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My Letter to the Editor: Maryland bike law isnít enough

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My Letter to the Editor: Maryland bike law isnít enough

Old 10-07-10, 10:37 AM
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Rusty5329
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My Letter to the Editor: Maryland bike law isnít enough

Ran in the Washington Post:

Regarding the Oct. 1 Metro article ďLaw to protect bicyclists gets underway in Md.,Ē about a new law in Maryland to keep drivers at least three feet from bicyclists on the road:

As a biker, I applaud the intent of this law. However, we continue to fail to address the true problem: Our cities are not designed to facilitate bicyclists.

For the most part, a bicyclist is stuck in limbo. Pedestrians see the sidewalk as their domain; motor vehicles see the road as theirs. In the few places where a bike lane is present, more often than not, a double-parked car is there as well, forcing the bicyclist into the traffic lane.

We need to rethink how to make biking in our cities safer and easier to understand for everyone involved.
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Old 10-07-10, 10:43 AM
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thedutchtouch
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well said. as a resident of baltimore, i take the lane whenever i can, as the streets i use are just too cracked/ too many parking cars/ opening doors. I agree that the city needs some help, unfortunately i just don't think there's room for bike lanes in a lot of the city. some places definitely, but not everywhere.
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Old 10-07-10, 11:09 AM
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Your letter should have had some suggestions. Rethinking isn't going to solve anything.
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Old 10-07-10, 11:23 AM
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Sounds like you are saying cyclists shouldn't be in the 'traffic lane' or otherwise on the road, even though you likely intended not to.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Sounds like you are saying cyclists shouldn't be in the 'traffic lane' or otherwise on the road, even though you likely intended not to.
I can see how it could be read that way. The truth is, in Maryland you technically aren't allowed in the traffic lane if a bike lane is present. The point that I was trying to make was that, regardless of whether we ride in the street or on the sidewalk, someone is going to upset that we are there taking "their space." And the way bike lanes are designed as part of the road means drivers treat it as an extension of the traffic lane, or a space to pull over. A 3-foot passing law, while I applaud the intent, does little to make biking in the city safer and easier to understand.
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Old 10-07-10, 01:02 PM
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noisebeam
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Originally Posted by Rusty5329
The truth is, in Maryland you technically aren't allowed in the traffic lane if a bike lane is present. .
That is not true: https://law.justia.com/maryland/codes/gtr/21-1205.1.html
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Old 10-07-10, 01:21 PM
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To me it looks like they want you riding on the bike path if it is available. I hate regs like these.
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Old 10-07-10, 01:34 PM
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<<The truth is, in Maryland you technically aren't allowed in the traffic lane if a bike lane is present. The point that I was trying to make was that, regardless of whether we ride in the street or on the sidewalk, someone is going to upset that we are there taking "their space." >>

The law seems to allow ya into traffic, but there are a few hedges that make it more than just an "I wanna be in with traffic so off I go" consideration.

Seems to me everyone is concerned with their space. Pedestrians wants slowpokes out of the way. Drivers want grannies out of the way. Cyclists hardly have an unsullied reputation: local media have had a field day with complains from cyclists about "dog walkers, rollerbladers,...." on bike paths. When you pass other riders do you give the three feet?

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Old 10-07-10, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hubcap
To me it looks like they want you riding on the bike path if it is available. I hate regs like these.
Me too. If the bike path were better you'd ride it. And if they don't do a miserable job with the bike path it'll be better.
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Old 10-07-10, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
According to the Washington Post, this new law does require bikes to use a bike lane if there is one or the shoulder:

Although the new law is intended to protect cyclists, it does mandate that they handle their bikes responsibly. They are required to maintain a steady course, stay to the right and use a bike lane, if there is one, or the shoulder, if it is smoothly paved.
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Old 10-07-10, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rusty5329
According to the Washington Post, this new law does require bikes to use a bike lane if there is one or the shoulder:
Again the new law does not change the existing law about bike lane usage which for which I provided a link above. Check your sources! (which were readily available on your screen nearly a week ago)
https://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/bills/hb/hb0461f.pdf

What is astonishing to me is that you would support this new law while (incorrectly) believing it made bike lane use mandatory.
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Old 10-07-10, 03:33 PM
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You're right, I read that wrong (the Washington Post could have written it more clearly too). If the rider isn't using a bike lane when one is present, a car is not required to give three feet clearance. So you are right, it does not mandate that bikers use a bike lane when one is present.

I apologize for that incorrect statement.

Although, I wasn't entirely wrong, there are only some instances when riding in the traffic lane is allowed while a bike lane is present


(b) (1) Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:

(i) When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motor scooter, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane or shoulder if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the bike lane or shoulder;

(ii) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway;

(iii) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder to avoid debris or other hazardous condition; or

(iv) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder because the bike lane or shoulder is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane or shoulder.

Last edited by Rusty5329; 10-07-10 at 03:37 PM. Reason: adding text
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Old 10-07-10, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
What is astonishing to me is that you would support this new law while (incorrectly) believing it made bike lane use mandatory.
What is astonishing is that you have concluded (very incorrectly) that I support this law. Where did I say that? I said I applaud the intent, which is miles away from saying I support the legislation. Honestly, I believe it is a toothless, pathetic attempt that will do little to make things safer for bicyclists. I'm happy they seem to want to make things safer, but this bill will not do that.
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Old 10-07-10, 06:34 PM
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Wow! So many astonishing things! Its astonishing!

Part of what I see emerging on this board is the old motorist comment, "if there is a bike path, why aren't you on the bike path!" Grrrr!

As a touring and long distance riding cyclist, relatively few bike paths are long enough, or go in the right direction, to be useful to me.

To me, dollar for dollar the best investment in cycling infrastructure and safety is to improve, install, and widen shoulders. But this is not an alternative in urban areas.

Which by definition is where most people live.

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Last edited by Roughstuff; 10-07-10 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 10-08-10, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by thedutchtouch
well said. as a resident of baltimore, i take the lane whenever i can, as the streets i use are just too cracked/ too many parking cars/ opening doors. I agree that the city needs some help, unfortunately i just don't think there's room for bike lanes in a lot of the city. some places definitely, but not everywhere.
I 'take the lane' all the time. So I am consistent in my riding and, so I don't become roadkill.
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