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Thursday, December 18 2014 @ 08:31 AM UTC

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The Blanks Family Fund

Biking in MarylandTom Blanks was cycling early in the morning on July 16th and was struck by a hit and run driver. He was thrown 35 ft., sustaining massive injuries, and was airlifted to a near by hospital.

Tom is a loving husband of 13 years to Blair and father to their three children. Cycling is an integral part of Tom’s family life as he shares his passion with his children. Tom and his son have been building a racing bike together, with plans to race together in the fall, plans which have been cancelled.

Tom’s injuries are extensive, he sustained a broken pelvis and fractures to his sternum, ribs, and both lumbar & thoracic vertebraes in his spine. He will remain in a back brace and unable to walk without crutches for many months and hopes of riding a bike again will certainly require hours of painful therapy. Despite his injuries, Tom has amazed his family, friends and hospital staff with his positive attitude and strength of character.

Making the roads safer for cyclist is a huge part of who Tom is. He is an active member of Rodgers Forge's Safe Routes to School committee, which promotes safety for the neighborhood's students who walk to school and he has served on the board for the advocacy group, Bike Maryland.

Tom’s passion for cycling is matched only by his drive to provide for his family. It is not hard to imagine the strain the careless acts of a reckless driver has placed on the Blanks family. The family was on vacation when the accident occurred. Toms' wife Blair remains by his side commuting from a nearby hotel, they are unable to transport him back home to Maryland for care at this time.


It may not seem like a lot but $5 here, $10 there, EVERY donation counts - even if Tom is a stranger to you - he is someone's husband, father, son and friend. The kindness of strangers is a powerful thing! Every donation is so appreciated.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/the-blanks-family-fund/73726
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Maryland launches safety effort to curb car-on-truck aggression

Biking in MarylandBy Candy Thomson, The Baltimore Sun

...
State and federal transportation and law enforcement officials have begun a summer initiative as part of the Smooth Operator program aimed at motorists who tailgate, speed and cut off big commercial vehicles.
...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/commuting/bs-md-aggressive-driving-20130716,0,2935491.story

[B' Spokes: Well, it's a start at least.]
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2010 Maryland Highway Safety Data

Biking in Maryland

Benchmark Reports

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Maryland Crash Data With Some Glimmer of Information

Biking in MarylandWell it looks like I was a victim of yet another upgrade to the Maryland Highway Safety Office website when I wrote complaining about the lack of crash data. Thanks to Chris Merriam for investigating where the data went but even though the state does publish some data it still lacks info that would help uncover behavioral issues, So to illustrate my point here are the crash types that can be found by querying FARS for 2011
Crash TypeRoadSide WalkUnknown
Motorist Lost Control - Other / Unknown10
Crossing Paths - Intersection - Other / Unknown Control01
Head-On - Motorist10
Parallel Paths - Other / Unknown101
TOTAL311


You'll note that FARS crash type "Bicycle ride through signalized intersection" was not a crash type for a Maryland cycling fatality in 2011. Just thought that needed to be said.

Now let's look for similar information from the State's data.
Cross. Not at Inter.1
Walk/Ride with Traff.3
Other / Unknown1
TOTAL5


Or maybe cyclists (ped) location will give us more information.
On Rd. Not Crosswalk4
Other / Unknown1
TOTAL5


Hopefully you can see why I would be desirous of better data from the state. I also found it interesting that sidewalk riding showed up in FARS but not in the state data. Well with FARS I can look for more detail in a crash, so I looked into it a bit. I believe the state still uses the nearest cross street for the geolocation data so Hammonds Ln & Upland St may not be the exact location just the nearest location. Well Hammonds Ln is an interesting street, not what I would call bike friendly and there is only a sidewalk on one side, which does have a reputation for increasing crashes as too many have to cross at "not crosswalk" to get to the residences on the other side or vice versa. Now if you were a 90 year old man where would you ride? This is a major problem with too many streets, they do not accommodate the elderly or the young. So while they do not give who's at fault here I would be willing to bet it was the cyclist, when IMHO it was the road design which contributed heavily to this tragedy.

Good crash data is imperative for good safety advice and good advocacy. While we can get good information on fatalities, good data for general crashes is still hard to come by and a story about crash stats from Boston still cannot be writen about Baltimore or other parts of the state and that's my point.


