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Friday, June 23 2017 @ 08:25 AM UTC
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Economic Recovery

PoliticsMy organization, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, ran a petition encouraging the incoming administration and Congress to explicitly fund bike/ped. We also collected ready-to-go bike/pedestrian projects from communities nationally to demonstrate to Congress that there's demand for these projects (more than $3 billion that we collected in a very short time frame). More here.

I encourage everyone to sign the petition; this also serves to keep you in the loop about upcoming actions on this in the next few weeks. It's possible that the authority of how to spend stimulus funds may fall solely on states, which forces the advocacy world into a difficult place by decentralizing our efforts.
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Maryland bikes on Perils For Pedestrians

Biking in MarylandTuesday, January 13, The Universityhouse Channel will show Episode 144 of "Perils For Pedestrians".

Contents of Episode 144 (2008):
--Maryland DOT Secretary John Porcari on access to bridges;
--David Dionne in Annapolis on trails in Anne Arundel County, MD;
--Michael Jackson, the Maryland Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, on Bike To Work Day in Bethesda;
--MD DOT Deputy Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley on The Purple Line;
--A pair of advocates on drivers behaving badly in Silver Spring, MD.
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HiWheel Bicycle - $500 (Columbia Maryland)

Biking in MarylandI had to share this:
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Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske - Turning with a blind eye

Biking Elsewhere...
But there’s another way of looking at some of these responses. The London Bicycle Activist reports that Truck and bus drivers working for the London Borough of Lambeth “are receiving training sessions in cycling road safety in a bid to prevent collisions involving cyclists and HGVs [Heavy Goods Vehicle].” The program involves classroom training and signs in trucks and buses warning drivers about the danger their vehicles pose to cyclists. The training program doesn’t stop there — with the assistance of Cycle Training UK, drivers are also receiving on-road training on bicycles “to give them greater understanding about cycling.”

While the training program for Lambeth truck and bus drivers is mandatory, training is not required for Lambeth cyclists. Nevertheless, Cycle training is also available to any resident of Lambeth who wants it, again in partnership between the Borough and Cycle Training UK.

The contrasts between European and American approaches to cycling safety are interesting:

• In Portland, bike boxes—an idea borrowed from European cities—were installed at problem intersections following the deaths of two Portland cyclists.

• In Portland, city trucks were fitted with safety guards. In contrast, in Europe, all trucks, whether public or private, have been required to be fitted with safety guards since 1989.

• In Portland, cyclists were invited into truck cabs to see how hard it is for drivers to see cyclists. In London, drivers were required to take on-road cycle training to see what it’s like to ride a bike. While it certainly can’t hurt for cyclists to gain perspective on what it’s like to drive a truck, the Portland approach implies that the truck drivers involved in the fatal accidents were not at fault, while the London approach implies that truck drivers have a duty of care to avoid hitting cyclists.

• In Portland, cyclists are told not to ride in the blind spot of trucks — and in fact, in Brett Jarolimek’s crash, a massive blind spot created by the damaged side mirror on the truck was a major factor in the collision. In Europe, all heavy trucks are required, as of March 31 of this year, to be fitted with equipment that eliminates blind spots.

• In Portland, neither driver faced criminal charges, and only one of the drivers received a traffic citation for violating the cyclist’s right of way. The driver who turned into Brett Jarolimek’s path was not cited, because the Portland Police invented a non-existent requirement that the driver had to be aware of the cyclist in order to violate his right of way — an interesting decision on the part of the Portland Police, given that the driver’s mirror was non-functional, in violation of the law. Whether either driver will be found negligent would be a matter for a jury to decide. In contrast, in the Netherlands, a driver is presumed to be negligent in any collision involving a cyclist, unless the driver can introduce evidence rebutting that presumption.

While it’s been heartening to see some of the positive changes that have taken place in Portland as a result of the tragic and needless deaths of two Portland cyclists, it’s also obvious, when compared to what our counterparts in the UK and Europe are doing, that there’s so much more we could be doing to protect cyclists in this country. The Borough of Lambeth provides one innovative example — when drivers know what the road is like from our perspective, they’re likely to be more careful with our lives.
Bob
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Prototype Bicycle Hooks Being Tested on Metro-North M-7 Train Cars

Biking Elsewhere[Note that is NOT our MTA as if you couldn't tell.]

,,,
"Metro-North has always been bicycle-friendly, with certain weekend trains designated to serve popular cycling destinations and in supporting numerous bike rallies and special events by providing extra, bicycle-only cars," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "This pilot is a natural extension or our effort to promote sustainable mobility within our region."

If the pilot is successful, Metro-North will determine next steps on the M-8s with ConnDOT and on the M-7s with Long Island Rail Road, which has a large fleet of M-7s.
...
The hooks are located in the area designated for wheelchairs, which will continue to have first priority in this space. Prominent signs will specify that cyclists must remove bicycles if the area is needed for a customer in a wheelchair. Feedback on the proposal also is being sought from wheel chair users.

