The 2011 Maryland General Assembly 428th Legislative Session - Kicks-Off Today
The Maryland General Assembly meets in Annapolis each year for 90 days to act on more than 2300 bills including the State's annual budget. The 2011 Session begins January 12, 2011 and adjourns April 11, 2011. The General Assembly has 47 Senators and 141 Delegates elected from 47 districts.
Who Are Your Elected Officials? Would you like to know who represents you in the Maryland General Assembly and U.S. Congress? To find out, just enter your home address HERE. Information provided shows current elected officials and current Congressional & Legislative election district. Click Here To Contact Your Legislator.
Many of you have known someone or have heard about someone that lost their life or was seriously injured while bicycling. Bike Maryland's mission is to encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions, and provide a voice for bicyclists in Maryland. We will need your support this year to get legislation passed that makes Maryland a safer place to ride. The most important thing you can do is to make a call to your legislator. An written letter or an email is also beneficial. Five minutes of your time is needed to perform this task that can decrease your (or your friends or loved ones) chances of injury or death. You do not need to discuss the bill in depth. You will make a difference by saying, “Hello, my name is ___ and I live in your district. It is very important to me, as one of your constituents, that you support ___ bill.”
Bill numbers and detailed description will be posted on the Bike Maryland website over the next few weeks.
Potential 2011 Legislative Priorities (policy changes pursued when possible):
- Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel – Criminal Negligence
This is the #1 bill to support. There is a big loophole in Maryland’s Law.
Drivers who cause fatalities, when sober, by flagrantly violating the rules of the road, and deviating from the standard of care used by any reasonable person, pay no more than $1000 in fines through traffic court. These cases are dealt with as though they are all situations of simple negligence. The standards for prosecution under the current statute -vehicle (negligent) manslaughter --are very high. Proof of gross negligence is required for this felony offense. Upon conviction, the person would face up to 10 years in a house of correction and/or $5000 fine.
Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel – Criminal Negligence provides a misdemeanor option for those who cause fatalities by driving in a criminally negligent manner- when sober. It follows the Modern Penal Code used in the majority of other states. It is a misdemeanor ---upon conviction, the person would be subject to imprisonment not to exceed 3 years and/or a fine not to exceed $5000.
View the bill talking points here and the myths and facts here.
Contact your State Legislators and ask that they support this bill.
- View the Full List of Bike Maryland's Potential 2011 Legislative Priorities HERE.
Registration is Open for the 14th Annual Bicycle Symposium
The 2011 Annual Bike Symposium is approximately 5 weeks away! Early Bird registration ends on February 5th. Register now to secure the discounted rate.
The Maryland Bicycle Symposium will take place Tuesday, February 22, 2011 from 8:30am to 4:00pm in Annapolis. Hosted by Bike Maryland, the Symposium will bring together advocates, industry leaders, on and off-road recreational cyclists and commuters, elected officials and staff from the Tri-State Region.
Location: 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
East Miller Office Building in the President’s Conference Center
You won't want to miss this event! The purpose of the Symposium is to educate and empower advocates and attendees, identify common issues in our local communities, set priorities for improving the future of bicycling in Maryland, and demonstrate the economic impact of our state's bicycling community.
Who should attend? If you are interested in seeing better bicycling in Maryland, this Symposium is for you! Attendees will include people with interests in job creation, tourism growth, transportation planning and design, mountain bike trails and land preservation, investments in bicycling, health and wellness, and the environment.
Keynote Speaker - Andy Clarke, the President of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), is the keynote speaker at the Bicycle Symposium. Bike Maryland and LAB are working together to create a Bike Friendly Maryland! Andy Clarke will present the Bike Friendly Maryland Campaign. This is a spectacular opportunity to learn how to make your business, university and community increasingly bike friendly.
The agenda will be chock-full of renowned presenters and educational topics. Exhibits will be open all day. The Symposium Agenda will be posted mid-January.
Partner with Bike Maryland - the Symposium is a unique and very visual marketing opportunity - Click here for sponsorship and exhibitor information.
