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Law enforcement officials urge passage of negligent driving bill

Biking in MarylandSTEVE LASH - Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer - January 28, 2009 6:12 PM

ANNAPOLIS — Law-enforcement officials urged Maryland legislators to close a “gaping hole” in state law that allows some drivers to escape with only a traffic citation after causing a fatal collision.

Testifying Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Montgomery County Police Cpl. Greg Lewis voiced frustration that all too often his only recourse is to issue traffic citations to a driver whose extreme carelessness took another person’s life.

“I prosecuted them to the fullest extent of the law,” Lewis told the committee. “I wrote them [traffic] tickets.”

Maryland law treats vehicular manslaughter — a wanton or reckless disregard for human life — as a felony, while any motorist offense short of that, absent alcohol or drugs, is regarded as a traffic violation.

Lewis testified in support of House Bill 97, which would close what he called “that big gaping hole” between felony and traffic violation by making it a misdemeanor when a driver kills someone through a “substantial deviation from the standard of care … exercised by a reasonable” motorist.
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BikePed Beacon -- January 2009

Biking in the Metro Area

The following newsflash from the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board details current news, events, etc. in regards to biking and walking both in and around the Baltimore region.

The information found in the newsflash is informative; it could inspire some to become more involved in the process of improving conditions for biking and walking.

Or it could inspire a bike ride or a walk...

Amber Blake
BikePed ED

  Upcoming BRTB Committee Meetings 
Baltimore Regional Transportation Board 
    Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at  9:00 a.m.

Technical Committee

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.

Citizens Advisory Committee 
    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.

Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Group
    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.

All BRTB Committee meetings are held at the BMC offices (2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 310, Baltimore), MD 21224) and are open to the public.

>> View Upcoming Meeting Agendas   >> Read Recent Meeting Minutes  

Transportation Outlook 2035After several months of public outreach and involvement, the BRTB has recently released for public review and comment, the draft preferred alternative for the amendment to the Baltimore region's long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2035.

This draft preferred alternative proposes $225 million in funding for regional transit projects, beginning in 2020, including:
  • Green Line Transit
  • Park-and-Ride spaces
  • Carroll County Transit
  • Intermodal Facilities / MARC stations / Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
  • Dedicated bus lanes
In response to public comment, the projects included in this amendment focus on ways to make the regional transit system more user-friendly and attractive to a broader segment of the region's population and workforce.

A public input period will run through Friday, January 23, 2009. During this time, public comments will be accepted by mail, fax, or online using our public comment form.

Comments may also be submitted in person at a public meeting on Thursday, January 15, 2009 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. or 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the BMC offices located at 2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 310, Baltimore, MD 21224.

Proposed Rendering of Bike ParkingJudges have selected eight finalists, including three Maryland Institute College of Art students, to design and build eight one-of-a-kind bike racks to be installed by next spring in Baltimore's Station North district.

The designs were submitted as part of the Station North Bike Rack Project, a competition held this fall to help raise the bike rack to an art form and make Baltimore a more bike-friendly city.

A public display of the 79 designs was held on Dec. 12 at 20 W. North Ave. The winners will each receive $4,000 to execute their designs for locations to be determined.

The finalists are: Sanjit Roy, Ethan Rochmis, Irina Dukhnevich, Chris Shea, Andrea Dombrowski, Daniel Raimond, Paul Capetola and Nick Trincia. Dombrowski, Dukhnevich and Capetola are MICA students. 

 >> See Photogallery

Photo Source: Urban Palimpsest

bikerackAside from "Share the Road" signs, bike racks are the #2 contributor to increased bike ridership.  Baltimore City's DOT purchases and installs bike racks in conjunction with the development of the bike network to allow bicyclists to park at key destinations and they are seeking new locations for new bicycle racks.  Details are listed below. 
Installation & Maintenance process
  1. Property owner requests a rack (or racks) for installation
  2. Bike racks are purchased and installed by DOT on a first-come/first-served basis
  3. If racks require maintenance, DOT will replace the existing rack in kind.

Bike Rack options

  1. Standard 36" x 30" powder-coated inverted "U" racks, typically installed in sidewalks and parking lots. Each rack holds 2 bicycles.
  2. "Meter racks" installed on top of parking meter poles once meter heads are replaced. Each rack can hold 1-2 bicycles.
  3. "On street parking" converted an existing on-street car parking place to accommodate 8-12 bicycles.  On-street bike parking is reserved for commercial areas.

Please contact Nate Evans in the Department of Transportation's Planning Division at 410-396-6586 or if you are interested.

