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Monday, December 22 2014 @ 08:33 PM UTC
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Safe riding in narrow lanes

Biking ElsewhereTwo League of American Bicyclists certified traffic cycling instructors shoot video of each other "driving" their bicycles safely and legally by controlling lanes on streets that are part of the route they use to train students in the Bike Ed
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Start seeing bicycles.

Biking Elsewhere...

Nearly every cyclist in America has similar stories. We beseech you: Start seeing bicycles.

After reading about the deaths of Gough and Peterson on Monday morning, I headed out Bolinas-Fairfax Road around 2:30 that afternoon. Fifty-five minutes later, near the end of the gorgeous, redwood-intensive climb up to Ridgecrest Road, I had an encounter with a white pickup. (I don't know what it is about guys in pickups.)

Just before he passed me, this man veered way over the centerline -- half the truck was in my lane. He was smiling. I don't know if he did it on purpose or not. After negotiating the switchback, he had to drive below me. I was still shouting at him as he drove away. His female passenger shot me a retaliatory bird out the window. I found a fist-sized rock and dropped it in one of my pockets, just in case he decided to come back.

Having cooled off, I feel compelled to reach out to motorists, and assure them: I know, I know -- if you don't make it to your kid's after-school care center in, like, 10 minutes, you'll be charged extra!

You're right, I probably DON'T know how valuable your time is. I know you've been delayed in the past by inconsiderate cyclists riding two or three abreast, and that you've seen bikers run stop signs, as if they were above the law. So have I. They are in the minority. Together, let's try to convince them to ride more safely.

In the meantime, if you need to pass me, and no vehicle is approaching from the other direction -- if we have the road to ourselves, in other words -- do me a favor. Miss me by more than, say, a foot. I know your car-handling skills (or your pickup-handling skills) are well above average, and that I was never in any danger, but do it for me anyway.

True, this courtesy may result in your left tires touching the little reflectors in the middle of the road. I have some excellent news that may surprise you: it is highly UNLIKELY that the little reflectors will throw your car out of alignment.

If you need to pass me and another car IS coming from the other direction, you can either: A) pass me at precisely that moment, even though it will mean you come dangerously close to me forcing me to hail you with a one-digit salute, or B) touch your brakes, wait for the oncoming car to go by, THEN pass. Yes, this could result in a delay to you of up to three seconds, but think of the excellent karma you'll be creating for yourself.

And an interesting fact you may not have known: Riding bikes on the road is legal in America -- even encouraged!

I live in a part of the country where traffic is expected to increase 250 percent in the next 20 years. We live on a planet whose addiction to fossil fuels has created problems that might be alleviated if people rode their bikes more often.

Bicycles are part of the solution. Start seeing bicycles.
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New $270 billion federal project to build special lanes

Biking ElsewhereWASHINGTON
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HB 143 - 3 foot passing bill dead again?

Bike Maryland updatesHB 143 - Bicycle Safety Bill. Mandates that motorists pass bicycles at a safe distance of at least 3 feet on our roads.

We've worked so hard on this. But it seems that once again the bill to mandate a 3 foot safe passing distance for bicyclists appears dead.

Why? Here are the apparent concerns among some members of the House Environmental Matters Committee: First, some think the law would be unenforceable (not true - its being enforced with citations in Arizona, Utah, Florida and in the 6 other states with similar laws); Second, motorists might be in violation of the law if they tried passing on a very narrow road; Third, bicyclists may inadvertently drift towards a car while the car is passing, thereby coming too close and making the motorist a de-facto lawbreaker.

We can debate the merits of these arguments against HB 143, but here are the facts:

* 9 States have 3 foot passing laws (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Arizona, Florida......)
* The Maryland MVA Driver's Handbook states on page 61 "that "when passing a cyclist, allow a minimum of three feet clearance".
* Maryland has some of the highest bike crash numbers in the country.
* Most fatal crashes occur mid-block (i.e. cars passing bikes).

So why can't we have a 3 foot law?

It should be noted that Delegate James Malone, the Vice Chair of the Environmental Matters Committee has personally told OLC that he would support working with the State Highway Administration to ensure that a safety campaign focusing on "giving 3 feet" is instituted. This is a welcome step forward.

Regardless, HB 143 is a good bill and if it does not fly this year, we will be back in 2009.

Do us a favor. Send an email to the co-sponsors of HB 143 and tell them thank you for their support of safe cycling in Maryland:
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HB 667 - Safety bill still in House Judiciary Committee

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.

I've talked about this before. If someone drives negligently in Maryland (lets say they are speeding and fumbling with the radio, eyes off the road, etc. etc.) and they hit and kill you, they are slapped with a $500 fine. Sound fair?

The reason for this is that 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. This means that you have to be driving while intoxicated or practically TRYING to mow someone down before you get anything more than the fine.

Case in point - a Howard County police officer was killed last Summer by a person driving well over the speed limit and this driver's punishment was - you guessed it - $500. Sure, it was an accident. But some accidents are avoidable. And negligent driving is VERY avoidable.

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 kills due to reckless and negligent driving. If passed, it would put Maryland in line with over 30 other states with similar laws.

What we want from you is to contact your members of the House of Delegates and ask them if they know about this legislation and if they would support it. If your delegate is on the House Judiciary Committee that is currently reviewing this bill, please make sure to call or email that person.

This bill has died in committee before, but we have to at least bring more attention to it. Right now its flying under the radar and that's a shame.
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Vehicular Crossings - Use by Bicycles

Bike LawsSB 0492 - 3rd Reading Passed (47-0)

Authorizing the use of specified vehicular crossings under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Transportation Authority by pedestrians and bicycles when authorized by the Chairman of the Maryland Transportation Authority.
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Department for Transport apologises over usable cycle lane

Biking Elsewhere
The Rt Hon. Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport, issued a full apology today after it transpired that a cycle lane in Wilmslow, Cheshire, did not contain substantial fragments of broken glass, abandoned vehicles or a telephone box placed right in the middle.

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Why wear a helmet?

Biking Elsewhere"You should wear a helmet. If you wore a helmet, I wouldn't NEED to drive more safely."

--Driver to cyclist, after being told to "drive more safely"
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Tips for greener motoring

Health & EnvironmentThe amount of fuel a car uses is directly related to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces. Selecting the right car for your needs and using it wisely will reduce your fuel consumption and help you save money and the environment.

There are three areas to think about when trying to reduce emissions:

* What car you drive
* How you drive
* Where, when & how often you drive
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Area Police Are Enforcing Pedestrian Safety Laws

Biking in Maryland[Note: This program reaches about 29% of the State's problem areas. If it were to include Baltimore City and County it would then include 74% of the State's problem areas. Note: If you live in PG or Mountgomry Co. be extra carful in March as everone is being targeted for tickets.]

Street Smart is an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign in the Washington, DC, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia area. Since its beginning in 2002, the campaign has used radio, newspaper, and transit advertising, public awareness efforts, and added law enforcement, to respond to the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

The Street Smart program emphasizes education of motorists and pedestrians through mass media. It is meant to complement, not replace, the efforts of state and local governments and agencies to build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce laws, and train better drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), and is supported by federal funds made available through state governments, and funding from some TPB member jurisdictions.

The Spring 2008 Street Smart campaign will run from March 7 to March 31st.

The kick off press event will take place on March 7, 2008 at 10 a.m., in the Baileys Crossing Shopping Center parking lot at Route 7 & South Jefferson Street in Falls Church, VA. To find the site look for transit buses wrapped with Street Smart ads and campaign mobile billboard.

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