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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 01:49 AM UTC

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Eastpoint Mall highlighted for the nation's highest pedestrian fatality rate

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: I have commented before about the poorly marked crosswalks and the abundance of freeway like ramps for motorists "convenience" at the peril of pedestrians at this location. Congratulations State Highways for your continued ignoring the pedestrian problem in this state, you got some national attention for being #1. :/]
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Neighborhoods with the Highest Pedestrian Death Rates
View maps of a few of the nation's deadliest places for pedestrians.

BY MIKE MACIAG, Governing

...
Baltimore County, Maryland, Census Tract #452400

Of all tracts with at least 3,000 residents, this tract in Baltimore County recorded the highest death rate. Nine pedestrians lost their lives, with most occurring in the area surrounding the Eastpoint Mall west of downtown Baltimore.

The large shopping center is flanked by an eight-lane highway to the south (where four deaths occurred) and a six-lane roadway to the north.
...

http://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-deadly-neighborhoods-pedestrian-deaths-maps.html
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Columbia BikeAbout Returns on September 13

Biking in the Metro Area

BIKEABOUT2 

Mark your calendars and join Columbia Association’s (CA) Columbia Archives for the fun and informative annual Columbia BikeAbout, which will be held on Saturday, September 13.

This year’s free, family-friendly ride will begin at 9:30 a.m. at a new location — Wilde Lake Park. Riders will be able to start up until 10 a.m. and are expected to complete the ride by 1 p.m. They will embark on a 10-mile route that winds through the villages of Wilde Lake, Harper’s Choice and Hickory Ridge. The route takes them into the neighborhood that James Rouse, Columbia’s founder, called home, and then brings them along the stream that feeds Wilde Lake, and then into the Middle Patuxent Valley.

Columbia BikeAbout highlights the history of Columbia, as well as the extensive pathway system and open space that contribute to Columbia’s high quality of life. This year’s features during the ride include fun facts about Rouse, a look at some of CA’s newest improvement projects, and a closer look at the future of Symphony Woods.

The end of the ride will bring a special treat: an old-fashioned picnic hosted at Wilde Lake Park by the Wilde Lake Community Association and CA. Riders will be able to purchase refreshments from a variety of food trucks and enjoy free entertainment.

Pre-registration for the BikeAbout is encouraged. Registration can be done online at BikeAbout.EventBrite.com. For more information, email Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.org or call 410-715-6781.

Via http://www.columbiaassociation.com/Home/Components/News/News/506/17?backlist=%2f

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Elderly man charged in hit and run crash that left two bicyclists injured

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

A 74-year-old man has been charged in a hit and run crash in Stevenson that left two bicyclists severely injured, Baltimore County police said.
...

http://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81188116/
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Bicyclists injured in early morning hit-and-run crash in Stevenson

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: According to reports on Facebook the driver claimed they didn't realize they hit someone... look at the photo of the windshield, ya right, disgraceful.]


http://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81153034/
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Police Investigate Hit and Run Bicycle Collision on Route 108 in Laytonsville Area

Biking in the Metro Area

8/15/14 – UPDATE:

A witness to this hit-and-run run collision contacted the police department with additional information about the striking vehicle.

The witness described the striking vehicle as:

  • a silver Toyota 4Runner
  • with a Maryland “War of 1812” (Star-Spangled) license plate – see example below
  • The tag should be similar to: 2 , unknown letter, unknown letter, 3, 9, 5 , 6 – see example below. The numbers may not all be correct.
  • Anyone with information on the striking vehicle is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Warof1812
2    ?   ?  3   9   5   6

 



This and more information: http://www.mymcpnews.com/2014/08/12/police-investigate-hit-and-run-bicycle-collision-on-route-108-in-laytonsville-area/
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Guilty of negligent driving and maximum fines!

Biking in the Metro AreaSo I attended the trial of Whitney Decesaris, the driver that killed Trish Cunningham on a narrow road in Anne Arundel County. I mainly wanted to make sure the fine was more then the typical $140 for killing a cyclist in Maryland. So I am happy to report Decesaris was found guilty of negligent driving (the main contested point) and got the maximum fine of $500 plus points. In addition there was failure to exercise caution and failure to control speed, both with $500 fines.

