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Thursday, November 26 2015 @ 08:43 AM UTC
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Easing way for foot traffic - City sidewalk repair blitz begins

Biking in BaltimoreBy John Fritze | Sun reporter

Mayor Sheila Dixon kicks off Baltimore's new sidewalk improvement campaign, called "Sidewalk Sam." The mayor stands on sidewalk poured yesterday as she uses a hand float to smooth freshly poured cement in the 1200 block of S. Clinton St. (Sun photo by Kim Hairston / July 31, 2008)

Hoping to clear a waiting list for sidewalk repairs that stretches back four years, Baltimore officials said today they will focus more attention - and an additional $2 million - on smoothing the way for foot traffic.

City transportation contractors will increase by two-thirds the number of sidewalk repairs completed in the city in this year, resurfacing nearly 650,000 square feet of cracked, washed out and uneven walkways.

"We get a lot of service calls for our sidewalks and our streets," Mayor Sheila Dixon said yesterday. "Some people think that we only drive cars in this city. But more and more people are walking."

Dixon's push on the sidewalks comes a year after the city Department of Transportation increased its budget for road improvements by about 70 percent - an effort paid for largely with bonds - and added more than 20 miles of bike lanes.

Baltimore plans to resurface 200 lane-miles of streets this year, a slight increase over last year and more than double what was paved in 2006, Dixon has said.

City Councilman James B. Kraft, who represents Southeast Baltimore, said fixing up sidewalks is a small thing the city can do to improve quality of life and make neighborhoods more attractive to pedestrians.

Dixon pointed to a recent ranking by a Seattle-based Web site called Walk Score that deemed Baltimore the 12th-most-walkable city in the country. The site noted Federal Hill, Fells Point and the Inner Harbor as particularly walkable.

"People look in neighborhoods. They see how they are, they see how they feel," Kraft said. "When they're clean and green, people want to stay there. They want to move there."
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Comfy New Commuter Bikes for Getting Around Town

Biking ElsewhereNeither age nor inexperience need be a barrier to biking
By Adam Voiland

If $4-a-gallon gas has you looking for relief, consider: A concerted effort is underway to attract casual bike riders into the fold. The lure is a range of new commuting bikes that promise to make everyday travel by bicycle as comfortable and fashionable as it is cheap. And if time is the excuse you give for being a bit of a slug, what better way to fit a workout in than to make it your transportation? "It's convenient; it keeps me fit; and it's economical," says Scott Infanger, a professor at the University of North Alabama in Florence, Ala., who regularly bikes his daughter, Elizabeth, 7, to school on the way to his nearby office in an effort to teach her that bicycling is a legitimate way to travel. With Elizabeth hitched behind on a trailer bike, it takes about 10 minutes to get her to school, Infanger says, about the same amount of time the 1½-mile trip takes by car.

In a country where most grown-ups regard bicycles as kid stuff, there are plenty of signs that attitudes are beginning to shift. Bike stores and manufacturers across the nation are reporting a significant uptick lately in sales. "They're selling out of all the commuting bikes—all bikes, by the way—that they can get their hands on," says Bill Fields, a consultant who has followed the bicycle industry for decades and anticipates a 20 percent bump in the "comfort bike" category, which includes commuting bikes, by year's end. Meantime, a bill that will allow employers to offer financial incentives to bicycle commuters is winding its way through the House and Senate. A bike-sharing program launching this month in Washington, D.C., which allows members to use bikes from 10 rental locations with the swipe of a card, has spurred interest in other cities. And, in Austin, Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong recently opened a cycling shop that caters not to racing enthusiasts but to commuters. Barack Obama has met with bicycle advocates and promised to increase funding for bicycling projects.
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Cars and Bikes Can Mix, When the Rules of the Road Are Clear

Biking ElsewhereBy JANE E. BRODY

These are a few of the hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries suffered by cyclists each year from crashes with motor vehicles. Most of these accidents could be prevented if cyclists and drivers would learn to “share the road,” as a nationwide campaign urges.
There is some good news. Thanks to the proliferation of designated bike paths and the growing use of helmets, deaths among bicyclists have declined to around 600 a year from about 800. Still, 600 is 600 too many, as are the approximately 46,000 annual injuries that cyclists suffer in crashes with motor vehicles.

Drivers are not always at fault. One study attributed 60 percent of bicycle-motor vehicle accidents to the drivers and 17 percent to cyclists. But another study of crashes involving children on bikes found that 80 percent of those accidents were the fault of the bicyclists.

Learning to share the road safely is especially important in light of efforts to reduce the nation’s energy needs and greenhouse gases and to increase energy expenditure by overweight Americans. More and more people are riding their bikes to work or for exercise, and cities are frantically trying to keep up by building bike paths on or alongside of roadways.

