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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 06:42 AM UTC
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Bicyclists blamed twice as often as drivers for...unsafe speed

Biking Elsewhere[For reference in Baltimore cyclists are at fault 43%, drivers at fault 9% and no fault indicated 48%.]
By Erin McCormick, San Fransisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Bicyclists were twice as likely as drivers to be at fault in the nearly 2,000 collisions that killed or severely injured Bay Area bike riders in the past decade, an analysis by The Chronicle shows.

Bicycle and safety advocates say the deaths two weeks ago of two cyclists hit by a Santa Clara sheriff's deputy's cruiser should serve as a call to improve relations between cars and bikes on the roadways.

The advocates say large numbers of cyclists fail to follow the rules of the road, running stop signs and red lights, and drivers are becoming more aggressive.

"There is a juggernaut out there - the tension between the cyclists and the drivers is so high that it's become a war," said triathlon coach Marc Evans, who is starting a campaign to get the cycling community, drivers and motorcyclists to put more focus on avoiding deadly collisions on the roads.

The Chronicle's analysis of the 33,000 Bay Area collisions involving bicyclists since 1997 shows that, in the most serious accidents, the driving behaviors of bicyclists often were blamed for the crashes. Data collected by the California Highway Patrol show that bicyclists were deemed at fault in 1,165, or nearly 60 percent, of the 1,997 accidents that killed or severely injured cyclists; drivers were blamed only 520 times, or 26 percent. In most other cases, no one was listed as being at fault.
Suspicion of bias

Bicycling advocates said the statistics might in part reflect a bias among police officers, who they say often "blame the victims," especially because cyclists might not get to tell their side of the story as they are being carried off on stretchers.

"There is a prevalent perception among police officers that bikes don't belong on the road," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Yet even the most staunch cycling advocates acknowledge that some cyclists give others a bad name by failing to obey traffic laws.

"When I see a rider run a red light, I cringe," Shahum said. "Not only is it totally unsafe, it makes me and all other cyclists look bad."

As for drivers, the data suggest their behavior is getting worse by the year.

Serious crashes

The number of serious Bay Area crashes in which cyclists were at fault has hovered at about 100 per year for the past decade, but the number in which motorists were blamed has steadily risen - from 38 in 1997 to 61 in 2006, the last full year for which data were available.

In addition, the number of accidents involving drivers hitting cyclists and then fleeing has spiked in recent years. Hit-and-run drivers killed four cyclists and severely injured 26 others in 2006 - significantly more than any other year in the past decade.
...
"The majority of cyclists obey the rules, and the motorists, too, but then you get these outlaws," George said. "It's an ongoing battle, and in recent years the tensions have gotten worse."
...
According to the data, when drivers were at fault in an accident, the most common type of violation cited was not giving cyclists the right of way. For bike riders, unsafe speed was the most dangerous violation, followed by riding on the wrong side of the road.
...
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BICYCLE TOURING WORKSHOP

Velocipede Bike Project MONDAY, 24 MARCH 2008
7:00
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The milkman is back in Baltimore.

Health & EnvironmentSome Mount Washington residents are getting dairy products delivered to their front door from a small Frederick County farm. Customers say the convenience and quality as well as the comfort of knowing where the products come from makes it worth the added cost.

South Mountain Creamery began the service in Baltimore late last month, and is the only dairy believed to be delivering milk to customers' doors in Maryland, according to agriculture officials and industry experts. The farm joins a small number of others around the country that have rekindled a promising niche market.

Customers are paying a premium for the convenience in part because of higher gasoline and milk prices.

The weekly delivery costs $3.50. And a half-gallon of the farm's milk costs $3.09 - about 70 cents more than at a local grocery store.

The delivery, which can include other products from mostly local farms such as yogurt, juice and goat cheese, is left in a small cooler on a customer's porch.

"Outside of the nostalgia of getting the milk out of the cooler, it really is a great service to have," said Marie Fortuno-Schifflett, a Mount Washington resident and mother of two teenagers. "It really does taste better, and the fact that it's not laden with byproducts like hormones makes me feel a little bit better."

Family-owned South Mountain Creamery started delivering milk in 2001 from the back of a Ford Explorer in an effort to gain control of its prices. Now the dairy farm of 200 milking cows has grown from delivering to 13 homes to about 2,600 residences in the Washington-Baltimore region.

"I never intended to go as far as we have," said Tony Brusco, who runs the creamery portion of the farm's business.

Although the farm isn't certified as organic because of the cost involved, it does not give its cows growth hormones. The animals graze on pastures devoid of pesticides and eat hay grown on the farm. The milk is delivered in reusable glass bottles.

Brusco said Baltimore customers expressed interest in South Mountain Creamery's products for a few years but he never had enough business to make the 60-mile drive worth it. His general rule is that there needs to be one customer per mile.

Mike Siegel, a Mount Washington resident and law student, wanted the delivery service to come to his neighborhood for environmental reasons as well as for the convenience. So, through a Mount Washington e-mail discussion group, he recruited about 80 customers.

