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October 2009 One Less Car Newsletter

Bike Maryland updatesOne Less > Car

Greetings!

One Less Car (OLC) works throughout Maryland to reduce car use. Our goal is to help people get to where they need to go happily, safely and efficiently.

OLC works to increase walking, biking, carpooling, public transit, telecommuting, and flex scheduling opportunities. These smart transit choices promote physical activity, emotional and physical well-being, social interaction, livable communities, equity and environmental stewardship.


In this issue:

Tour du Port Data and Survey Results
October 23rd: City Council Public Hearing
October 25th: Roland Park Sunday Streets (Ciclovia)!
November 2, 2009 Transportation for Maryland “Platform Launch” and “Membership Drive Kick-off”
Save the Date! February 3rd, 2010 - One Less Car Annual Symposium in Annapolis, MD
Street Smart


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Baltimore Sun has two letters supporting walkable communities

Biking in the Metro AreaFrom Baltimore Sun via One Less Car's blog:

The first letter to the editor is from Richard Eberhart Hall, Sec of Md Dept of Planning, titled "Better planning needed for kids to walk to school". Mr. Hall talks about the need for school boards to design & build new schools as integral parts of designated community growth areas and to reinvest in existing schools in our existing neighborhoods. He says that's Smart Growth. Giving families better options to make that walk would save public dollars, the environment - and a few pounds to boot.

The second letter is from David Marks, titled " Baltimore County Could Make Schools Walkable." David focuses on his own frustration where his child and others can't safely cross Honeygo Blvd in White Marsh to walk or bike to school. He continues that the county could better scrutinize proposed developments so they connect to existing neighborhoods. David also mentions the Safe Routes to School Program and suggests creating a version of the Md Bicycle & Ped Advisory Committee. He concludes that walking and bicycling go beyond physical fitness by also reducing automobile use and lower congestion. Balto County should work to make its neighborhoods accessible to pedestrians & bicyclists. (David Marks is a former chief of staff at the MDOT and a former member of the Md Bike-Ped Advisory Committee).
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LA road rage trial begins.

Biking ElsewhereAfter one cyclist slammed into the rear of his car and vaulted over it into oncoming traffic, and another crashed through his rear window, Dr. Christopher Thomas Thompson called 911 and told the operator, “They’ll tell you they are seriously injured, but they’re not.”

Prosecutors presented a recording of the call on Friday during the opening day of testimony in Thompson's trial on assault with a dangerous weapon and other charges. The trial continues Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. .

Prosecutors say Thompson, 60, a former ER doctor, purposefully braked in front of the two riders as they descended Mandeville Canyon Road on July 4, 2008.

Cyclist Christian Stoehr hit the back of Thompson's Infiniti sedan and went over the top into the other lane. His injuries included a grade-3 shoulder separation and road rash. Ron Peterson went through the rear window; the impact broke his nose, nearly severing it, and shattered several of his teeth. More than 90 stitches were required to reattach his nose.

In opening statements Friday, Thompson's defense attorney Peter Swarth said the collision was an unfortunate accident and not the result of any intentional action. He said Dr. Thompson had been saving lives for more than 30 years and would never deliberately hurt anyone. He told the jury there are two sides to every story and insisted that the facts of the case would exonerate his client, provided jurors kept open minds and didn’t decide the case prematurely.
Earlier incidents will be examined

District Attorney Mary Stone promised jurors that she would present evidence about the Fourth of July incident, including the tape of the 911 call, in which Thompson can be heard telling one of the cyclists to get his bike out of the road before downplaying the extent of their injuries. Stone told jurors she would also present evidence from two prior episodes on the same road, allegedly involving Thompson, the owner of a medical records company who lives on the road.
...
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Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Biking ElsewhereMINISTERS are considering making motorists legally responsible for accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians, even if they are not at fault.

Government advisers are pushing for changes in the civil law that will make the most powerful vehicle involved in a collision automatically liable for insurance and compensation purposes.

The move, intended to encourage greater take-up of environmentally friendly modes of transport, is likely to anger some drivers, many of whom already perceive themselves to be the victims of moneyspinning speed cameras and overzealous traffic wardens.

