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Thursday, October 19 2017 @ 01:41 AM UTC


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B&O Railroad Museum Ellicott City, Maryland

Biking in the Metro AreaHow many of these sites have you biked to? Now you can learn a bit of the history behind them.
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MTA’s Guaranteed Ride Home Program Expands to Harford County, Giving Peace of Mind to Commuters

Biking in the Metro Area...
With new funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Guaranteed Ride Home, previously available to workers in the Washington, D.C. region has been expanded to the Baltimore region and St. Mary’s County. Workers in counties included in the program who commute by mass transit, van pool, car pool, bicycle or walking are eligible for a free ride home in the event of an emergency. Expansion of the program to Anne Arundel and Harford counties means thousands of workers relocating to Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground through the Base Realignment and Closure process will be eligible for the benefit.

Guaranteed Ride Home provides regular commuters with a free ride home in the event of a mid-day emergency. “One of the main reasons people do not take mass transit or join carpools is because they’re worried about getting home quickly when family members get sick or there is a personal emergency,” said Pat Fielder, Harford County Rideshare Coordinator. “We have heard this concern from BRAC workers, and are delighted that the State of Maryland has stepped up to help by extending the Guaranteed Ride Home Program to Harford County commuters who use mass transit cars and vanpools to get to work,” she added.
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Glen Burnie bicyclist critical after being hit by car

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: I hope this tragedy will remind cyclists to treat intersections with more caution and care. ]
via Baltimore Sun

A 21-year-old Glen Burnie man who rode his bicycle through a red light into busy Crain Highway traffic Friday night was in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on Saturday.

Anne Arundel County police said Robert James Scherer rode a bicycle through a red light and into Crain Highway at about 10 p.m. Friday. He entered the intersection with Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Route 648, and was hit by a northbound 2009 Toyota Camry driven by Ruth Henrietta Mims, 79, of Linthicum.

Police said Scherer rode into Mims' path, and she could not avoid the collision. She was not injured.
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Summary of public (bike) comments and BRTB Response: Revised Plan It 2035 Goals & Strategies (October 2010)

Biking in the Metro Area4 Add a new strategy: “Do not compromise pedestrian and bicycle safety for the convenience of motorized vehicles.”
Response: The intent of this strategy is addressed by two existing proposed strategies: (1) “Invest in cost-effective safety improvements to eliminate hazardous or substandard conditions in high crash locations and corridors (all modes)” and (2) “Improve conditions to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to interact more safely with users of other transportation modes.”
[B' Spokes response: State law basically says do no harm to existing bicycling conditions, that's something that is not always done in the counties with road projects, so something is missing from the strategies.]

5 Add text to this strategy: “Improve conditions to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to interact more safely with users of other transportation modes. Provide specific accommodation for bicycles and pedestrians on all road improvement projects.”
Response: The Federal Highway Administration has a policy recommending that all roadway projects routinely provide safe, accessible accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. The exceptions are interstate highways or other roadways where specific safety-related or topographic conditions preclude these accommodations. All agencies and jurisdictions receiving federal funding for transportation projects adhere to this policy. In addition, the Maryland State Highway Administration has its own policy addressing this issue.
[B' Spokes response: Not all road projects are Federally funded so that bit lacks teeth. SHA's policy is no funding for on-road bike accommodations unless part of a trail. So again we have not all that it could be.]

12 Add a strategy: “Create walkable environments.”
Response: This recommendation is consistent with several proposed strategies. For example, under the Safety goal: “Improve conditions to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to interact more safely with users of other transportation modes.” Under Accessibility: (1) “Increase transportation alternatives in all modes for all segments of the population,” (2) “Provide strong funding commitment for building both pedestrian and bicycle facilities that establish linkages among activity centers and provide access to public transit,” and (3) “Improve system connectivity and continuity among all modes. . . .” Also, under the Environment goal: “Enhance the quality of human health by providing multimodal transportation infrastructure and services that support active living and physical activity. . . .”
[B' Spokes response: Strong funding commitment??? [Cough, cough.] OK SHA has been demonstrating throwing money at bike/ped issues (while our pedestrian fatality ranking keeps getting worse and worse) but what about those non-numbered roads that belong to the counties? Someone really should do a study to find out what the problems are... oh wait, someone did, and not just anyone but a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis, Institute of Transportation Studies and they show a lack of a funding commitment. Again we have not all that it could be.]

18 Add text to this strategy: “Sustain and balance capacity in the highway, transit, and rail systems and pedestrian and bicycle networks among urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Response: This strategy is intended to provide a balanced system with respect to capacity throughout the region to the greatest extent possible. However, funding constraints and local preferences may preclude providing choices in all modes in all geographic areas.
[B' Spokes response: Funding constraints that have left over $30M unspent in TE funds alone. Seriously? I wish I had those kind of financial constraints. We have a big problem here that the lower levels of Government are afraid to request changes and the upper levels are like "Nobody is complaining so it must be working."