Physical evidence showed that Decesaris hit Trish Cunningham 10 inches in from the right side of the vehicle. Testimony indicated that Decesaris did not brake or swerve prior to contact with the cyclist. Only after hitting the cyclist was there was movement to the left but how much over the double yellow is not exactly known.

The defense made a pretty good argument that this was "just an unavoidable accident" that had me silently going "Grrr" in my seat, more then once." but the thing is, if you filter out the spin and the unnecessary stuff you get the exact same argument on why this was negligent driving, The Judge saw that and called her out on those points.

The Washington Post did a good job summarizing this and other things of the trial.

I really wish there was some sort of professional examination after a fatality to better understand what the driver was thinking that failed to pass a reasonable person standard so we could target and correct that kind of thinking, But in lieu of that, I personally believe there has been too much stress on cyclists riding right, with failure to even mention the drivers duty that even when the cyclist is riding as far right as possible the driver still has to change lanes to pass or wait behind the cyclist till there is a safe opportunity to pass with at least 3'. (Ok fine, I need to add more clarifications to that statement but you get the idea.) Speculation: Was Decesaris thinking "Share the Road" so if the cyclist is on the right I can "share" the rest of the lane... whoopsie (to be fair Decesaris was very distraught at the trial and no doubt feels a lot of remorse.)

The Judge even brought up the new "Bikes May Use the Full Lane" signs that have been going up. Now don't get me wrong, these are great and all but something targeting drivers like "Only one vehicle per lane. Bicycles are vehicles. No sharing the lane with bicyclists." - That's not perfect either but maybe it's time to error on the other side of the equation?

So we had a very good turn out as shown here after the trial:
image

So I have to ask, was it the turn out that turned a minimum fine to a maximum fine? Could be but I suspect the truth lies more in the next picture:
image

So first let me introduce the fellow on the left, Wes Adams. He is running for State's Attorney of Anne Arundel County. and the very fact that he showed up for this trial he is getting my vote. The others are cycling advocates of Anne Arundel County. So let me reiterate get politically involved, it pays off! I encourage you to support both:
Wes Adams for State’s Attorney of Anne Arundel County
Bicycle Advocates For Annapolis & Anne Arundel County ("BikeAAA")
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Baltimore County Needs to Reduce Pedestrian Fatilities

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Jeffrey H. Marks

The Baltimore Sun's article "Walk this Way" is right in pointing out that a comprehensive program with a director and budget is needed to reduce the County's high rate of pedestrian fatalities. As the Sun states, other jurisdictions like Ocean City mounted a campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities - at a cost of $400,000. The result was that the number of pedestrian crashes was cut in half!

It's unacceptable for Exec Kamenetz to simply blame these crashes on the pedestrian by saying that he failed to use the crosswalk. When someone takes the bus or walks, the nearest crosswalk may be 1/2 mile away. Is it reasonable to expect the pedestrian to walk an extra mile to cross the street? And even if the pedestrian uses the crosswalk, the motorist may still fail to yield..

Baltimore County needs a comprehensive plan that involves pedestrian and motorist education, police enforcement, and engineering to improve safety. The County should design Complete streets that accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars; rather than just cars. The County should follow the City's good example of gradually accommodating non motorized travel; including bike paths, bikelanes , wide curblanes, and even rebuilding a hazardous stretch of Charles Street near the Johns Hopkins Univ campus. If the City, with its lower tax base, can design complete streets, why not the County? I thank the first responders (fire, police, and rescue personnel) for taking the lead in urging the County to make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Please hear our plea, Exec Kamenetz.

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Let's force pedestrians to cross where they are getting killed for safety - Route 1 in College Park

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Jamie Forzato, WTOP


...
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh recommended SHA, which owns and maintains the highway, approve a median barrier along Route 1 from Knox Road to Guilford Road -- a three-block stretch that is home to several popular bars and restaurants that get a high level of foot traffic on weekend nights.

"It is possibly one of the most dangerous stretches of state highway in the entire state," Loh says.

The barrier is a priority and Loh hopes it's among the upcoming improvements.

"We would like that barrier immediately," he says. "As soon as possible. Even [if] it's ugly. Even [if] it's temporary. We've been talking about this for a long time."

College Park City Councilman Patrick Wojahn (District 1) agrees: "There will likely be a barrier placed in the median on Route 1 in that area where there have been these pedestrian deaths."

