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Saturday, October 22 2016 @ 04:03 PM UTC
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Traffic deaths in Maryland up 17.3 percent in 2015.

Biking in MarylandBy Ben Weathers, Capital Gazette

Some 520 people died on Maryland roadways last year – an increase of 17.3 percent from the previous year, state transportation officials said Tuesday.

"There's no sugar coating this news and quite frankly these numbers are unacceptable," Ports said.

The state saw a 35 percent increase in traffic fatalities involving commercial vehicles and a 26 percent increase in fatalities involving young drivers, officials said.

In addition, the bicycle fatalities doubled — from five in 2014 to 10 last year, officials said.
[B' Spokes: IMHO as long as we stay below 12 cycling deaths a year, we are good. Stating this as a doubling does not do our small numbers of deaths justice.]

Anne Arundel, however, saw a slight decrease from 35 traffic deaths in 2014 to 33 last year, officials said.


Jurisdictions that saw increases in 2015:

•Baltimore City saw 39 traffic deaths, up 10.

•Baltimore County saw 65 traffic deaths, an increase of six.

•Harford County saw 22 traffic deaths, an increase of five.

•Carroll County saw 16 traffic deaths, an increase of five.

•Queen Anne's County saw six traffic deaths, an increase of three.

•Howard County saw 18 traffic deaths, an increase of two.

The increase comes even though Maryland State Police troopers conducted some 564,000 traffic stops in 2015, said Col. William Pallozzi, police superintendent.

Police continue to aggressively enforce traffic laws and seek out impaired drivers. Troopers have conducted 30,000 traffic stops in April alone, Pallozzi said.

[B' Spokes: Thank you legislature for raising the speed limit and nixing our bike safety bills! I'm sure that helped a lot. [/sarcasium] The big question is what have the county police been doing and more to the point does Baltimore even try to do traffic enforcement? And of course the Highway Safety Office and it's victim blaming safety messages has helped. [/even more sarcasium] It's going to get worce till reducing traffic deaths becomes a top priority for the police and MDOT.]
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“Shared Responsibility” messaging ignores our Basic Human Responsibilites – to look out for the more vulnerable among us.

Biking ElsewhereBy MRBIKESABUNCH

Lately, there’s been a barrage of messaging from various agencies, whether they be in Ontario or beyond, taking aim at the behaviours of people walking and cycling. From messages about wearing bright, reflective clothing to talking about the (invented) scourge of distracted walking to asking pedestrians to remove their earbuds while walking, much of the focus of these messages are on the behaviours of people walking.

Now let’s be clear – people do have a responsibility to look out for their own safety. I don’t advocate wearing headphones, blaring loud music while playing Candy Crush on your phone and walking out into free-flowing traffic. But to continuously shift the onus onto people walking by demonizing the very things that make walking so enjoyable – listening to music, staring up at the buildings, enjoying conversations and the sights and sounds of your environment, the ability to simply get up and go without needing to strap on lights, reflective safety vests and protective helmets, belies the fact that the vast majority of injuries to people walking occur because the person driving didn’t obey the law. They most often failed to yield the right of way at an intersection, although there are lots of other causes as well.

One of the worst examples of this culture of victim-blaming I’ve seen to date came, unfortunately, from Peel Regional Police. During their “Pedestrian Safety Week“, Peel Police offer such gems of advice like “Don’t rely solely on traffic signals or stop signs. Ensure that it is safe to cross the road before crossing”. At the end of their list of advice, which includes the usual “wear reflective clothing”, “cross at crosswalks” and other helpful tips, they offer one last piece of counsel, just in case there was any remaining doubt that their campaign has little interest in tackling the root cause of injuries to people walking – dangerous behaviours by people driving.

Let that sink in for a second. Rather than running a campaign to encourage people driving to drive more attentively, to be extra careful of people walking and to always, as a default, yield the right of way to a more vulnerable road user, the police emphasize that, as someone who is not encased in a metal box, you need to be extra vigilant to protect yourself against those who would break the law and fail to yield the right of way, potentially endangering your life.

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Being Too Cautious While Biking On the Road Can Actually Be Dangerous

Biking ElsewhereBy Patrick Allan, Life Hacker

Nervous cyclists who stay closer to the side of the road in hopes they won’t get hit might actually be making their bike commute more unsafe. You’re better off being loud and in the way—even if it might seem a little annoying.

