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Saturday, July 26 2014 @ 01:03 AM UTC


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Bike Symposium News: More Politics than Policy

Biking in MarylandBy Ron Cassie, Baltimore Magazine

The breaking news from the 16th Annual Maryland Bike Symposium was more political than legislative or policy focused.

Del. Jon Cardin (D-Baltimore County), chair of the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Caucus and a longtime member of state’s Green Caucus, confirmed what he’s long been openly mulling — that he will be a candidate to become Maryland’s next attorney general in 2014.

Cardin, of course, holds uncle Sen. Ben Cardin’s old seat. Montgomery County state Sen. Brain E. Frosh has previously announced he will run for attorney general in 2014. Current Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler is expected to be a leading contender for governor in 2014, along with Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

Coincidentally, Ulman, pictured above (right) with Race Pace Bicycles owner and Bike Maryland board president Alex Obriecht, delivered the keynote address at the symposium, hosted by Bike Maryland, and was received warmly by the bicycling community. Ulman, who initiated the Healthy Howard program to increase access to health care in the county, also created the Howard County Office of Environmental Sustainability and has supported efforts to expand safe bicycling in the county, including the development of the county’s first Bicycle Master Plan.

Legislatively, in terms of bicycling bills, there doesn’t seem to be much moving in Annapolis this session.
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Don't Pass Me Yet, Bro!

Biking in MarylandBy William Smith, Frederick News Post

Dear Motorist Person,

In your haste the other afternoon to pass me as I was riding my bicycle, you came fairly close to hurting or killing someone. You see, my mom always told me, “Don't start a pass you can't finish.” She was not discussing driving, but the point was well-taken.

You might recall that, at the time you chose to begin your pass, there was a hill just ahead of us that hid the oncoming car from your view, but not mine since I was forty feet in front of you. I imagine that you chose to go completely across into the other lane on this skinny country road in order to provide sufficient room to pass me, which in some circumstances could be quite appropriate and desirable, but not in this case. Your haste to pass me created a situation where, had I not intervened, was going to either

  • cause you to have a head-on collision with the unseen oncoming car (perhaps killing one or both of you)
  • force the oncoming car off the road into the trees (perhaps killing her),
  • lead to you swerving to the right in order to avoid the oncoming vehicle (crashing into and possibly killing me).

I hope you did not mind that I decided to quickly move into the center of the roadway to prevent you from passing me and that my frantic waving and yelling “NO!” did not alarm you to a large degree. Fortunately for all of us, you chose to take my actions seriously and pull back into line behind my bike. Also pleasing was the fact that you then waited ten seconds for me to signal “clear” and wave you on so that you could pass safely. Not as pleasing was the one-finger salute that followed, despite the likely crash that my attentiveness prevented. A “thank-you” would have been more appropriate. I imagine it was the last token of affection displayed when one realizes that he/she has done wrong and needs to proclaim victory and withdraw.



I see this type of situation often enough. With decades of bicycling experience and a fine mirror mounted on my helmet, I can usually spot a potentially dangerous situation brewing and take action in time to avoid the danger. Motorists will unsafely pass bicyclists for various reasons, some of which are: (a) impatience, (b) incompetence, (c) anger, (d) inattention and (e) misjudging the speed of the bicyclist. On every bicycle is a human being such as myself. A motorist's haste to more quickly reach his/her destination does not override the rules of the road, nor the courtesy that we should extend to each other, nor is sufficient reason to put another person's life in danger.

Sometimes I hear the common motorist rant, “He was riding in the middle of the lane!” There is often a reason for this. If the lane is too narrow for a motor vehicle and bicyclist to safely share (think Rosemont Avenue or 7th Street), the bicyclist should move far enough to the left to dissuade the motorist from passing in the same lane. If the bicyclist does not move left, the motorist will be tempted to try to squeeze past the bicyclist, often passing within a few inches, setting up a dangerous situation. In 2012 it became law in Maryland that a motorist must pass a bicyclist with at least three feet of clearance space.

So – please, my motorist friends – be patient and pass safely.

Another situation that a bicyclist must be careful to avoid is called the “right hook.” This is when a motorist passes the bicyclist and then immediately executes a right-hand turn in front of hm/her, causing the bicyclist to (a) get pushed off the road, (b) get crushed underneath a tire or (c) if fortunate, quickly slam on the brakes in order to avoid a collision. To avoid the situation, I will move into the center or center-left of the lane as I approach an intersection where there is a potential for a trailing car to perform a right turn. This persuades the motorist to execute the correct and safe maneuver of remaining behind the bicyclist and turning right behind him/her instead of in front.

