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Sunday, July 24 2016 @ 04:29 PM UTC
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County Announces 10 Percent Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal

Health & Environment[The question is if bicycling will be made more attractive to reduce Vehicular Miles Traveled (VMT) as it is the largest component of Baltimore County's Green House gases. If I can prevent 5 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere (~34% reduction compared to the average) just with my bike, getting others to bike more can go a long way.]

"As a parent, I am keenly aware of the importance of preserving our planet for our children and grandchildren," said Baltimore County Council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz. "The council has been very supportive of environmental initiatives, and it is very important that county government lead the way in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

[How about giving our children an opportunity to bike and be healthy as well?]
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New Recreational Trail Officially Opened

Bike PathsAt a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 20, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, 4th District Councilman Ken Oliver, Delegate Dan Morhaim, Recreation and Parks Director Bob Barrett and community officials celebrated the official opening of the new recreational trail in the Owings Mills New Town area. The County converted what had been an abandoned section of Dolfield Road into the Red Run Stream Valley Trail, now a level, 20-foot wide wooded trail suitable for a variety of recreational uses like walking, biking and in-line-skating. Trail amenities include a new bridge to replace the previous one, which had become unusable.
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The cost of a high bar to convict

Bike Laws[An excerpt from my mail box:]

While Md law needs to become more equitable toward bicyclists, the law merely defines the boundary of proper conduct and doesn't teach one how to drive a car or ride a bicycle in traffic. One philosophy is that the fewer laws the better. The design of rotarys, merge areas, and certain shopping centers like Hunt Valley Mall illustrate this philosophy.

While motorists should generally stay out of bike lanes (and shoulders), there are certain exceptions like preparing to make a right hand turn or parking, where permitted. Md Law also permits traffic to use a right hand shoulder to go around traffic preparing to make a left hand turn.

Unfortunately, current Md Law has a high bar to convict someone of automobile manslaughter. Generally to convict, a driver must be either drunk or guilty of three or more violations. Bicyclists aren't the only ones harmed by this high threshold. People in a limo who were going straight were broadsided by a left turning truck who failed to yield the right of away. Several people in the limo were killed, and the Attorney General refused to prosecute the truck driver for manslaughter, saying that failure to yield didn't meet Md's stringent requirements. Another example several years ago was several people who were killed while waiting on the SIDEWALK of Woodlawn Blvd in dry weather for a bus. A car doing 50+ in a 30 MPH zone jumped the curb and killed several people. Again, this speeding violation didn't meet Md's threshold for an automobile manslaughter conviction, and the driver merely got a $500 fine for each person he killed.
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UPS delivers by bike this holiday season

Biking ElsewhereHere in the Portland metropolitan area, 28 bike delivery employees will be hired -- by United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS). It may seem counterintuitive, but here in Portland, Oregon, where we crazy passionate types embrace bicycling so warmly that monthly group bike rides for kids continue even through the winter, the concept of hauling up to 200 pounds in a trailer with a mountain bike sounds like the perfect holiday vacation. UPS bike drivers will be given special training to really practice pulling 200 pounds and learn, for instance, "safe following distance in rain" (I think if you're following anyone too closely with 200 pounds in your bike trailer, you should be training for the 2012 Olympics, not delivering Amazon.com packages for UPS.)

UPS can only deliver 25-50 packages per day by bicycle, compared to up to 150 by truck, but Portland area spokesman Jeff Grant says UPS will save $38,000 in vehicle operation and upkeep costs for every three delivery bicycles used.

After all, UPS started using bicycles to deliver packages 100 years ago in Seattle, and started a pilot program in Atlanta and Seattle last year. Bicycle delivery is ideal for the holiday season as it allows the company to expand its service without having to expand its fleet of expensive delivery vehicles; bikes are about $600 each, and judging by the reaction to popular biking blogs, the company will have no trouble filling the available jobs with bikers eager to prove their mettle. It's not only sensible economics, but fantastic PR for a company that struggles with a rather stodgy image. Expanding the bike delivery program for all the company's busy seasons would be a fiscally responsible plan that could also pay big dividends in customer good will.
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Safe Travels Evaluating Mobility Management Traffic Safety Impacts

Biking ElsewhereAbstract
This paper investigates the relationships between mobility (the amount people travel) and crash risk, and the traffic safety impacts of mobility management strategies that change travel patterns to increase transportation system efficiency. Although many factors affect traffic crash rates, evidence summarized in this paper indicates that all else being equal, per capita traffic crash rates increase with per capita vehicle travel, and that mobility management strategies tend to provide safety benefits. Strategies that reduce per capita vehicle travel tend to reduce overall crash risk. Mode shifting tends to reduce per capita crash rates by reducing risk per mile and total mileage. Shifting vehicle travel from more- to less-congested conditions tends to reduce crash frequency but may increase crash severity due to higher traffic speeds. Smart growth land use policies tend to reduce crash severity and fatality rates, although crash frequency may increase due to increased traffic density. Strategies that reduce traffic speeds provide significant safety benefits. Conventional traffic risk analysis tends to understate the safety impacts of changes in mileage. This analysis indicates that mobility management is a cost effective traffic safety strategy, and increased safety is one of the largest benefits of mobility management.
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Motor Vehicle Occupant and Pedestrian Fatalities