Baltimore County - Pedaling Quickly to a Bike Friendly Baltimore County
Last week I met with two new Councilmen -Councilman Marks (District 5) and Councilman Quirk (District 1). Nate Evans, a resident of Baltimore County and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, joined the very pro-bike conversation.
Bill 2-11, which would create a Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, was discussed. This panel would work to make the county’s transportation system more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists, improve safety, and develop more trails, which can boost the local economy.
Some of the highlights of the legislation include:
- Adopt a Complete Streets Policy
- Develop sustainable transportation protocol in project evaluation
- Prepare a “Six Year Pedestrian and Bike Plan” program to coincide with the Capital Improvement Plan
- File an annual report with the County Executive and County Council recommending any appropriate legislative changes
Let your voice be heard - testify at the work session on Tuesday, February 1 at 2 p.m. in the Plum Room of the Baltimore County Council to show your support of this important bill. The Council vote will take place on February 7, 2011.
Please thank Councilmen Marks and Quirk for their pro-bicycling support and encourage their fellow council members to support this important legislation! Click here to find your district and councilperson.
Free Bike Racks to Baltimore City Businesses!
The Baltimore City Department of Transportation is offering free bike racks to interested property owners. The bike rack program was recently rejuvenated with a generous donation of racks from the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.
Bike racks can be installed on hard surfaces, preferably concrete sidewalks. Under some circumstances, racks may be installed on brick surfaces. A site evaluation is needed to determine if installation is feasible. To "secure" a rack (order one), suggest a location for a new rack or to learn more about this opportunity please contact Nate Evans.
Volunteer and/or Intern Opportunities
- Permitting Chief - Completing/obtaining permits for the October 9th, 2011 Tour du Port - someone who lives in Baltimore City would be most suited for this position - time requirement approximately 15 hours.
- Volunteer Recruitment Chair - Recruits volunteers for the day of the Tour du Port - approximately 130 volunteers are needed. Initiates contacts with universities (sororities/fraternities), boy/girl scouts, corporations, and places where volunteers can be recruited.
- Designer - design Bike Maryland logo and more.
- Partnership development - this person(s) will identify potential partners and develop a relationship (i.e. contact neighborhood associations along the route and partner to publicize the Tour du Port and increase attendance).
- Fund-raising - are you looking for fund-raising experience? One of the basic rules of fund-raising is if you don't ask you won't get. We are seeking a few volunteers who would like to use their fund-raising skills to support Bike Maryland.
- We need your assistance at the February 22nd Bike Symposium - volunteers attend for free - positions available:
--exhibitor table volunteer
--registration table volunteer
- Outreach – Calls and emails to community members, blog entries, developing e-invitations and announcements, Face-book management, development of outreach materials.
- Research – News, contact information, community events, existing programs, grant opportunities.
- Administrative – Keeping careful records, editing documents, correspondence with members, merchandise management.
These are ideal hands on opportunities for a volunteer or student interested in event planning, marketing, community outreach, public relations and more!
May 7-14, 2011 - Netherlands Bike+Barge Tour
This tour is organized by the Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee, an all-volunteer organization affiliated with the Baltimore Mayor's Office.
Bike through the countryside and picturesque towns with an English- speaking tour guide. Sleep on a river barge at night. The biking pace is moderate/casual - 25-30 miles per day over flat terrain with lots of stops. This is the most bike-friendly country in the world - on this trip, you'll see firsthand how bicycling is integrated into everyday life and culture in the Netherlands. Learn more here.
Urbanite Predicts The Bike as Future of Transportation in 2011
The Urbanite Magazine recently published their “ten bright ideas that will bear fruit in Baltimore in 2011”. Among those is their prediction that 2011 will be the year cycling takes its place as a viable urban transportation option. Read the full article here.
As a non-profit organization, your donation to Bike Maryland is tax deductible. Your support helps make Maryland a great place to work, play, commute, bike, walk and live. Thank you for your support of alternative modes of commuting such as flex scheduling, teleworking, carpooling, van-sharing, public transit (bus, train), and of course biking and walking! Please click HERE to make a donation.