Paging Baltimore City Police, White Courtesy Phone Please

This is a difficult alert to pen as I have a great deal of respect for our Police Department and the fine officers that serve this City. But as outlined in our Bike Master Plan as adopted by City Council:
Training specific to bicycle safety and enforcement is not currently provided at the Baltimore Police Academy and bicycle safety or enforcement issues are rarely mentioned at daily roll call, the venue for new information or updated enforcement instructions. Currently, enforcing laws related to bicycle operations and safety in traffic is not among the department’s highest priorities...

Recommendation 1: Develop partnership with ... Baltimore City Police Department, and the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee to identify and address bicycle-vehicle safety measures through enforcement and new or amended laws.
Measurable Outcome: Convene committee and implement recommendations by 2008.

Recommendation 2: Provide training for Baltimore police officers regarding bicycle safety laws and issues faced by on-street bicyclists.
■ Assess existing bicycle training for police officers and address gaps.
■ Ensure understanding of bicycles as vehicles, how to determine fault in and document crashes, and bicycle-motorized vehicle interaction.
■ Increase number of police on bicycle mounted patrol.
Measurable Outcome: Police Academy curriculum and ongoing training will include bicycle law and safety information by 2007.

Recommendation 3: Identify the most common conflicting movements between bicycle and vehicle users and determine enforcement mechanisms to mitigate these conflicts.
■ Develop counter measures program including training for officers, public service announcements, engineering, etc.
Measurable Outcome: Counter measures program developed and implemented by 2009.

Despite getting a name and contact info to get Recommendation 1 rolling we are not getting any return emails or return phone calls. We have been patient and trying to work within the system to no avail so we are sending out this alert. Our issues are quality of life issues, our issues are for the safety and well being of our children, our issues are supported by the Mayor, something needs to be done!
Recent reports on Baltimore Spokes show the need for bike theft sting operations to catch (most likely) the same person who is stealing bikes from a particular area, undercover police on bicycles to apprehend and convect people who are assaulting cyclists as well as curtail bike jacking. Not to mention reports that I have received that police do not understand the difference between urban legends about bicycling, bike safety and bike law so they will stop and give orders for cyclists to ride in an unsafe and unlawful manner.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System ranks Maryland the 8th worst state for pedestrian fatalities recently released Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan Report highlights how Baltimore City and kids are over representative in pedestrian injuries.

We strongly urge the time is long past due for Baltimore City Police to get involved with the City's Bike Master Plan. We encourage all to write to their City Council reps and if you live outside the city but ride here write to City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake . You can find your City Council Rep here And if you feel inclined you can email the police here but don't be surprised if they do not respond.

Please be supportive and positive as starting something new does take effort and if you have a relevant personal story to tell that can be brief and to the point that would be good as well. But most important the Police must take action on the City Bike Master Plan, establish a new liaison and they need to contact our rep in city

by B' Spokes

Like most people I live a hectic life and who has the time for much exercise? Thanks to xtracycle now I do. By using my bike for daily activities I can get things done and get an hour plus work out in 15 minutes extra of my time, not a bad deal and beats taking the extra time going to the gym. In case you are still having trouble being motivated; the National Center of Disease Control says that inactivity is the #2 killer in the United States just behind smoking. ( ) Get out there and start living life! I can carry home a full shopping cart of groceries, car pool two kids or just get lost in the great outdoors camping for a week. Well I got go, another outing this weekend.
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

Share It!

Login required to comment
I would like to juxtapose this post with a quote from the recent bulletin from JHMI Corporate Security in response to assaults on bikers: "Staff members are advised to avoid these areas altogether as much as possible, and are further advised to be extra cautious if they choose to ride their bicycles on or near E. Monument Street or E. Madison Street." It's a shame that JHU security thinks the response to assault on bikers is for bikers to go away. I hope that this doesn't reflect the attitude of Baltimore City police as well. I live in the county, so I don't expect the Baltimore City police to be terribly interested in my opinion (although I do work in the city). But getting BCPD on board is an important part of improving the bikability of Baltimore. In fact, in my opinion, risk of assault is the greatest impediment to Baltimore street biking - beating traffic accidents, inclement weather, and other problems. I hope that BCPD can be brought on board with the Bike Master Plan in a real way. I'd love for the department to have a bicycle police unit. Officers could cover more ground than on foot patrol while observing and connecting with the neighborhood better than from a car.
I have faced both the city police and the JHMI security right after an assault on several occasions. The bottom line is they don't give a rats ass. 1. JHMI does not care because they provide free shuttles and so their stance is why do you need to bike at all? They will only care once a student gets seriously injured and even then it will be because of publicity issues. The faculty, physicians, residents do not bike. Its only poor graduate students like me. So, really its a non-issue for them. 2. The police do not care because there is no way they can prosecute ghosts. The kids who attack cyclists are from the neighborhood and can rapidly disappear. There is no way to catch them. Moreover these kids know that the security cameras are dummy. Plus these kids are armed and trigger happy. My own experience tells me that the cops might be afraid of them. Enforcement of bike rules will make my life more miserable. These days I switch between the sidewalk and the road, dont stop at all the red signals to avoid getting assaulted etc. If they start enforcing these laws, the number of assaults will go up and consequently less people will be willing to risk their lives....

