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Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 01:46 AM UTC


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Unlock Federal Funds in Your Community in 2014: Apply for a Navigating MAP-21 Workshop

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Maryland has accumulated $40 million in unspent federal money that could be spent on bike ped projects. Local key players really need to attend this workshop and get O'Malley to spend this money.]

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Watchdog: Clarifying the road rules for bicyclists

Biking in MarylandBy ALLISON BOURG, Capital Gazette

Problem: Paul Fields of Crownsville started noticing the signs on county roads over the last few months. “Bicyclists may use the full lane,” they say.

Matt Diehl, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel’s Department of Public Works, said the county has installed the signs Fields has noticed on about a dozen roads to remind drivers of what the law is.

Bicyclists have the right to use the entire lane if the lane is too narrow for a bicycle or motor scooter and another vehicle to travel safely side by side. Buck said the state defines that as 13 feet. So if a road, including travel lane and shoulder, is 13 feet or less, a bicycle can take the full lane.

On other roads, bicyclists traveling more than 10 mph under the posted speed limit are considered slow moving vehicles and should stay as far to the right as possible, Buck [spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration] said.

B' Spokes: Confused? We can take the lane but we have to ride as far right as possible??? It is if they want this sign instead:
imagePhoto credit: John Brooking

So let's look at the slow moving vehicle law:
§ 21-301.(b) Special rule for slow-moving traffic. -- On every roadway, except while overtaking and passing another vehicle going in the same direction or when preparing for a lawful left turn, any vehicle going 10 miles an hour or more below the applicable maximum speed limit or, if any existing conditions reasonably require a speed below that of the applicable maximum, at less than the normal speed of traffic under these conditions, shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic...

I will also note that cyclist road position is governed by SUBTITLE 12. OPERATION OF BICYCLES AND PLAY VEHICLES in the Transportation code.
§ 21-1202. Traffic laws apply to bicycles and motor scooters
Every person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter in a public bicycle area has all the rights granted to and is subject to all the duties required of the driver of a vehicle by this title, including the duties set forth in § 21-504 of this title, except:
(1) As otherwise provided in this subtitle; and

See § 21-1205. Riding on roadways or on highway, which Matt Dieh did a good summary of. (That is the bicycle subtitle provides the road position position for cyclists and not the (slow moving) motor vehicle code but they are similar in lane position but not in other things like the slow moving vehicle emblem requirement.)

It's pretty obvious that David Buck has gotten the cycling rules wrong, even more damaging when talking about the “Bicyclists may use the full lane” sign.

And it's not the first time someone at MDOT got the law wrong in total contradiction to the main subject.

So respectfully ask that SHA issue a correction and write:

James Smith <>
David Buck <>
John Kuo <>
Michael E. Jackson <>

And sugjest that it might be a good idea for them to watch this excerpt from the police training video.
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Utilities as Neighbors: PEPCO vs. Transcontinental

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: The major problem with adding bikeways to roads is the limited right-of-way but we have miles and miles of under utilized right-of-way under power lines that would make excellent connections for cyclist. But the utility companies in Maryland have no interest in even allowing accommodations for cyclists This needs to be corrected!!!]

How does a trail benefit a utility company?

  • Paved trails give utilities a free access road for their maintenance trucks.

  • Trail users act like a volunteer security patrol, discouraging illicit activity like vandalism just by their presence.

  • With laws and agreements shielding the utilities from any liability and costs for the trails, there is virtually no down side.

  • "In our 35 years of planning, designing and constructing trails, we have always found the utility companies around here to understand that the trail users constitute unpaid "eyes and ears" to deter vandalism. Further when we design trails we often facilitate their use by the utility companies for maintenance of their lines. With a good trail, restored or replacement bridges and the like, the companies realize their cooperation will save them money." Bob Thomas, Campbell Thomas & Co., Philadelphia PA

With trails providing mutual benefits to both the public and the utility companies, why do some utility companies embrace trails, while other utility companies with identical ROWs oppose them?

Simply put, the main obstacle to building trails along power lines is the attitude of the utility company.

If the utility company sees the public as friends and neighbors, and it wants its ROW to be a positive amenity for the surrounding community, it will find a way to allow trails to be built. It will take full advantage of its state's Recreational Use Statute. It will reach out to local governments looking for opportunities to build trails along the ROWs, and actively negotiate agreements that protect and benefit all sides. Trail inclusion becomes the default condition, instead of being the rare exception.

If the utility company sees the public as a threat, or it just doesn't care about the surrounding community, it will find an endless list of objections to building any trail. Opportunities will be squandered. Sadly, its ROWs will be as attractive as living next to a state prison, with nothing but No Trespassing signs to greet you.