The following link shows how these situations can be avoided under the caption “How to Not Get Hit By Cars”: There are ten situations covered here, accompanied by some very good advice on how to ride safely in traffic. Every bicyclist and motorist should read this web page. We would all be safer as a result.

See you out there.  And always listen to your mother.  She also requested that we all use our turn signals.
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Booby traps found

Biking in Marylandimage
Frederick Bicycle Coalition
Be careful people, after Sunday's trail work a fellow rider stopped by the parking lot and dropped these booby traps off which were found on a trail in the Watershed. Besides 2 flat tires he stepped on another device when he was walking out. The boards have razor blades embedded in them and are buried in the ground so they are hard to detect.

We've gotten several reports of these over the last several months. Stay safe out there and keep your eyes and ears out for the perp.

Here is the message from DNR on what to do if you any type of trail traps in the woods:
I have discussed this trail sabotage incident with our Natural Resources Police (NRP) and have the following to offer. First, when anyone finds something like razor blades in boards within the Watershed, please do not disturbed this important piece of evidence and call the Frederick County Sheriff’s office at 911 as this appears to be a criminal act. If anyone encounters a hunting or natural resources violation, please call 410-260-8888 as this is the number to DNR’s central communication office who will relay any complaints to our NRP officers.
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Just how much do motorist contribute to "their" roads

Biking in MarylandWell according to this report from Tax Foundation Maryland drivers pay just 45.8% in special fees and taxes, with a ranking of 33rd (which means Maryland is close with other states where motorist contribute the least for their roads.)
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ROAR for Autism

Kennedy Krieger adds a new 5K run and family fun walk to its 9th annual ROAR for Autism event; bike ride and family festival also to return

BALTIMORE, MD—Kennedy Krieger Institute will mark Autism Awareness Month with its 9th annual ROAR for Autism event on Sunday, April 28, at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD. Families and friends will come together to bike, run, walk – and most importantly – break the silence surrounding autism with a united ROAR to raise awareness and funds for autism research. Back by popular demand is the 25-mile bike ride and family festival, and new this year is a partial road/partial cross country 5k run and a family fun walk.

Autism is a brain-based developmental disability affecting the ability of 1 in 88 children to communicate and form relationships with others. As one of nation’s leaders in autism research, Kennedy Krieger Institute strives to provide earlier diagnosis and develop successful treatments by discovering how autism affects the brain.

With activities for the entire family, ROAR for Autism is a fun-filled day with meaningful purpose. For the first time, the event will feature a 5k run for those who want to hit the pavement feet first. Participants can also take part in the 25-mile bike ride for cycling enthusiasts or a 1-mile family fun walk. After biking, running or walking, families will enjoy a festival featuring music, children’s entertainment, carnival games, refreshments and more!

Participants and teams may go online to register, join a fundraising team and build personal fundraising pages—all in support of autism research. Want to support ROAR for Autism, but can’t attend on April 28th? Just register to “Snore for ROAR” and raise awareness and funds while you sleep in.

Additionally, an iPad mini valued at $330 will be raffled off at the event. Tickets can be bought online or at the event for $5 each or three for $10.

For more information about ROAR for Autism, or to register, visit or call 443-923-7300.

ROAR for Autism 2013
25-mile Bike Ride, Partial Road/Partial Cross Country 5k Run, 1-mile Family Fun Walk & Family Fun Festival

Oregon Ridge Park
13401 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030

Sunday, April 28, 2013
6:30 a.m. - 25-mile bike ride registration opens (7 a.m. start)
7:00 a.m. - 5k registration opens (8:30 a.m. start)
8:00 a.m. - All 25-mile bike riders must be on course
8:45 a.m. - 1-mile Family Fun Walk begins
9:00 a.m. - Family Fun Festival

Advance Online Registration (by April 26)
Adults - $25.00
Children 12 and under - $10.00
Register by April 10 and receive a free t-shirt!

On-Site Registration (April 28)
Adults - $30.00
Children 12 and under - $15.00

Children 4 and under participate for free!

Snore for ROAR
Adult - $30
Children 12 and under - $15

Additional Visit or call 443-923-7300.
Information: ROAR for Autism is on Facebook!

