By Ron Cassie - News-Post Staff
One Less Car, a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of bicycling and pedestrian issues, will sponsor a Maryland Bicycle Fall Forum for the first time next month in preparation for the start of the next General Assembly in January.
"It's a cattle call; all the bike clubs will be there – the College Park Area Bicycle Coalition, the Baltimore Bicycling Club, Oxon Hill, Howard County, MoBike (Montgomery Bicycle Advocates), and others," said One Less Car executive director Richard Chambers.
"Anybody who's got a bike and is interested is welcome," he said. "It's a free advocacy event."
The forum, scheduled to run from 6 to 9 p.m. , will take place Oct. 6 in the Parsons Theater at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel .
[For more information or to RSVP, please send an email to rchambers"at"onelesscar.org]
Chambers described the forum as a summit of sorts, to talk about upcoming legislation. He said it's an opportunity for bicycling advocates to discuss what the state needs to do to promote safe riding, such as adding bike lanes and racks and connecting trails – all of which makes more bicycle commuting possible.
"Maryland Department of Transportation bike/pedestrian coordinator Stephanie Yanovitz has already committed to being there, and we've invited John Porcari, Maryland 's transportation secretary, highway administration people, and elected officials," Chambers said. "I think we're going to get over 100 people to attend. Obviously, with gas prices, this is an issue that has legs."
Bill Smith of the Frederick Pedalers said bicycle advocates working in different parts of the state benefit by coordinating with each other.
"Many of us know each other via e-mail only," he said. "I've only met in person 10 percent of the advocates statewide. I want to know what is happening in other areas and I want to communicate that to all of the bicyclists in this area."
Smith, who said there are good things happening all over the state and in Frederick for bicyclists, said he wants to ensure that routine accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians are considered during every part of the legislative and planning process, so that all transportation needs are met, not just those of drivers.
Chambers also confirmed last week that One Less Car now expects to continue its annual fundraising ride, Cycle Across Maryland, after planning to drop sponsorship of the event earlier this summer.
After several years on Maryland 's Eastern Shore , the ride shifted its home base to Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg this July. In its 20th anniversary this year, the ride went smoothly and registration jumped 25 percent to more than 500 riders, said Charina Chatman, One Less Car's events coordinator.
"The board has not voted on it yet, but I'm 90 percent sure we're going to go ahead," Chambers said.
One Less Car's largest ride, its annual, noncompetitive "Tour Du Port" trek around the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry , is expected to attract more than 1,500 cyclists in Baltimore on Oct. 5, the day before the Maryland Fall Bicycle Forum.