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Tuesday, December 23 2014 @ 01:30 AM UTC
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Our view: Tough times, but surprising number of environment bills advance

Health & EnvironmentBaltimore Sun:



This wasn\'t supposed to be a big year for the environmentalist movement in Annapolis, and that may yet prove to be the case. Program Open Space funds are under assault from the state Senate, millions of cap-and-trade dollars from power plants are being diverted from alternative energy and efficiency programs, and some important environmental programs have had their budgets cut (as many state government functions have).

But with just a week left in the legislative session, the greenies are in a surprisingly good position to pull off some significant wins.
...
Most of Gov. Martin O\'Malley\'s bill to commit Maryland to a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 has advanced. His proposal to address the Court of Appeals\' Terrapin Run decision and restore legal authority to county comprehensive plans has, too.

On the state\'s Smart Growth policy, however, the Senate\'s failure to put some teeth into the program is particularly disappointing. The House had taken Mr. O\'Malley\'s modest effort at updating Smart Growth and required the counties to show they were making progress toward their stated goals. But that now looks like a lost cause in the Senate - and a big defeat for any hope of controlling sprawl around the Chesapeake Bay.

Still, what happens in the days ahead could make the difference. As one veteran lobbyist noted, a month ago it looked like the environmentalists were going to walk away from the session nearly empty-handed. Perhaps it\'s a case of looking at the Chesapeake Bay as half-clean, but given the circumstances, it\'s a welcome development.
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Conservative Cyclists Break the Stereotypes of Bike Politics

Politicsby Jake Mohan
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We are all guilty of certain prejudices. In the escalating (and increasingly dangerous) tensions between car commuters and bicycle riders, battle lines are drawn. As an avid cyclist leaning fairly hard to port, I had very little reason to interrogate the stereotypes embodied in the scenario above. But eventually a few needling questions penetrated my insulated sphere of thought: What if there are conservatives who ride bikes? What the hell do they look like? And where can I find them?

On the Internet, of course.
,,,
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Palo Alto cyclist heading for Boston on rare bike

Biking in Baltimore[Note this is in Bike Baltimore because this ride will be coming through here.]
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Some people think of bicycles as an occasional way to get around. For Palo Altan Martin Krieg they're far more: a full-time mode of transportation and his ticket across the United States.

On May 3, he will begin a 4,000-mile bicycle ride from Palo Alto to Boston, Mass. -- his third cross-nation bike trip. In 1979, he rode a standard upright bike and in 1986 a recumbent bike. He will pass through 25 cities that he hopes someday will become links in a national bikeway.

But it's not just any bike he will be riding. With a design that harkens back to the 19th century, his 1891 HiWheel Eagle has a small wheel in the front and a really large one in back — a reverse of the better-known Pennyfarthing bicycle that Krieg has been riding around Palo Alto for years.
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Creating bikeable, \"permeable\" urban street grids

Biking ElsewhereAs just a few minor examples of the changing realities which are now affecting New Haven, national firefighters\' groups used to be opposed to narrower, slower-speed streets, but they now recognize that many more lives can be saved with them -- even if response times are slightly prolonged or emergency responders need some re-training. Public health organizations used to focus mostly on nutrition, health care and education policies, but have now identified transportation and walkable neighborhoods as arguably the most critical issue to promoting community health. Economic development officials increasingly focus on walkability, transit, livability, connectivity and the number of intersections per square mile, rather than on the volume of traffic or number of parking spaces within a certain radius. Transportation planners used to project rising traffic counts; the latest 2009 data has shown an approximately 30% decrease in congestion just over the past year alone. Cycling advocacy groups used to focus mostly on greenways, rail-trails, rural touring routes and bike lanes, but now increasingly focus on creating bikeable, \"permeable\" urban street grids where traffic speeds max out at around 20 MPH, with a variety of facilities contemplated to serve different user types. Even ConnDOT has been designing streets in new ways. Cities that have adopted these new viewpoints have been witnessing very dramatic changes in short periods of time.
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In TN there is no legal obligation to see a cyclist

Bike LawsIt\'s funny I had thoughts about this last night on how our legislatures reacted to the 3\' safe passing bill and the removal of mandatory shoulder use law. One issue seems to be the problem with cyclists appearing out of nowhere as if we are some sort of specter that can be invisible till the last minute leaving motorists no time to react to our presences. Leaving cyclists baffled on the how and why\'s we can\'t be seen even when wearing some of the gaudiest clothing on the planet, well I have a thought about that.

