Baltimore County News
Friday, May 20 Events Planned for Towson, Timonium, Catonsville, Owings Mills and White Marsh
On Friday, May 20, hundreds of Baltimore County residents are expected to celebrate national Bike to Work Day. Bike to Work Day (BTWD) rallies are being held in Towson, Timonium, Catonsville, Owings Mills and White Marsh to celebrate those who commute to work by bike, and to encourage others to give it a try.
Rallies will include free early-morning refreshments and giveaways, and those that pre-register at www.Bike2WorkCentralMD.com will also receive Bike to Work Day t-shirts and are eligible to win prizes. New this year, a B2WD after-party will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Handlebar Café, located at 511 S Caroline St, Baltimore, MD 21231.
Bike to Work Day is an annual event, promoting bicycling as a healthy and enjoyable commute option that eases congestion. It is managed regionally by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council through collaboration with state agencies, bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups, cities and counties throughout Central Maryland, committed volunteers and generous sponsors.
Baltimore County government is marking its thirteenth year in sponsoring the local events, which have been steadily growing in number and participants. The Owings Mills location is in its second year, and is hosted by Edaptive Systems Inc. (400 Red Brook Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117). The White Marsh event, in its sixth year, but at a new location, is hosted by Merritt Athletic Club (5301 Campbell Boulevard, White Marsh MD 21236). The White Marsh event runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and features free Gatorade and light refreshments, screenings by Agape physical Therapy, and a raffle for 3-month membership.
“Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need while commuting to the workplace,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “And, biking rather than driving to work can help reduce the amount of vehicle emissions which are a significant contributor to the region’s ground-level ozone problem.”
For more information, visit http://www.baltometro.org/be-involved/transportation-options/bike/bike-to-work-day
Plan is to Better Connect Neighborhoods to Downtown Towson
More and more people are riding bicycles all around town. The Towson Spokes bicycle improvement project will help connect neighborhood cyclists to the Towson Loop bikeway, which circles the downtown Towson business district. From the Loop, cyclists can access shops, restaurants, County government offices and the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.
The Baltimore County Departments of Planning and Public Works are holding an open house meeting to present plans for signing and marking major streets in the Towson area with bicycle improvements. The suggested improvements range from bike route signs to pavement markings and bike lanes.
Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and provide feedback Thursday, July 16 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Towson Library Meeting Room, 320 York Road, Towson, Maryland 21204.
More information about the project is available at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/bikeproject.
The Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee identified the Towson Spokes project as a priority for implementation, since it supports the existing Towson Loop bikeway. Funding for the Towson Spokes project is provided through a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Bikeways Program.
For more information, contact Kathy Schlabach at 410-887-3521 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sheldon Epstein, Chair, Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee
Cyclists and Motorists – Be Safe Out There
Over the past several weeks Department of Public Works contractors have been posting bike route signs and marking bike lanes in the Towson area to encourage us to leave our cars at home and try cycling. The Towson “Bike Beltway” Loop is only one of several new on-road bikeways that are being planned in Towson and other areas in the county.
With these improvements, Baltimore County is joining the growing number of cities, towns and counties throughout the US that are offering bicycling as an active transportation option. The county is making it easier for us to choose to bike, especially for those of us who live close to shopping, work, transit or parks. Cycling is an earth-friendly and healthy way to get around, as long as we do it safely. And it’s not just cyclists that may need a safety refresher. Many drivers who are not used to encountering bikes on the road could benefit from a few traffic safety reminders too.
So, let’s review a few of the rules of the road to help keep everyone safe and happy.
Bikes Belong.Some motorists think roadways are meant to be used only by cars, trucks and buses. But in fact, state law recognizes bicycles as vehicles, and allows them on almost all roadways. Those “Share the Road” signs you see occasionally are posted to alert drivers to expect to encounter cyclists on popular bike routes. But sharing the road is something that motorists and bicyclists should do wherever bicycles are permitted.
Obey the Rules of the Road.Since they are vehicles, bicyclists are expected to obey traffic safety laws. They are required to ride in the same direction as the motor traffic, and stop at stop signs and red traffic signals just as cars do. Slower moving cyclists are to stay to the right hand side of the road to allow motorists to pass them more easily, a law that also applies to motor vehicles. Cyclists are allowed to move left when needed to protect their safety, pass slower moving bicyclists, or make left turns. When passing a cyclist, a new law requires motorists to leave at least three feet of separation.
Be Careful in Intersections: Many traffic accidents (including those with bikes) happen at intersections. So, motorists--yield to cyclists as you would to any other vehicle. Be aware that it can be easy for you to underestimate how fast a bicycle is traveling. Experienced cyclists can be moving at 20-25 m.p.h. or more. And cyclists—always use appropriate hand signals before you turn so that your intentions are clear.
Wear the Helmet: Cyclists 16 and older are not required to wear a helmet, but it’s just a good safety practice. OK, they aren’t that fashionable, but accidents do happen, so protect the most important part of your body–your brain.
Avoid “Dooring”:Bicyclists riding adjacent to parked cars are especially leery of disembarking drivers opening their car doors in their paths. This can really hurt! Both exiting drivers and passing cyclists need to pay special attention when cars are parked on the road.
Please Don’t Yell or Throw Things: Drivers can get frustrated when they get behind a slower moving bicycle. But please take a deep breath, and wait calmly until it is safe to pass. And cyclists–follow the rules, be courteous, and enjoy the ride safely!
For more safety tips, check out: http://mhso.mva.maryland.gov/SafetyPrograms/program_bicycle_safety.htm