But he wants to consider the plans carefully.

"We want to make sure that it's not something that will negatively impact the appearance of the Route 1 corridor," Wojahn says. "We don't want it to be something that will make it feel like a divided highway, which may cause traffic to move more quickly and may put more risk to the pedestrians that are crossing at the intersections where they should be crossing."

Still, Loh says, the need to protect pedestrians outweighs the need for a pleasant landscape.

"Quite honestly, there are people in the city who do not want the barrier because they think it's unsightly," he says. "I think safety of the students take precedence. After three deaths in the span of six months, I think safety is taking precedence over aesthetics."

Councilman Fazlul Kabir (District 1) calls Route 1 a "deathtrap" and says residents have told him they are discouraged from visiting the downtown College Park area because the highway is unsafe.

Three young adults were killed along this stretch since the beginning of the year, the most recent was 21-year-old Janelle Oni, who was killed last week by a drunk driver. [B' Spokes: Like a median fence is going to do something about drunk drivers. :/ ]

In January, University of Maryland student Cory Hubbard, 22, was struck and killed while crossing Route 1 near Knox Road. [B' Spokes: Per Google maps this has near invisible crosswalks.]

Three months later at the same intersection, George Washington University student Carlos Pacanins, 23, was struck and killed while near a crosswalk.
...

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=893&sid=3661916
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[B' Spokes: Let me state this as emphatically as I can, without police doing pedestrian crosswalk stings, crossing at intersections is unsafe!

Even when pedestrians have the right-of-way motorists feel their hurry is more important and will scare, intimidate, hit and even kill pedestrians because we all know pedestrians should not be "Dead right." So when crossing at an intersection yield: to traffic behind you, in front of you as well as to your left and right.

I will strongly assert if you take as a given that motorist do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks then jaywalking is the safest way to cross a road and this project does nothing for better safety at intersections and removes the possibility for safer crossing as well as increase the perception the road is only for cars, cars going fast.

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Near invisible crosswalks:
"We conclude that, because high-visibility markings are more easily detected by motorists and have been shown to lead to a reduction in pedestrian-vehicle collisions when compared to [the type of markings that Maryland generally does.]"
http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20130922203722411
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Anne Arundel County: Councilman announce Complete Streets program

Biking in the Metro AreaVia Eye On Annapolis

Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman and County Councilman Chris Trumbauer have announced the county is developing a Complete Streets program to improve the safety and accessibility of county roads for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

“As we continually work to make our roads safer for all users, I’m proud that we are working together to find efficient ways to improve our streets without any fiscal impact,” said County Executive Neuman. “Considering all opportunities for enhancements when approaching road projects is one more example of maximizing efficiency in county government.”

Approved unanimously by the County Council on February 18, the resolution (6-14) Trumbauer sponsored seeks to incorporate a Complete Streets policy into the county’s design manual, which determines standards for repaving roads. The policy was designed in collaboration with the county’s Office of Planning and Zoning, and outlines a method for determining whether upgrades such as bike lanes and sidewalks should be included along roadways already slated for improvement. “We don’t want to replace a road as it is without thinking about it – there might be a good enhancement to be made,” Trumbauer said.

County Executive Neuman recently established a work group comprising transportation committee members and county residents to make suggestions for upgrades to the county’s design manual.

“I’m pleased we have established this Complete Streets task force,” said Councilman Trumbauer. “Working with county staff, these citizens will make recommendations to help make our roadways safer, more accessible and better suited for all modes of transportation.”

To learn more about the county’s Complete Streets program, go to http://www.aacounty.org/PlanZone/Transportation/Resources/finalreport_complete040914.pdf.

http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/2014/06/04/county-executive-councilman-announce-complete-streets-program/
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Tell HoCo on iTunes

Biking in the Metro AreaTell HoCo is an easy way for anyone to report non-emergency issues to Howard County, Maryland while on-the-go, such as potholes, damaged street signs, graffiti, street maintenance, street light issues, damaged trees, park maintenance and more. Using your phone’s GPS, you can help identify the exact location of the problem, and with the use of its camera, you can attach a picture, as well. You’ll be able to track your issue from the time it is reported until it is resolved. Tell HoCo makes it easier than ever to report a problem.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tell-hoco/id874344402

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[B' Spokes: It would be cool if other localities did this as well.]
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