"I'd rather pay the guy that produced it rather than the retailer who pays the distributor who then pays the producer," said Siegel who is a fan of the farm's non-homogenized cream-topped milk.

Although South Mountain began delivering to Mount Washington three weeks ago, the farm's products have been available in a few neighborhoods since July. That's when P.J. Keating, owner of his own delivery service called Hey, Milkman!, began purchasing the products at wholesale and reselling to about 20 residents in Federal Hill, Canton, Mount Vernon and other Baltimore neighborhoods.
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Cyclists battle for road survival

Biking ElsewhereBy Mario Cacciottolo BBC News

Cyclists will tell you it's a jungle out there, especially on the busy, car-choked streets of our major cities.

Motorists and pedestrians, on the other hand, will gripe about those who have got on their bikes, complaining that they don't stick to the rules - or paths - designated to them.

Now Conservative leader David Cameron has pedalled into the argument, after being photographed by the Daily Mirror jumping red lights and cycling the wrong way up a one-way street.
...
Mr Cahill, who says he has been hit by cars three times, is dismissive of the claims made against Mr Cameron.

"I've jumped the lights before, but I'm not a crook. There's a negative attitude towards cyclists from motorists.

"Cars park on cycle lanes, so we can't use them, but no-one does anything about it. And if you followed anyone around with a camera, then they'd eventually do something wrong."
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One Less Car Legislative Tally - as of March 21st

Bike Maryland updatesBelow are the bills OLC actively supported (through lobbying, written or verbal testimony) this session. Many have yet to see a vote in committee (the prerequisite before getting a vote before the entire House or Senate), so please feel free to contact your legislators while there is still some time left. Remember, Monday, March 24th is the last day for a bill to cross from the House to the Senate, or vice versa.

HOUSE BILLS

* HB 143 - 3 Foot requirement for motorists to pass bicyclists - NO ACTION YET
* HB 373 - Allows state to coordinate transit oriented development projects - PASSED
* HB 667 - Would increase penalties for negligent and reckless motorists - NO ACTION YET
* HB 793 - Would require task force to study possible regional transit authority for Baltimore area - REJECTED IN COMMITTEE
* HB 875 - Would allow Maryland Department of Transportation to grant bicyclists and pedestrians access to state owned bridges, when deemed safe to do so - NO ACTION YET
* HB 1160 Would create a task force to study the effect of "silent" hybrid cars on pedestrians and cyclists - NO ACTION YET
* HB 1185 - Would remove the current farebox recovery - VOTED ON IN COMMITTEE 3/21. WAITING FOR RESULT.
* HB 1471 - Would stop funding of the Intercounty Connector Highway Project

SENATE BILLS

* SB 204 - Allows state to coordinate transit oriented development projects (Senate version of HB 373) - NO ACTION YET
* SB 276 Would create a task force to study the effect of "silent" hybrid cars on pedestrians and cyclists (Senate version of HB 1160)- PASSED
* SB 492 - Would allow Maryland Department of Transportation to grant bicyclists and pedestrians access to state owned bridges, when deemed safe to do so (Senate version of HB 875) - PASSED
* SB 644 Would require task force to study possible regional transit authority for Baltimore area - NO ACTION YET
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HB 143: Bike Safety

Bike LawsDear Constituent:

Thank you for your letter in support of HB 143: Bicycles, Play Vehicles, EPAMDs, and Motor Scooters - Rules of the Road. Unfortunately, the bill has not passed out of the House Environmental Matters Committee. Nevertheless, we are working with Chairman McIntosh and the State Highway Administration to push the policy forward through regulations and other creative methods. For example, we are looking into options such as making the requirements of the bill a non-statutory regulation or pushing the bill again next year as legislation. Because we may get the job done without a bill, I hope you will continue to follow and support this policy in the future. If you have any further comments or questions or please do not hesitate to contact my office again.

Sincerely,

Del. Jon S. Cardin
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Wilder Things, Artsy Flings: Baltimore's Woodberry

Bike Paths"WOODBERRY IS NESTLED on a tract of land known as 'Come By Chance,'" reads the plaque next to the neighborhood's light-rail stop. And although the area has been inhabited since 1790, that original name still holds true
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Vehicle speed is only important if it's the cyclists who is speeding

Biking Elsewhere[I hear too many times that the fact that a speeding motorist is not found at fault in a crash with a cyclists, if the cyclists speed is important in this case then motorists speeds should be important in all cyclists crash cases. Our deepest sympathies to the Clarke's and their loss.]

A trial date is set for early July to determine whether a 17-year-old Incline juvenile was at fault in a vehicle vs. bicyclist fatality last year at the intersection of Country Club Drive and Village Boulevard.

