Check out this great video from NHTSA and learn what you can do to enhance the roads for all user's.
As a representative of Bike Maryland, Bike Minded coordinator Katie Gore attended a December 17th public meeting in Towson Maryland, to unveil the proposed Towson bike route. Please see link below:
District Councilman David Marks, a long- standing bicycle champion, stated that we need to "thoughtfully accommodate bicyclist along with motorist". Bike Maryland supports the Towson Beltway proposal and knows that it is a huge step in a positive direction to make one of the highest traffic sections of the county bike friendly.
At the meeting, residents voiced their concerns regarding fast moving traffic, decreasing lane space for cars and parking, as well as, the importance of safety for cyclists. Bike Maryland will actively promote cycling in Towson by holding free commuter workshops in the area to educate both the motorist and cyclist on all aspects of sharing the road. We think this is an amazing opportunity for the colleges and the community. 2013 is going to be an exciting year for cyclists!... Stay tuned.
LCI Seminar Flicks on Helmet Headlamps
The League Certification Instructor (LCI) seminar was a sleeper.
And when I say this, I don't mean we nine students were snoozing during the three days of classroom and on-the-bike drills while learning to become certified League of American Bicyclist instructors Learn about the League. I mean, the Bike Maryland-hosted workshop actually grew in popularity with the passing of the hours, and it became a surprise hit.
Each of our helmet light bulbs eventually flicked on.
The main reason: our instructor Jennifer Laurita was one of the most effective teachers my decades old, over-educated past can recall. Not only did Jenni drive down Hurricane Sandy-battered roadways for our benefit, but she kept it upbeat all weekend in the huge but chilly Baltimore City Fireman’s training facility (thanks Julie at CPAT!).
Oh yeah, and Jenni obviously knew her stuff.
Having been a cyclist for over 20 years (most as a professional racer), and coaching for 16 of those 20, I thought I knew it all. But evidently I was wrong! I was humbled when I realized just because I can ride a bike, it doesn't mean I can effectively teach the League of American Bicyclist principles or the rules of the road or the importance of wearing a helmet to every eager cyclist that comes along.
Sure, I could beat this instructor in a sprint (which I did at one point, whether or not she would agree), and I could illegally hop over the meticulously placed cones during our controlled cornering drills. But Jenni can smoke me when it comes down to conveying to an audience the “Need to Knows”, and in entertaining fashion.
I thought we could teach our bicycle “ABC Quick Check” by droning with a bi-colored powerpoint. But instead, we learned we should engage our future audiences with creative dialogue, sing-a-longs or track-stands on the desk.
We did a bit of sitting over the weekend, but were able to spin around a few times outside on actual bikes (even at night with lights on our helmets), bringing much needed blood flow back from the bottom to the top.
By the way, we all passed.. so go to Bike Maryland and organize your commuter or youth safety workshop with “League Certified Instructors”!
Here is the list of freshly certified instructors and contacts:
Carl Peterson <email@example.com>
Chris Merriam <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chris Tsien <email@example.com>
Joe Piette <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kathleen Gore <email@example.com>
Kathy Rosen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Maria De Rijk <email@example.com>
Marla Streb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hamzat Sani <email@example.com>
f you live in an urban city, your daily commute is most likely accompanied by pedestrians, skaters and bikers all traveling in directions creating the bustling energy of city life.
Drivers and bikers can clash as communication and awareness of the laws and road courtesies become skewed in the mix of "he said, she said." Like it or not, bikers aren't going anywhere.
According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, in 2009 the American bike industry sold 5.6 billion in bicycles. In fact, three times as many new bicycles are sold in the US each year than cars. Cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are growing their local bike culture making it safer and easier for people to make their commute by bike. As it saves families money and reduces the amount of pollution and traffic in big cities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in 2008 that 47 percent of Americans said they want more bike facilities in their communities.
As biking dominates as a popular commute, as a driver it's best to take a proactive approach and learn about simple ways to reduce your chances of bicycle collision.
The cardinal rule to interacting with bikers on the road is that it's better to be safe than sorry. In the unfortunate event of an accident you will probably be at fault and may be looking at a license suspension or even the loss of auto insurance coverage. When in doubt, it's best to be cautious and defensive. Have the same state of mine approaching cyclists as you do pedestrians. You wouldn't try to beat a street walker to a turn, right? One wrong move can be fatal to a cyclist. Have patience and give them a few extra seconds to pass or make a turn.
Respect for Drivers and Bikers
Leave bike lanes for bikers, don't treat them as parking spots. Some cities like, Seattle, block bike lanes off with physical cement dividers, Traffic Bollards or by painting lines and symbols on the streets. Sometimes bikers are forced to stray outside of their designated lanes due to hazardous road blocks like debris, pot holes or drainage. These may not seem like something drivers would be concerned about but these small things can be dangerous to urban bikers.
