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Sunday, April 19 2015 @ 09:00 PM UTC


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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.

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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.

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(Note: Link to the data in the quoted article.)
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A misinformed driver almost right hooked me

Biking in Marylandby Matt Johnson, Greater Greater Washington

Her response stunned me, and probably goes a long way to describing the plight of cyclists in this country. She said to the guard and me:

&quot;I had my signal on. You were supposed to stop for me.&quot;

In the first place, this is completely inaccurate. When driving on a street with bike lanes, the bike lane is considered a regular lane. You always have to yield to cyclists in the bike lane if you need to turn across it.

And the appropriate maneuver is to first merge into the bike lane before turning right. In this case, she should have merged behind me, since she did not have room to pass first.

In the second place, because she initiated the turn before she passed me, I really had no way of knowing that her signal was on anyway. Yes, cars have signals on the front, too. But as the front of her car passed me, I was focused on watching the car in front of her, because I did want to be right hooked by that driver either.

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[B' Spokes: I'll add I would love to see someone try &quot;I had my signal on. You have to stop for me.&quot; when merging onto the highway with a police car in their way forcing the police to slam on their brakes. I think the real point here is too many drivers feel that cyclists and pedestrians always have to yield to them and never the other way around... and that seriously needs to be addressed. Next, the proper turning method for motorists when a bike lane is present needs to be officially endorsed. I think the legal and safety arguments for this method are a lot stronger than those against but it seems those against don't want motorist driving in bike lanes but have no problem with motorist parking in bike lanes. (OK I put two separate discussions back to back here but it seems those with power at MDOT are more concerned about motorists convenience then they are about the safety of cyclists.)]
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Spring into Highway Safety by Remembering the Rules Of The Road

Biking in MarylandBy State Highway Administration, The Bay Net

Drivers should be Alert to Increased Road Activity as Warm Weather Moves Into Maryland

As warmer temperatures bring blooms onto Maryland’s native plants and trees, they also bring an increase in traffic volumes on Maryland’s highways. With construction projects resuming, fans are going in droves to Orioles and Nationals games, students returning to school following spring break and cyclists taking to roads and trails, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) and Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA) and the Maryland State Police (MSP) remind everyone to obey the rules of the road and to drive and bike responsibly.

The partnership between MSP, SHA and MVA is vital as they work together to educate motorists on the rules of the road in an effort to reduce fatalities on Maryland roads to zero. Traffic crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for Maryland residents. In addition, many thousands of people across Maryland suffered injuries, and the overall economic impact of crashes measures in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“In Maryland, aggressive driving, especially speeding, is a real threat on our roadways. Speeding contributes to 40 percent of aggressive driving fatalities,” said Maryland MVA Administrator and Governor Martin O’Malley’s Highway Safety Representative John T. Kuo. “I caution all drivers as the weather improves to slow down, buckle up and to drive responsibly. We’re all working Toward Zero Deaths in Maryland because every life counts.”

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Biking in MarylandVia The Daily Beast

42, Maryland
Fatal crashes: 513
Driver's licenses: 3,786,650
Most dangerous age: 19
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: 32 out of 50
Failure to obey traffic signs or signals: 46 out of 50
Careless or inattentive driving: 18 out of 50

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Maryland Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan Update

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: My reactions to: Maryland Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan Update


Better then what we currently have
Michael [Jackson Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access] stated that because MD Route 564 is a State highway SHA was not bound to accept M-NCPPC-PG’s designation [of MD Route 564 as a bikeway.]
Ref SHA not obligated to accommodate bicyclists per policy and wins an award from LAB for policy

Hmm, to make my point how would you feel if they said "The lack of bicycle facilities still a major concern." without mentioning any detail? We need specifics to address motorists behavior like:
  • The Street Smart program must be reviewed by the cycling community.
  • Twice a year (around the beginning and end of the school) at least create a press realise reminding drivers of their duties around bicyclists and pedestrians. Again this should be reviewed by the cycling community before being published.
  • Recommend that local police during this time period do crosswalk stings and plain clothes police bikes enforcing 3' passing.
  • At the end of the enforcement period release a summery of warnings and tickets issued.

Seriously we had this junk since 2002 and it really is not working well for us.
1) 80% of state roads - What if I told you this 80% figure is so they can leave all urban state roads bike unfriendly, would you support that? Of course not, the need for bicycle accommodations is greater in the urban areas then the rural, we need something extra to get accommodations in the urban areas. This figure NEEDS to be 100%! Not that I am unsympathetic to the difficulties of comfortably accommodating bicyclists on all state roads but here is an idea, if they can't accommodate us on a state road then an alternate parallel route shall be established, you know like what they showed in the first picture, this is a doable action. We have the concept of "Bicycle Priority Area" let's use that to get these alternate bike routes in!
2) BLOC D - Another Nooooo! This should be BLOC C or better. BLOC D basically means it looks like there is enough room for cyclists to ride to the right to motorist but cyclists will get too many close passes or other unsafe motorists behavior so cyclists should take the lane under BLOC D conditions. In short it's not clear where the safest place to ride is under these conditions. Seriously, give me BLOC C or BLOC F anything but making BLOC D a target goal for bicycle "friendless."
3) SHA and bike lanes - SHA has been basically turning shoulders into bike lanes, not that this is a bad thing but it really does nothing of significance to improve biking conditions. That's why BLOC is so important, if a decently engineered bike lane gets added to a roadway the BLOC will be C or better.
4) We had this junk since 2002 and basically no change in BLOC C or better roads, we need something better this time around!
5) Do I really need to go into debunking "this plan can only be about achievable goals"? That's what the CTP is all about, this document is about guiding planners what to put into the CTP.

Goal #3: Balance User Needs
Planning will consider walking and biking in all projects
While this sounds nice, I've been given the impression that this does NOT include road resurfacing projects. That's right, the method that the rest of the country uses to include bike facilities in the most economical way has been excluded by SHA. We need to make sure that we are included for consideration even on road resurfacing projects.
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Streets, cars, pedestrians, accidents: streets as anti-social spaces

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: I'll note at one time Montgomery County was good at doing pedestrian crosswalk stings and now this? What the heck happened?]
By Richard Layman, Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

Montgomery County's Action Committee on Transit released a brief press release yesterday, because there were 3 accidents involving 5 pedestrians all before 9am yesterday morning:

What Will It Take for the Montgomery County Police To Tell Drivers To Obey the Law?

Five pedestrians were struck by drivers in three Montgomery County incidents yesterday (Tuesday) morning before 9:00 am. All three collisions occurred where the pedestrians had the right of way.

Yet county police responded with a press release entitled &quot;Police Remind Pedestrians To Be Careful.&quot; Nowhere did the police tell drivers to obey the law, which requires drivers to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in marked and unmarked crosswalks.

The three incidents:

- A mother and her two children were struck on the sidewalk at Gaithersburg Elementary School.
- A pedestrian was struck crossing Wisconsin Avenue in an unmarked crosswalk at Chelsea Lane in Bethesda.
- A Watkins Mill high school student was struck in a marked crosswalk on the way to school.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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