In New York City, the number of cyclists has doubled in the last 20 years, far outpacing the city’s population growth. Prompted by organizations like Transportation Alternatives, the city has created hundreds of bike paths on or near city streets.

If You’re the Driver

Keep in mind that a bicycle is a vehicle and that a person riding one has the same rights as a driver of any other vehicle. Bicycles are legally entitled to use most roads, though they must ride on the shoulder when the speed limit exceeds 50 miles per hour.

Remember, too, that bicycles are hard to see and, unlike drivers, cyclists are unprotected by seat belts, air bags and steel cages.

When approaching a cyclist, slow down. When passing, clear the bike by at least three feet (five feet if you are driving a truck). Check your rearview mirror and be sure you can see the cyclist clearly before moving back into the lane.

Do not blow your horn behind cyclists. It can frighten riders and cause them to swerve.

Don’t follow closely behind a bicycle, which may have to stop or maneuver suddenly to avoid a road hazard that could cause the cyclist to fall.

Be especially wary around young cyclists, including those on sidewalks, who may cross intersections or dart into the road from a driveway or midblock without looking.

Most serious crashes occur at intersections. When turning right, signal well ahead of time, turn from the middle of the intersection rather than across the bike path, and make sure no bike is on your right before you turn. Do not pass a cyclist if you will be turning right immediately after.

In bad weather, give cyclists a wider berth, just as you would do for other drivers.

When waiting to turn left or to proceed from a stop sign, yield to a bicycle that has the right of way. More than half of collisions occur when cyclists and drivers are on perpendicular paths, and three-fourths of these accidents result from a failure to yield the right of way.

Before opening your car door, check your mirror to be sure no bike is approaching. A passenger on the driver’s side should open the door just enough to turn around to see if the path is clear.

Like it or not, bicyclists have the right to “take the lane” under certain conditions:
  • When overtaking a vehicle moving in the same direction.
  • When getting ready to turn left.
  • When a lane is too narrow to share with a car or truck.
  • When there are unsafe conditions on the road like double-parked vehicles, animals, pedestrians and potholes.
If You’re the Cyclist
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How much money you can walk away with when you fix your shoes

Biking ElsewhereBy Anne D'innocenzio | The Associated Press
According to a survey released recently by market research company Nielsen Co., which tracks consumer habits, about two-thirds, or 63 percent, of consumers are cutting spending due to rising gas prices, up 18 percentage points from a year ago.

According to the study, which queried nearly 50,000 consumers by e-mail during the first week of June, 78 percent of them are combining shopping trips and 52 percent are eating out less often. Consumers are also cutting more coupons, doing more of their shopping at supercenters and buying less expensive brands, the survey found.
Auto executives predict that consumers' newfound appreciation for smaller cars will be permanent, causing major pain at auto plants. Toyota Motor Corp. was among the latest to announce a product overhaul, saying it will shut down truck and SUV production to meet the changing consumer needs.
Fred Clements, executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers' Association, said consumers stung by $4-per-gallon gas are shifting toward utility bikes and away from recreational versions. That's forcing bike shops to change their inventories and offer more training for consumers who may not have ridden a bike in years, he said.
"I am seeing a younger crowd who lives in the disposable world," said owner Barbara Steube. "They are learning an economics lesson. They will see the benefit of the savings and how much money they walk away with when they fix their shoes."
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Rental Bike Round-Up Sale in Havre de Grace

Cyclist\'s Yellow PagesBiller's Bikes Annual Rental Bike "Round-Up Sale" August 14-17

Biller's Bikes in Havre de Grace is holding its once-a-year "Rental Bike Round-Up Sale." Here's a rare chance to pick up well-maintained and well-rubbered adult and kids bikes all under a hundred bucks.

The Havre de Grace shop is a major advocate and service provider for the East Coast Greenway. See <a href=""></a>; for information.
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I Want To Ride My Bicycle! Stop That Bus!

Biking ElsewhereBy Nikita R Stewart
Asher Corson, director of communications for Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), found himself pinned between a parked truck and a Metro bus.

The bus driver, Corson said, apparently did not see him as he cycled in the &quot;rightmost lane&quot; on Thursday on H Street NW near the White House. Corson, 24, just purchased his black and gray Cannondale Sunday and was biking from his home in Foggy Bottom to the Wilson Building shortly after 9 a.m.

&quot;I merge over. Right as I merge over, the bus begins to speed up,&quot; said Corson, 24, who found himself being squeezed. &quot;Clearly, he didn't see me. Or I guess he didn't see me.&quot;

Happy to see that he had suffered only a busted knuckle, Corson said his relief quickly turned to anger when the bus simply pulled off.