The youth, whose name is not being published because he is a juvenile, faces two charges, one of which is vehicular manslaughter, stemming from the Sept. 20, 2007 collision that killed 43-year-old Lloyd Clarke, a Hagerston, Md. native.
...
'An unfortunate tragedy'

According to initial Washoe County Sheriff's Office reports, Clarke was riding a bicycle southbound in the early evening of Sept. 20 on Country Club Drive when a northbound truck driven by the juvenile turned left into the intersection of Country Club Drive and Village Boulevard. Clarke was unable to stop, and hit the side of the truck. He was pronounced dead shortly after deputies arrived on the scene at 6:55 p.m.

Shortly after the incident, sheriff's officials said preliminary investigation pointed to the juvenile not being at fault, due to the possible speed of the cyclist since Country Club Drive is steep at that point in the road.

After a three-month investigation, however, evidence and witness testimony suggests the initial reports were inaccurate, thus bringing the charges against the juvenile, said WCSO Lt. John Spencer, who took part in the investigation.

"Our job is to let the evidence prove or disprove, and the evidence brought to us concludes that these charges should be brought against (the juvenile)," he said. "In my heart I don't feel there was ever any intent by (the juvenile). He simply made an improper left turn. This is just an unfortunate tragedy that has cast an unfortunate shadow over two great families."

Sherol Clarke, Lloyd Clarke's widow, spoke with the Bonanza in a phone interview Wednesday evening.

She said the past six months have been very hard for her and her 11-year-old daughter, Elta Clarke.

"It's unfortunate that the statements released prior to the investigation were not retracted; had they been, things would be a lot different today," Sherol Clarke said. "It's been very difficult for us to understand. I'm having a hard time trying to explain it all to my daughter. This event has changed so many lives."

As part of the investigation, detailed scene photographs the day of and the day after the incident were taken, detailed scene measurements using computer survey systems were taken, a witness and the juvenile were interviewed, toxicology tests were take from the juvenile and Clarke, a mechanical examination was made of the juvenile's truck and Clarke's bicycle, and speed reenactments were conducted.

The speed reenactments were a key part in the investigation, Spencer said, because it helped determine whether Clarke was exceeding the road's 35-mile per hour speed limit.

"We brought in a sheriff's officer who rides a bicycle and had him come down the road, and it disproved that," Spencer said. "There's no way the bike could have been going that fast."

The toxicology results also were important to the investigation, he said.

"Nowhere does it imply that either party was either impaired or were reckless leading up to the accident," Spencer said.
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Safe riding in narrow lanes

Biking ElsewhereTwo League of American Bicyclists certified traffic cycling instructors shoot video of each other "driving" their bicycles safely and legally by controlling lanes on streets that are part of the route they use to train students in the Bike Ed
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Start seeing bicycles.

Biking Elsewhere...

Nearly every cyclist in America has similar stories. We beseech you: Start seeing bicycles.

After reading about the deaths of Gough and Peterson on Monday morning, I headed out Bolinas-Fairfax Road around 2:30 that afternoon. Fifty-five minutes later, near the end of the gorgeous, redwood-intensive climb up to Ridgecrest Road, I had an encounter with a white pickup. (I don't know what it is about guys in pickups.)

Just before he passed me, this man veered way over the centerline -- half the truck was in my lane. He was smiling. I don't know if he did it on purpose or not. After negotiating the switchback, he had to drive below me. I was still shouting at him as he drove away. His female passenger shot me a retaliatory bird out the window. I found a fist-sized rock and dropped it in one of my pockets, just in case he decided to come back.

Having cooled off, I feel compelled to reach out to motorists, and assure them: I know, I know -- if you don't make it to your kid's after-school care center in, like, 10 minutes, you'll be charged extra!

You're right, I probably DON'T know how valuable your time is. I know you've been delayed in the past by inconsiderate cyclists riding two or three abreast, and that you've seen bikers run stop signs, as if they were above the law. So have I. They are in the minority. Together, let's try to convince them to ride more safely.

In the meantime, if you need to pass me, and no vehicle is approaching from the other direction -- if we have the road to ourselves, in other words -- do me a favor. Miss me by more than, say, a foot. I know your car-handling skills (or your pickup-handling skills) are well above average, and that I was never in any danger, but do it for me anyway.

True, this courtesy may result in your left tires touching the little reflectors in the middle of the road. I have some excellent news that may surprise you: it is highly UNLIKELY that the little reflectors will throw your car out of alignment.

If you need to pass me and another car IS coming from the other direction, you can either: A) pass me at precisely that moment, even though it will mean you come dangerously close to me forcing me to hail you with a one-digit salute, or B) touch your brakes, wait for the oncoming car to go by, THEN pass. Yes, this could result in a delay to you of up to three seconds, but think of the excellent karma you'll be creating for yourself.

And an interesting fact you may not have known: Riding bikes on the road is legal in America -- even encouraged!

I live in a part of the country where traffic is expected to increase 250 percent in the next 20 years. We live on a planet whose addiction to fossil fuels has created problems that might be alleviated if people rode their bikes more often.

Bicycles are part of the solution. Start seeing bicycles.

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