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Thursday, September 01 2016 @ 01:51 AM UTC


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State’s update of bike and pedestrian plan could change funding priorities

Biking in MarylandState is halfway through re-evaluation process

by Elizabeth Waibel, Gazette

The state is updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which could influence how easy it is to get around by bike or by walking in communities across Maryland.

The plan, adopted in 2002 and now midway through a substantial update process, sets policy goals that affect funding for things like capital improvement projects.

Kate Sylvester, a community planner with the Maryland Department of Transportation, said the department is required by law to update the plan along with the Maryland Transportation Plan, which is also being updated. Over the past decade, however, people have prioritized improvements to make bicycling and walking easier in their communities.

“Ten years have passed, and an awful lot has changed for bike and pedestrian priorities,” Sylvester said.

Since 2002, more data has testified to the economic value and public health benefits of bicycling and walking, Sylvester said, and Maryland residents have made it known that they want infrastructure that supports biking and walking.

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KEEP MARYLAND SMART ON CLIMATE (by marginalizing bicycling???)

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: Really, no mention of increasing bicycling in the plan? Shame on you. Our bicycle modal share is below average. The amount of state roads that meet the BLOC goal in the Attainment Report has remained unchanged and below the goal for decades (and the goal was set too low to begin with.) TOD with our really high pedestrian fatality rate, like that's going to work out well. Livable communities with no way to bike or walk out of them, another failure to see the big picture. Electric cars to the rescue? What's the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases? Again another failure to see the big picture. - Sign the petition and request more attention on bicycling.

The petition to say &quot;thank you&quot;: <a href=""></a>;

The plan to address climate change: <a href=""></a>;

The 2013 &quot;Attainment&quot; Report: <a href=""></a>;
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MARC: Allow regular bicycles on trains, not just folding bikes [petition]

Biking in MarylandBy Rino Sanchez

To 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.

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Where people ride (Strava heat map)

Biking in Marylandimage
[B' Spokes: first look at the difference between Baltimore and DC. (Can I cry?) DC is so far ahead of us it just crazy... Baltimore the city of firsts... unless it has something to do with bicycles. :( ]
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Transit Police outreach at College Park to reduce bike theft

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: For us in the Baltimore area this is the other transit agency not serving Baltimore area. :( ]
Free U-Locks Tuesday morning for riders who register bikes with MTPD

As part of their ongoing effort to reduce bike theft, Metro Transit Police (MTPD) will host a special outreach event tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at UMD-College Park Station where riders who register their bike with MTPD will receive a free U-Lock.

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Observations from an occasional cyclist

Biking in MarylandBy Brian Bieretz, Smart Growth Maryland

Bicycling has many advantages to the individual from health to pleasure. To the city, bicycling can help spur development and promote economic vitality by getting people to interact with community around them. Many of those benefits are enumerated elsewhere. Instead, this article looks at the areas of tension that occur between cars and bicyclists

Public Awareness

People typically become aware of the rules only after they’ve personally broken them or seen the terrible results of breaking then on the news. A knee-jerk reaction to policy does little to make people safer. Local jurisdictions and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) need to get out in the streets and inform the public about bicycle safety and rules.

Public awareness will also help drivers and cyclist navigate intersections. Many drivers aren’t cyclists and don’t appreciate the feeling of danger a cyclist can feel from an aggressive driver and the difficulty in accelerating from a stop to the speed of traffic.

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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 &amp; 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.

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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.

<a href=",0,2935491.story">,0,2935491.story</a>;

[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

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

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

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.)

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