About Kennedy Krieger Institute
Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 19,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit

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Bike safety requires more than helmets

Biking in MarylandJeffrey H. Marks excelent letter (as always) in the Baltimore Sun:
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Rockville Man Arrested After Taking Legal Video of Police

Biking in MarylandReally? This is sill going on?

You can read about it here:
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Montgomery police blame victims for pedestrian deaths

Biking in Marylandby Ben Ross, Greater Greater Washington

After three pedestrians died in three weeks in Montgomery County—one walking on the sidewalk, and the other two in crosswalks where they had the legal right of way—county police could only blame the victims.

Telling those on foot to dress like hunters in the woods will not make streets more walkable. Nor will it prevent the deaths of people who are walking on the sidewalk or standing in a median strip. Lives will be saved when drivers obey the law by stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. Montgomery County police must change their attitudes and issue tickets to those who fail to yield.
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Maryland's Driver Education Is Still a Joke for Bicycling

Biking in MarylandI had an interesting conversation with the League of Illinois Bicyclists about motorist education. They shared their initiatives:

In Illinois and elsewhere, we have a considerable educational gap – for both cyclists and motorists – on how to properly share the road.  Motorists make mistakes or act aggressively towards cyclists. Bicyclists make other mistakes or blatantly ignore laws. The result: too many injuries and deaths, too many people afraid to bike, and anger and resentment on both sides. Public resentment is a big concern and even a potential risk to cyclists’ road rights, since we are in the minority. For example, we have heard many calls for bicyclist licensing, which may help with education, but with negative consequences.

While lessons for swimming – and other skills arguably less practical than bicycling – are routine in a child’s education, most kids and young motorists are not adequately learning about car-bike interactions.  Most teachers, Driver’s Ed instructors, and parents generally lack the knowledge themselves, beyond basic advice like “wear a helmet” and “watch out for cyclists.” Even where expert instruction is available, programs like in-depth training for young cyclists must compete with an overcrowded school curriculum.

Despite being armed with only a relatively superficial level of knowledge, most motorists and current/would-be cyclists do not perceive a need for more training.  Many motorists do not realize    mistakes they make around bikes, even on the overcautious side.   Taking bike safety classes – or even picking up bike safety materials – is not done by enough cyclists.

And their draft questions for the motorist module of our online bike safety quiz challenge, and other safety purposes.

One sample:

Now contrast that with Maryland's driver test question:

Which do you think will do the most to help the safety of cyclists?

On the flip side I shared what we have done with the Drivers' Manual. And they loved it. So here's hoping we can get their bike questions for our drivers' test and they can get our bike section in their driver's manual.
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Driver in fatal accident receives fine [$140???]

Biking in MarylandBy Joe Aiello, Capital Gazette

The driver in an accident that killed a 24-year-old Bowie woman in 2011, pleaded guilty to negligent driving and received a probation before judgement and a $140 fine.

At the time of the accident there were no negligent homicide laws that Goad could have been charged with so the most serious charges filed against her were negligent driving.

John Erzen, communications director for the State’s Attorney’s Office said, “Our charging decisions are based on the evidence we have.”
[B' Spokes:
§ 2-210. Manslaughter by vehicle or vessel -- Criminal negligence

(a) "Vehicle" defined. -- In this section, "vehicle" includes a motor vehicle, streetcar, locomotive, engine, and train.
(b) Prohibited. -- A person may not cause the death of another as the result of the person's driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle or vessel in a criminally negligent manner.
(c) Criminal negligence. -- For purposes of this section, a person acts in a criminally negligent manner with respect to a result or a circumstance when:
. (1) the person should be aware, but fails to perceive, that the person's conduct creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such a result will occur; and
. (2) the failure to perceive constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person.
(d) Exception. -- It is not a violation of this section for a person to cause the death of another as the result of the person's driving, operating, or controlling a vehicle or vessel in a negligent manner.
(e) Violation. -- A violation of this section is criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel.
(f) Penalty. -- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 5,000 or both.

Let's see if I get this right, failing to drive in your lane + driving on the shoulder is NOT a conduct that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk to cyclists??? And that is NOT a gross deviation from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person???

And the State legislature want's to require us to wear a helmet while drivers get a $140 fine for killing a cyclist with a helmet??? This is not right!]

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