I lost interest in being involved at this level because all that was done was to white wash the status quo. I don't know about you but I think the status quo is not very bike/ped friendly, yes there have been exceptions, especially in Baltimore City but is the Metro area bike/ped funding result driven? Are there more roads with a BLOS C or better? (Metric for being bike friendly.) Have pedestrian fatalities been going down? How's that Federally mandated bike network coming along? Oh, little to no change since 2001. Seriously, how do we get out of this same old, same old?

Action Plan 2001 defines the vision, goals, and milestones for bicycling and walking in the Baltimore region. The regional plan outlines ten milestones for which the BMC and the BRTB Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group were to ―prepare a yearly report card or status report tracking the achievement of these milestones and performance measures.These performance measures have neither been implemented nor tracked.
In addition to limited resources at the regional level, a lack of institutional support at the state level has hampered the Baltimore region‘s ability to use federal dollars on bike/ped projects. The region is unable to overcome restrictive state requirements, including the high local match required for Transportation Enhancements projects, (50% compared to Sacramento‘s 11.47%.), and modeling and air quality calculation tools that do not allow recognition of the benefits of non-motorized projects.
Planning documents in Baltimore express ambitious bicycle and pedestrian goals, but funding programs have not been adjusted to reflect this. As a result, funding tends to flow to traditional highway projects in Baltimore.

On one hand, BRTB hands are tied by State Policy but still I would like to see some effort to achieve the state of the art or at least come close to what other States are doing. If you want to see a change write Terry Freeland, and at least have BRTB make a request to MBPAC to follow recomned funding policies for bike/ped projects. We need something better then what BRTB has done to date.]
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SHA to close part of Falls Road this weekend

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: Cyclists might expect extra traffic on the side roads during this.]
from Getting There by Michael Dresser

The State Highway Administration will close a section of Fallls Road in Butler this weekend to repair pipes under the pavement.

The road wil be closed to all traffic between Butler Road and Black Rock Road between 8 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday. It will be closed to all but local traffic between a point south of Stringtown Road and to north of the Butler Volunteer Fire Department. At some points, motorists will not be able to cross Falls Road and will have to use the detours. Detours will be in place. If rain is expected, the work could be postponed until the following weekend.
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Earth to north county: Bikes aren't going away

Biking in the Metro Areafrom Getting There by Michael Dresser

It never fails. If the Getting There Monday column deals with bicycles, it inevitably inspires emails lamenting the fact that bicyclists have the gall to actually use the roads. For some reason, it seems that about 99 percent of these messages emanate from northern Baltimore County, where the peculiar notion has taken hold that the roads are for the use of motor vehicles only.

There's one little flaw with this premise: It's not true. From the time Maryland roads were first paved, they have been open to bicycles, farm equipment, buggies and all manner of slow-moving vehicles (except for interstates and a limited number of other limited-access highways).

The variation I hear most on this theme is that bicyclists should not be permitted to use narrow roads without shoulders. Why? Because motorists have to slow down and are dreadfully inconvenienced.

Here's one that came in today:

"Bicyclists should not be allowed to bike on a road that does not have a bike path or shoulder to the road. In Sparks, we have to be on the alert at all times for deer on the road, and there have been innumerable accidents when the deer and a car can't both fit on the road. The deer don't know any better - the bicyclists do. Bicyclists should be limited to bike paths."

I'm sure there isn't a bicyclist in Maryland who wouldn't love to have a wide, debris-free shoulder or parallel bike path along every country road in the state. But it's not going to happen. The cost would be enormous. In many cases these are low-traffic roads where there is no need to add pavement just so a few impatient drivers never experience a delay. Sure, when a road is rebuilt, it makes sense to add a bicycle lane, but retrofitting the entire highway system is a non-starter.

The same correspondent wrote that bikes should be banned from the roads because they surprise her when she comes around a curve or over a hill. Sorry, but drivers are expected to cope with life's little surprises -- not that the presence of a bicycle in Baltimore County is exactly headline news. If a driver is startled by the sight of a bicyclist riding along the road in a legal manner, chances are the driver is going to fast for road conditions. It's not the bicyclist's fault that the driver is surprised.

Sharing the road with bicyclists is a basic driving skill and a legal duty for motorists. People who can't cope with that reality shouldn't be driving. Because bicycles aren't going away. It's a fantasy. You might as well propose banning rain on weekends.

One of the better things about this country is that it's very difficult to take rights away from people. They have a way of fighting back.

