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Owings Mills to Hampden
I commute in part because I, like most of you, enjoy the “little adventures” that go along with it. Yesterday had a couple of nutty back to back incidents I thought I’d share.
Not more than a mile from my work in Owings Mills there is a new bridge being built. The deck is finished, but the paving, lighting and other little details are not. It is a bonus for me because I can ride it without the normal auto annoyances. Often I see skateboarders there. Yesterday there was a little boy (maybe 8 years old) and his mom. He had a helmet on and a bike nearby. As I neared them and announced “good evening”, the little boy looked at me and said, “We know you”. It startled me and I stopped. I looked at the mom and she smiled. I looked back at her son, careful to keep my helmet light out of his eyes, but with all three of my rear blinkies flashing like a police cruiser. “How do you know me?”, I asked him. “We live up there”, he said, pointing to the nearby townhouses. “We see your lights and your bicycle every night. It’s great.” My heart went soft.
His mom said, “Now, you’ve got some competition.” I smiled. “I like that!”, I said. “More bikes, more bikes.” ”Yeah” the little boy shouted. I wished them my best and rode off, filled with appreciation.
Twenty minutes later I’m fast cruising down a long flat stretch of Winands rd near McDonough. A car from a side street to my right is waiting to pull out. I notice the driver, high school age and his buddies. They wait for me to pass, but as roll past they give me a blast from their horn. Hmm… annoying, but harmless. I wait at the red light ahead figuring they’re somewhere behind me in line. Light changes and I shoot through the intersection. Several cars pass then I can tell there’s one hanging back, matching my speed and slightly behind me. It’s obviously them. They nudge forward to about a 10 o’clock position on my left no more than 10ft. away. I glance over and the kid in the passenger seat is staring me down making a sinister laugh. His arm comes up and whoosh- a big gulp cup comes at my head. I managed to duck the cup and to stay upright. Luckily. They gun the engine and are gone.
A piece of me thought about a chase (they got slowed down by another car up ahead), but I decided to let it be. It took a few miles, but by the time I got into Hampden I was all better. Hell, I might’ve done something like that when I was their age. Plus I think I was partially inoculated from the attack by my nice encounter with the boy on the bridge. I know one thing for sure: I’ll be thinking about that young boy, possibly watching my flashing lights go by, from a nearby window for many commutes to come.
Ride on. -Bob
Nothing is better than bikes and public transportation. Head down the Jones Falls trail on Sundays and ride the streetcars. One more great place to visit on the JFT: The Baltimore Streetcar Museum.
Aside from a few new bike lanes here or there as part of Operation Orange Cone, there hasn’t been anything new to bike on in Baltimore for quite some time. Even the new shared bike and bus lanes downtown need some refreshing. One small victory was gained in the deep mid-winter on the central bikeway of Baltimore. Baltimore City Public School System had closed the parking lot of the Guilford Ave cut-through due to conflict between cyclists and pedestrians with extended gate arms and chains.
A compromise was reached by the Department of Transportation adding signage to direct cyclists to the parking lot and yiedling right-of-way to pedestrians; nothing more than is asked in the regular course of travel by cyclists in all parts of the city…and world. By adding 3 simple signs, the dream of the Guilford Avenue Bicycle Boulevard lives on.
Quite a few more signs for bicycles will spring up over the course of the spring, summer & fall taking B’more to the next level of bicycle existence. No, it’s not Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or even New York City. It’s Baltimore. Not only will the Park Heights and Southeast Bike Networks become reality, but construction on 3 trail sections will begin and an existing trail will be recognized.
Until the summer construction season, keep on riding, shake the remaining cold and yield to pedestrians. There are many events coming this summer that need assistance of experienced cyclists. Let’s get more of B’more outta cars and onto bikes!!!
As Bartles & James used to say, “Thank you for your support.”
The family of a bicyclist who was killed last year in a collision with a truck on Maryland Avenue has filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and his employer.
On Aug. 4, John R. “Jack” Yates, 67, was riding his bike south on Maryland Avenue behind a truck when he got caught in the vehicle’s rear wheels as it turned right on Lafayette Avenue, police said at the time. He died at the scene.
The civil suit, filed Wednesday in Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of Yates’ wife, son and daughter, seeks $5 million in compensatory damages for negligence by driver Michael Dale Chandler of Severn and Potts & Callahan Inc. The demolition, excavation and equipment rental company is located on Lafayette Avenue.
Baltimore police investigators determined that Yates was at fault because he was riding in the parking lanes and tried to pass the truck. No charges were filed against Chandler.
But Steven D. Silverman, the attorney representing Yates’ family, said that the driver and his company were negligent because a surveillance video shows he turned right without signaling.
Also, “he took a right turn without making sure it was clear and free of traffic — cyclists or pedestrians,” he said.
The lawyer also argued that Yates was not negligent because statutes governing bicyclists require them to stay with the flow of traffic, as far to the right as possible.
“That’s exactly what Mr. Yates did,” he said.
More here, and, I’m sure, terrible comments from all the jerks in the state.
Have I just been living under a rock, or is this the first time it’s been made public that it was Potts & Callahan’s driver who was driving the truck?
I’m glad that Mr. Yates’ family is sticking to it, since it seems like the Police gave up.