Understand and Be Aware
It's important for drivers to understand that in urban cities, Bikers are Part of Traffic Flow, not separate from it. They should be treated as an equal on the road but approached with patience and an understanding that they are much more fragile and a wrong turn for them can make a much more severe impact than a wrong turn for a driver.
When you are parking in a designated roadside parking space beware of bikers passing by. Bikers getting "doored" by drivers is a common hazard when an unsuspecting biker collides with a an open car door. Drivers should look for bikers before opening their doors, as bikers may not always be able to see a driver in the vehicle, or be aware that the driver is about to open the door.
The Annapolis Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Workshop pulled together a diverse crowd of concerned citizens, bicycle advocates, transportation specialists, engineers, and state officials this past Wednesday, July 11th at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center. Working closely with the Annapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, Iain Banks and the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Maryland put together the workshop in an effort to help the City of Annapolis work toward their goal of becoming a BFC after receiving an honorable mention during the last award cycle.
Bill Nesper of the League of American Bicyclists and Anna Kelso of Bike Maryland opened the workshop with a presentation on the League's BFC program providing background information on BFC criteria and examples of effective applications of this criteria in communities across the country. Anna and Bill also provided feedback from the Annapolis BFC application submitted early in the year, calling attention to very specific key opportunities for improvements in the community.
We were also very grateful to have with us MaryLynn Hinde, Chair of Frederick's Ad Hoc Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), who presented on Frederick's BAC highlighting how they were formed , what they have done since they were formed, and how these efforts resulted in Frederick's recent bronze level BFC award. Many thanks to MaryLynn for coming to Annapolis!
After a brief pizza break, we reconvened to begin brainstorming on specific things Annapolis can do to become more bicycle friendly according to the League's Five E criteria (Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning. From this session we compiled a list of action items to be accomplished in the short and long term. Bike Maryland will continue to work closely with workshop attendees in an effort to finalize a formal action plan and continue working towards a more bicycle friendly Annapolis.
With over 60 people present at last night's Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Workshop in Salisbury, MD, the event brought together a wide array of stakeholders from the community as well as the surrounding areas. Those in attendance represented local businesses (both large and small), Salisbury University, local and state government (thanks for making the trip Michael Jackson!), as well as several bike and environmental organizations. We were especially honored to have Mayor Jim Ireton with us. His opening words of support and encouragement set the tone for a productive evening of bicycle advocacy.
The workshop is the result of a combined effort from Bike Maryland, the League of American Bicyclists, and bike-SBY. Together the three bicycle organizations worked to put together an evening aimed at educating the public on the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community Program, identifying key priority areas in need of improvement in the community, and putting together an action plan as the community puts the BFC process into motion.
Salisbury is certainly not in need of energetic citizens dedicated to making tangible improvements in the community. At the close of the evening workshop participants put together a hefty list of action items to tackle in the long and short term. Bike-SBY founder, Matt Drew, is the spearhead behind the movement in Salisbury and with his leadership we are confident the City will soon become Maryland's next BFC. Please follow developments in Salisbury at bike-SBY!!!
Many thanks to Tri Townsend of Common Grounds for providing his delectable pastries and beverages!
Is that a question?
Everyone’s got an opinion about cycling and helmets. Most folks that live in the United States agree that wearing a helmet during your ride is not a terrible idea.
But there is also the side that swears the brain bucket is unnecessary, once the kid turns 17 of course when it’s no longer mandatory in Maryland. And I’ve seen the gangs of under 17 year olds wheelying down the street sin casco, all the more free ‘cause of it.
Just the other day at Downtown Partnership’s bike happy hour, a guy from Amsterdam boasted how NO ONE in his homeland considers donning a helmet as they’re swinging a leg over their steed on the way to work, school, or play (which they do, a lot).
He went on to say that helmets are not as important there, because motorists are not only aware of cyclists, but the motorists ARE cyclists, that happen to be driving a car at that moment. They actually (gasp!) respect cyclists and pedestrians, and therefore yield to them accordingly. Oh, and they have bike lanes there with bike signals, and infrastructure and stuff.
Another woman at that same event insisted that the act of not wearing a helmet basically meant that a) you do not love yourself, b) you do not love your family, and/or c) you indeed love your family, but you are unemployable and you have a massive life insurance policy.
My husband, let’s just call him, mm… “Mark”, is in the no-helmet camp. He feels that wearing a helmet screams out to motorists that thus mentioned rider is a lycra-leaning (and therefore bleeding-heart, left-leaning) bike geek, recreationally riding to some organic veggie joint to convene with other scrawny helmet lycra people to wax dream about complete streets and clean air. And my husband’s a little right.
