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 […]
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: […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]