  A million bikesThe City of Baltimore Department of Transportation (DOT) has been working hard to implement the May 2006 Bicycle Master Plan.  Bicycle lanes and sharrows are being integrated into city streets, storm grates are being improved, and bicycle racks are being places, along with other improvements.     
Now that Baltimore is becoming more bicycle friendly, it is necessary to inform citizens and visitors about safe bicycling practices and the city plans to do just that at a bicycle summit, to be held in Druid Hill Park this Spring. 
  The summit will bring together both public and private partners and include discussions on: Teaching safe cycling practices Encouraging bicycle commuting through mentoring and other programs Getting people on bikes including new information on how to find the right bicycle for you! Fostering public/private partnerships to promote bicycling and active livingIf you are interested in volunteering at or sponsoring the event please contact Traci McPhail at or Nate Evans at >;> View Baltimore City's Bicycle Master Plan


Cyclist on Bridge

A 5 minute preview of the recently released DVD - Geared Up The Essentials of Adult Bicycling - is now available on the web site.

With so many adults bicycling, this DVD is very timely. Competence, Confidence and Safety is the message. Please take a moment to view the video or share with others.


Transit Oriented Development Summit II - January 27, 2009On Tuesday, January 27, 2009 from 7 to 9 p.m. several area organizations will host a 2nd Transit Oriented Development Summit at the Thumel Business Center Auditorium (11 W. Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201).  

Topics to be discussed include Central Maryland's opportunities and challenges for TOD, new initiatives and advances in local TOD planning, and an emerging national agenda to promote smart investment in infrastructure and innovation.

The event is free and open to the public and is accessible by MTA Bus Lines 3, 11, 21, 61, 64, Light Rail and MARC Train.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Brian O'Malley at or 410-332-4172 ext. 122.

>;>> Download a flyer

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              Amber Blake
              Baltimore Metropolitan Council
              410-732-0500 x1030
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If kids could only walk or bike to school

Biking ElsewhereIf the number of kids who walk and bike to school was restored to 1969 levels, our nation would cut 3.2 billion vehicle miles, 1.5 million tons of CO2, and 89,000 tons of other pollutants annually. This is the equivalent of keeping more than 250,000 cars off the road for a year.
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Cyclist\'s Yellow PagesThe mid-Atlantic’s largest indoor bicycle swap and consumer expo series! If you’ve never made it to the SWAP don’t miss out in 2009!

What will you find at the SWAP.... thousands of discounted cycling and fitness products, FREE consumer seminars on topics like women's cycling, bike fit, bicycle touring, fitness training, basic maintenance and more, product demos, prizes and giveaways, special events and so much more…. Be one of the first 500 consumers through the door and receive a FREE goodie bag!

Beat the cold and kick-off your Spring cycling season at the SWAP! Admission is still only $5 and includes thousands square feet (yes, it's all indoor and heated) of everything that cycling has to offer. Whether you’re looking for road, mountain, triathlon, BMX, vintage, new or used, there’s something for everyone!

Westminster, Maryland. Sunday, February 8th, 2009 9:00 am—2:00 pm
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@ Red Emma's

Bike PathsFirst up is EDWARD ORSER's *The Gwynns Falls: Baltimore Greenway to
the Chesapeake Bay,* which takes the Falls as the occasion for a trip
through Baltimore's ecological and social histories (we'll be
welcoming Ed to Red Emma's on February 10 for an event based around on
the book!).
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Saris Cycling Group Recalls Stationary Bicycle Trainers Due to Fall Hazard

Biking ElsewhereDescription: The recalled trainers are a stationary frame that allows bicycles to be converted into stationary bicycles. The recalled models include: CycleOps Pro Series Trainer models 9014 (SuperMagneto Pro), 9331 (JetFluid Pro), 9460 (PowerBeam Pro), 9321 (JetFluid Pro Winter Training Kit), and 9322 (SuperMagneto Pro Winter Training Kit) without the secondary locking pin. The model number and style names are printed on the left side of the main frame of the trainer.

Sold at: Independent bicycle retailers nationwide from October 2008 through November 2008 for between about $400 and $1200.
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Various Bills that you might be interested in

Bike LawsSENATE BILL 38 Synopsis:
Authorizing a county, municipality, or other public body that has the authority to enact laws and adopt local police regulations relating to traffic to decrease a maximum speed limit in a business district or a residential district to not less than 25 miles an hour without conducting an engineering and traffic investigation.

SENATE BILL 98 Synopsis:
Prohibiting a person from using a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle.

SENATE BILL 103 Synopsis:
Prohibiting a driver of a school vehicle from using a handheld telephone under specified circumstances; prohibiting a holder of a learner\'s instructional permit or provisional driver\'s license who is 18 years of age or older from driving a motor vehicle while using a handheld telephone; prohibiting a driver of a motor vehicle that is in motion from using the driver\'s hands to use a handheld telephone except under specified circumstances; establishing penalties; etc.

