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Wednesday, July 08 2015 @ 02:31 AM UTC


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Pedestrian "sting" finds frequent driver lawlessness

Biking in Marylandby Ben Ross, Greater Greater Washington

So many drivers don't yield to pedestrians that catching them is "like shooting fish in a barrel," a surprised Montgomery County police officer remarked Wednesday. The police ticketed 72 violators in 2½ hours—one every two minutes—at a single crosswalk on Veirs Mill Road.

The operation, a first for the county, was advertised as a sting. But it was not very covert. The police announced in advance that their plainclothes officers would ticket between 11 am and 3 pm while wearing brightly-colored outfits.

Capt. Thomas Didone, head of the police traffic enforcement division, explained the reasoning behind the "sting" to the Patch. "Officers would typically attempt to enforce that kind of law by driving around a high-traffic area and looking for drivers not following the rules," he said. "That's not very efficient."

Inefficiency is the least of the problems with this style of law enforcement. Police who drive all day don't understand the reality of walking on the county's roadways. When you get out of the squad car and join the thousands who cross Veirs Mill every day (it's among the county's busiest bus corridors), you suddenly learn that "it's kind of scary."

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

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Maryland Cops Show How Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Should Be Done

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: Congratulations to Montgomery County for getting some national press. Too bad Baltimore and Prince Georges County don't get this at all, that's how Maryland will stay in the top ten highest pedestrian fatality state, we need more than one county to get on board!

Read the article here: <a href=""></a>;
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MARC: Allow regular bicycles on trains, not just folding bikes [petition]

Biking in MarylandTo be delivered to: The Maryland State House, The Maryland State Senate, Governor Martin O'Malley, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama

Petition Background
MARC trains only allow folding bicycles, which are typically heavier and more expensive than regular bikes, and bikes are one of the best ways of making public transportation practical, by helping people make up for gaps and problems in that transportation system. Especially in this tough economy, allowing regular bicycles would enable more people to adapt to available public transportation, rather than waiting for transportation to adapt to them. In other words, this would allow Maryland to get the most bang for its transportation bucks.

<a href=";r_by=810315">;r_by=810315</a>;
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The Return of Neighborhood Bicycle Shops: A Sustainable Community Indicator

Biking in Maryland“The communities that embrace the bicycle and all that goes with it NOW will be the successful communities of the next generation.”

–Alex Obriecht, President Bike Maryland &amp; Race Pace Bicycles

<a href=""></a>;
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Maryland Bicycle and Trail Map Interactive Viewer

Biking in MarylandThe Link: <a href=""></a>;

B' Spokes: First kudos for getting this up on the web. But I'll note if you turn on the &quot;Bicycle Level of Comfort&quot; layer they grouped grades C &amp; D together and that's not right. That would be like saying here is a list of restaurants that are satisfactory and less than satisfactory and we are not going to tell which is which so go ahead and just try them out and if you don't like it well that's what a grade D means.

I have to ask how is that promoting bicycling or encouraging people to ride if the state knowling says roads that are less than satisfactory are satisfactory? This also ties into the state's 20 year bicycling plan (which is currently being updated) which has a goal of 80% of state roads with a BLOC grade D (unsatisfactory) or better. We need a goal of 100% BLOC grade C or better and no more BS about how goals need to be attainable and then the state knocks out a 20 year goal in less than a year and then we got stuck with no improvement for the next ten years. The CTP is for attainable goals not the long range plan!

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Montgomery County police say "Get out of the way" or something

Biking in MarylandVia Washcycle

Disappointing article on WTOP.

Washington Area Bicyclist Association Director Shane Farthing says bicyclists have the right to use the full travel lanes at all times and that cars must yield and simply wait behind a slow-moving bike.

"Cyclists can't necessarily always go as fast as traffic, but the law does give cyclists the right to use the road," says Farthing.

So far, so good...

But Montgomery County Police Lt. Bob McCullough, deputy director of the traffic division, says that's not the case.

Slow-moving bikes need to move to the right-hand side of the roadway particularly "when they reach a point that they are impeding traffic."

Is Bob McCullough calling in from the 80's? But it gets worse.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia law states bicyclists can ride the center of the travel lane only if they're going the speed limit.

There is no such law. The speed limit is an UPPER limit, not a lower limit. You are not required to maintain that speed, and there is no law against "impeding traffic".  The law in Maryland reads:

Riding to the right not required when traveling at the speed of traffic, operating on a one-way street, passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, avoiding a mandatory turn lane or traveling in a lane too narrow to share.

So there are many more excpetions to "riding right" in Maryland than just "traveling at the speed of traffic" which is not the same as "the speed limit." In DC the law is even farther from what WTOP reports:

Operate a bicycle in a safe and non-hazardous manner... so as not to endanger himself or herself or any other person.

WTOP, you are not the New York Post. Don't try to be.
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Maryland Transportation Plan 2035 Survey

Biking in MarylandPlease take some time to help get cycling a bigger priority.

<a href=""></a>;
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Shocking rhetoric from John Townsend and AAA

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: What I like best about this article and AAA Mid-Atlantic sometimes war against cyclists/walkable cities is the chance to promote Better World Club.

&quot;In the meantime, residents do have a choice when purchasing towing, insurance, and travel discounts. Better World Club is one company that offers many of the same benefits as AAA, but without the disdain.&quot;

Better World Club: <a href=""></a>;

Read about the Ku Klux Klan accusations from AAA Mid-Atlantic here: <a href=""></a>;
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Montgomery County gets pedestrian safety basics

Biking in Maryland

Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Tips

For Drivers…

  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections- it's the law.
  • Don't block crosswalks when stopping at intersections.
  • Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
  • Take extra care around schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods. Pedestrians are hit every 7 minutes each day.
  • Always look out for pedestrians, especially before turning at a green light or making a "right turn on red."
  • Obey speed limits, signs, signals and markings--and never run red lights.
  • Be careful when passing stopped vehicles. They might be stopping for pedestrians.
  • Allow 3 feet when passing bicyclists.
  • Share the road. It's your responsibility to look out for others.
During the months of April and May, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) will be focusing enforcement efforts on pedestrian safety. MCPD will be conducting a number of operations at locations with marked crosswalks and areas that have been identified as pedestrian High Incidence Areas (HIAs) -- areas with more pedestrian collisions. Police will be issuing citations to both drivers and pedestrians who are breaking the law.
[B' Spokes: Now I have to ask when are the counties with higher pedestrian fatality rates going to do something similar? Ya I am looking at you Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince Georges County.]
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Maryland Toughens Handheld Phone Ban

Biking in Marylandby Ronald V. Miller, Jr., Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog

The problem is that there is data that suggests that it's not the holding of the phone, but the distraction in general that causes more accidents. It may be that it is not so much where your hands are when you are driving - not many of us are in a 10-2 position anyway - but where your mind is.

So should we eliminate talking on the phone while driving? Honestly, we probably should. I talk on the phone constantly when I'm driving but never with my kids in the car. But there is zero - absolutely zero - inertia to ban cell phone use while driving. Everyone turns a blind eye to these statistics because we believe what we want to believe and we don't want to give it up. Ironically, there is just one group that sees it my way: insurance companies.

<a href=""></a>;
(Note: Link to the data in the quoted article.)

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