[B' Spokes: Being assertive is the only way to be around aggressive drivers.]
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News you will not see in Maryland-> Drivers who strike pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks would be assessed $500 fines in addition to criminal charges, under a bill that won final, unanimous approval in the Connecticut Senate. The bill, which Stamford lawmakers sought this year after recent fatalities in that city, goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for final review. The new law would raise the current $181 fine to $500. (sHB 5403: An Act Increasing Penalties for Failure to Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalks and Failure to Exercise Due Care to Avoid Hitting a Pedestrian or Cyclist:

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Careful jaywalking saves lives

Biking Elsewhereby Ben Ross, Greater Greater Washington

To make streets walkable, we need to re-think the basic principles of how people on foot and people in cars share the roadway. This is the first of a multi-part opinion series.
Pedestrians put themselves in danger if they wait for a walk signal instead of crossing the street whenever and wherever it looks safest. There are no definitive studies, but that is what available evidence strongly suggests.
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Traffic Engineers Still Rely on a Flawed 1970s Study to Reject Crosswalks

Biking Elsewhereby Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

"When St. Louis decided not to maintain colorful new crosswalks that residents had painted, the city’s pedestrian coordinator cited federal guidance. A 2011 FHWA memo warns that colorful designs could “create a false sense of security” for pedestrians and motorists."

"That may sound like unremarkable bureaucrat-speak, but the phrase “false sense of security” is actually a cornerstone of American engineering guidance on pedestrian safety."


"In 1972, a researcher named Bruce Herms conducted a study of crosswalk safety in San Diego. He found that intersections with marked crosswalks had higher injury rates than ones with unmarked crosswalks. He concluded that marked crosswalks should only be installed where they are “warranted” because they can give pedestrians a “false sense of security,” encouraging risky behavior."
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Biking Elsewhere-> The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates a 10% increase in the number of persons on foot killed in traffic crashes in 2015, compared with the prior year. This annual "GHSA Spotlight on Highway Safety Report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2015 Preliminary Data" ( provides the first look at 2015 pedestrian fatality trends, based on preliminary data reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia. This report also analyzes recent trends in pedestrian fatality data and discusses state and federal efforts to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Along with the increase in pedestrian fatalities, pedestrians now account for a larger share ? about 15% of all motor vehicle crash-related deaths ? compared with 11% a decade ago.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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An angry driver...

Biking ElsewhereVia The Invisible Visible Man Blog

"The designs betray a profound confusion in public policy. There’s a vague instinct that cyclists can’t be entirely denied better facilities. But that goes hand in hand with cowardice about the idea that promoting cycling is a public good. There’s no sense that sacrifices to encourage cycling might be worth everybody’s while. The unspoken sense is that cyclists should take up no space, have no momentum and cause no-one else to modify any part of their behaviour."

"My sense is that the incident might partly reflect police officers’ genuine conviction that it’s a cyclist’s job to avoid traffic turning across his or her path, not a driver’s job to yield."
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"Everyone Plays a Part in Chainsaw Safety"

Biking Elsewhereby Bob Gunderson, Dearest District 5 Blog

"Everyone plays a part in chainsaw safety, from the people wielding chainsaws, to the people scurrying in fear around chainsaws."

Chainsaw merchants say it's only coincidence that people running through the city with chainsaws contributed to the uptick in chainsaw injuries & deaths.

Randy has been wielding a chainsaw on Market Street ever since he can remember, and he's not about to stop "just because some idiot hurts themself on my chainsaw."

Randy Smith, head of the "San Francisco City Chainsaw League" said,"It's my God given right to juggle chainsaws while running through downtown. It's my preferred method of travel. People just need to make sure to educate themselves and their children to watch for people with chainsaws. It's about mutual respect. Besides, if you don't want someone coming at you with a chainsaw, travel around with a chainsaw, for safety."
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The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: You all heard these arguments before but maybe you need to be reminded of just how absurd it is that we use a 3 ton steel cage for personal transportation at the expense of other modes of transportation. The automobile, the ultimate in lazy decadence, the leading cause of death for the ages 1 to 39 and after that the lack of physical exercise is the leading contributing factor in the cause of death.]

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