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Monday, November 30 2015 @ 08:37 PM UTC
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Too many traffic rules and the tragedy of the commons

Biking ElsewhereThere is a stretch of North Glebe Road, in Arlington, Virginia, that epitomizes the American approach to road safety. It’s a sloping curve, beginning on a four-lane divided highway and running down to Chain Bridge, on the Potomac River. Most drivers, absent a speed limit, would probably take the curve at 30 or 35 mph in good weather. But it has a 25-mph speed limit, vigorously enforced. As you approach the curve, a sign with flashing lights suggests slowing further, to 15 mph. A little later, another sign makes the same suggestion. Great! the neighborhood’s more cautious residents might think. »

We’re being protected. But I believe policies like this in fact make us all less safe.

I grew up in Great Britain, and over the past five years I’ve split my time between England and the United States. I’ve long found driving in the U.S. to be both annoying and boring. Annoying because of lots of unnecessary waits at stop signs and stoplights, and because of the need to obsess over speed when not waiting. Boring, scenery apart, because to avoid speeding tickets, I feel compelled to set the cruise control on long trips, driving at the same mind-numbing rate, regardless of road conditions.

Relatively recently—these things take a remarkably long time to sink in—I began to notice something else. Often when I return to the U.S. (usually to a suburban area in North Carolina’s Research Triangle), I see a fender bender or two within a few days. Yet I almost never see accidents in the U.K.

This surprised me, since the roads I drive here are generally wider, better marked, and less crowded than in the parts of England that I know best. And so I came to reflect on the mundane details of traffic-control policies in Great Britain and the United States. And I began to think that the American system of traffic control, with its many signs and stops, and with its specific rules tailored to every bend in the road, has had the unintended consequence of causing more accidents than it prevents. Paradoxically, almost every new sign put up in the U.S. probably makes drivers a little safer on the stretch of road it guards. But collectively, the forests of signs along American roadways, and the multitude of rules to look out for, are quite deadly.

Economists and ecologists sometimes speak of the “tragedy of the commons”—the way rational individual actions can collectively reduce the common good when resources are limited. How this applies to traffic safety may not be obvious. It’s easy to understand that although it pays the selfish herdsman to add one more sheep to common grazing land, the result may be overgrazing, and less for everyone. But what is the limited resource, the commons, in the case of driving? It’s attention. Attending to a sign competes with attending to the road. The more you look for signs, for police, and at your speedometer, the less attentive you will be to traffic conditions. The limits on attention are much more severe than most people imagine. And it takes only a momentary lapse, at the wrong time, to cause a serious accident.
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Grouseland Tours

Cyclist\'s Yellow PagesOne business that has served the Washington-Baltimore area for nearly a decade is Grouseland Tours a two hour drive in South Central PA Grouseland specializes in teaching beginners how to mountain bike with a 9 step skill course. Add a campground, pond with kayaks, 10 miles of trails and you have a fun place to spend a weekend. Another unique thing Grouseland does is lead people on guided tours of the only abandoned section of superhighway in America that has been turned into a bike trail. The Pike 2 Bike at 8.5 miles and 2 tunnels comes to life as the history is laid out and guests are shown the secret places and those off limits to the public. It is an unforgettable tour 814 784 5000
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Bring your E-Waste to Whole Foods, Mt Washington this Saturday

Health & EnvironmentSaturday July 26th from 10am-3pm

Free recycling services for your surplus computers and related devices to help protect the environment. Diverting toxic material from landfills, such as computers and monitors can reduce environmental contamination. Clean out your garage or basement. Bring your computer, phones, fax machines, wires, cables, printers, but no TVs. Located in the Whole Foods parking lot (near Starbucks).

Trucks for dropping off old electronics will be located in the parking lot near Starbucks.
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Gwynns Falls Parkway Bicycle Lane Petition

Biking in BaltimoreCommuting via bicycle in Baltimore is fast becoming popular, accessible, and rewarding with new city-wide strides to accommodate cyclists with safe bicycle-only lanes. Unfortunately, those living west of Druid Hill Park in the neighborhoods of Reservoir Hill, Mondawmin, Ashburton, Franklintown, Windsor Hills, et cetera have been largely left out of the new bike lanes. Regardless of the unaccommodating infrastructure, cycling remains popular, especially in parks. Leakin Park and the Gwynns Falls Trail are both regular routes for enthusiasts and are frequented by cyclists from all over the city. For the most part, these cyclists are forced to rack their bikes and travel via automobile.

This petition is to propose a bike lane, running the length of Gwynns Falls Parkway, from Auchentrolly Terrace at Druid Hill Park to the Gwynns Falls Trail Head on Windsor Mill Road. The lane would be approximately 1.5 miles long and could easily be marked on the preexisting street with simple modifications to right of ways and automobile parking designations. The lane could also be constructed using the ample space provided by the green median that runs the entire length of the Parkway.