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Maryland a net loser as taxpayers migrate

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: This is why I support bicycling... not many really want to live in a place where you &quot;need&quot; a car to get around. Now add to that getting around by car here is misery. Instead of using anything close to a grid road system there is some rule here that east west roads cannot be longer than a few miles and they idealize lollipop development (too many minor streets close off when they reach a development), too much stress that business cannot share parking lots unless a strip mall and each business &quot;needs&quot; at least two bidirectional driveways but ideally three or four. All this makes for a very unpleasant biking and walking experience as well as an unpleasant driving experience, too many opportunities for conflicting movements. Being overly car centric not only hurts biking and walking it creates driving misery as well.]
Via Maryland Reporter

... with Maryland losing $5.5 billion in taxable income along with 66,000 residents. [Ranking of 43, that's really bad.]

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Frederick, Md., Mayor Begins 2nd Term

Biking in MarylandVia CSN Baltimore

In his first four-year term, McClement heavily promoted biking. His administration created an annual high-wheel bicycle race through the downtown.

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What's it Like to Be a Cyclist on the Road in Maryland?

Biking in Maryland

Via Edgewater Patch
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Maryland Cycling Safety

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: A nice edited version of the police training video so that it's under two minutes.]
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Vehicle Accidents in Maryland Involving Bikes Increase Sharply in Last Five Years

Biking in Maryland by Capital News Service

There were 841 accidents between cars and bikes in Maryland in 2012, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, a 5 percent increase over the 799 bike-car accidents in 2008.

Harford County resident Pam Moore never worried about sharing the road with cars until she was struck by one while riding her bike in August. She lost consciousness and suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, abrasions and a concussion from the accident, she said.

“There was nothing I could do different,” Moore said. “I was following the laws. I was where I was supposed to be.”

In 2012, five people in Maryland died from bike-car crashes and 689 people were injured.

Many motorists do not view bicycles as vehicles that have an equal right to use the road, said Neil Buchness, president of Chesapeake Spokes, a bicycle group in Harford County.

“We’re actually people. We aren’t just something to contend with in the road or go around,” he said. “Give us a little more respect out on the road.”

Buchness said the state needs to ensure motorists know the law.

“I think the biggest thing that will help us is education. Getting it out there. The more people that realize that we are cyclists and we do have a right to the road,” the better, Buchness said.

According to the law, drivers must leave three feet between their car and bicyclists when passing them on the road.

“I think a lot of motorists feel that bicyclists are trespassing on the public roadways and that leads to resentment,” said Michael Jackson, director of bicycle and pedestrian access for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

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Who can get justice for Patricia Cunningham?

Biking in Marylandby Jim Titus, Edgewater Patch

Cyclists from around the state of Maryland were appalled last week when an Anne Arundel County grand jury failed to indict Whitney DeCesaris for negligent homicide in the death of Patricia Cunningham, an Annapolis High School coach who was killed on Riva Road by Ms. DeCesaris's bad driving. The grand jury did indict her for a few traffic offenses such as negligent driving.

Shortly after the crash, I suggested in a Patch blog that the available information strongly suggested that this was negligent homicide (a misdemeanor with a maximum 3-year prison sentence), and urged people to email the State's Attorney. About 600 people did so, and it's clear that her office seriously investigated the possible homicide. I can not say whether the case was well-presented to the grand jury or not. If not, then the prosecutors can try again to get an indictment. The 5th Amendment's prohibition of double jeopardy does not apply to grand jury investigations. If she pleads guilty to one of the traffic offenses, however, the 5th amendment will bar additional prosecution.

A criminal conviction of Ms. DeCesaris, however, is not the only means of achieving at least a modicum of justice. Of course no one can bring Ms. Cunningham back, so any talk about justice is relative. The goals of criminal punishment include retribution, prevention of additional harm, and rehabilitation. Here are a few other options.

Drivers License Suspension.
According to Transportation Article §16-206(5)(i), the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) &quot;may suspend the license of a person who is convicted of a moving violation that contributed to an accident resulting in the death of another person&quot; for up to 6 months.

Fix the Roads

Do Some Soul Searching

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1,287 people died in 2012 crashes in D.C., Va. and Md.

Biking in MarylandBY ASHLEY HALSEY, Washington Post

Here are your closer-to-home numbers:

A total of 1,287 people died in crashes in Maryland, Virginia and the District last year, an increase of 11 over 2011. Of that number, 364 weren’t wearing seat belts, 476 were speeding and 375 of the deaths involved a drunk driver.

Motorcyclists accounted for 166 deaths, pedestrians for 166, and bike riders for 16.

The District had 15 fatalities, down from 27 in 2011. Virginia had 777, up for 764 the previous year. Maryland had 505 deaths, 20 more than in 2011.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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