We really appreciate your involvement and comments but please don't give up! This site is dedicated to help cyclists organize around issues, you are not the only one frustrated with conditions around JH.

1) I would like to contrast JHMI with NIH with what I believe is the largest Bicycle Commuter Club in the US. Health Care professionals and students know the importance of exercise you don't have to be poor to reap the benefits of bicycling. We get a lot of interest about safe bike routes to JH facilities so you are not alone.

The problem is cyclists have not acted as a coherent group we need to stand up and get organized! I can get you in contact with the NIHBCC president, she has lots of material and helpful advice to share, if you are interested in starting such a thing here. If you would like a web presence, I can set up a topic for you here on Baltimore Spokes. There are ways to solve these issues, if someone cares strong enough to fix what is wrong otherwise we are just as bad as the people we are complaining about.

2) You are totally correct that there is not much police can do after an incident but undercover sting operations are very successful in catching criminals and reducing crimes of this nature. But we can't get this till we have an open dialog with the police. We need this action supported by all!

RE Enforcement: This is why we are stressing communication with the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee, we are cyclists we know the game. We want strong enforcement against motorists that put our lives at risk, we want educational campaigns so cyclists know what behavior they do that puts their lives at risk, Despite all the press about cyclists running red lights and sidewalk cycling should/should not be done, that's not a big problem, what is a big problem is cyclists riding against traffic. We don't hear about that danger but it is very prevalent in our crash stats. No more urban legend enforcement! But identify what is and is not the big problems and work on correcting the issues. If riding at night without lights is a problem we want to see free light giveaways and not tickets, we want solutions to problems that still encourage bicycling.

If you or anyone wants to get involved with the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee:
1. What would you invest your resources in? solving murders? or minor assaults? 2. I have seen the mayor bike in downtown. Usually its with one big black SUV in the front and one at the back. Thats NOT biking.
1) If you think you are the only one in this whole city that is dissatisfied with the Police only focusing on the big stuff and letting the little stuff go to hell in a hand basket, think differently. Change is happening ... be a part of it. 2) I was there for the Mayor's first bike ride as Mayor. The plan was to go from City Hall to the Inner Harbor, do a press conference and then back to City Hall. After the press conference she announced it is such a beautiful day let's ride to Fort McHenry, so off we went. Then after riding a bit my cell phone rings, it's her security detail wanting to know where the Mayor is ... someone forgot to tell them the change of plans. It's their job to watch out for her but she has never impressed me as relying on their presence to ride around Baltimore. On another ride some motorist was not happy with us riding on "his" roads and had no qualms on letting us know just how upset he was... that is until those red and blue lights came on from the black SUV. Watching the change on that drivers face was just priceless. I could tell a lot more stories but the point is the black SUV rarely plays any significant role on our rides and Baltimore cyclists are darn lucky to have a Mayor that rides, with an SUV or not. I will also note that their was a time the Mayor was just an average person riding her bike around Baltimore, what you see now is not the sum total of her experience.
Do you know what I have been telling myself for 4 years, every day and night when I finally enter/ bike into downtown from the East Baltimore campus of JHMI? - "I more day to live and do Science" How would the mayor feel about biking in "real" baltimore?
The Mayor is not shy about biking anywhere, at times she'll bring up that she wants to bike to such and such place (not always in the nicest part of town) and we sort of have to figure out a nice bike route to there (which can be challenging in Baltimore as you know) but for the most part the rides are meant to encourage city employees to get exercise so they do tend to be mostly on the nicer bike friendly areas.
sure dude. but I and hundreds of other students dont have that luxury at odd hours around East Baltimore.

UC Davis has shown how its really done.

I doubt JHU/JHMI or Baltimore has the will or the resources.
I hear ya, and we are working on the issue is all I can say at this time.