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Traffic Safety is NO Laughing Matter.

[B' Spokes: Filed under "News you will not see in Maryland" as our approach to pedestrian safety is ticket jaywalkers while not doing anything to make sure crossing at a crosswalk is safe. Seriously, if very few drivers stop where they are legally required to do before making a right-on-red what makes using a crosswalk safe?]
Via Philly's Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities

This morning 7 clowns stood guard at the corner of 15th and JFK.  The clowns were on a mission: to make sure that Philadelphia drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists obeyed traffic laws. The clowns specifically targeted distracted drivers and walkers; drivers not wearing their seat belts; drivers and bicyclists impeding crosswalks; bicyclists on the sidewalk; pedestrians crossing against the light and pedestrians failing to obey no crossing signs at Dilworth Plaza construction site.

Clowning around

This April Fools’ Day celebration was a unique pro-bono partnership with the Pig Iron’s School for Advanced Performance Training, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and other Philadelphia based thespians and reminded drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to not act like fools any day of the year.

Each year about three dozen pedestrians lose their lives after being struck by cars, trucks and busses. On average, every five hours a pedestrian is sent to the hospital after being hit by a vehicle. Distracted driving and walking, running red lights in cars or on bike, jaywalking and sidewalk bike riding are no laughing matter. Better engineering, stricter enforcement and more engaging education are all parts of the solution to reducing deaths and injuries on our roads.

worshipping the traffic gods

Philadelphians laughed along with the traffic clowns.  However traffic safety is no laughing matter: Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler noted, “The financial toll of these fatalities and accidents is in the hundreds of millions each year, but the personal toll is incalculable. We need to constantly find ways to engage the public on traffic safety issues, as safety must be our top priority. This April Fools’ Day program is great opportunity to build on the nearly one thousand Drive Right, Ride Right, Walk Right ads being seen on busses, subways and transit shelters across the city this spring.”

Rina and the mimes 3.2

If you are interested in watching the clowns in action, check out Newsworks’s video coverage from this morning.

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Undercover bike officers target unsafe drivers

[B' Spokes: Yup, you guessed it, we will probably not have anything like this here, so filed under "News you will not see in Maryland. It really saddens me when we passed the three foot law we were hoping for something like this but instead we got MDOT saying in essence "Whenever you cannot safely pass a cyclist you can unsafely pass.", We need something better then this!]
by: Lauren Lea, WOAI

SAN ANTONIO - Undercover officers are targeting unsafe drivers in a sting operation, to enforce the city's "Safe Passing" ordinance.

"It's a scary thing because they have this vehicle that's $2,000 pounds and I'm on this 20-30 pound bike. My life is in their hands," Officer Roger Zuniga said.

The next cyclists you see could be undercover officers because they plan to continue this sting over the next several months. Officers say they want to educate the public and keep cyclists, and other road users, safe. If you're ticketed, you could have to pay up to a $200 fine.

<a href="http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/Undercover-bike-officers-target-unsafe-drivers/UED1eeJUBEC_Id1LBbXAAw.cspx">http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/Undercover-bike-officers-target-unsafe-drivers/UED1eeJUBEC_Id1LBbXAAw.cspx</a>;
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In contrast to what's happening in Maryland

Via Slow Twitch

Today on a ride in Tucson Arizona my Jamis-Hagens Berman pro cycling team was intentionally assaulted by a man in a car. He came by our our group screaming obscenities like &quot;Fucking cyclists get of the road&quot; etc. He then came to the front of the group, got extremely close and THEN rammed the front left rider causing him and Tyler Wren to crash (the rider who made contact with the car is Todd Herriott of Sports Performance in Seattle). The driver then sped off from the scene, not even putting on his brake lights for a second. Luckily neither Todd or Tyler were seriously injured but they did get banged up, got some road rash, and Todd destroyed the saddle on his brand new Jamis Xenith SL.

Our director, Sebastian Alexandre, was up the road and after a quick phone call was able to intercept the car and our photographer, John Segesta, was able to get a photo of the car's plates. I called 911 and the Tucson Police arrived about 15-20 minutes later. The police took statements from every rider, got descriptions of the man, and sent detectives to his house. At the mans house detectives found the car had been washed just after the accident but still had a prominent scratch on the passenger side door. The man admitted to yelling at our group but not to hitting Todd, even accidentally.

In short, the guy is spending today in jail and is being charged by the Tucson City Prosecutor with class 3 felony Aggravated Assault (the same as if he had used a bat or gun). Apparently Tucson did not like the idea of their reputation for being a great cycling town tarnished when they saw the report of this incident on Cyclingnews.com. The gentleman in the car is looking at up to 15 years in prison and a serious criminal record.

