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Saturday, August 29 2015 @ 11:27 PM UTC

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Take Action: Bicyclist Safety MUST Be a Priority

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: Why this is important for Maryland:

image
Source: FARS States | Pedestrians

And note that bike/ped fatales make up 22% of Maryland road fatalities. image
Source: FARS States

And our ranking with bicycling and pedestrian fatality rates combined:
StatePedestrians KilledPedacyclists KilledPopulation (Thousands)"Pedestrian Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population""Pedacyclist Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population"Total (Pedestrians + Pedacyclist)Rank
Florida490125190582.570.663.2351
South Carolina1131546792.410.322.7350
Arizona1472364832.270.352.6249
Louisiana881845751.920.392.3148
New Mexico41420821.970.192.1647
Delaware1809071.9801.9846
California625114376921.660.31.9645
North Carolina1602596561.660.261.9244
Nevada46427231.690.151.8443
Maryland102558281.750.091.8442
Source: Car Insurance Comparison

Even the U.S. Transportation Secretary says he won't tolerate 'crisis' in bicyclist deaths

Additional info about your representatives from LAB:
In the House (Chris Van Hollen did a lot better than the others.)
In the Senate (With Ben Cardin standing out a bit better.)
From League of American Wheelmen, Inc.

Once again, bicyclists have been left out.

This morning, the federal government released a traffic safety proposal that turns a blind eye to the rising number of bicyclist and pedestrians deaths.

Last week, 700 participants at the National Bike Summit visited their members of Congress and asked them to sign on to a critical bill that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation establish a specific target to improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Months ago, we mobilized bicyclists behind this bill because we knew DOT was unlikely to do this on their own.

Today, unfortunately, we were proven right.

The DOT just issued a proposed national traffic safety goal that doesn't include a specific target or goal for reducing the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways.
 
We know that without a specific target to focus the attention of state DOTs and USDOT on reducing bicyclist and pedestrian deaths within the overall number -- we get lost in the shuffle. At a time when cities like New York and San Francisco are adopting bold targets like Vision Zero, we believe the federal government should be expecting the same thing of themselves and state transportation agencies. 
 
Please ask your members of Congress to sign on to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: HR 3494 / S 1708. If you just attended the National Bike Summit, it's the perfect excuse to follow up your meeting with a "Thank you" and a reminder of your request. If you weren't at the Summit, it's a great way to make your voice heard on this important issue. 
 
Next week, we'll ask for your help in responding directly to the DOT's proposed safety target. Today, please join us in making sure your member of Congress supports a national goal to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians injured and killed on our roads.
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Sincerely,

Andy Clarke
President, League of American Bicyclists


Click the Take Action button at the bottom of this page.
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A cool game...

Biking ElsewhereVia Dinosaur Comics

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Murder Machines: Why Cars Will Kill 30,000 Americans This Year

Biking ElsewhereBy Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collectors Weekly

There’s an open secret in America: If you want to kill someone, do it with a car. As long as you’re sober, chances are you’ll never be charged with any crime, much less manslaughter.
...

Within a decade, the number of car collisions and fatalities skyrocketed. In the first four years after World War I, more Americans died in auto accidents than had been killed during battle in Europe, but our legal system wasn’t catching on. The negative effects of this unprecedented shift in transportation were especially felt in urban areas, where road space was limited and pedestrian habits were powerfully ingrained.
...

Eventually, the term spread to all types of automobile drivers, along with pejoratives like “vampire driver” or “death driver.” Political cartoons featured violent imagery of so-called “speed demons” murdering innocents as they plowed through city streets in their uncontrollable vehicles. Other editorials accused drivers of being afflicted with “motor madness” or “motor rabies,” which implied an addiction to speed at the expense of human life.
...

"The Safest Place" 1935 Chevrolet Film About Car Safety
<a href="http://youtu.be/WSfdMdpH32U">http://youtu.be/WSfdMdpH32U</a>;
[Note: I get from this is that your &quot;living room surrounded by steel&quot; would be the safest place to be if it were not for other drivers... So that's why we are so laxed of traffic law enforcement?]

<a href="http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/murder-machines/">http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/murder-machines/</a>;
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I want to be a nurse that keeps hitting cyclists with my car.