Many will argue that it is the risky behaviour of some cyclists — particularly those who jump red lights and ride the wrong way along one-way streets — that is to blame for a significant number of crashes.

However, policy-makers believe radical action is required to get people out of cars and onto bicycles or to walk more. Only 1%-2% of journeys are at present made by bike.

Other proposals to promote greener — and healthier — transport include the imposition of blanket 20mph zones on residential streets.
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Time is running out for Parks & People's Fall Tree Sale!! Take advantage now!

Health & EnvironmentTo anyone with a desire to improve the environment, help fund a non-profit or simply beautify a space.
Time is almost out for Parks & People's Fall Tree Sale. You have less than two weeks to purchase native Maryland trees and help Baltimore become greener!
Please consider purchasing one or more native Maryland trees for your home, work or perhaps even a greening project. You have the opportunity to choose from 11 different species of tree, including Sugar Maple, Red Maple, River Birch, Eastern Redbud, Black Walnut, Eastern Red Cedar, American Sycamore, Bald Cypress, Swamp White Oak, Pin Oak and Red Oak. All orders must be received by Parks & People no later than Monday, October 26, 2009. (This includes coupons.) Procedes from this sale help to keep Parks & People greening the envirionment and educating youth as well as adults about our environment and how to protect it.
*Special for this sale* $25 off of trees costing over $50 with Marylanders Plant Trees Coupon!

To order, please download and mail in our order form (along with any coupons), or call 410-448-5663 x101 and place an order over the phone (coupons must be signed and dropped off or mailed in), or swing by our office and fill out a form here. Trees ordered will be available for pickup on Saturday, October 31st from 9 a.m. until noon.
Order forms can be found and downloaded from <a href="http://www.parksandpeople.org/programs_social_enterprises_tree_sale.html">http://www.parksandpeople.org/programs_social_enterprises_tree_sale.html</a>;
Coupons can be found and downloaded from <a href="http://www.trees.maryland.gov/pdfs/coupon.pdf">http://www.trees.maryland.gov/pdfs/coupon.pdf</a>;
All mailed-in orders should be sent to Parks &amp; People Foundation Stieff Silver Building 800 Wyman Park Drive Suite 010 Baltimore, MD 21211. Please note on the envelope that contents are for our Fall Tree Sale.
We thank you in advance for your purchases and greening efforts!
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Fuzzy Dice 1, Cyclists 0

Bike Laws

Red fuzzy dice
Senate Bill 276, aka the Fuzzy Dice Bill, passed the Michigan Senate unanimously.

According to the Detroit News:

Fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror would no longer be outlawed under a bill that won passage in the Senate today.

The chamber voted unanimously for a measure that strikes down a law that says items dangling from the rearview mirror are a no-no.

“We understand there are many distractions in cars, such as cell phones or GPS systems, but we did not feel that a rosary or air freshener was in the same league,” said Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, sponsor of the bill. “This will help make it legal to do what thousands of Michigan residents already do — hang a memento from their mirror.”

Great job!

Now let’s look at some bicycle safety bills the Michigan Senate has not passed or voted on.

  • Senate Bills 529 & 530 which “enhance penalties for moving violations causing physical injury or death to bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users” according to the League of Michigan Bicyclists.
  • Senate Bill 531 which stipulates that driver education “shall include information concerning the laws pertaining to bicycles and shall emphasize awareness of the operation of bicycles on the streets, roads, and highways of this state.”

Bicycle advocates in the state of Washington are also pursuing a Vulnerable User Bill. (Seattle PI via How We Drive)

Advocates for a new law argue that families of those killed or maimed deserve greater sense of justice than a traffic ticket brings. However, a conviction for negligent driving doesn’t carry much steeper punishment. Typically, a first-time offender gets probation or a deferred sentence.

“Do they need an automatic license suspension or do they need driver retraining. These are the questions that we should ask,” Hiller said. He noted that people who don’t control their vicious dogs face more criminal culpability than drivers for negligence behind the wheel.

We’re not sure if that last sentence is true in Michigan.

But, if the Michigan House and Governor follow the Senate’s lead, fuzzy dice will be safe again Michigan.

