.

When: Monday, March 30, 2009 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Miller Senate Office Building
President’s Conference Center West I & II
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401

Who: County Executive Jim Smith – Master of Ceremonies
Governor Martin O’Malley – Keynote Speaker
Baltimore County State Legislators
County Councilmen & Other County Officials
Members of the Baltimore County Democratic Clubs
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Taking the lane on a 4 lane road

Biking ElsewhereIn this video there is a narrow lane present which the motorists needs to use a portion of the left lane to overtake a cyclist with three feet of width clearance.

This is what you can expect from motorists because there are no laws which require a motorist to move over to the other lane to overtake a cyclist. They only need to provide three feet of clearance.

It is ambiguous for me to try to define what is three feet as all they pass me. Clearly some don\'t and some are questionable. Some motorists simply move over to the other lane and allow the maximum clearance. What constitutes as a \"safe three feet overtaking\" is left up to someone who won\'t get hurt.

By law the two lane positions are correct, The first position to the right resulted in at least one close pass with a cargo van.
The second lane position to the left, yields better results in my opinion. [For] The person who is subject to death and injury.

This is a good example of why a cyclist may choose to use the law and move to the left to communicate to the motorists that this is a narrow lane and a motorist will need to use a portion of the left lane to overtake the cyclist as the video shows, and provide better visibility for the motorists.
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Anti-Veloism: Weird, Creepy Bike Hate

Biking ElsewhereObviously, not everybody likes cyclists. In fact, lots of people actually hate cyclists. If you ride a bicycle you've undoubtedly experienced the sting of anti-veloism at least once. Some anti-veloist attacks are fairly straightforward, like when an irate motorist yells at you for being "in the way." Others though are downright bizarre, and can be so strange that instead of being angry you just find yourself confused. A reader recently forwarded me an instance of the latter from Madison, Wisconsin.

In this case, the anti-veloism took the form of a skit on a WJJ0 99.4 radio program. Basically, some guy with a goofy Harry Shearer radio voice says he's sick of bicyclists, or "spandex cowboys." He then segues into some skit which is a parody of a hunting show, in which the host goes to the "Wisconsin Bicycle Trail of Death," where he kills bicycles instead of deer "because we feel they're flamers and they should be shot at!" He then launches into some weird homoerotic reverie in which he positions himself near someplace "gay and retarded" because that's where cyclists like to congregate. Once he spies some effeminate male cyclists, he then shoots them and excitedly declares that he "bagged me a nancy boy!" Then the host comes back and says that "if motorcyclists...if we did what bicyclists do we'd be in jail and our bikes impounded." Then they go to commercial.
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Back to the Grid: John Norquist on How to Fix National Transpo Policy

Biking Elsewhereimage
The Congress for the New Urbanism has some intriguing answers. During the stimulus debate, CNU proposed a new type of federal road funding that would help to build connected grids -- the kind of streets that livable communities are made of. The proposal didn't make it into the stimulus package before the bill got rushed out the door, but the upcoming federal transportation bill will provide another chance. CNU President John Norquist -- a four-term mayor of Milwaukee who first got into politics as an anti-freeway advocate -- was down in DC last Thursday to share his ideas with Congress. Streetsblog spoke to him afterward about what's broken with national transportation policy and how to fix it. Here's the first part of our interview.
If the debate is about transit versus roads -- and currently the battle lines are drawn at 20 percent funding for transit, 80 percent for roads -- it’s a really limited debate. It leaves out the whole discussion of what kind of roads to build. So if you have a city with boulevards and avenues and no freeways, it’s going to be a lot more valuable. You look at Vancouver, they have no freeways whatsoever, and they have a fabulously intense and valuable real estate and job market. And then you look at the places that have invested all the money in the giant road segments and they tend to be degraded. It's not roads versus transit -- it's good street networks-plus-transit versus mindless building of out-of-scale roads. I mean they're basically putting rural roads into urbanized areas and it’s counterproductive, it reduces the value of the economy, it destroys jobs, destroys real estate value. For what, so you can drive fast at two in the morning when you're drunk?

Freeways don’t work in rush hour; they're slower. Like in Washington, DC, Connecticut Avenue is faster at rush hour than the Potomac Freeway. The Potomac Freeway goes down to about two to six miles an hour during the peak hour, whereas Connecticut Avenue goes down to about eight to thirteen miles an hour. So you're really talking about the federal government investing billions and billions of dollars in stuff that reduces the value of the economy. How bad is that?
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Ashford Shared Space Video

Biking Elsewhere'Shared space' seeks to change the 'mental maps' that drivers create and alert them to a different environment in which pedestrians and cyclists have equal priority. The keys to this are low speeds, a narrow carriageway and the removal of the typical visual clues for drivers, such as information signs and pedestrian guard railing.

The 'shared space' philosophy builds on the work of Hans Monderman in Holland and has already been used in changes recently completed in Kensington High Street
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Upgrade to Robert E. Lee Park

Health & EnvironmentSmith Testified in Favor of State Capital Budget Request

Towson, Md. (March 19, 2009) — Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith testified this week before two legislative committees on behalf of a $3 million state capital budget request for the improvement of Robert E. Lee Park in the Mount Washington area of Baltimore County.

He testified on Monday before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee in favor of the funding.