Let\'s say I am driving in a car with a friend down a 35mph street so we are doing the acceptable 50mph, the road is fairly straight with good sight lines and then out of nowhere an illegally parked car appears, my freind gasps \"We are going to crash!\" and I say \"Slow down a bit and change lanes when its safe to do so.\" \"But why should I be inconvenienced when they are not doing the speed limit?\" So we crash and tell the officer that we just did not see the parked car so its not our fault, if it is anyone\'s fault it should be the one not doing the speed limit, giving no time for people \"lawfully\" using the roadway time to react.

The problem here is that this story would appear to be a totally bogus to most people but if we replaced parked car with a lawful cyclist the story has suddenly gained believability among a large portion of our society. Why is that? Well this is my theory: Cyclists are admonished to ride to the right of the road to facilitate passing of faster traffic. So by riding to the right we are essentially saying that it is safe to pass within the same lane and don\'t pay me any more heed then a telephone pole on the right side of the road, there is room for you to pass. It is my belief that it is the awareness of not having enough room to pass is what \"suddenly\" appears out of nowhere not the cyclists.

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Cycle Facility of the Month April 2009

Biking Elsewhereimage
The 10 mph limit on the Yorkshire approach to the Humber Bridge could cause significant delays to faster cyclists. In order to bypass the speed limit, the cycle route has been diverted onto the pavement [sidewalk in US] on the opposite side of the road. This innovative cycle lane has been set out to enable cyclists to maintain full speed as they swerve across the path of traffic in complete safety.
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Road Witching

Biking in BaltimoreI have been fascinated by the concept of civil disobedience to invoke change ever since I was a kid. We see examples all the time in our society where people willfully and arrogantly disobey laws to create a change they want to see. Depending on the subject this willful disobedience to laws is either accepted or met with scorn.

Now many in our society don\'t see any form of civil disobedience as acceptable nor do they see civil disobedience going on daily and that to me is the real shocker. Since we talk a lot about bicycling on this site you might be thinking I am talking about bicyclists running red lights, well that is not were I am going with this but I do want to point out that much of cyclists disregard to laws is the result of the lack of accommodations for bicyclists, this has been supported by studies. So civil disobedience by cyclists is a protest about the lack of accommodations for the general public on public streets. This form of protest is just as valid if not more so then motorists protest against speed limits.

Somehow through civil disobedience the legally defined maximum speed limit has been redefined as the minimum speed limit and you are a inconsiderate jerk unless you are diving speed limit+15mph. Through civil disobedience most public roads have become as expressway like as possible (accommodating fast through travel, high speed turning lanes and prohibiting [in spirit of design] bicyclist and pedestrian traffic.) As a society this is what we demand with one and only one exception, the road in front my house but I should be allowed to go fast as I want on the road in front of your house. It is within this self-centeredness of the protest for car only roads that things are starting to fall apart but we still have a long ways to go.

So the problem is how to successfully protest against a successful protest? Well Ted Dewan has ideas about \"spontaneous mischief\" and other guerrilla traffic calming concepts, in one case he paints a crosswalk on a street where pedestrian fatalities have occurred complete with painted flattened bodies and smashed pumpkins for heads. In this 20 minute video there are some very entertaining ways presented that could help change peoples mind about what is the purpose of the \"space between houses\" (formally known as a road.)
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Bicycle Safety.

Biking in Maryland[From Maryland State Highway Administration]

The primary impetus for paved roads was for the safe travel of bicycles! More and more people are taking to two-wheel rather than four for recreation, exercise and daily travel. Bicycles are entitled to Maryland’s non-interstate roadways, just as cars are! Bicycles are subject to the same laws and need to obey the same traffic devices as vehicles.
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Tips for Drivers

* Leave at least three feet of passing space between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist.
* Reduce your speed when passing a cyclist, especially if the roadway is narrow.
* Children on bicycles are often unpredictable in their actions. Expect the unexpected.

For the cyclist

* Ride in the same direction as traffic.
* Cyclists are subject to the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles.
* Obey all road signs and signals.
* Wear your helmet correctly – at the front of the head and not tilted back.
* Wear reflective gear after dark and have a light on your bike.
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Through the end of April - bike safety bus back ads

Biking in the Metro Areaimage

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Rollerblade Man's Entire Body Covered in Wheels (Video)

Biking ElsewhereWe're big advocates for all things human-powered, but we really really like to see this particular efficiency put to use for transportation. Enter with a flash "Rollerblade Man" who's keeping all his options open by covering his entire body with a suit of wheels allowing one to travel up to 60 miles-per-hour while maintaining any position found in the Kama Sutra. More about Rollerblade Man after the jump and as always, please note well: he's wearing a helmet.

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