Established just this past year as a project of the Leadership Anne Arundel Flagship Program, Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (Bike AAA) maintains a three-fold mission: create a healthier, more livable Annapolis and Anne Arundel County by promoting bicycling for transportation, recreation and fitness; advocate for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices, and educate children, adults and motorists about safe bicycling.
Bike AAA members Joe Piette and Matt Jones are league-certified bike safety instructors. “Anne Arundel County has an active outdoor culture but we need more safe places to ride to get more people to ride to work, school, shopping and other destinations,” said Jon Korin, founding president of Bike AAA.
“Government has the plans to implement better infrastructure for cycling, and part of our role is to advocate for faster, smarter implementation. We will also provide bike safety programs to ensure cyclists ride safely,” he explained.
Sadly, there were two cyclist fatalities in Anne Arundel County in 2013, one due to cyclist error and the other caused by driver error. Korin said the cycling community is committed to bringing something positive from these tragedies by promoting safe and legal behavior from both cyclists and drivers.
Jon Korin and his wife Kathy moved to Severna Park two years ago just as he was preparing to retire from the IT industry. One of the reasons they chose to live in Severna Park was the B&A Bike Trail, which he calls an absolute gem. Before moving, Jon and Kathy used to drive from Olney to BWI so they could ride their bikes down the trail into Annapolis.
“It pains me to see that so many recreational cyclists stop at Boulters Way rather than continue into Annapolis,” said Korin. “It’s an example of the importance of safer connections between trails like the B&A and bike lanes like those on Bay Ridge Road in Eastport.”
Bike AAA has four immediate goals - increase safe bicycling through education and improved condition, partner with the City of Annapolis to attain League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Bronze Bike-friendly Community status, provide a forum and stronger voice for bicycling through collaboration among residents, government, businesses, schools, nonprofits, clubs and other groups, and improve bicycling conditions and choices both on and off road.
In 2012, the city of Annapolis applied for the LAB Bronze Bike-friendly status but instead received an honorable mention. One of the deficiencies was that there was no bicycle advocacy group at that time, which is where Korin said Bike AAA comes in. The group is now working with city, county and state officials to promote cycling, improve safe infrastructure for transportation, fitness and recreation, and improve safe behavior among cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.
Some of Bike AAA’s other accomplishments include providing input to the Anne Arundel County Pedestrian/Bike Master Plan, participating at numerous county transportation planning meetings, sending letters to the Maryland Attorney General regarding charges in cycling fatalities, interacting with Healthy Anne Arundel, Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association, Friends of AA County Trails, East Coast Greenway, County Bike Police and other groups, and providing the first bike commuter count for the city of Annapolis.
For more information or to join the group, visit <a href="http://www.bikeaaa.org">http://www.bikeaaa.org</a>. There are a variety of tax-deductible annual membership levels for individuals, families, businesses and other organizations, starting at $10 for students and seniors.
Via <a href="http://www.severnaparkvoicemd.com/community/bicycle-advocates-annapolis-and-anne-arundel-county-now-seeking-members">http://www.severnaparkvoicemd.com/community/bicycle-advocates-annapolis-and-anne-arundel-county-now-seeking-members</a>
Their website: <a href="http://bikeaaa.org/">http://bikeaaa.org/</a>
A cycling advocate had the county executive and much of the room laughing during his testimony. Bill Kelly did get to the point though, he said he has been testifying since 2007 to improve cyclist safety in the county, but nothing has been done.
"The bicycle master plan has been on your desk for two years," said Kelly, "and nothing has been done."
He asked Ulman to put $250,000 in the budget to begin implementing the plan that would add bike lanes and signage around the county.
"Please get that done," said Kelly, "we have virtually no bike lanes in Howard County."
"You made me smile," responded Ulman. "You're going to get some money in the budget."
Last night, the Baltimore County Council passed a Complete Streets resolution that aims to include bicyclists and pedestrians as we build out our transportation system. Councilman Tom Quirk sponsored and I was a cosponsor.
Via Jimmy Wilson SpokesPeople
Crashes between cyclists and drivers are on the rise in Maryland.
By Josh Birch, CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
Accidents between cars and bicyclists in Maryland increased sharply over the last five years, according to a Capital News Service analysis of crash data.
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.
Pam Moore of Bel Air 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.
“You’re going to have people that don’t like cyclists, people who don’t like runners, people who don’t like that because they don’t want to share the road,” Moore said. “I think you have to have stricter laws.”
On a bicycle built just for him, 28-year-old Rob Jones rode into the parking lot of Chapelgate Christian Academy in Marriottsville on Thursday to the cheers of the student body and the family and friends who came to see him.
The former Marine and double amputee, who was born in Columbia and raised in Virginia, is riding across the country to raise money for a trio of charities that help veterans like himself through their challenges — the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, the Semper Fi Fund and Ride 2 Recovery.
A few of the many recent local headlines about bicyclists tell a sad story:
“Annapolis High assistant coach killed after bicycle, van collide in Davidsonville”
“Man hurt in bicycle accident”
“Severn School to honor teacher killed in bicycle accident ”
“Bicyclist struck by car in Arnold released from hospital”
“8-year-old bicyclist struck by car”
And then this rather confounding headline appeared:
“After recent fatalities, safety a concern for Anne Arundel bicyclists”
The story included a paragraph that read: “A recent string of high-profile bicycle fatalities has spotlighted the issue of safety. But despite a growing perception that county trails and roadways are not safe for bicyclists, public officials say the opposite is the truth — and they are working on ways to make these thoroughfares even safer.”
The headline somehow made it seem as if safety only recently became a concern for cyclists. Progress has been very, very slow in coming. I speak as a longtime activist for improving bicycling safety, access, planning and construction who has worked on various committees, and spoken out on the topic for years, decades in fact.
The bottom line is simply that the private automobile is king and woe unto we who brave the roads as we pedal along. I am sick and tired of empty promises, equivocation and foot dragging, so when The Capital reported that “public officials say…they are working on ways to make these thoroughfares even safer,” I had to write this column.
Our lack of progress is unacceptable. Bicyclists deserve more respect and better treatment. As but one example among many of this disrespect, the post office in Edgewater has over 50 parking spaces and not a single bike rack. To incorporate the needs of bicyclists requires planning, design, construction and funding along with proper education and stringent enforcement of laws. Anything less is just spinning our wheels.
FYI, if you ride on Columbia's path system: A man walking on the bike path in the 6300 block of Tamar Drive was struck in the head and robbed by two men who confronted him around noon on Nov. 3. The men confronted the victim, struck him, then threatened to "stick" him again, according to police. Instead the victim gave the two men his wallet, coat and phone. However, the victim was able to grab his phone back and run toward Rainprint Row. Police described the first suspect as a white male, about 30 to 40 years old, with a dark-colored sweat suit with shorts over. The second suspect was described as a white male, about 30 to 40 years old, about 5-foot-8, with a dark colored hooded sweatshirt.