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Friday, April 25 2014 @ 01:41 AM UTC

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Scofflaw cyclists... and I'm like...

Biking Elsewhere image

Mass of One Cycling
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US is deadlier than other countries

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: You would think with the US stricter safety standards this would not be happening.]
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Via http://www.vox.com/2014/4/18/5621388/pedestrian-and-biker-deaths
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What Is Your State Doing to Improve Walking and Biking?

Biking Elsewhere

B' Spokes:

I'm going to grab a chart from this post on Streets Blog.

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In this chart Maryland looks really good. But since 2001 when we set the goal to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities but they have not moved since then. We had 101 pedestrian fatalities and 5 cyclist fatalities in 2001 and in 2011 (last year reported) there was 102 pedestrians and 5 cyclist fatalities. - No change!

There is evidence that if you improve the safety for cyclists then pedestrians benefit and vice versa. But I find enforcement of bicycling and pedestrian issues around the state rather dismal. Police cannot do an effective job enforcing our issues from inside a police cruiser! In fact I believe too much time behind the wheel induces a bias against bicyclists and pedestrians in that it is their obligation to stay out of the way of cars, always!

We need crosswalk stings and plain clothes police officers on bikes! At least twice a year (roughly when school lets out and again when school starts) with press releases informing motorists that the police are taking bicycle and pedestrian issues seriously. But what we got is notta with this as a result:
image

We need results!

Another big issue for me is the so called improvement in the Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS.) In 2001 we had 80% of state roads with a BLOS of a grade D or better.

The 2002 (date enacted) Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan set a goal for the State to achieve a level of D or better for at least 80 percent relevant State roadways. As of 2011, 79 percent of the roadways had reached this threshold.
Apendix B of the new bike master plan

So the 2002 Bike master plan was to essentially to make no improvements for cyclists on state roads for over 20 years. I will assert this is due in part to:

Jim Titus expressed concerns regarding the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission –Prince George’s County’s designation of MD Route 564 as a bikeway was not recognized by the State Highway Administration. 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 but recommended that Jim contact SHA staff about his concerns.
SHA not obligated to accommodate bicyclists per policy and wins an award from LAB for policy

So while true bike friendly places make use of resurfacing projects as a extremely economical way to accommodate cyclist but in Maryland it seems more of a way to take back what they gave us in the first place.


And another chart from this post on Streets Blog.

image

So Baltimore has no plan to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. But that alone might not be too bad as it's more Baltimore's "philosophy" not to kill you but just mess you up real bad. Baltimore represents the most bike/ped crashes, the most bike/ped serious injuries within the state! With just 11% of the state's population we represent 32% of the states pedestrian crashes and 30% of the pedestrian serious injuries. For cyclists, Baltimore represents 24% of the states cyclist crashes and 22% of the cyclist serious injuries. Could we please make an effort to get that down to near 11%?

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How to improve pedestrian safety

Biking Elsewhere image

http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/client/wpc/nq/2014/04/18/

[B' Spokes: Or at least that does seem to be close to the "safety" message around here.]
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Avoid fast cars and ride a bike instead, Pope tells trainee priests and nuns

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: We are becoming a religious movement, ha.]

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/07/09/avoid-fast-cars-and-ride-a-bike-instead-pope-tells-trainee-priests/#.U0enL3MEY3g.facebook
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Don’t Design Streets For Death

Biking Elsewhereby Chuck Banas, Urbanophile

...

If pedestrians are being endangered, the design speed of the road is usually the culprit. Many if not most roads in this country are intentionally designed for much higher speeds than the posted limit. A 30 mph speed-limit sign on a road designed for 50 or 60 mph is a futile—and sometimes fatal—exercise in wishful thinking.

Pedestrian Injury Frequency and Severity Based on Vehicle Speed (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, image from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington)

Here are the sobering facts: at 30 mph, vehicle-pedestrian accidents are fatal in about 5% of cases; at 40 mph, fatalities are 90%. This is not to mention injuries, which can be devastating in their own right: incapacitating injuries are significantly less likely and less severe at slower speeds.

...

Done properly, traffic throughput is still maintained, with less stop-and-go frustration for drivers, and much greater safety and civility for all users of the roadway, including pedestrians and bicyclists. For the vast majority of surface roads, there is simply no reason to design for a speed limit over 30 mph. Doing so seems careless and downright irresponsible, but this is the unfortunate norm for most highway departments.

...

http://www.urbanophile.com/2014/04/01/dont-design-streets-for-death-by-chuck-banas/
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Flawed Handheld Phone Bans Don’t Stop Distracted Driving

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: Note that Maryland allows hands free operation of a cell phone.]
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by Payton Chung, Streets Blog

...
What Mulligan doesn’t mention is that distracted driving hardly stopped when today’s loophole-ridden and inconsistently enforced laws banned only the most obvious forms of distracted driving. Nor does Cheng’s paper make a convincing case that the newer, broader bans on texting while driving won’t save lives.

