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Friday, April 18 2014 @ 08:02 AM UTC
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Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee - on FaceBook!

Biking in BaltimoreAs Baltimore becomes a more bike-friendly community, MBAC helps promote cycling by advising city officials, increasing safety awareness and holding local events.
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With more bicyclists on the road, interesection safety more important than ever

Biking ElsewhereFaced with soaring gas prices, many commuters have traded in the gas pump for the air pump to tune-up their previously sedentary bicycles. According to a national study conducted by the Bikes Belong Coalition, 95% of bicycle shops said their customers attributed high gas prices to the purchase of new wheels this summer.

The shift to cycling brings new responsibilities. “People who are pulling old bicycles out of the garage really need to take them to a bike shop to make sure that they are properly working,” said Avery Stonich, Marketing and Communications Director of
the Bikes Belong Coalition.

Additionally, it is up to bicyclists (old and new) to educate themselves.“ The streets are very different now from the way they were 20 years ago. We are trying to make sure that we get the word out about the rules of the road and basic riding techniques so that people enjoy the experience,” said Andy Clarke, Executive Director of League of American Bicyclists. “You are and should be treated exactly the same as if you’re behind the wheel of a car — you have the same rights and responsibilities.”

That includes stopping at red lights and stop signs. According to a study completed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, 21.7% of crashes experienced by motorists and cyclists result from a motorist failing to yield — meaning the motorist enters an intersection and fails to stop at a traffic signal, striking a bicyclist who is traveling through the intersection. Equally alarming, 16.8% of crashes involving motorists and cyclists result from a bicyclist failing to yield at an intersection. This means that 38.5% of motorist-bicycle crashes could be eliminated simply by stopping at red lights and stop signs.

If you’re considering making the switch from four wheels to two, there are some simple tips to avoid injury. Stonich’s top three rules: wear a helmet, ride with in the rules of the road, and be predictable.“ [Bicyclists] need to be comfortable on the road,” said Stonich.“ The truth is, people really need to feel safe to want to ride.”

Bicyclists “are somewhat vulnerable to drivers’ behavior,” said Clarke.“ Be predictable, be visible, be ready for that idiot who is going to run a red light or stop sign; don’t be intimidated, but be ready for that.”

“We are all in this together,” said Clarke. “It’s not about bicyclists or motorists. We all benefit from safe driving.”
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BUILDING A NEW COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR ANNAPOLIS

Biking in the Metro AreaCommittee seeks public comment on draft

AnnapolisEvery 10 years, Annapolis creates a new Comprehensive Plan to chart the City's direction for the coming decade. Since late 2006, the City has been working with a Citizen Advisory Committee to generate a new Comprehensive Plan.

Now, the Comprehensive Plan Citizen Advisory Committee invites Annapolis residents, community groups, business groups and other interested individuals to review and comment on the "Committee Review Draft" of the Annapolis Comprehensive Plan. The committee wishes to hear from the public before it finishes its work on the Plan.

The Committee Review Draft is available for download on the City web site (link below) or for review at the Annapolis and Eastport-Annapolis Neck Libraries or the Annapolis Department of Planning and Zoning.
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Speed Cameras Shown to Increase Road Efficiency

Biking ElsewhereWASHINGTON, D.C. (September 18, 2008) — Although drivers tend to slow down when driving through a photo enforcement zone, a recent study shows that speed cameras actually reduce travel time and improve travel time reliability. The landmark study is the first in the U.S. to analyze multiple effects on driver behavior, travel time, societal costs, and road safety.

The study, which became available to the public this summer, looked at a trial photo enforcement program on a segment of Arizona State Loop 101 in Scottsdale. The program — the first in the U.S. to use fixed-site speed cameras on a freeway — ran from January through October 2006 and cited drivers going at least 11 miles over the 65 mph speed limit.

Simon Washington, the Arizona State University engineering professor who co-authored the report, found that the speed camera program “not only improved safety but also improved mobility through travel time savings, improved travel time reliability, and reduced travel time uncertainty.”

The report found that during the nine month speed camera trial program
  • mean traffic speeds were reduced by nine mph
  • total crashes were reduced by 44% to 54%
  • injury crashes decreased by 28% to 48%
The annual estimated safety benefits ranged from $16.5 to $17.1 million, based on medical costs, quality of life costs and other costs (lost productivity, wages, long-term care, etc.).

