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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 03:10 AM UTC


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Pedal Power

Biking in MarylandNonprofit Bike Maryland moves into high gear with the start of the General Assembly.

Bike Maryland recently announced several key dates for bicycling enthusiasts and advocates, including its annual Maryland State Bicycle Symposium, a free training workshop for its bike ambassador program, and the organization’s first-ever Pro-Bike Lobby Night.
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Bicycle commuting catching on with employers across region

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Note this is for the DC region, here in good old Baltimore we have 0.7% bike commuters vs. their 2.17% [for 2010, DC has 3.1%] or DC has 3 [4.4] times the number of cyclists that we do. Support for cycling in the Baltimore area is dismal compared to what is being done just 40 miles away.]
By: Liz Essley, Washington Examiner

As Charmaine Rupolt biked through last week's snow squall, she didn't think it was time to trade up to a car. She thought she'd just like to have some goggles.

"I'm a die-hard," said the 53-year-old legal secretary, who bikes seven miles from her Maryland home to work in D.C. every day. "If people can be out walking in it, I can probably be out riding in it."

Rupolt isn't the only die-hard out there. Bike commuting is on the rise in D.C. and the surrounding areas, supported by more and more trails, bike lanes, bike racks and employers who encourage biking with financial incentives and by providing bike storage and shower facilities in the workplace.

Census data show that the number of bike commuters grew 86 percent from 2000 to 2009. Events like Bike to Work Day grew from 500 participants in 2001 to 11,000 in 2011.

"I think bicycling is definitely on the rise," said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

But it's still a small percentage -- only 2.17 percent of Washington-area residents bike to work, according to Census Bureau data.

"The car is still pretty much king," Ramfos said. "But that doesn't mean [biking] is not going to have potential. It definitely does. There's a lot of support behind it. There are a lot of elected officials and jurisdictions looking to do everything they can to promote bicycle and pedestrian activities."

In addition to the proliferation of bike lanes and other bike-friendly amenities offered by local governments, more private employers are hopping on the bike bandwagon.

"It's much more in the public mind now and in the mind of employers. We've seen an increase in the interest and participation [in biking incentive programs]," said Chris Eatough, manager of Arlington County's BikeArlington program.

Calvert Investments, a financial firm based in Bethesda, is one such employer. The company offers employees a one-time $500 subsidy toward the cost of a bike. It's part of the company's mission of sustainability, a spokeswoman said. Calvert also gives a 100 percent subsidy for employees who take public transit.

That kind of incentive is fueling interest in biking, which fans say is easier on the pocketbook, less stressful and more environmentally friendly than driving.

"As bicycling grows, the accommodations get better. As those get better, more people are induced to bike, and that's a great spiral for us," said Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

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O’Malley’s spending plan includes money to combat gun trafficking

Biking in Marylandby C. Benjamin Ford, Staff Writer, Gazette

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget for fiscal 2013 takes aim at gun trafficking, among other public safety initiatives.

The spending plan released this week includes $20.8 million in competitive grants local law enforcement grants to target domestic violence, substance abuse and gun trafficking.
“When we have a neighborhood with a propensity for gun violence, we can use the grant so we saturate those areas proactively with bicycle patrols, undercover officers,” Lewis said.
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Cecil County bike route planning

Biking in MarylandThe Metropolitan Planning Organization for Cecil County and for New Castle County, Del., in partnership with towns, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration, is planning a coordinated and integrated bicycle network. The public is invited to help develop local recommendations for the towns of North East and Cecilton during public workshops. The Northeast meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1, and the Cecilton workshop for Feb. 8. Routes are intended to safely connect cyclists with the towns and key destinations throughout Cecil County.
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Smart Growth Advocates Prepare for Battle

Biking in MarylandAnnapolis – Advocates from 1000 Friends of Maryland are ready for a fight this legislative session. The enemy? The high costs and increased pollution from sprawling development.

“We must stop sprawling into our rural lands. This development costs taxpayers money, paves over farmland and open spaces, and adds even more pollution to local waters,” explained Dru Schmidt-Perkins, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Maryland.
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Tim Johnson's Ride on Washington

Biking in Marylandimage


This winter, six-time national champion and cyclo-cross superstar Tim Johnson will throw his leg over his bike for a hard week of training. But he's not riding to improve his cycling; he's riding to improve your cycling. 
Tim Johnson will ride to raise funds and awareness for the Bikes Belong Foundation as he pedals 500 miles from Boston to Washington DC, the site of the National Bike Summit, in five days.

