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Tuesday, September 16 2014 @ 11:29 PM UTC
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Help Needed from our P.G. and Montgomery friends to pass HB 667

Bike Maryland updatesHB 667 Manslaughter by Vehicle or vessel - Criminal Negligence. SUPPORT. Increases the penalty for negligent motorists who cause the death of another person.

Unfortunately, Maryland is a great state for reckless and negligent motorists. Unless you are drunk or drugged - or actually trying to murder someone - its highly unlikely that you would ever pay more than a $500 fine for killing a person with your car.

The reason for this? Maryland applies a very high (and increasingly unusual) standard of "gross negligence" to cases where a person's reckless driving causes the death of another.

HB 667 would remedy this problem by creating the crime of "Manslaughter by Vehicle". It would give a fine and jail time to someone who causes a death as the result of the person's reckless and negligent driving. This bill would put Maryland in line with over thirty other states that have the same law.

Right now HB 667 has the support of a diverse group including the Maryland States Attorneys Association, AAA Mid Atlantic, and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. Still, it could languish in the Judiciary Committee if we don't make our voices heard. So, if you live in the areas represented by the Delegates below, PLEASE send them an email or call their office and tell them to support HB 667.
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Bike LawsA short excerpt from Delegate Jon Cardin
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First prosecution under '3-foot law'

Biking ElsewhereJason Bultman was pedaling his bicycle up 500 East in Salt Lake City in November when a red pickup zoomed up beside him and a hand swiped across his back.

Startled, the all-seasons bicycle commuter feared he was so close to the truck that it would send him sprawling. Instead the truck veered away, the passenger withdrew inside and Bultman took down the license number for what would become the first reported prosecution of Utah's 2005 law requiring motorists, in most situations, to give cyclists a 3-foot buffer.

Police followed up with the driver and Salt Lake City prosecutors confirmed they filed charges under the 3-foot rule, adopted by the Utah Legislature in response to the 2004 death of University of Utah graduate student Josie Johnson. She died after being hit while cycling in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

"It's kind of interesting that you can actually prosecute someone for violating the 3-foot law," Bultman said. "[People] were saying it's unenforceable."

City prosecutor Sim Gill said his office filed the charge against a George Richard Young, 46, but attempts to find him and serve a summons for an arraignment earlier this month failed. The city will try again before issuing an arrest warrant, he said.

Attempts by The Salt Lake Tribune to reach Young at his last reported address were unsuccessful.

"Just because you happen to be in a motor vehicle doesn't mean you don't have a responsibility to operate in a way that respects everybody's rights to be in the roadway, including bicyclists," Gill said.

The charge is a misdemeanor with up to a possible $750 fine and 90 days in jail, though Gill said there's no minimum mandatory fine and the courts are untested on these matters.

Bultman said authorities gave him several options to charge the passenger, including assault. Instead, he opted for the 3-foot rule, figuring it was the driver who had endangered him by swerving too near.

"I was well off into the shoulder and was all of the sudden brushed," Bultman said. "The guy was hanging out the passenger-side window of the truck. I don't know how the mirror missed me."

If the driver and passenger taunted Bultman in the way he described, they chose the wrong cyclist. Not only was he aware of the new law, but he is president of the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective. ...
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Woman who stops traffic

Biking Elsewhere
Marlow is a picture postcard town on the Thames. But with car ownership the highest in the country, it has a serious congestion problem. In urban areas, a quarter of all journeys are less than 2 miles long, including the school run and office workers popping into town for lunch.
Tony explains that rush hour traffic falls 15-20% during school holidays, relieving the town
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Citizen citation yields success; driver pleads

Biking ElsewherePosted by Jonathan Maus

Lawyer Chris Heaps was not satisfied with the Police response to a bike/car crash, so he pursued justice himself
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Video- 'City's Bike Medic Team'

Biking in BaltimoreNice video from WBAL Baltimore on the virtues of bicycles in saving lives.
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Due to people driving less the feds divert money from mass transit to more road projects???

Mass TransitDOT: Transit Account Raided to Fill Highway Trust Fund Gap

The Department of Transportation was among the hardest hit in the proposed FY2009 budget. The budget calls for DOT to receive $57.1 billion for FY2009, which is about a 10 percent cut from current funding levels. The rationale for the decrease is lower-than-anticipated gas tax receipts flowing into the trust fund. To address the projected shortfall, the budget cuts highway funding by more than 4 percent and would allow money to be moved from the mass transit account to help maintain the highway trust fund.

The administration estimates that it will need to take about $3.3 billion from the mass transit account in FY2009. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the deficit could reach $12 billion unless action is taken to shore up the trust fund.

The proposed budget would fall short of the funding levels authorized in the 2005 transportation authorization legislation (SAFETEA- LU). Nonetheless, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said that the department would spend the authorized levels over the life of the law. The administration is also asking Congress for $175 million for a program to combat highway congestion.

Amtrak is again slated for a major cut in funding. Last year Congress provided $1.35 billion for Amtrak. This budget asks for $800 million, an amount insufficient to continue current levels of service.
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A year before the tragedy, Austin Miller wrote

Biking ElsewherePlease Do Not Run Me Over

by Charlie Elsewhere, Columnist (@~14 years of age - a year later- killed by a bus while riding his bike in/near a bike lane)

It is well known that these days, the roads and parking lots of our public places are growing with numbers of bikers. With wild peddling racers zipping down the road and through intersections, it is apparent that drivers would need to have an increasing awareness for how they turn the wheel.

Long ago, I lived in a place called Vortex Sorrows. In this town, leagues of bikers ruled the streets-hardly a car was there to be found. When the ever growing and popular motorcar came to town, there was an outrage.
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Vehicular Crossings - Use by Pedestrians and Bicycles Hearing dates

Bike LawsThis bill will allow the Chairman of the Maryland Transportation authorize bicycle and pedestrian use of toll bridges.

SENATE BILL 492 Hearing 2/19 at 1:00 p.m.
HOUSE BILL 875 Hearing 3/4 at 1:00 p.m.
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Two bills in Annapolis need Immediate Attention

Bike Maryland updatesHi Everyone,

It looks like the legislative alert we sent out last week was a success. I've heard back from quite a few of you who took the time to email and call your legislators. This is great!

So, we've got a little more work for you. The following two bills currently being considered in the House of Delegates will, if passed, greatly improve safety on our roads.

What we want from you is simple. If you live in the district of one of the legislators listed below please give them a call or send them an email telling them that you support these bills. Always remember to include your home address so that the legislator knows that you live in his or her district.

And if you're not sure who your representatives are in the House of Delegates, please check out the state's "Find Your Legislator" site.


Richard Chambers, Executive Director

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

  •  Strongly agree
  •  Mostly agree
  •  Undecided
  •  Mostly disagree
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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

  •  Off-road bike trails
  •  On-road bike accommodations only on State roads
  •  On-road bike accommodations only on County roads
  •  All of the above
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