So for all those people who harbor the fantasy that bicycles can be banned from their local roads, here's a suggestion: Contact your local legislator and ask that person to introduce a bill curtailing the rights of bicyclists to use whichever class of roads you are tired of sharing.

If you find a politician foolish enough to put in such a bill, head down to Annapolis and sign up to testify at the hearing. It would be great theater, but you'd better get an early start because the capital city would be choked with bikes. Annapolis would be a sea of Spandex. The committee room would be overflowing with irate bicyclists reminding lawmakers thet they pay taxes too. You might even get a chance to meet Lance Armstrong.

Or those folks in the north county could just get a grip, slow down a little and pass bicyclists with care. It's a beautiful part of Maryland, and folks on two wheels have a right to enjoy it too.
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How Does Federal Funding Impact Infrastructure for Biking and Walking?

Biking in the Metro AreaBy The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

State policy—on suballocation and matching funds—plays a role in spending on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in metropolitan regions.
For most federal transportation funding programs, states receive the majority of the money and decide how to spend it. The federal government recommends suballocation, allowing metropolitan planning organizations to directly control funding for transportation enhancements and congestion mitigation and air-quality programs, rather than having to apply to the state. However, many states do not do this. [Like Maryland]
Maryland, for example, requires local governments to provide a 50 percent match, making it more difficult for them to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects. In California and Florida, the state provides the required match.
In Baltimore and Sacramento, spending on infrastructure resulted in a small although statistically significant positive effect on bicycling and walking.
— In Baltimore:
● Bicycling: Trails and improvements to the appearance of the street were modestly related to an increase in bicycling.
● Walking: Improvements to the appearance of the street were related to increased walking, but trail and sidewalk projects were not.
— In Sacramento:
● Bicycling: Bike lane projects were associated with an increase in bicycling, but trail projects were not.
[I'll note that Baltimore is now seeing this with it's bike lanes but the State is still over stressing trails over on-road accommodations.]

● Walking: The limited data did not show any association between trail or sidewalk improvement and walking.
● Sacramento used about $5.5 million more of its federal funding on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure than did Baltimore:
— Sacramento spent 95 cents per resident and used about 2.4 percent of its federal transportation funding on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
— Baltimore spent 59 cents per resident and used 1 percent of its federal transportation funding on bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
● The case studies show that support from local governments and advocacy groups is a key driver of metropolitan planning organization–level support for bicycle and pedestrian investments. State policy also plays a role in encouraging and supporting bicycle and pedestrian spending at the regional level, both directly and through its influence on local governments. Other unique regional factors also have influenced spending.
The research team reported the following recommendations for federal policy-makers in the report The Regional Response to Federal Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects:
● Pass more funding directly to metropolitan planning organizations rather than routing it through the states, thereby reducing the effect of differences in suballocation.
● Design funding programs to achieve specific outcomes and develop outcome-oriented measures of success, or encourage states and regions to create their own programs that tie funding more tightly to local planning goals.
● Provide more tools to state and local governments to help bicycling and walking projects meet eligibility requirements such as demonstrated emissions reductions.

[Yo Maryland, read this: vvvvvv]
● Prohibit states from requiring more than the federally specified local match.

● Introduce more requirements for institutionalized non-motorized transportation planning to improve the ability of metropolitan planning organizations to meet their goals for bicycling and walking.
● Continue to emphasize public involvement in the planning process to ensure opportunities for local advocates to shed light on bicycling and pedestrian needs.
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Some great news from the MTA

Biking in the Metro Area




A personal illness, family emergency or unscheduled overtime can happen without warning while you’re at work. The Greater Baltimore/Washington Region Guaranteed Ride Home Program provides a free ride home for registered commuters who ride in a carpool or vanpool, take transit, bike or walk to work at least twice a week.


In the event of an unexpected emergency or unscheduled overtime, Guaranteed Ride Home will arrange for a free taxi ride, a free transit ride, or even a free rental car up to four times each year to get you home.


The program is free. The rides home are free. Sign-up is easy. Call 800-745-RIDE (7433) for information or sign-up at

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Cyclist hit on Folly Quarter

Biking in the Metro AreaFrom Bicycling Advocates of Howard County

I checked with our Howard County police liaison Captain John McKissick who provided some additional information on this hit and run:

I am happy to report that we (The HCPD) were able to identify the driver in this case. He actually went home after striking the rider, called his Mother, who called us. Our Officers conducted a thorough investigation and arrested the driver. He was issued appropriate citations for the offense. The Rider was provided with all information that he will need reference insurance, registration, etc. Evidence was collected, photos taken and written statements obtained. This was a very unfortunate situation and we are very happy that the Rider is on the mend.