Starting Friday, March 16, Tim will be joined by long time cycling journalist, advocate, promoter and announcer Richard Fries, and 20 other leaders of American bike culture. Leaving from Boston, they will ride every day, hitting Providence, Hartford, New York City, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore, until they reach Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 20, for the start of the National Bike Summit.

“We want to engage governors, mayors, bloggers, reporters, schools, and most of all other cyclists along the way,” said Johnson, who is already building support from the bike industry for this mission. 

Tim Johnson hopes to see this event raise funds and awareness for Bikes Belong and the National Bike Summit. Your support will be critical to make that happen. Visit our website to learn more about the 2012 Tim Johnson's Ride on Washington.

Ride With Us

You can ride with us for five minutes, five miles, or all five days. When you register, we will create a personal fundraising page for you on PledgeReg, where you can raise money to benefit Bikes Belong. We will post the exact routes as we get closer to the ride. Please note that although we will have neutral support along the way to help all riders, individuals looking to join will be required to take care of their own logistics.

The final 10 miles of the ride to D.C. will be a giant bike parade where anyone can join—no spandex required. We will ride past 15 Capital Bikeshare Stations so that anyone can grab a bike and join us. The ride will end with a celebration on Capitol Hill.


If you can't ride with us, visit PledgeReg and donate to one of the dedicated riders doing the event. The goal of this ride is to raise $100,000 for Bikes Belong. The funding we raise will leverage government funding for bike paths, bike lanes, bike facilities and bike programs. No other donation you make could make such a huge impact for America's health, environment, and quality of life. 

About Bikes Belong

The Bikes Belong Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on improving bicycle safety and enhancing children's bike programs. It administers the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, supports the Bicycling Design Best Practices Project, and directs the campaign. Visit for more info.
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RETHINK COLLEGE PARK - Traffic: Is it worth the worry?

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Is society's logic simply because we can't bike or walk to nice places nearby we don't want to ever bike/walk to places nearby. Or more to the point, is our traffic "logic" so convoluted that the very thing we are trying to avoid is the very thing that ends up being promoted?]
by Mark Noll

While I agree that 30 minutes is a long time to travel two miles in a car, I suspect that this is not an everyday occurrence. However, let’s assume the development is built as planned and she must endure the burden of additional time to pick up her children. Is she worse off? I argue no.
Now, let’s think of the benefits of having a quality, mixed-use development within walking distance of your home.
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Is this pedestrian safety or just pedestrian removal?

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: I really love this title by Ben Ross of Greater Greater Washington. He makes some excellent points of witch I'll highlight (when reading keep in mind Maryland has the 4th highest pedestrian fatality rate): ]

In fact, the White Flint crosswalk was often full of people, so drivers obeyed the law and stopped more often than elsewhere. From the pedestrian's point of view, this was likely one of the safest unsignalized crosswalks (given the amount of car traffic) in the county.

The White Flint crosswalk was not removed because it was in the best interests of the pedestrians, but rather, because it was in the best interest of the drivers. Throughout the county, MCDOT encourages drivers to violate the law by leaving crosswalks unmarked, even where there is heavy pedestrian traffic.

Sadly, this is not a unique situation. Another wall was built with a similar goal in mind at New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard. In both locations, MCDOT could have made it safer to cross the street by redesigning the road to slow traffic and ticketing drivers who failed to yield. But it appears that this is not the approach the department has embraced. Instead, pedestrians take a backseat to the county's drivers.
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Why is the ICC so empty? How long will it stay that way?

Biking in Marylandfrom Greater Greater Washington by Ben Ross

Travelers on Maryland's newly-opened Intercounty Connector (ICC) highway see a road that seems empty and overbuilt. Yet the Maryland Transportation Authority, which runs the road, says that traffic is slightly heavier than forecast. Can both be right?

Yes, they can.
But the state's forecast also assumes that gas will cost $2.50 a gallon, adjusted for future inflation. If instead, gas costs $10 a gallon in 2030, traffic on the ICC is projected to be about 40% below the $2.50/gallon forecast.
There's nothing at all wrong with building for the future. The planners of Metro thought big, and we are all better off as a result. The question about the ICC is whether it was built for the future, or for a past age of cheap gasoline and sprawl that is gone forever.
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Remembering Cycle Across Maryland; crossing the Bay Bridge

Biking in Marylandby Gene Bisbee


As you can guess from our cycling gear, this photo was taken in the early 1990s. It was 1994, in fact, the first and maybe only time that the 4.3-mile-long eastbound span of the Bay Bridge on US Route 50 was closed to everyone but bicyclists.

The photo was taken by Bob Gilbert, a former colleague at the Annapolis Capital newspaper who loved shooting pictures from anything up high. I just stumbled across this photo and some others from the CAM tour recently.

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