Feb 282013
 

These two bills were rejected by the Maryland House Environmental Matters Committee, which means they’re effectively dead for this year: House Bill 445, which would have removed the “narrow highway” exception to Maryland’s three-foot safe passing statute enacted in 2010 (interpreted by some to mean that drivers don’t have to give three feet if it would mean crossing the centerline).  See the CycleMoco discussion of this bill here. House Bill 160, which would have legalized riding bikes on sidewalks in localities with no local laws on the subject. Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties and Baltimore city all have local laws. Some jurisdictions, including Gaithersburg, have local laws prohibiting sidewalk riding and this bill wouldn’t change that. Jim Titus provides details […]

 Posted by at 11:30 pm on Feb 28, 2013  Comments Off on Maryland bills changing three-foot law & sidewalk law defeated in House of Delegates
Feb 182013
 
Montgomery County Sierra Club's excellent bike statement

The Montgomery County Sierra Club has just published a superb bike statement outlining changes needed to support biking in the county.  A printable version (as of Jan. 28 2013) is here. These are the six points made in the 5-page statement (my paraphrasing): Make a complete network: The statement recommends connecting bike lanes to major destinations and completing facilities such as the Bethesda Trolley Trail, Capital Crescent Trail, ICC Trail and routes parallel to arterials like Georgia Ave. Be context-appropriate: It recommends providing a context-appropriate variety of facilities such as bike lanes, sharrows, cycle tracks, bicycle boulevards and grade-separated trails. Provide comfort: It recommends providing multiple route options, wayfinding signs, secure bike parking, meeting plazas and good trail maintenance. Safety: […]

 Posted by at 11:41 am on Feb 18, 2013  Comments Off on Montgomery County Sierra Club’s excellent bike statement
Feb 162013
 

The Maryland legislature is considering House Bill 445 which would strengthen the flawed “three foot” law enacted last year in 2010.  The flaws in the existing law make it important that the law be fixed.  Briefly, here are the main problems: Drivers often won’t know if they have to give three feet or not.  The three foot law doesn’t apply if the cyclist isn’t where he’s supposed to be in the roadway (in the bike lane, to the right, wherever).  But the rules governing where cyclists are supposed to be within the roadway are complicated, dependent on conditions, and not fully understood by anyone except bike advocates (if even them).  How are drivers to know what they’re not allowed to […]

 Posted by at 10:34 pm on Feb 16, 2013  Comments Off on Pushing for a better 3-foot passing law in Maryland
Feb 112013
 

By popular demand, here is the City of Cyclists video showing bicyclists in Copenhagen! Most cyclists in Copenhagen do not wear helmets, yet fatalities on a per rider basis are much lower than in the United States.  The Danish are concerned that requiring bike helmets would only discourage cycling. In Copenhagen, 36% of all commuting trips are by bike. The more bicyclists there are, the more drivers learn to expect (and respect) them. Unfortunately, the Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would require all cyclists to wear helmets. This would surely kill BikeShare in Montgomery County as well as reduce the level of bike use overall, especially trips to transit.

 Posted by at 10:30 pm on Feb 11, 2013  Comments Off on Copenhagen’s “City of Cyclists” video
Feb 112013
 
Maryland's mandatory helmet law a disaster for biking

A bill before the Maryland House of Delegates would require everyone riding a bike to wear a helmet, no matter how short their trip.    If the bill passes, it would probably kill BikeShare and do a great deal to discourage cycling.  Capital BikeShare, now coming to Montgomery County, is inducing the county to invest in more bike infrastructure and will allow many more bike trips. The county’s transit oriented communities (including Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas designated by the state) rely on bicycling and walking to reduce traffic.  But this bill would undermine it all. Update on April 25 2013: The bill did not pass. Do Maryland legislators really think they know more about bicycling than the Danish and […]

Feb 082013
 
Bethesda route to be signed

Montgomery County DOT has finished mapping out where bike route signs will go on its upper Bethesda route.  Much of the work was just identifying the route.  The county is officially calling it the “Montgomery Mall to Downtown Bethesda route”.  They’ve already completed the design task for two other signed routes, running along the Georgia Ave. corridor and Rt. 29 corridor respectively, and signs are expected to go up this summer. These routes will likely get route numbers if the county adopts a bike route numbering system. Below is the list of turns, or see the map. Start at Bethesda Avenue/ Woodmont Avenue intersection (a block west of the Capital Crescent Trail) Head west on Bethesda Ave R on Clarendon […]

Feb 032013
 
North Branch Trail project update

This post was written by Monte Fisher, bike and trail advocate.  Thank you Monte!  See also the county’s project web page and slide presentation (8 MB). The planned North Branch Hiker-Biker Trail will zig-zag north from Lake Frank nearly five miles to finish within kissing distance of Olney.  The Montgomery County Parks Department will construct the trail under the ICC and a bit further north, where it will connect to a trail to be built by private developers. I’ve created an annotated map based on information from MoParks and documents filed by the developers with the County, shown below (version with notes is here): Blue = new trail to be built by the Parks Department Green = existing trail Fuchsia […]

 Posted by at 5:24 pm on Feb 3, 2013  Comments Off on North Branch Trail project update
Feb 012013
 
SHA discusses Wisconsin Ave. "Green Mile" sidewalk project

Below is a report from community/bike advocate Steve Friedman on a meeting held Monday to discuss details of the Wisconsin Ave. “Green Mile” sidewalk (sidepath) project in Chevy Chase. The meeting was hosted by the Little Falls Watershed Alliance (LFWA) and attended by project staff from the Maryland State Highway Administration as well as the public. Also check out the article in the Bethesda Patch reporting on the meeting.  (The Patch erroneously states that without the new facility, cyclists must ride against the direction of traffic in the roadway.  But cyclists certainly can (and must) ride in the same direction as car traffic if using the street, with or without the project). We are referring to the proposed facility as […]

 Posted by at 2:12 pm on Feb 1, 2013  Comments Off on SHA discusses Wisconsin Ave. “Green Mile” sidewalk project