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: My headline here is over the top but we need to do something about the cavalier culture surrounding the so called right to drive regardless of the consequences. The last time I checked over 20% of all bike/ped fatalities was a hit-and-run. This needs to stop!

Rachel Anna Buckler, 23, entered an Alford plea to have her sentence from a 2011 hit-and-run and death of Port Tobacco cyclist Thomas Roepcke reconsidered.

Read about it here: <a href="http://www.somdnews.com/article/20140228/NEWS/140229177/sentence-in-death-of-bicyclist-stands&amp;template=southernMaryland">http://www.somdnews.com/article/20140228/NEWS/140229177/sentence-in-death-of-bicyclist-stands&amp;template=southernMaryland</a>;
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It's about transportation

Biking Elsewhereimage

This is not about recreation; it's about transportation--about people using their bikes to get where they need to go. We're talking about making sure, when someone’s only or best option to get to work is a bike, that they have an option to ride it, and ride it in safety. http://1.usa.gov/1e1vABP

Transportation Secretary
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We all need silly stuff [video]

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: A little girl on a bike and a cat riding around her neighborhood, you can't get cuter than that. But it makes me wonder why so many are working to make such imagery a thing of the past. Now kids to be safe stay inside and play your video games. :/ ]
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Why Clearing Sidewalks Isn’t a Priority Like Plowing Streets

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: First some Maryland data to put this in context.

Where Maryland stands compared to other states with their pedestrian fatality rate.
image http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/

How Maryland pedestrian fatalities by month rank for pedestrian fatalities.
Month20082009201020112012AVG.%
December149914101111
January1489109109.8
September91010137109.6
November9127911109.4
October871010998.6
February12985888.2
May510128788.2
June410146888.2
April8879787.6
July77491077.2
August61256576.7
March10824465.5
Fatal Crashes1061109710395102100
http://mhso.mva.maryland.gov/TrafficSafetyData/_benchmarkreports/PedestOnFootBR-12Aug1-13.pdf

It seems to me that Maryland has a winter time pedestrian problem.
by Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

If where you live is anything like where I live, the sidewalks are a mess right now. People are walking in the streets and getting summarily blamed by the press when a driver injures them.

Plows are out all night salting and scraping the streets, but sidewalks are a private responsibility, and compliance with shoveling laws is haphazard enough to make mixing with SUVs seem like the best option for a lot of pedestrians.

To their credit, community leaders in Akron, Ohio, have been debating how to keep children safe when they walk to school. On his blog Notes from the Underground, Jason Segedy, head of Akron’s metropolitan planning organization, AMATS, wrote about the relative lack of concern for kids who walk:

The immediate, specific, and tactical answer to the question of “Why don’t we make safe and accessible sidewalks a priority?” has to do with a panoply of thorny and interrelated fiscal, legal, and property issues.

But the holistic, general, and strategic answer to that question is simply this: our culture does not value or respect people on foot the way that it does people behind the wheels of cars. To be clear, this cultural orientation is not the result of conscious antipathy toward pedestrians, or an intentional organized conspiracy to disenfranchise or disrespect the marginalized and the poor. Instead, it’s simply the way that our society has evolved over the past 60 years, as the automobile has achieved near complete dominance as a mode of transportation – at least for the affluent majority.

I discuss this issue with people all of the time, and often hear people say “Why waste the time or money on this? No one walks anyway.” My translation: “I don’t walk anywhere, no one that I know walks anywhere, and since I occupy a place of privilege in society, I really don’t notice anyone that does walk.”

In addition to being patently false, the generalization “no one walks anyway” misses the point entirely.  Social equity and fairness in transportation is not about a tunnel-vision view of the needs of the majority that drives, considered in a vacuum; but rather, about looking out for the needs of the minority that does not drive.

...

http://streetsblog.net/2014/02/19/why-clearing-sidewalks-isnt-a-priority-like-plowing-streets/

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AlterNet Comics: Jen Sorensen's Safety Tips for Law-Breaking Pedestrians

Biking Elsewhere image

AlterNet Comics
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Massachusetts Official: Boston’s Winter Cyclists “Living in the Wrong City”

Biking Elsewhereby Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

Bostonians making polite requests for a clear path on one of the city’s key bike routes were met with disdain from the state agency responsible for maintaining the paths.