Metro-North is an advocate for transportation that's safe, efficient, adaptable, and as pollution-free as possible. It's no surprise that bicyclists and Metro-North have always had a close and supportive relationship.

More than 60 of our train stations have accommodations for people who bicycle to our stations with bicycle racks or lockers. Signs especially aimed for bicyclists - in terms of where and how best to board trains - are installed at stations that have proven very popular with cyclists.

The railroad recently amended its bicycle policy to allow cyclists to bring folding bikes aboard all trains, including peak trains, without a permit, because when folded, they are treated as regular luggage.

Metro-North also relaxes bicycle permit rules to accommodate more than 10 bike events throughout New York City, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties, such as the Five-Boro Bike Tour, The New York Century Bike Tour, Tour de Bronx, Tour de Putnam and the Bloomin' Metric Bicycle Tour.

Metro-North continues to work with bicycle clubs and touring groups to create special brochures to inform and encourage cyclists to use our trains, and have run extra trains as well adding extra train cars to serve our cycling friends for special tours and races.
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Not-So-Free Ride

Biking ElsewhereAmericans drive too much. This isn’t a political or moral argument; it’s an economic one. How so?

Because there are all sorts of costs associated with driving that the actual driver doesn’t pay. Such a condition is known to economists as a negative externality: the behavior of Person A (we’ll call him Arthur) damages the welfare of Person Z (Zelda), but Zelda has no control over Arthur’s actions. If Arthur feels like driving an extra 50 miles today, he doesn’t need to ask Zelda; he just hops in the car and goes. And because Arthur doesn’t pay the true costs of his driving, he drives too much.

What are the negative externalities of driving? To name just three: congestion, carbon emissions and traffic accidents. Every time Arthur gets in a car, it becomes more likely that Zelda — and millions of others — will suffer in each of those areas.

Which of these externalities is the most costly to U.S. society? According to current estimates, carbon emissions from driving impose a societal cost of about $20 billion a year. That sounds like an awful lot until you consider congestion: a Texas Transportation Institute study found that wasted fuel and lost productivity due to congestion cost us $78 billion a year. The damage to people and property from auto accidents, meanwhile, is by far the worst. In a 2006 paper, the economists Aaron Edlin and Pinar Karaca-Mandic argued that accidents impose a true unpaid cost of about $220 billion a year. (And that’s even though the accident rate has fallen significantly over the past 10 years, from 2.72 accidents per million miles driven to 1.98 per million; overall miles driven, however, keep rising.) So, with roughly three trillion miles driven each year producing more than $300 billion in externality costs, drivers should probably be taxed at least an extra 10 cents per mile if we want them to pay the full societal cost of their driving.
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Obama Appointed a Cyclist to His Cabinet

PoliticsJames L. Jones, Obama's appointed National Security Adviser and retired marine general, was quoted in the magazine Stars and Stripes stating his favored choice of work transport.

"(Commuting by bicycle) is an absolutely essential part of my day. It's mind-clearing, invigorating. I get to go out and pedal through the countryside in the early morning hours, and see life come back and rejuvenate every day as the sun is coming out."
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Grand History Trail

Bike PathsTHE CONCEPT

The Grand History Trail is a conceptual network of trails encompassing Baltimore, MD; Annapolis, MD; Washington, DC; Frederick, MD; Gettysburg, PA; and York, PA – a region rich in the stories and commemorative sites of our country’s history

The Grand History Trail will expand upon 100-miles of existing, disconnected trails, including such popular trails as Pennsylvania’s Heritage Rail Trail and Maryland’s North Central Railroad, Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, Stoney Run and Patapsco Trails; and Washington DC’s Metropolitan Branch Trail, to create a 185-mile circular pathway for non-motorized travelers. The pathway will also offer connections to much larger trail networks, such as the East Coast Greenway, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, and the Great Allegheny Passage, offering opportunities for non-motorized, inter-modal travel along the entire east coast and westward across Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Grand History Trail has enormous potential to connect densely populated, metropolitan areas to numerous existing heritage sites of national significance, such as the Gettysburg National Military Park, Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park, and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. The Grand History Trail will offer non-motorized travelers a unique way to visit this heart of America’s history, combining physical activity with learning and exploration.
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James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia

Biking ElsewhereThe space around us says something, something like "abandon all hope, resistance is futile." This is a very funny talk about public space and how its failed.
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Stop the rush to drill

Health & EnvironmentThe U.S. Interior Department is planning to start the leasing process so that Big Oil can drill 50 miles from the Chesapeake Bay starting in a few years. Please speak out against this proposal.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

  •  Strongly agree
  •  Mostly agree
  •  Undecided
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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

  •  Off-road bike trails
  •  On-road bike accommodations only on State roads
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  •  All of the above
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