Hopefully he will not be able to plead down his charges and this will be a serious wake up call to drivers that pull this shit. He must have been insane thinking that he could hit someone in front of 15+ witnesses and get away with it.

<a href="http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/Dirt_bag_picked_the_wrong_cyclists_P4440220/">http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/Dirt_bag_picked_the_wrong_cyclists_P4440220/</a>;
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External Airbags Designed to Save Cyclists, Pedestrians


In the Netherlands, where bicycles are ubiquitous, approximately 200 cyclists (and 70 pedestrians) are killed each year after being struck by a car. If a car is going faster than 25 mph – the average speed of an accident in the Netherlands – a collision with a bicyclist is usually fatal, and helmets don’t help much during an impact of 12 mph or greater.

TNO looked at every detail of a cycle crash, specifically at the impact points at a vehicle’s front end, concluding that automatic braking and external airbags positions at the bottom of the windshield would reduce the severity of crashes dramatically.

The 2013 V40 already has this feature, but the technology won’t be making its way across the Atlantic.

<a href="http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/02/external-airbags/">http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/02/external-airbags/</a>;
[B' Spokes: Too many times American &quot;safety&quot; philosophy impresses me as so self-centered as if they were saying &quot;We need to prevent people from committing suicide when driving but if they want to commit murder that's OK.&quot;]
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Loop detectors

By Keri, Commute Orlando

&quot;In my travels around the country, I’ve listened to a lot of advocates complain that their city and county engineers keep giving them reasons why they can’t make loops sensitive enough to pick up bicyclists. It always makes me feel grateful for what we have, not just in Orlando, but metro-wide. Not only are the cities and counties receptive to ensuring we are detected, we have a great asset with Metroplan. We don’t have to know whose jurisdiction a signal is in, all we have to do is put the intersection on the form and Mighk delivers the request to the right people.&quot;

<a href="http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2013/02/15/who-ya-gonna-call/">http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2013/02/15/who-ya-gonna-call/</a>;
[B' Spokes: No doubt there are traffic engineers in Maryland who think loop detectors simply cannot detect a bicycle or they can't adjust the sensitivity because of the dreaded &quot;false positive&quot; and that must be avoided at all costs.

You have to love traffic engineers in the way they can obfuscate an issue with techno babble, so what does &quot;false positive&quot; mean anyway? Well it means the detector *might* just think there is a vehicle there waiting for a light to change when there is none. Oh the horrors! So you can see why it would be better to adopt a procedure that would yield more &quot;false negatives&quot; then &quot;false positives.&quot;

Wait, what? It's better to ignore motorcyclists and cyclists and have them run red lights then to have a light that *might* occasionally go off when there is no one there? To further explain, when traffic volume are high and the light is constantly going though it's cycles, there is no problem but when traffic is light then then there is a big problem with a light that *might* change??? I don't get it.

The point here is that loop detectors CAN and SHOULD BE adjusted to detect bikes, if they can do it in Orlando, we can do it here.

P.S. Where to place the wheels for optimum detection

There are two basic types of loop detectors that you can generally see from the saw cuts in the roadway to put them in. One is just a basic rectangle and the other is a rectangle with a seam down the center. With the one with the seam down the center it is best to have the wheels directly over the seam (yes they do detect aluminum rims but not carbon fiber rims.) With the ones that are basic rectangles it's best to have your rims just to the inside of one of the outer cuts (left or right.) If they are adjusted right, you well be detected.]
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Take the Time to Say Thank You

bikepeacenyc has a lot of nice things to say about police giving motorists verbal warnings about cyclists rights... If only this could be in Maryland.

<a href="http://bikepeacenyc.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/take-the-time-to-say-thank-you/">http://bikepeacenyc.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/take-the-time-to-say-thank-you/</a>;
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New Code Gives Cyclists a Chance to Fight Harassment

By Emily Henry, Patch

Next month, the city plans to add a new chapter to Berkeley's Municipal Code prohibiting the harassment of bicyclists &quot;because of, in whole or in part, the bicyclist’s status as a bicyclist.&quot; Violators could face a civil lawsuit, be liable for damages and end up paying court fees.

The purpose of the new code is to encourage more lawyers to take on cases of harassment against cyclists, according to Councilmember Kriss Worthington. Worthington introduced the ordinance in September last year and said he was inspired to do so after hearing from bicyclists that it was near impossible to find lawyers willing to help with cyclist harassment cases, since there was little guarantee of a win.

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Please Sir, can we have this here?

imagePhoto credit: Jim Parsons

While I appreciate the efforts to have bike "safe" grates so no one seriously injures themselves but still drains not level with the road surface or poor pavement quality around the drain (almost always happens in a short time span) really cannot be called bike friendly, so hazard markings like shown and described in AASHTO should be applied. But sadly I know of no place in Maryland were such a treatment can be found, what's up with that anyway?

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