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Wednesday, August 27 2014 @ 11:06 AM UTC
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Right to drive not auto-matic

Biking Elsewhere[Note MD stats: 2.3 million drive to work and average 631 traffic fatalities a year.]

Legislators need to update the way Oregonians get -- and keep -- their driver's licenses

More than 3 million Oregonians are licensed to use a deadly weapon.

Most of them use it every day: their automobile.

The casualty count -- about 450 highway deaths each year -- is considerable. But beyond grief and suffering, traffic accidents, including the most minor, carry a secondary -- and enormous -- social cost.

They cause congestion -- worsening pollution and wasting precious fossil fuels. That then prompts ever greater investment in ever more infrastructure in an effort to keep things moving. Meanwhile, the simple truth remains that if everyone in Oregon drove properly, there would not be a capacity problem on any of our highways.

It's time now for Oregon to take far more seriously the business of licensing people to drive. The current system is broken.
As for taking the test, sure there's a written exam. Cramming for it takes all of 12 minutes. Then there's that brief spell behind the wheel during which you go nowhere near a freeway or need to parallel park.

And once you snag a license, it's pretty much yours for life.
The next step is for legislators to thoroughly revamp the ways in which Oregon drivers get -- and keep -- their licenses. It makes absolutely no sense that we continue to spend billions on expanding Oregon's transportation infrastructure -- and next to nothing on teaching Oregonians how to use it.
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Tucson bike lawyer

Biking ElsewhereThe Arizona Daily Star has an article today on Tucson's "bicycle friendly" nature. It features comments by Richard Corbett and others about Tucson's desire to be the second city in the entire nation to achieve "Platinum" status by the League of American Bicyclists. This would put us at the very top in terms of how "bike friendly" our city is.

I have lots of mixed feelings about this, as readers of this blog know. For one thing, once you are at the top there should be nowhere else to go, but I see lots of room for improvement. Particularly in terms of how local law enforcement handles bicyclists who get assaulted by motorists, but also how it handles those who are injured.

I have clients who were hit in left-hooks, right-hooks, hit by baseball bats, shot at by paint-ball guns, struck head-on, deliberately struck from behind, and hit with fists -- all of whom got next to no help from the police department. I have a client who was charged with misdemeanor damage because his body left a dent in the car that swerved into him.
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Where do you ride in your mind?

Biking ElsewhereWhere you ride in your mind can be more important then where you physically ride. This video has some really cool transitions between urban cycling and mountain biking. As long as you have the wind in your face anywhere can be a pleasant place to ride.
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Santa Cruz Offers Bicycle Traffic School - Class Similar to Program For Motorists

Biking ElsewhereSANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Bicyclists ticketed for cruising through a stop sign or other violations can now avoid a hefty fine in Santa Cruz by attending a special traffic school designed for those who pedal around town.

The two-hour class, which costs $35 and is patterned after traffic school for motorists, allows bicyclists to escape tickets costing up to $200. State law requires bicyclists to follow the same road rules as vehicles.

The Community Traffic Safety Coalition of Santa Cruz County came up with the program because the university town has a lot of bikes on the road and a lot of injuries

Santa Cruz police write up to 30 bike tickets each month
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Biking in MarylandMontgomery Bicycle Advocates ( have an initiative called that aims to help us get
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Biking Elsewhere

THE ONLY GOOD CYCLIST is an analysis of fatal bicycle crashes with motor vehicles in New York City. It refutes police officials

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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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Velocipede Bike Project MONDAY, 24 MARCH 2008
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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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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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