Police, bicycle advocacy groups emphasize shared roads are for everyone

| June 30, 2014
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Share-Road-Sign-K-4296This afternoon, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis addressed about 50 people gathered a block away from where two bicyclists were hit by a drunk driver on Saturday, including one of the victims. At the press conference, Chief Davis disclosed that charges were pending on the driver and that her Blood Alcohol Content was .15 which is nearly 2  times the legal limit in Maryland.

The message was clear–Anne Arundel County (and Maryland) roads are for everyone. With good weather, bicyclists and pedestrians will be on our roads and the statistics are trending up in Anne Arundel County. Just this weekend, there were 5 separate crashes involving six injured bicyclists.

Jon Korin, president of the Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County  (Bike AAA) addressed the crowd and implored drivers to be more careful. He reiterated a  “three foot law” that requires that motorists maintain three feet from a bicyclist while overtaking them; and drove home the point with a yardstick

BikeSafetyJune302014_17

Todd Green

This afternoon, Todd Green addressed the crowd. Green was one of the bicyclists hit on Saturday at MD 450/Ritchie Highway at Brice Lane in the marked Baltimore & Annapolis Trail. Green’s girlfriend, Katie Pohler, is still in shock-trauma recovering. Green did not recall much. He and his girlfriend had breakfast and decided to bike to Annapolis to see the beautiful waters. He recalls seeing signs for the Severn River. And then he was hit. Beyond that, he remembers not being able to fly with his girlfriend in the same helicopter because her injuries were too severe. He was lucky. He was released on Sunday and he finally got to see his girlfriend last night. He was shocked to see the physical extent of her injuries; but was glad to see her attempt a smile. Choking up at the podium, Green reported that Katie is laughing and trying to talk and getting better every day. His words were brief and as he walked away, the cuts on his legs were glaring reminders of the incident.

While the fault can be attributed to both the bicyclist and the motorists, the laws are clear.

TRAFFIC LAWS FOR MOTORISTS

  • The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle, including a bicycle, which is going in the same direction, shall pass to the left of the overtaken vehicle at a safe distance.
  • The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle that is going in the same direction, until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle, may not drive any part of his vehicle directly in front of the overtaken vehicle.
  • Drivers shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being ridden by a person the driver of a vehicle must not pass any closer than three (3) feet to a bicycle or motor scooter if the bicycle is operated in a lawful manner. It is not lawful to ride against traffic.
  • After passing you must make sure you are clear of the bicyclist before making any turns. The bike has the right of way, and you must yield to bike, when you are turning. Failing to yield right of way to a bicyclist, resulting in a crash in which the bicyclist is seriously injured can result in a $1,000 fine and three points on your driving record.
  • Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists riding in bike lanes and shoulders when these vehicle operators are entering or crossing occupied bike lanes and shoulders.
  • When riding on a sidewalk, where such riding is permitted, or a bike path, a bicyclist may made ride in a crosswalk to continue on their route. Motorists are required to yield right of way to a bicyclist operating lawfully in a crosswalk at a signalized intersection. (TR §21-101, §21-202, & §21-1103) look for bikes coming from both directions.
  • A person may not throw any object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter.
  • A person may not open the door of any motor vehicle with intent to strike, injure, or interfere with any person riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter. Don’t open door into traffic.

TRAFFIC LAWS FOR BICYCLISTS

RIDING IN TRAFFIC LANES AND ON SHOULDERS

  • A bicyclist riding slower than the speed of traffic is confined to the right hand through lane (much the same way as a slow moving vehicle is) and as close to the right side of the road as is safe. A bicyclist can move further left to:
    • Make or attempt to make a vehicular style left turn
    • Pass a stopped or slower moving vehicle
    • Avoid pedestrians or road hazards.
  • This ride-to-the-right provision does not apply when operating in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side with another vehicle within the lane. The provision also does not apply where the right-hand lane is a turn lane, or the bicyclist is operating on a one-way street.
  • A bicyclist riding at the speed of traffic can operate in any lane, just as any other vehicle can. Where there is not a bike lane, a bicyclist may also use the shoulder of the roadway.
  • Bicycles may not be ridden in the travel lanes of any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles an hour; however, bicycles may be operated on the shoulder of these roadways.
  • Bicycles may not be operated on expressways (access-controlled freeways and interstate highways), except on an adjacent path or facility approved by the State Highway Administration.

RIDING IN BIKE LANES

Where there are marked bicycle lanes paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle must use the bike lane and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:

  • When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motor scooter, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the bike lane;
  • When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway;
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane to avoid debris or other hazardous condition; or
  • When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane because the bike lane is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED

  • By law, all bicycles must be equipped with brakes capable of stopping from a speed of 10 miles per hour within 15 feet on dry, level, clean pavement.
  • If operated in low visibility conditions, bicycles must also be equipped with a white beam headlight visible at a distance of 500 feet, and a red rear reflector visible at a distance of 600 feet if night time or during unfavorable visibility conditions. Alternately, a bicyclist may be equipped with a functioning lamp that acts as a reflector and emits a red light or a flashing amber light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear instead of, or in addition to the red reflector above.
  • A bicycle or motor scooter may be equipped with a bell or other audible device, but not a siren or whistle.
  • Any rider under the age of 16 must also wear a helmet that meets or exceeds the standards of the American National Standards Institute, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Full remarks are in the video below (it may still be processing, if so, it will be available shortly)

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About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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