Biking ElsewhereMotor vehicle traffic deaths remain the leading cause of death among Americans aged between 1 and 34 years. In 2001, traffic crashes accounted for about 38000 deaths, of which an estimated 4700 were pedestrians. 1 Although only about 5% of all trips are made on foot,2 pedestrian fatalities make up about 12% of all traffic deaths, making walking one of the most dangerous modes of travel.3

[Baltimore traffic fatality rate is 74% higher then New York City.]
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Baltimore Bike Routes in Google Earth

Biking in BaltimorePreliminary draft, but we are working on getting this information out there. Or in Google Maps.
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The Price of Anarchy in Transportation Networks

Biking Elsewhere[I thought this was relevant as it shows that every road does not need to be a car only road in fact it might help to make some roads bike and pedestrian only roads.]

According to an Oct. 6th Bright Green Blog entry, "File this one under 'intensely counterintuitive.' A recent study has found that closing off certain streets can actually relieve traffic congestion. Using Google Maps, a trio of scientists -- Hyejin Youn and Hawoong Jeong, of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Michael Gastner, of the Santa Fe Institute -- looked at traffic routes in Boston, New York, and London. Their paper, titled 'The Price of Anarchy in Transportation Networks: Efficiency and Optimality Control' and published in the journal Physical Letters, found that, when individual drivers seek the quickest route, they sometimes end up slowing things down for everybody.

"It all hinges on something called Braess's Paradox (and yes, I appreciate the irony of a Wikipedia entry that challenges the wisdom of crowds), which states that adding capacity to a network in which all the moving entities rationally seek the most efficient route can sometimes reduce the network's overall efficiency. The authors give a simple example of how this could play out: Imagine two routes to a destination, a short but narrow bridge and a longer but wider highway. Let's also imagine that the combined travel times of all the drivers is shortest if half take the bridge and half take the highway. But because each driver is selfishly trying to seek the shortest route for himself, this doesn't happen..."
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NAT'L PARKS RULE CHANGE WOULD BENEFIT BICYCLING

Biking ElsewhereAccording to a Nov. 24th Bicycle Newswire article, "An upcoming National Park Service (NPS) rule change could greatly benefit mountain bicycling by improving the administrative process for opening trails to bicyclists. IMBA has been asking the agency to revise its policies since 1992, because the current 'special regulations' process is needlessly cumbersome and treats bicycles like motorized vehicles.

"The NPS has said the proposal for new rules will be formally announced later this year. IMBA hopes the enhanced procedure will allow park superintendents to make trail access decisions locally, instead of being tied to a Washington-based, multi-year regulatory journey. The new rule would treat bicycling like other non-motorized trail users, such as equestrians.

"The suggested NPS rule change would only apply to places where including bicycling is deemed non controversial, and would maintain current requirements for environmental review and public notice. Opening a trail to bicycling must be done in compliance with the National Park Service Organic Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Historic Preservation Act, and all NPS General Management Planning processes..."
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QUOTES R US

Biking Elsewhere-> "Right now, the U.S. consumes about 10% of the world's oil supply just to get back and forth to work. If we are able to reintroduce the bicycle into our communities, we are going to make it easier for people to break our addiction to oil. I have cycled to work in Washington, D.C., for 12 years. I've burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide."
-- Earl Blumenauer, U.S. House of Representatives (D., Ore.)
<a href="http://tinyurl.com/5up48j">http://tinyurl.com/5up48j</a>;

-&gt; &quot;We go from shock to trance. You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it's not important...And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It's part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.&quot;
-- Barack Obama, President-Elect
<a href="http://tinyurl.com/6r3jqa">http://tinyurl.com/6r3jqa</a>;

-&gt; &quot;When a cyclist is killed by a driver who was text-messaging someone, you read as much in the paper about how awful the driver feels. We've made driving so easy, accessible and convenient -- and the system is so forgiving -- that people can drive distracted at great speeds and mostly get away with it. But we've seen conclusively that not paying attention will cause bad things to happen; studies have shown that distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. We should be penalizing those people the same way that we treat drunk drivers.&quot;
-- Andy Clarke, Executive Director, League of American Bicyclists
<a href="http://tinyurl.com/6aep22">http://tinyurl.com/6aep22</a>;

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