Cheng’s study, covering 2004-2010, even references earlier studies from the likes of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that show that today’s laws, which largely allow drivers to use phones via hands-free devices, have no basis in fact and would not be expected to save lives. As a 2009 meta-study cited by the National Safety Council put it: “Current research does not support the decision to allow hands-free phone use while driving.” Whether a driver controls the phone using her or his hands, through a headset, or through the car stereo, makes no difference: any driver using a phone is a distracted driver.
...

What will it take to disarm the menace of drivers distracted by their phones? Safety advocates, like the National Transportation Safety Board and the NSC, say that nothing short of a total ban on device use by drivers will stop the dangers of distracted drivers (and not just of cars: phone use by professional operators has also been implicated in bus, train, and boat crashes). Others, like the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, make an analogy to drunk driving laws. Two forces — an effective national awareness campaign that stigmatized drunk driving, and national legislation that codified a uniform, quantitative metric of intoxication — combined to sharply reduce the number of drunk driving crashes.
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/04/02/flawed-handheld-phone-bans-dont-stop-distracted-driving/
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Effects of High-Visibility Enforcement on Driver Compliance with Pedestrian Yield Right-of-Way Laws

Biking ElsewhereAbstract

This study examined the effects of a 1-year high-visibility pedestrian right-of-way enforcement program on yielding to pedestrians at uncontrolled crosswalks, some of which received enforcement and some of which did not. The program included four 2-week enforcement waves supported by education and engineering components that increased the visibility of enforcement. The study produced five results: (a) enforcement led to a slow and steady increase in the percentage of drivers yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians over the year; (b) the program produced a large change in yielding over the course of the year; (c) the program produced higher levels of yielding to natural pedestrian crossing than to staged crossings, and the changes in both were highly correlated; (d) the effects of the program generalized to crosswalks that were not targeted for pedestrian right-of-way enforcement; and (e) the amount of generalization to unenforced sites was inversely proportional to the distance from sites that received enforcement.

http://trb.metapress.com/content/4674380022131506/?p=fefc4e0168fd4b73a109ff63418aaa2a&pi=4
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[B' Spokes: Just something I would love to see around here rather than harassing just pedestrians for wearing headphones (not illegal) and jaywalking (not necessarily illegal). You can NOT improve safety by addressing only one side of the problem.]
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What went wrong with the traffic engineering profession?

Biking Elsewhereby Steven, Cycle Space

The other night I tweeted: “Since the end of conscription, it has been the offices of traffic engineers causing the deaths“. A fellow blogger and cyclist, but from the civil engineering side of the fence, objected that engineers are just servants of politicians. As we all know politicians represent a public that wants to go faster in cars and are blithely accepting of the daily movement of ambulances attending the deaths of pedestrians, cyclists and indeed, many car users. But in this do engineers really have no volition?

I’m imagining how the medical profession would respond if politicians passed a law requiring them to deny treatment to certain kinds of patients.
...

http://cycle-space.com/what-went-wrong-with-the-traffic-engineering-profession/
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Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year; DOTs taking notice

Biking ElsewhereBy Chris McCahill, State Smart Transportation Initiative

Estimates released by FHWA on Friday suggest that per capita vehicle miles of travel dropped again in 2013, making it the ninth consecutive year of decline (Figure 1). Total VMT in the United States increased by 0.6 percent from 2012, hovering just below 3 trillion, and per capita VMT dropped to 9,402 (the prior year’s initial estimate was revised to 9,412).

Figure 1. VMT trends for the United States through 2013. Source: FHWA and Census Bureau.

Figure 1. VMT trends for the United States through 2013. Source: FHWA and Census Bureau.

...

Maryland is an example of this trend. In 2009, the state’s long-range plan projected statewide VMT growth of 2 percent per year through 2030 (Figure 2). The plan dismissed the recent decline as a temporary consequence of high fuel prices and the economic downturn, asserting, “there is no clear evidence that Marylanders will continue to drive less in the future.” However, in its updated plan released just last month, the agency has left out projections entirely, declaring that “a return to strong annual VMT growth is unlikely and per capita VMT [...] is actually decreasing.” A handful of other states have either dampened their projections or shifted their focus toward VMT reduction goals and transportation demand management efforts.

Figure 2. VMT in Maryland and projected VMT from state long-range plans. Source: FHWA and Maryland Department of Transportation

Figure 2. VMT in Maryland and projected VMT from state long-range plans. Source: FHWA and Maryland Department of Transportation

...

http://www.ssti.us/2014/02/vmt-drops-ninth-year-dots-taking-notice/
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