The helmet, he feels, is threatening to enemy car drivers, who deftly alternate BK chicken finger with text finger even after the light turns green. Roads are for working people. Not recreatin’ geeks that don’t even have to ride because of a DUI!
We at Bike Maryland emphatically teach the importance of wearing a helmet on every ride, especially because many motorists here are not yet avid cyclists, like in Amsterdam. But the most important thing we teach the adults at workshops and kids at our rodeos, is to safety check their bike and follow the rules of the road. That way they’ll hopefully never have to put that helmet to use.
Still in doubt? Just put really cool stickers on it.
What do you get when you have 400 grade school kids, only five bikes…and a week of spring rains? A Bike Rodeo, Bal’mer style, as evidenced by this recent photo taken at Hampstead Hill Academy.
Many times a kid’s first experience riding a bike is during a Rodeo…under the expert guidance of Bike Maryland’s Bike MINDED Ambassadors and steady hands of volunteer making sure that the kids, “ Pedal pedal, pedal… coast!!! You’re doing it! Great! Lean into the turn!!! Stop at the cross walk!!!”
Unfortunately, too many times a Rodeo may also be a kid’s last experience safely riding a bike.
Was the weather perfect? Certainly not, and besides, the school needed the playground for recess. So, we improvised by conducting the rodeo in the school’s gym. Was 400 too many kids for two days? No! Bike Maryland would like to be able to accommodate every kid who shows an interest in two wheels!
The real question is, “Are 5 bikes enough for our prgram?” Honestly, no…
Certainly Bike Maryland is grateful to WABA, who has graciously made available their bikes and trailer for our Bike Rodeo Program. However, the logistics, liabilities, and legalities are limiting factors of Bike Maryland’s reliance for kids’ bikes and a trailer.
Taking up (very valuable) space in my tiny parking spot in Fell’s Point is a small, lightweight, trailer with 10 Yakima trays that I will donate to Bike Maryland for events. And I’ll be reaching out to anyone or any organization able to free up some space in their inventory or budget by donating some kids’ bikes to a very worthy cause.
Anyone have an unwanted bike they can donate? We’d appreciated it!
From B'More Bikes blog:
The Department of Transportation is updating the 2006 Bicycle Master Plan! The original bike plan laid out a vision of what a bikeable Baltimore should look like and how to get there. In these five, almost six, short years, Baltimore has
developed 3 area bike networks,
built its 1st bike boulevard
passed 9 ordinances and resolutions aimed at promoting cycling
increased bike commuting by 40%
The 2012 Bicycle Master Plan will build on the city’s successes, but not without input from the community. Let DOT know how you feel about biking in Baltimore: what’s good, what’s not, what could be better, where you’d like to see more bike facility improvements.
Take this quick online survey and have a say in how Baltimore’s bicycle network & programs develop!
Blog post by Roland Oehme
ANNAPOLIS, MD — I attended the annual Maryland State Bicycle Symposium in the beautiful capitol of Annapolis on February 22. This annual event is open to everyone, and encourages the public to learn the latest in bicycle advocacy issues statewide.
During the symposium, I sensed an appreciation for past accomplishments as well as a strong desire to increase bicycle safety and awareness, and improve bicycle facilities and infrastructure.
In the United States (with the exception of a few regional examples like Portland, Oregon) most people cannot use bicycling as a safe and convenient commuting method. Bicycling is still rather an anomaly, used by only a few strong souls to commute and by suburbanites who recreate by first driving to bicycle trails– and they frequently have to drive many miles, since trails are not always located where people live.
This despite the fact that bicycle-friendly communities in any setting, whether urban, suburban, or rural, promote a stronger connection to local places and people, a healthier lifestyle, and cleaner air.
Have you ever wondered why visiting Americans become enamored with European cities? In general, Europe’s cities are much more compact, and therefore bicycle-friendly, than our sprawling American urban centers. Bicycling to work and to run errands is a normal part of life for many Europeans, and it is possible because public policies are always updated to allow for easy bicycling.
In fact, many European cities (like London) are realizing that they can achieve an even better quality of life by limiting or completely restricting car access to city centers and enhancing the bicycle and pedestrian access. Bike commuting is very feasible in many parts of Asia as well.
Many at the symposium were asking: can our cities place the same value on walking and bicycling as these other places do?
Carol Silldorff, executive director of the organization that runs the symposium, will give her perspective on some of these issues tomorrow. Check back for an in-depth interview!
Roland Oehme is a green and healthy living landscape architect and writer. Read his blog at: http://www.greenharmonydesign2007.blogspot.com/.
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