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Bikes on light rail

Biking Elsewhereimage
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Stop Means Stop

Biking ElsewhereHow do we get bikers to obey traffic laws?
By Christopher Beam - Slate
image
Heading home from work yesterday, I ran five red lights and three stop signs, went the wrong way down a one-way street, and took a left across two lanes of oncoming traffic. My excuse: I was on a bike.

I'm far from the only menace on two wheels. A colleague was recently slapped with a moving violation after breezing through a stop sign. My roommate was pulled over 30 feet from our house for the same infraction. And driving around Washington, D.C., recently, I saw a cop scribbling out a ticket to a bewildered biker.

I had never heard of a biker getting ticketed in D.C. Has there been a sudden crackdown? "I'm not specifically aware of any stepped-up enforcement," says Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Kenny Bryson. Eric Gilliland, a lawyer for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, disagrees with the policeman's take. Bike ticketing "comes and goes in waves," Gilliland says, but the rate has gone up over the last five years.

Something felt wrong. It wasn't injustice, exactly—all of these bikers broke the law. But was their behavior any great public-safety risk? Even after hearing about the spate of tickets, I haven't changed my behavior. What's the point of traffic laws for bikes? And if there is a point, is there any way to get me and my stop sign-flouting cohort to follow the rules of the road?

Bikes occupy a gray area of the law. They're neither cars nor pedestrians. Most states do carve out special laws for bikes, but not enough to avoid confusion. Take this scenario: I'm approaching a stop sign on my bike. There are clearly no cars coming from either direction. Do I come to a complete stop? Can I cautiously slide through? The traffic laws say full stop. But in practice, few bikers hit the brake, put their foot on the ground, and then start pedaling again. Are they criminals?

The D.C. Code recognizes the special status of bikes. Bikes shall follow all traffic laws, the code says, except for rules that "can have no reasonable application to a bicycle operator." Presumably, this refers to laws governing highways, some sidewalks, and other non-bicycle-friendly turf. It doesn't apply to the stop-sign scenario, even though some bicycle advocates argue that stop signs "have no reasonable application to a bicycle operator."
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Weekly Announcements and Upcoming Events from the Office of Sustainability

Health & Environment

Take SustainLane’s Local Action Challenge for Baltimore

SustainLane’s Local Action Challenge is a way for you to make a difference on the ground level in Baltimore . As global decision-makers prepare to hammer out a new climate treaty at the December 2009 Climate Conference in Copenhagen , the Hopenhagen movement inspires local, on-the-ground action in communities across the US . Grab a camera, and join the movement. Take SustainLane’s Local Action Challenge, and win prizes every week! For more information visit http://www.sustainlane.com/local-action and look for Baltimore ’s page.

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“Roland Park to test City's "Sunday Streets" Program: October 25, 2009”

Biking in BaltimoreBaltimore, MD – October 17, 2009. Baltimore City residents are invited to join the Roland Park Civic League for a field test of Baltimore’s “Sunday Streets” Program. The first ever City-permitted field test is part of our community’s first Seven Generations Weekend. “Seven generations” refers to the Great Law of the Iroquois, “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” It is a founding principle of the sustainability movement.

From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 25, the southbound lanes of Roland Avenue will be temporarily closed between Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Lane to allow cyclists, pedestrians and skateboarders safe access to the street. Students and other volunteers will be trained and deployed as safety officers. If successful, a larger Sunday Streets event will be organized in March 2010, connecting Roland Park, Lake Montebello and Druid Hill Park (the “lake to lake” pilot route).
Final details are being worked out by the Civic League’s Sustainability Committee, the Office of the Mayor, Department of Transportation and Baltimore Police Department under the leadership of Councilwomen Mary Pat Clarke and Sharon Green Middleton. The Baltimore Metropolitan Council and One Less Car are providing additional support. On Sunday morning, Princeton Sports and Joe’s Bike Shop will have mechanics on hand to check bikes, make minor repairs and inform the public about bike safety. The Baltimore Bicycling Club is organizing two rides that morning that will include the Roland Avenue Sunday Streets course.

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