I agree!!! A cell phone and a Road ID <a href=""></a>; ( My Family bought me one this summer) are a must while riding anywhere. Even more important if you ride alone…


Captain John McKissick
Special Operations Bureau
Howard County Department of Police
Hi guys,

I just wanted to let you know that my cyclist friend (who is an avid and experienced cyclist) was involved in a hit and run on Folly Quarter at Carroll Mill Rd on Sept 11th at 3:30pm - in the afternoon in broad daylight.

He was going south towards the traffic circle and was hit from behind by a car that fled the scene. Thank God someone witnessed the accident from pretty far back and that person happened to be a Shock Trauma DR! He was ripped from his shoes and his carbon fiber bike broke in 3 locations! Luckily, he is okay and is recovering at home with some breaks and a concussion. His helmet did crack, though it did save him.

His wife asked me to alert my friends in cycling clubs to be extra careful on folly quarter and to please wear a road id. It was because of the road id on his wrist that they were able to contact her immediately. She was on the ride with him and he had taken a longer route and were about to meet up. Luckily she had her cell phone in her jersey and was able to get the call. So cell phones and road ids!

Be safe out there! I know I will now be ordering that Road ID as if I didn't already have reason enough.
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Bike accident

Biking in the Metro AreaFrom Bicycling Advocates of Howard County

I got run off the road / run over by an SUV yesterday, the driver of which really and truly believed she had the right of way. I was riding on route 216 East in Fulton early this afternoon when the SUV passed me from behind, then turned right into the gas station, passing directly in front of me. She could not have been more than 8 feet in front of me when she made the turn, so I had no choice but to do my best to brake without skidding and turn sharply with her. Well, it was too fast and too sharp for me to be able to stay upright on the inside of her turn, so the bike and I went down, and the bike slid under her rear wheel. Thankfully that stopped the bike (with me attached) from sliding further under her vehicle. The poor rear wheel is taco-ed! Handlebars are a mess, derailleur still to be checked out, etc. My brand new bike helmet is already cracked from hitting the pavement.

There was a vehicle that passed me just before she did, and that car had his brake lights on, so I got out of the aero bars and onto the brakes when I thought he might turn. He didn’t, and I’m glad I was already on the brakes when this next driver cut me off, or it would have been worse.

The most upsetting part of the whole thing was how she was yelling at me for not stopping when she made the turn – she really and truly believed that she had the right of way. Her teenaged daughter was rather foul-mouthed as well, giving me the finger and dropping the c-bomb, and I must admit I lost my temper! Unfortunately, I did not leave them with a very good impression of bicyclists, as surely she will remember my reaction more than she will remember the fact that my bike was under her vehicle after she cut me off.

I did call 911 right away, because it was immediately apparent that she wasn’t going to believe me that she was at fault, and I thought the cops would make more of an impression. HoCo emergency responders are simply awesome! The ambulance and fire truck were there in just a couple minutes – and I apologized to them, because I really only called 911 for a cop to come give this idiot a ticket. They didn’t mind, though, as a couple of them were cyclists so ooh-ed and aah-ed over the bike, others learned about Road ID (they’d never seen one before), and they chatted with the witnesses, one of whom was a retired EMT and also took good care of my road rash. The cops weren’t too far behind, and they were wonderful as well. They did ticket the woman, and indicated a huge amount of support for cyclists, and intolerance for drivers who don’t share the road. I did thank them for all their support at the local triathlons!

So what are today’s lessons? First and foremost, I need to be better at keeping my temper – it’s far more important that bad drivers learn the rules of the road, instead of learn that cyclists are rude. I didn’t help that cause today, I’m sorry to say. Also, I’m really glad I was already up out of the aero bars and on the brakes – it is much safer to ride as if you might have an accident, than to ride as if invincible. It might not make a difference, given the circumstances...but then again, it might. Bike handling skills are also key! Knowing how much the bike can safely turn at different speeds, and knowing how to handle quick stops, are critical. Today was my first ride in aero bars, so while I’m pleased that I made as much of the turn as I did before going down, I wonder if I could have stayed up if I knew the bike better.

Finally, and probably most importantly, the driver got ticketed because the police officers were educated, in large part due to the continued efforts of Bicycling Advocates of Howard County. If she wasn’t ticketed, she would have left the situation still believing she had the right of way. I plan to be at the forum next Monday night, the 18th. It’s really important that our voices be heard, to help improve safety on the roads for cyclists.

My bike – my brand-new tri bike, my birthday present, is at the bike shop. They’re giving her a solid checking-over and writing an estimate for the driver’s insurance company. Yesterday’s ride was her maiden voyage, and I only hope the rest of her life is easier!

Ride safe and ride smart out there,


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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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