Who to contactBaltirmore City
your own councilperson firstname.lastname@example.org
[From http://www.whio.com/news/new-law-starts-today-drivers-must-move-over-pass-bicyclists/LDAsIKqd7T96mn6bHvCjfL/ ]
B' Spokes: Maryland's law says basically pass safely unless... And if you don't understand the legal technical terms (like too many police) it might as well say pass safely unless you can't. But my main point in sharing this they specified that sometimes it is necessary to slow down and wait behind a cyclists till you can pass safely.
B' Spokes: I just read the article above and I am upset. There are lots of studies for Traffic Beacons and non that I have read have reported the doom that SHA has made up. Time and time again they play an imaginary game of traffic safety in their head and come out against any improvements for bike/PED safety. Anyone else remember their stance against giving cyclists the right-of-way in bikes because what if there was a bike lane through an uncontrolled intersection? For the readers at home we don't put bike lanes through intersections but SHA came up with this imaginary thing just to be against giving us the right-of-way. And they are making stuff up again.
Maryland traffic deaths are 23% pedestrian, that's high, very high. Things like Traffic Beacons would help.
There are ~7 bicycle relevant laws working their way through the Maryland Congress right now. WABA has a write up on 5 on them.
Legalizing HAWK signals in Maryland- SB 338
The right to bicycle through crosswalks – SB 337
Lowering speed limits in Montgomery County – HB 337 and HB 332
Task Force to Study Bicycle Safety on Maryland Highways – SB 142
BikeAA is following these and 2 others pretty closely. So far, the only one to move forward is HB 11 which outlaws Coal Rolling which "is the practice of modifying a diesel engine to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine in order to emit an under-aspirated sooty exhaust that visibly pollutes the air." None have been voted down yet either.
The two other bills are
Bicycles, Play Vehicles, and Unicycles on crosswalks and sidewalks are like pedestrians - SB 925
Making coal rolling illegal - HB 11
WABA has a form that Maryland voters can use to send a message to Maryland legislators.
[B' Spokes: I will mention that am amazed that we have to pursue legislation to get MDOT to do a pedestrian friendly thing like HAWK signals. 23% of Maryland road fatalities are pedestrian (less then 10 states have higher numbers). Didn't we have to do something similar to get MDOT to declare bik/PED priority areas?]
After the trial, the jury determined that Turturro was 10% at fault for the accident, the City 40% at fault, and the driver 50% at fault. The City appealed the verdict, unsuccessfully arguing that it was entitled to government immunity. However, had this case arising in Maryland, the plaintiff would have been awarded nothing, due to Maryland’s application of the strict contributory negligence doctrine.
You’ve been buzzed. Worse, you’ve been buzzed and honked at. Worse, you’ve been buzzed and honked at and screamed at. Worse, you’ve been buzzed and honked at and screamed at and flipped off. Worse, you’ve been buzzed and honked at and screamed at and flipped off and had shit thrown at you. Worse, you’ve been buzzed and honked at and screamed at and flipped off and had shit thrown at you and veered into.
“At least I didn’t get hit,” you tell yourself, shaking with terror and rage. “At least I’m still alive.”
You, my friend, are a victim. And not just any old victim. You’re the victim of a crime.
When cyclists and pedestrians are injured in traffic crashes in D.C., there’s a big legal obstacle standing in the way of justice. That obstacle is a legal standard called “contributory negligence.”
Now the City Council is poised to strike down that rule and replace it with the more widely used and fairer “comparative fault” standard, report Tracy Hadden Loh and Tamara Evans at the Washington Area Bicyclists Association. Loh explains how D.C.’s current law prevented her from seeking compensation when she really needed it:
In 2008, a driver in a minivan hit me (Tracy) when I was riding my bike on Connecticut Avenue, fracturing my pelvis in three places. The driver’s insurance company denied my claim because of a law that says if you’re even 1% at fault, you can’t collect anything. The good news? DC is moving to change this.
Currently, DC, Maryland, and Virginia use what’s called a pure contributory negligence standard to decide who pays what damages after a vehicle collision involving someone on bike or foot. I wrote about contributory negligence in 2014, but the basic thing you need to know is that under this standard, if the person is even 1% at fault for a collision, they can’t collect anything from the other party (or parties).
Insurance companies benefit from contributory negligence because it makes it very low risk to deny a claim, since the legal standard a court would apply is so broad.
"Leotta, who was flanked by Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and county police Chief Tom Manger, also criticized what he described as weak penalties for drunken drivers in Maryland."
"Leotta also called out state Del. Joseph Vallario (D-Prince George's County), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who Leotta said has blocked “common sense legislation” to toughen drunken driving laws. "
"Leotta, Manger and local state legislators are pursuing “Noah’s Law” to require repeat offenders to have an ignition interlock system in their vehicles. The system would require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer in order to start their vehicles. Leotta said Vallario’s occupation as a defense attorney, in which he defends individuals charged with drunken driving offenses, is a conflict of interest."
by Stephen Miller, Streets Blog
American cities are beginning to take the lead on requiring side guards on large trucks in municipal fleets. That’s a good first step toward saving lives, but without addressing privately-owned vehicles, city streets will not be safe from trucks that tend to crush people beneath the rear wheels after impact. The federal government continues to drag its feet, however, and without a national mandate, the prospects for meaningful action from Albany look slim.