The report estimated that the reduction in crash frequency saved approximately 1,336 vehicle-hours a year when crashes blocked one lane and 45,060 vehicle-hours a year when crashes blocked two lanes. The annual benefit of travel time savings ranged from a low of $20,040 (one-lane blockage crash assuming $15/hr value of travel time savings) to a high of $901,200 (two-lane blockage crash assuming $20/hr of travel time savings). The six speed cameras (three facing in each direction of traffic) produced a clear change in driving behavior.

The average number of daily speeding detections per camera was
  • 162.2 during the warning period;
  • 129.7 during the program period;
  • 1,482.4 during the after period; and
  • 134.68 during the reactivation period.
“This study confirms what we have believed all along,” said Barbara Harsha, Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “By reducing crashes, photo enforcement not only saves lives but also enhances traffic flow and shortens time in the car.”
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xkcd - Organic Fuel

Mass Transitimage
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SHA Public Workshop for I-795 Pleasant Hill interchange

Biking in MarylandSHA Public Workshop for I-795 Pleasant Hill interchange
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Bikerumor.com's Guide to Using SPD Pedals

Biking ElsewhereWarning funny link
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Bikes vs. Cars: The Rules of Engagement

Biking ElsewhereAll our sympathies go to the SWDCBlogger's roommate who was intentionally struck by a driver while riding late Friday night on 14th Street SW near Constitution Avenue. Witnesses to the incident picked up the driver's tags, so the hope is that justice will catch up with that automomaniac. Anyone else who was hanging around the Mall after 1 a.m. and saw the incident should get in contact with the [the original post].

This writer, too, has had several recent run-ins with motor drivers compelled to violence by nothing more than the inconvenience of sharing a lane with a bicyclist. It's enough to drive a person to a Matt Borlikian attitude toward anyone with car keys. Last month, for example, while I was biking on Florida Ave NW, a driver who had crowded me and honked his horn repeatedly from behind me — despite the fact that no one was using the other east-bound lane — finally passed me so aggressively and ostentatiously that he clipped my front tire, sending me off the road. And just last night, a driver on 14th Street near the Columbia Heights Metro station swerved toward me, nearly clipping my toes, when I stepped out on foot into the lane but then stepped back toward the car. So, I punched her trunk as she passed, prompting her male passenger, who was behaving in a manner consistent with being high on drugs, to hop out and, after some debate about etiquette, follow me into that terrible pollo burrito place there by the Gentrification Giant and punch me in the face. (The worst part of the exchange came later: regrettably, I ate the burrito I ordered.)

Granted, each of these respective drivers earned a flurry of middle fingers from your correspondent at various points in our conversations, but hey, that's driving. Incivility is certainly not a license to use a 5,000-lb. vehicle in order to enforce a norm of the road. Drivers: You may not assault, batter, or kill bicyclists with your vehicle, no matter how slow they seem to be going, how much lane they seem to unfairly occupy relative to their size, or how many rude digits they point in your direction.

Drivers absolutely may not strike bikers, but ... is there ever a case when it might be appropriate for bikers to hit back at drivers? No one should read this as a call for asymmetric violence by bicyclists against drivers who put them in danger, but given the "etiquette" conversation I had last night before getting punched, I'm curious: do you all think responding to vehicular assault by banging your fist down on a trunk is so wrong? And what about a well-placed U-lock to a tail light? Where do you draw the line?
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CHILDREN LIVING IN AREAS WITH MORE STREET TREES...

Health & Environment"...have lower prevalence of asthma;" article by Lovasi, Quinn, Neckerman, Perzanowski, & Rundle; in the July 2008 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (62:569). Quote: "Street trees were associated with a lower prevalence of early childhood asthma. This study does not permit inference that trees are causally related to asthma at the individual level. The PlaNYC sustainability initiative, which includes a commitment to plant one million trees by the year 2017, offers an opportunity for a large prospective evaluation."
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CHICAGO (IL) DRIVERS DRIVE LESS, ROADS STILL CONGESTED

Biking ElsewhereAccording to an Oct. 13th Tribune article, "Despite increased fuel prices, gridlock is still a problem, but more people may be working at home or traveling at non-peak times, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning researcher says. Motorists in the Chicago area are making fewer trips to gas stations, but highways are still severely congested despite a decline of almost 5 percent in miles driven this year.

"Congestion in the region is actually worse now than a year ago. Drivers hoping to reach their destinations on schedule need to budget almost double the amount of travel time that the trips should take..."

[Just to note that parents driving their kids to school has been shown to be as high as 21% of rush hour traffic. I'll assert the impact of this behavior could explain this problem.]

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