Here’s how one unnamed official from the Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation responded in an internal email thread to a message from a Boston resident asking for better snow removal on the Southwest Corridor, an important off-street bike path. The leaked email was published on the Boston site Universal Hub (emphasis ours):

Frankly, I am tired of our dedicated team wasting valuable time addressing the less than .05% of all cyclists who choose to bike after a snow/ice event… We should not spend time debating cyclists with poor judgement [sic] and unrealistic expectations, and stick with [the staffer]‘s recommendation that they find other transportation. If someone is completely depending on a bike for year-round transportation, they are living in the wrong city.

Bikes advocates in the Boston region didn’t take those remarks lying down. The Boston Cyclists Union, working with Allston-Brighton Bikes and Southie Bikes, asked local cyclists to share photos of themselves on social media with the slogan “I am the .05%” to demonstrate their numbers and their normalcy. Local cyclists also took to tweeting under the hastag #winterbiker to explain why biking in cold weather months is their best option.

Those efforts appear to have found their target. The Boston Cyclists Union and MassBike are reporting today that DCR has agreed to meet with local cyclists to discuss their concerns regarding snow and ice clearance on bike paths.

And, for the record, cold weather cities that put real effort into making it safe to bike see little drop-off in cycling during the winter. Copenhagen, for instance, retains 80 percent of its peak-season bike traffic in the cold months

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/02/19/massachusetts-official-bostons-winter-cyclists-living-in-the-wrong-city/

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Be careful, deer

Biking ElsewhereBy CHARLES MAROHN, Strong Towns

Three deer have been killed recently in collisions with automobiles in a five-block stretch on Belliare Boulevard in Houston, Texas, within the past month. This has prompted Houston Police to urge the deer to be extra cautious when walking along the city streets.

[Picture of] Deer crossing the stroad without the aid of a crosswalk. Houston police are encouraging an end to this reckless behavior. (Click for license.)

Police officials say so far this year, there have been 15 crashes where deer were killed, a roughly 11 percent increase from the same time frame in 2013.

Department officials outlined a number of precautions the deer should take. Among them are:

* Do not walk across the street unless you are at a crosswalk.
* Take the extra minute or two to walk to a crosswalk.
* Obey traffic signals of Walk / Don't Walk.
* Look before you step.
* Do not assume vehicles will stop. Make eye contact with a driver; don't just look at a vehicle.
* Dress to be seen. Wear light colored clothing if walking at night and carry a flashlight, if possible.
* Do not wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while walking across the street.
* Be especially careful in construction zones.

Houston is spending considerable wealth in an effort to relieve automobile congestion, increase the flow of traffic and improve travel speeds. There is no word from City Hall on whether or not Houston is reevauating priorities and shifting resources to address the safety issues of deer within the community.

[Picture] The designated sidewalk is two blocks over yet this deer is found walking along the edge of the stroad. Houston police have issued caution to deer. (Click for license.)

All I can say is, thank goodness I'm not a deer. Imagine if I had to try to walk through these auto-dominated areas with only this sage advice to protect me. Wear light colored clothing indeed! Have you ever seen a deer talking on a cell phone while walking? Totally reckless behavior -- they are almost asking for it. Save that stuff for when you are driving.

Let's never forget, the forgiving design concepts standardized by the engineering profession apply to cars, not deer. We need to design to forgive the common and casual mistakes of drivers, ensuring that those routine and easily anticipated mistakes do not result in collisions or, worse, fatalities. There is no way we can apply this thinking to the ungulates among us. We engineers should not be expected to design places that take into account the normal and predictable behavior of deer and plan for their safety. That's not only beyond our professional charge, it may simply be impossible (without slowing down the cars).

Come on, deer. Take that extra minute or two to walk to the crosswalk. And look before you step. Nobody wants to see that messy venison on the side of the road during their morning commute.

<a href="http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/2/19/be-careful-deer.html#.UwVRxPldWYA">http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/2/19/be-careful-deer.html#.UwVRxPldWYA</a>;
*****************************************************************************************************************
[B' Spokes: I hope you get the point, people need to be accommodated along desire lines, this is true for obvious safety reasons. Saving fast cars two seconds while making people on foot travel 5 minutes or more makes no sense, people are people and everyone has a right to public space.]

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