SENATE BILL 143 Synopsis:
Prohibiting a driver of a specified school vehicle from using wireless communication devices; prohibiting a holder of a learner\'s instructional permit or provisional driver\'s license who is 18 years of age or older from driving a motor vehicle while using wireless communication devices; prohibiting a driver of a motor vehicle that is in motion from using the driver\'s hands to use wireless communication devices; providing exceptions to the prohibitions; etc.

SENATE BILL 219 Synopsis:
Requiring a court to order the Motor Vehicle Administration to initiate an action to suspend the driving privilege of a child for specified periods of time on making a finding that the child has committed specified violations relating to alcoholic beverages, leaving the scene of an accident, or fleeing or eluding a police officer; providing that the Administration may not issue restricted licenses to individuals whose drivers\' licenses are suspended under specified circumstances; etc.

SENATE BILL 250 Synopsis:
Authorizing the driver of a motorcycle at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a traffic control signal to proceed through a red signal under specified circumstances if a visible vehicle sensor operating the traffic control signal does not detect the presence of the motorcycle.

SENATE BILL 262 Synopsis:
Requiring the Motor Vehicle Administration to suspend for a specified period the driver\'s license of a person who has been convicted of specified drunk and drugged driving offenses within a specified time period after a previous conviction for specified drunk and drugged driving offenses.

SENATE BILL 277 Synopsis:
Authorizing in all counties of the State and in specified highway work zones the use of speed monitoring systems to enforce specified highway speed laws under specified standards and procedures; restricting the use of specified revenues generated under the Act; etc.

HOUSE BILL 152 Synopsis:
Requiring a police officer to arrest with or without a warrant a person who the police officer has probable cause to believe has committed a specified offense of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death.

HOUSE BILL 172 Synopsis:
Establishing that a person is guilty of the misdemeanor of recklessly contributing to an accident in a highway work zone if the person is driving a motor vehicle in a specified manner in a highway work zone and the driving contributes to an accident; establishing the number of points to be assessed for recklessly contributing to an accident in a highway work zone; etc.
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Anti fuel efficient vehicle bill alert

Health & EnvironmentState Law will change the roads motor scooters are allowed on from 50mph or less down to 30mph or less.

[Gee whiz, if any speed differential is such a hazard we seriously need to drop our residential, business district and school zone speed limits down to 4mph. Seriously, lets do something about drivers going 15+mph over the speed limit first before cracking down on the slower vehicles.]
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Baltimore rolls with bike-friendly momentum

Biking in BaltimoreFrom Bike Portland:
It’s not on the annual lists of biking hot spots, but during my recent visit to Baltimore I realized they might just become the next big bike city. They’re not quite Portland (yet), but they’re gaining fast.

Like many cities, Baltimore’s bike-friendliness begins at the top. Bikes are buoyed by the city’s Bicycle Master Plan (that was adopted in 2006) that is wholly supported by their mayor Sheila Dixon. Dixon was elected in 2007 and she’s an avid cyclist. Dixon leads weekly morning rides (which are open to anyone) and last year she put the city’s dollars behind biking with the hire of bike and pedestrian planner Nate Evans.

Baltimore has made some major improvements to their bike network recently, including the marking of 42 miles of bikeways, installation of 70 bike racks in front of businesses (with more requests pouring in every day), experimentation with sharrows and “floating” bike lanes, and the conversion of old parking meters into bike parking.

These efforts garnered Baltimore an honorable mention from the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communites program. The League was so impressed that they invited Baltimore to apply again this year (cities usually must wait three years between applications).
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The United States of Transit Cutbacks

Mass TransitJobs and Pocketbooks Threatened as Transit Agencies Face Cutting Jobs and Service, Raising Fares

With ridership at record highs, transit agencies across the country are facing unprecedented fiscal crises in this economic downturn, with many considering layoffs, service cuts and fare hikes that are hitting at the worst possible time, a compilation of nationwide data shows. This map below, compiled from nationwide media coverage of proposed cuts, highlights 38 communities across the U.S. that face job cuts, service reductions and fare hikes, but will receive no assistance under the current recovery proposals before Congress to prevent these painful cuts.

Emergency operating assistance in the recovery package will create and save jobs immediately with relatively limited investment. Every $1 billion invested in public transit operations generates 60,000 jobs.

“Our economy increasingly relies on public transit to function effectively, yet local systems are being forced to lay off workers and make cuts that will slow down economic growth and punish workers — including many low-income households who rely on transit to reach jobs,” said Geoff Anderson, co-chair of Transportation For America. “If we are serious about putting Americans back-to-work with this recovery plan, shouldn’t we also ensure that those who already have jobs don’t lose them?”

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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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