County Executive Smith\'s testimony as prepared for his appearance before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is presented below:

Chairman Currie and members of the Budget and Taxation Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of the $3 million appropriation for the improvement of Robert E. Lee Park.
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Fear, intimidation, and decision making

Biking Elsewhereby Raphael Clemente

As one who uses a bicycle for the vast majority of my trips around town, I am often struck by the crazy behavior and strange reactions of some automobile drivers. I am not implying that people who drive cars are evil or by virtue of riding a bicycle for transportation that I am better than anyone else. But some drivers are intent on using their vehicles to barge their way through situations using intimidation and fear as a means of influencing others.
Freedom from Fear
Undoubtedly, one of the most common deterrents to bicycling is fear. Fear of motorists. Notice I said “motorists,” not “cars” or “traffic.” When people talk about bike safety, especially those who are afraid to bike on the roads, they aren’t much concerned about potholes or dogs or sand on the corner or their ability to control the bike. They fear the motorist they can’t see and who supposedly can’t see them. This fear is based on the belief that a significant number of motorists are likely to hit bicyclists while overtaking them. Does it happen? Yes. Is it common? Not at all.

Beliefs are survival tools our brains use when we don’t have sufficient direct sensory information to make a decision. Good beliefs can protect us from potential dangers. Bad beliefs mislead us into being fearless when we should be wary or fearing the wrong things. While I sit at my desk in my office I believe my bike is sitting in the bike locker where I locked it and left it, even though I have no evidence to support that belief. It’s not until I go out there, open the locker and look inside that I know my bike is actually there. I couldn’t function sanely if I spent the day believing my locker was being broken into. Conversely, if I believed no one would wish to steal my bike, I wouldn’t bother locking it and would again sit at my desk believing it was still there.

What kinds of events contribute to our beliefs about bicycle safety? First and most common is sensory information — observation of the motorists and bicyclists around us. Such observations often convince people that bicycling is unsafe. It only takes a few incidents of carelessness or rudeness by motorists to convince some that cycling is a dangerous activity even though most interactions with motorists are non-threatening. We humans are easily startled when something big comes rushing up from behind us. Think — predator! Even after 25 years of cycling an overtaking car still occasionally startles me.

Second are the lies that motorists tell when they have treated cyclists poorly. Catch up to a motorist after one has nearly sideswiped you and you’ll most likely hear one of the following lies: A) “I didn’t see you.” B) “You belong on the sidewalk.” C) “You’re supposed to ride all the way to the right.”

Third are stories about crashes. The media does not report “20,000 people rode their bikes today and none of them were hit by motorists.” They usually report that someone has been killed while cycling and make little or no effort to explain why the crash occurred.

The fourth way is through statistical data on bicyclist-versus-motorist crashes. Here again the information is skewed toward the negative. The statistical data people receive through the media is vague and misleading.

My purpose on these pages is to show you why proper cycling on roads is quite safe and can be accomplished by normal adults. I’ll be covering a few statistics (okay, a lot of statistics) my own experiences, the skills and practices necessary for safer cycling, and some reasoning about the motorist’s perspective.
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Bike safety bill likely dead this year, lawmaker says

Biking Elsewhere[This could easily have been written about here as well.]
Des Moines police say the driver was clearly at fault, but no traffic ticket was issued.
It’s cases like this that trouble cycling advocates. They’re pushing for state legislation that would offer bicyclists more protection – and heavier penalties for drivers who break the law.

But the new legislation likely won’t become law this year, a key Democrat said today.

The bill, Senate File 117, passed the Iowa Senate last month, but probably won’t pass the House in the few remaining weeks of the session, said Rep. Brian Quirk, D-New Hampton.

That’s frustrating to Iowans like Sherman, a 48-year-old software developer who has been riding competitively since 1986.

“I understand they’ve got big fish to fry with the budget, but this costs nothing,” Sherman said. “I can’t see how they’re going to be voted out of office because they voted for safety. What these guys are cowering at I don’t know.”

Quirk said he doesn’t oppose the bill, but one sticking point is that the it would prohibit a driver from depriving a bicycle of the full use of a lane if the lane isn’t wide enough for them to share

“You have liability issues when you give a bicyclist full lane privileges,” he said.
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Bike To Work Day - Friday May 15, 2009 at Columbia Mall

Biking in the Metro AreaFor the second year the Howard County Government is sponsoring a Bike To Work Day rally at Columbia Mall (behind Sears) on Friday May 15th. The rally check-in will start at 7am - you can ride to the Mall or park your car and ride from there. There will be cue sheets from the Mall to:

* Temporary Howard County Government Office Building (Stanford Blvd)
* APL/Maple Lawn Farm/Southern District Police Station
* King's Contrivance Village Center
* Gateway -- Robert Fulton Drive
* Clarksville -- West to Rte 32
* Downtown Ellicott City
* Catonsville -- UMBC via River Road & through Patapsco State Park
* Elkridge to BWI industrial parks

You can now register at:

When you register on the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (Baltimore area) B2W web site, select Howard County - Columbia Mall. Registration gets you a t-shirt and goodie bag; there will also be random prize drawings - you have to be present and check in to be eligible. In addition for the entire Baltimore region the first 1200 registered also get a reflective leg strap and safety light, and the first 500 get a tire gauge.

Please try to make this a successful event and show the County Officials (last year County Executive Ken Ulman as well as Planning & Zoning/Transportation officials, and County Council were represented) how active the Howard County bicycling community is.
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Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan - Make Walking and crossing Streets Safer

Biking in BaltimorePedestrian fatalities comprise about 20 percent of all traffic deaths in Maryland. [Baltimore Spokes: National average 13%.] Over 2,500 pedestrians are injured annually, more then one-third of which occur in Baltimore City and more then another one-third of which occur in Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties. Pedestrians 15 years of age or younger are particularly vulnerable to being injured -- over 30 percent of injured pedestrians are in this age group. [Baltimore Spokes: This age group comprises 13% of the population.]

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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