Thank you for your letter in support of HB 143: Bicycles, Play Vehicles, EPAMDs, and Motor Scooters - Rules of the Road. Unfortunately, the bill has not passed out of the House Environmental Matters Committee. Nevertheless, we are working with Chairman McIntosh and the State Highway Administration to push the policy forward through regulations and other creative methods. For example, we are looking into options such as making the requirements of the bill a non-statutory regulation or pushing the bill again next year as legislation. Because we may get the job done without a bill, I hope you will continue to follow and support this policy in the future. If you have any further comments or questions or please do not hesitate to contact my office again.
Del. Jon S. Cardin
Authorizing the use of specified vehicular crossings under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Transportation Authority by pedestrians and bicycles when authorized by the Chairman of the Maryland Transportation Authority.
The most troubling aspect in this is we really don't know who in the Environmental Matters Committee is not supporting this bill. Wait, what committee is not supporting bicycling?
That's right the Environmental Matters Committee, while Maryland is supporting other more costly green initiatives it is bicycle use, the zero carbon emission transportation that is the scourge of the Environment Matters Committee (EMC). This is going to be the third year in a row that the Environment Matters Committee has given us trouble on a bill of this nature even though past criticisms have been fixed! Enough already!
Kids biking to school - EMC says no, sooty, asthma producing diesel buses are better and a 15-20% increase in morning rush hour traffic of kids being chauffeured is better for the environment then kids on bikes.
Biking to work - EMC says Maryland's bike modal share of about half of the National average is good enough, Having a higher percentage of people who drive single occupancy vehicles is "better" for the environment.
Energy efficiency is often measured in terms of equivalent number of cars off the road, why not get some real cars off the road as well.
Motor vehicle driver's at fault in a crash with a cyclist - EMC says a low 31% at fault drivers is fair, while other states investigated have a near 50:50 who's at fault. This discouraging and anti-cycling bias in Maryland is good for the environment as it gets more people out driving their SUV's and helps keep their insurance rates down.
The increase in mid-block crashes and fatalities for cyclists - EMC says nothing needs to be done about this. In 2006 Maryland had %100 of our cyclists fatalities that were mid-block (29% under 15 years of age,) 52% of all bike/car crashes happen mid-block. It used to be intersections where the most dangerous for cyclists, times have changed and we need laws to reflect that change and the lack of safe passing distance is a contributing factor in mid-block crashes.
Maryland needs to strongly encourage cycling both for the health of the environment and health of its population. Please take the time to respond.
(Note: Statements attributed to EMC are not quotes, only statements about the results of their inaction.)
Support HB 667
SENATE BILL 492 Hearing 2/19 at 1:00 p.m. <a href="http://mlis.state.md.us/2008RS/billfile/SB0492.htm">http://mlis.state.md.us/2008RS/billfile/SB0492.htm</a>
HOUSE BILL 875 Hearing 3/4 at 1:00 p.m. <a href="http://mlis.state.md.us/2008RS/billfile/HB0875.htm">http://mlis.state.md.us/2008RS/billfile/HB0875.htm</a>
Requiring that a driver of a motor vehicle, when overtaking a bicycle, an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD), or a motor scooter, not pass unless the driver can do so safely without endangering the rider; requiring a driver of a motor vehicle to yield the right-of-way to a person who is riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter in a bicycle lane; etc.
The following Delegates need to know of your support of this bill. The hearing is 2/5 1:00 if you want to come and testify in person.
A personal story of unsafe passing would be helpful. And if you have the time use the comment button to post your story or your thoughts about this bill.
Facts: Collision type: The motorist made a right turn and struck the cyclist (4.7% of which 11% were serious or fatal). ... at least 60% of the time, the motorist turned in front of the cyclist ... Bike lanes were involved 8% of the time.
The Most Common Cause of Cycling Fatalities
#3. The motorist was overtaking the bicyclist, cause of the accident unclear.
(D) THE DRIVER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE SHALL YIELD THE RIGHT
I urge you to support Senator Mike Lenett's bill (SB2) banning the use of cell phones by young drivers. Actually the bill is not nearly sufficient. No driver should use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. I have been nearly run over many time by drivers who were talking on cell phones while I was trying to walk across streets at intersections. What is worse, most of the time those drivers had no idea that they nearly killed me!
The following responsible study determined that drivers using cell phones have a four fold greater risk of traffic accidents. Please note that the study found that hands-free devices did not reduce the incidence of accidents.