Corson jumped up on his bike and caught the driver at the next stop. &quot;I said, Sir, you almost killed me.' At which point, he closed the door,&quot; he recalled. &quot;I was...&quot;

This is a family D.C. Wire, Asher.

He again jumped on his bike and at the next stop, he got all the information he needed to file a police report.

Corson said he has learned in his research that the driver was supposed to &quot;stop, call a supervisor, call the police.&quot;

&quot;Instead of it being accident, I filed a hit-and-run (report).&quot;

Corson said he's not interested in suing the city or WMATA. He said he just wants &quot;WMATA and bus drivers to pay a little closer attention to bikers.&quot;

&quot;If it (the bus) was an inch over, I could have broken my shoulder. If it had been two inches, I could have been dead,&quot; he said. &quot;It scared the daylights out of me.&quot;

Corson has every intention to &quot;keep on riding.&quot;
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Biking in Baltimoreby Dan Rodricks -

David Schapiro, the Roland Park resident profiled in this space a few weeks ago because of his determination to take a bicycle to work in Hunt Valley, has inspired others - or, at least, one other.

After reading the July 6 column on Schapiro's healthy and eco-friendly commuting routine, a 43-year-old woman, who describes herself as &quot;overweight, under-exercising [and] suburban-dwelling,&quot; decided to put more foot power into her trip to work at the Johns Hopkins University. &quot;My trip consists of a ride on Light Rail, and then a two-mile walk to my office,&quot; she writes in an e-mail. &quot;My whole commute takes about an hour one way. ... I should be walking four to seven miles every day, depending on whether I walk to and from Light Rail. I'll let you know whether it is a lifestyle change that, like David Schapiro's, takes hold!&quot;

You go, woman.
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Hal (and Kerri) Grade Your Bike Locking (5:43)

Biking ElsewhereStreet Films- Nearly five years ago, legendary bike mechanic Hal Ruzal and I walked the streets surrounding Bicycle Habitat and graded the bike locking ability of New Yorkers - producing many humorous and enlightening anecdotes. The resulting video aired frequently on bikeTV and at many festivals, and because of it - Hal is still frequently asked by complete strangers to judge their bike locking.

I always endeavored doing another, but as with most sequels you need a new wrinkle. This time we thought we'd give Hal some company and invited former Recycle a Bicycle mechanic Kerri Martin (and founder of The Bike Church in Asbury Park, NJ) to weigh in with her expertise.
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Community Garden Bike Tour

Biking in BaltimoreBorn of popular interest in the miracle of urban agriculture and the love of a nice sweat followed by a cool breeze, we have arranged a community gardens bike tour of some of Baltimore's fabulous East Side Food Gardens.

All are invited to attend this inaugural event.

When: Saturday, August 9th. 8am-12pm

Start: at The Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.

Middle: See attached map

End: at The Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.

What to Expect: We will be visiting 6 sites throughout the day. The overall ride is about 15 miles, and the gardens are spaced with about a 10 minute cycle between each one. We will visit about 20 minutes at each site and hear from a local grower. We will travel in one or two packs depending on the numbers. We will have food and refreshments at the half-way point before we head back.

What to bring: Please bring a water bottle and comfortable shoes.

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Biking in BaltimoreFor a week, one city resident lets her feet meet the street, bus steps and bike pedals as she tries to live without a car
By Jill Rosen | Sun reporter

I'm wobbling down Light Street toward a busy intersection, clinging perilously yet stylishly to a sleek hybrid bicycle: metallic gray with gears to shift and a beverage holder clearly meant for someone brave enough to pry a hand from the handle bars.

That's not me.

Normally, I'd be motoring through Baltimore's morning rush, obliviously ensconced in a Honda - air blowing, stereo humming, coffee in easy reach.

But not today. Today, I'm vulnerable to the gust of each passing sedan, pickup and - gasp - bus. Today, every bump, pebble and cigarette butt on the road threatens my already shaky balance.

Today, I'm doing without a car. It's part of a weeklong experiment to see how - or if - I could get by in this town without one.

I'm a driver. Like most people in Baltimore, and in America for that matter, I drive to work, I drive to the grocery store and I drive to the mall. I drive to get my hair cut, I drive the cats to the vet, I drive to meet friends for dinner.

A car trip bookends almost everything I do. But with gas at $4 a gallon, and near-constant warnings about global warming and carbon footprints, I wanted to see if I could park the Honda.
&quot;Walking or bicycling will save you money, but it's about the things that are priceless, too,&quot; he says.

&quot;Having your health come back to you. Walking to work and seeing and smelling and noticing the cool things in your community. Encased in glass and steel, you never noticed.&quot;

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