And in case you are interested this is where all 5 (red pins) Maryland bicycling fatalities took place (note two are very close together just south of Baltimore in Anne Arundel County.)
image
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Owner of Bill’s Place in Little Orleans (off the C&O trail) obituary

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: One of the pleasures of biking around Maryland is running into little shops like this, I'll miss him.

http://times-news.com/obituaries/x2056575795/WILLIAM-J-BILL-SCHOENADEL-Cumberland
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One indicator that Maryland has not arrived in being bike friendly

Biking in MarylandNews release: Share the road! Maryland state highway administration celebrates bike to work day
http://www.roads.maryland.gov/pages/release.aspx?newsId=1499
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This is very nice but the only news coverage of this I could find was on Baynet.
http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm/fa/viewstory/story_ID/32188
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It sure would have been nice if more papers picked this up, especially those in the metro areas. Anyway, thanks SHA for the effort.
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Small changes can make walking to school safer

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: This should go out to Baltimore and Prince George's Counties as well. My only change would be school zones need to be expanded to one mile, that is the radius kids are expected to walk right?]
by Miriam Schoenbaum, Greater Greater Washington

Montgomery County could do a lot to make walking to school safer and more convenient, and at little cost. All it takes is a few changes to the law, signs and paint, and retiming some traffic signals.

...

Expand school zones: Amend the county's criteria for school zones to include all county roads within a half-mile radius of a school. This would allow MCDOT to reduce speed limits and increase fines on roads near schools.

Lower speeds and limit unsafe right turns: Change the following rules in the amended school zones and post new signs to inform drivers:

  • Establish a maximum speed limit of 20 miles per hour during school hours, including arrival and dismissal. This could decrease the risk of child pedestrian crashes by up to 70%.

  • Double the fines for speeding violations, to motivate drivers to slow down.

  • Prohibit right turns on red during school hours to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and drivers at traffic signals.

...

Retime traffic signals: Change traffic signal timing in the amended school zones in the following ways, to make it safer for pedestrians of all ages to cross the street:

  • Put in leading pedestrian intervals for traffic signals at intersections where at least one of the roads is an arterial, to allow walkers to get a head start crossing busy streets.

  • Use a walking speed of 2.5 feet per second to calculate the minimum pedestrian clearance interval, to give everyone, including children and adults pushing strollers, sufficient time to cross.

  • Have the walk signal appear during every signal cycle during school hours at intersections with traffic signals, without pedestrians having to push a button. This can be done either by putting the signals in pedestrian "recall" during school hours (including arrival and dismissal) or by removing the pedestrian pushbuttons altogether.

  • Shorten traffic signals during school hours (including arrival and dismissal) so kids don't have to wait longer than 40 seconds for a walk signal on any leg of an intersection. This would lead more pedestrians to wait for the walk signal to cross.

...

Change road markings: Add paint to the pavement in school zones in the following ways:

  • Mark all crosswalks with a "ladder" or "zebra" crosswalk, using material embedded with retroreflective glass beads. This increases the visibility of crosswalks, raising driver awareness and encouraging pedestrians to cross at crosswalks.

  • Narrow traffic lanes to 10 feet, to reduce vehicle speeds, increase drivers' compliance with the 20 mph speed limits, and reduce the length of pedestrian crossings across traffic lanes.

...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18885/small-changes-can-make-walking-to-school-safer/
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Maryland Annual Vehicle Miles of Travel

Biking in Marylandimage
Kinda funny I started bicycling advocacy in 2005 and kept hearing how they can't accommodate bicycles because of the predicted increase of VMT... it still hasn't happened.

Why does the state have to spend as much as possible on new car projects and as little as they can get away with for bicycling?

https://data.maryland.gov/Transportation/VMT-Growth/e44s-snnx
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How about MARC buys/converts one passenger car for bicycles, for use on weekends?

Biking in MarylandRichard Layman makes some good points: http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-about-marc-buysconverts-one.html
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ICC losing bus service in classic bait and switch

Biking in Marylandby Dan Malouff, Greater Greater Washington

Maryland may eliminate 3 of the 5 bus routes on the Intercounty Connector. The move is a classic bait and switch from highway builders: Get political buy-in with the promise of a multimodal road, then cut the multimodal aspects at the first opportunity.

The Maryland Transit Administration operates 5 bus routes on the ICC. It's proposing to eliminate routes 202, 203, and 205. Only the 201 and 204 would remain, running from Gaithersburg to BWI Airport and Frederick to College Park.

When planning the ICC, Maryland promised it would include good transit service and a high-quality bike trail. Officials cut much of the trail in 2004. The bus service was never very good either, so it never got many riders. Now the state is citing that as a reason to cut it significantly.

Of course, cars aren't held to the same standard.

There also aren't many drivers on the ICC. Around 21,000 cars per day use the road. The state says that meets projections, but the projections seem to change. At one point they were as high as 71,000.

But is anyone proposing the state shut the road? Nope. Instead, the strategy is to try and boost car use.

Lawmakers hoped to induce more traffic with lower tolls last year, although that proposal was never accepted. This year the state raised the speed limit to make driving more attractive.

When it comes to bikes and transit, it's cut and run at the first hint of a problem. For cars, it's roll out the red carpet and hope for more traffic.
...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/18899/icc-losing-bus-service-in-classic-bait-and-switch/
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[B' Spokes: I love to know where the accountability for government spending over $3 billion on this near useless highway.]

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