The new bike lane would serve many West Baltimore neighborhoods and allow for eco-friendly, affordable, and safe new commuting options for a wide-range of Baltimore residents. The bike lanes would also offer easy access for all Baltimore residents to the newly renovated Mondawmin Mall, new Coppin State University Sports Complex and Campus, Gwynns Falls Trail Head, Leakin Park, and more. The route would also be easily accessible to and from the new Jones Falls Trail and Druid Hill Park system.
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Bike event photos

Biking in BaltimoreIf you participated in any of the recent biking events in Baltimore and took photos we are very interested in posting a link here for others to enjoy. Please email us at info "at" or contribute an article of your own. Thanks.
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Maryland District 42, 2010 (Bike) Campaign

Politics[We are always happy to promote those who promote bicycling, this goes for ANY political candidate, write to us and we'll help spread the word.]

Hi Barry,

I've set up a Facebook Page for my 2010 campaign for the Maryland state legislature, and I'm hoping you will list yourself as a supporter (free). I figure you might be interested because bike transit and mass transit are big priorities for me.

The page is: <a href=""></a>;

There is a 'Become a Supporter' link in the top right corner of the page.

or <a href=""></a>;

Don Engel
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Baltimore Bike Pageant!

Biking in BaltimoreAugust 2, 2008

National Night Out Parade

Greenmount Avenue between 29th and 35th Streets

Featuring a pet parade and the Baltimore Bike Pageant!

To register, please contact Laura Kindseth at 410-258-6295 or lkindseth &quot;at&quot;

<a href=""></a>;
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Cycling In Baltimore ...

Biking in BaltimoreFrom: CJ-

As a cyclist, I really must take issue with the unregulated driving habits of motorists within this city. Today, I was treated to the incivility of a woman who honked at me as I descended Lake Avenue towards Falls Road. She was behind me. Any cyclist reading this post knows that you're going approximately 60kph per hour down that hill at top speed when the speed limit is 30mph which translates to about 45kph.

Ill-advisedly, I allowed myself to escalate things by having words with the driver, who tried to preface by mentioning her "miles of riding experience"—my response to which I can't publish. I "mentioned" to her that at that speed how dangerous it would be for her to pass, to which her response was "she was late for work". BTW, she took time out of her busy schedule to argue with me.

As someone who's not connected to government(and never likely), nor is actually on the MBAC board, I fortunately have the ability to speak for myself in recognizing the questionable will set forth by the city in putting bike lanes over potholes, failing to enforce vehicle's speed limits through most of the city, while efforts are put in place to encourage people to dust off their bikes to cycle to work and make it a part of their everyday life.

If someone were to ask me where to cycle as a beginner (or relative newcomer), I'd tell them to go to the airport or the county. There really is no safe haven for cyclists here.

The myth about bike lanes is that it implies that a cyclists is to make way under all circumstances—at any speed. And unfortunately, I feel that this is misleading and the true circumstances is more similar to road racing where slower vehicles make way when the speed is completely dissimilar and the road is safe (ascending hills, etc.) Cyclists are vehicles and in traffic conditions are to make certain that they use the road in a manner that makes the road safe for them.

Knowing that motorists would be completely fine running a cyclist off the road or rolling through a stop sign at the disadvantage to a cyclist changes some of these issues with respect to a cyclist's safety. I'm loathe to criticize because my history in cycling is one of fend for myself and have learned to do so quite adroitly. Some of my instinct and action goes beyond the recreational nature of painted lines, etc. And that it unlikely to change.

Also, who deals with sewer grates? On the Falls Road bridge heading north, there is a sewer grate that would swallow any cyclists unaware of it. I say all this knowing that there a few people who do actually ride AND have a connection to City Hall and whatever they call headquarters in the county. There is a major difference between some of the recreational implementations taking place and their ability to make things safer for real cyclists. Until that gulf is bridged, the Baltimore region will continue to live in question of what it could be.
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Biller's Bikes Havre de Grace

Cyclist\'s Yellow PagesBiller's Bikes in Havre de Grace offers bike rentals, Susquehanna River bridge crossing services, Susquehanna State Park (MD) trail services, and folding bike rentals for Chesapeake Bay boaters. Our shop is new and pretty different and we would love to meet our Baltimore neighbors and show them around historic Havre de Grace. Seasonal, see our website at <a href=""></a>; for information. We're just twenty minutes up I-95, come visit after the snow melts! (We have great coffee)
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This weeks Intergalactic Conference of Energy Efficient Beings summary

Biking in Baltimoreimage

Included a demonstration of travel in low light conditions with 70+ people participating (Moonlight Madness Ride photos.and photos by Doug Retzler)
Mayor Shela Dixon and Cabinet Summit for greener transportation (Mayor's Ride photos)
And of course the seminar on good tasting fuel sources (Bike & Brunch and photos.)

[This report is a bit tongue and cheek thanks to the wonderful wacky exhibits at Art Scape and the wonderful invention called the bicycle that empowers people to do and see more in Baltimore.]

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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