Baltimore County Now
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
Baltimore County Office of Communications
Towson is one of the most exciting suburbs in America. Easy for us to say, but don’t just take our word for it. A new survey by Business Insider ranks Towson #11 in the U.S. The survey ranked nearly 140 suburbs across the country by what they call “excitement factors,” looking at:
- Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
- Live music venues per capita
- Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
- Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
- Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)
Towson has more than 60 restaurants, including new downtown destinations Cunningham’s and Oyster Bay. Towson’s 55,000 residents can go for a run around the Towson University or Goucher campus, through welcoming neighborhoods, around the Towson Y, in one of four County parks, and soon at the new L.A. Fitness in Towson Commons. New bike lanes will make cycling easier throughout Towson. Turn up the music at a WTMD live lunch at Olympic Place, in Towson University Center for the Arts and Stephens Hall, or Goucher’s KraushaarAuditorium. This summer, Towson Square adds 15 Cinemark movie theatres and eight new restaurants to downtown Towson.
Not hard to see the excitement here!
Read more at Business Insider
Baltimore County Office of Communications
What started in the ‘60s as the place in town to get Frye boots became a friendly sports bar for college kids in 2004. Now, the Greene Turtle in Towson is ready to take on a new role: a casual, restaurant that appeals to families, neighbors, and film fans.
“We see the Greene Turtle in Towson as a family-priced option for dinner before a movie, a gathering spot for local high school teams after a lacrosse game, a date night destination, and a neighborhood night spot for adults,” said co-owner Jill Guidera Packo, who with her brother Jeff Guidera are following in the tradition of the family owned Finkelstein Bootery at 408 York Road. “What’s new is the rooftop Turtle Shell.”
When you step into the new third floor addition, you’re in a sleek, open, comfortable space with panoramic views of downtown Towson. There’s seating for over 100 at custom-made wood tables or at the long, full service bar. A separate kitchen serves the Turtle Shell, which features a steam seafood bar.
From the glass enclosed rooftop you see expansive views of downtown Towson – look south down York Road past Towson University; look north at the changing reflections in Towson City Center. Windows open in warm weather to catch the breeze and an open deck area features heaters in cooler weather.
The new Cinemark theatres at Towson Square (opening later in 2014) are expected to attract more than 500,000 movie-goers each year, making the Greene Turtle a fun, locally-owned stop before or after a feature.
It’s a great time to be a restaurant in Towson --and an even better time to visit what’s new downtown.