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Wyman Park Drive, after it crosses Sisson Street by Stieff Silver and goes toward the Jones Falls Trail and Druid Hill Park is being resurfaced right now.  While it will be awesome when it’s finished, you might want to find another way home tonight.  Sorry for the lack of pictures.


Some kind-hearted folks are organizing a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to honor fallen cyclist Larry Bensky.

This is a ride from Baltimore to Annapolis to memorialize Larry Bensky, who as you all know was killed this past Tuesday while riding on Butler Rd. We’re doing this on Monday as it is the last day of the current legislative session and a great and somber opportunity to get bill 461 passed into law. House bill 461 requires motorists to give cyclists three feet when passing. Some say that it can’t be enforced but they’re missing the point. The point is to draw attention to the rights of cyclists and to move one inch, or three feet, towards a better, more civil society. So join us.

Respond to the event on Facebook here.

I can’t make it, since my child is about to be born any day (literally) now.  But if any readers/contributors do and would like to share reflections, stories and photos, please drop us a line.


In the fall, University Parkway was resurfaced (check out the video of it getting eaten).  The blacktop has been nice since then, but it’s lacked markings.  As soon as the weather warmed a few weeks ago, the traffic lanes and bike lane lines went back up.  Today, a crew was out on North-bound West University Parkway, putting in markings within the lanes.  They look fantastic! Many thanks to the work of folks like Nate!

More information about yesterday’s crash that killed one cyclist and left another seriously injured:

Baltimore County police have identified an Owings Mills man who was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle Tuesday afternoon near Butler and Falls roads.

Lawrence Bensky, 42, of the first block of Quarterhouse Court was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the initial police investigation, Faith Frenzel, 64, of the 1900 block of Gravel Road in Hampstead was driving her 2001 Toyota Echo westbound on Butler Road about 4:30 p.m. when she struck Bensky’s pedacycle on the shoulder of the road. The pedacycle became lodged in the front of the car before colliding with Joel Alan Wyman, who was also riding a pedaycle, sending both victims off the road, police said.

Wyman, 45, of the 2200 block of Harmony Woods Road in Owings Mills was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was in serious condition.

Police were preparing charges against Frenzel, pending the completion of their investigation.

More.

Yes, you read correctly. She hit them on the shoulder of the road. And the police are preparing charges.  I wonder if any will stick?

From The Baltimore Sun:

A car struck two cyclists, killing one, Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore County.

Police said a sedan vehicle struck an adult male on a bike near Butler and Falls roads around 4:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other cyclist was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and their condition is unknown, police said. Police did not have additional information on the victims.

The driver of the car was not injured, police said. Police are still investigating.

(More.)

The comment section, of course, is full of, “I share the road, but not THIS road,” and, “THESE CYCLISTS have a death wish,” crap.  But there are also cyclists, drivers, and people without their heads in….the sand sticking up for all of us.

More, at Baltimore Spokes, also.

....shouldn't we always?

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.”


Via The Baltimore Sun:

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.


With apologies for the bad camera phone pic.  I spotted these folks on my way out of UB’s student center this morning, heading East on Mount Royal. Must have been 15-20 police cyclists, in different levels of kit, on different kinds of bikes. I wonder what they were doing together? Training? Are we getting more bike cops?

Terrible news, from the Mailbox:

I passed a terrible sight this morning from the bus: a biker rider down in the middle of Eutaw St, just north of Druid Hill, around 8:45. I didn’t want to look too closely, but it looked like a white man with gray and brown hair, no helmet. He wasn’t moving. People were just starting towards him and I heard sirens a few minutes later. It upset me and I hope to hear some followup on what happened and whether he pulled through. Please post something publicly if you want, but could you also shoot me an email if you hear anything?

Does anyone have any info?

tdghjym_route
With the Jack Yates Memorial Ride and Tour de Greater Homewood only six days away, it’s time to call upon experienced cyclists to serve as ride leaders! What do we need ride leaders to do? Study the route and help folks along the way. That is, RIDE, and then help folks find their way. We probably all do this regularly, but now it might be dozens of people asking for your help.

This is a link to the route on Google Maps (CLICK!) if you’d curious about the venue. It amounts to about 14.5 miles all told. There will be a shorter (@4-5 miles) ride that we also need a volunteer or two to lead.

We could also use help with registration (getting waivers signed; handing out spokecards; collecting donations). You’d still get to ride; you just might be behind everyone else.

We have two ride leaders and two volunteers for registration.  We need more!  If you’d like to help out, please leave a comment — or email us (northbaltimorebikebrigadeATyahooDOTcom).

Stay tuned to more ride details.

gywflls1009
This story showed up last Saturday, and kinda details what those of us that ride Gwynns Falls on a regular basis already know: the cops are gone. And, as it turns out, the trail naturalist and the other dedicated trail administrator are also being cut. So, instead of the 5, 7, or 8 cops (depending on who you ask) assigned to the trail (not at the same time, of course) there are two, which the city feels is justified because of the low rate of crime on the trail (when there were 5, 7, or 8 cops working). And trail maintenance will be kept up to current standards by regular Parks and Rec workers and inmates, according to a tepid, not-really-reassuring rebuttal to the Sun story by Parks and Rec administrator Wanda S. Durden. (I don’t know how the rash of kid gangs jumping bikers at the CSX bridge and Edmondson Ave. overpass figures into that. Nate Evans assures me the incidents are in his database.)

Maybe my getting ruffled here is an overreaction. The City promises to keep the trail safe and clean, right? But, honestly, the city was just barely keeping up on those things anyhow, and it’s hard to imagine a stretched Parks and Rec is going to somehow unstretch itself for a new assignment. I suppose the thing to do is pay close attention to what happens next, and if things start sinking anymore, raise a holy hell. That said, we should probably raise a holy hell anyhow: Gwynns Falls is an amazing thing to have right in the guts of a major city, and one of my own favorite places to go around here. The parallel dimension of crumbling road and thick woods between Windsor Mill Road and Dickeysville on the reclaimed Wetheredsville Road shouldn’t have a right to exist in Baltimore, but amazingly does. In DC, it’d be “rustic” townhouses.

Unfortunately, it strikes as one of those cynical budget cuts (timed for fall/winter) that out-of-touch administrators think won’t get noticed. And if it does get noticed, will look to most people like a trim of something that was wasteful anyhow. Which pushes me (us?) into the asshole argument of saying we should cut something else to save our pretty lil trail, and people less realistic than me into arguing that if Gwynns Falls goes downhill, people won’t want to move to Baltimore anymore for its stunning wildlands. So, maybe I don’t want to be that guy or any of those guys because, honestly, we’re getting close to siding with yuppies here. So, the point is, toughen up, get Kevlar tires and a tazer. Or write a letter to the powers that be.


As I recall, the bike lanes on University Parkway right below Roland Avenue, heading South, were the first ones in the City — or, at least, the first ones I ever saw. It was early fall 2007, and I was stoked. This was the sharrow right before the official bike lane, the first modern Baltimore sharrow I ever saw. I was sad to see it go today, so Dan and I got a little video of it.

I am extremely excited to see what replaces what’s gone, though. Parts of the bike lanes here have always been a little rough, and lately, they’ve been downright dangerous. Nate Evans told us there’d be smooth lanes soon, and he wasn’t fooling. I repeat that I am excited to see what’s next.

Roland Avenue is torn up between University and Coldspring Lane, too, so be careful.  Those parts were always full of craters anyway.  I’m glad that the City is maintaining the bike lanes a lot of folks use.  I read an article somewhere wherein someone complained that the University Parkway and Roland Avenue lanes were for “Roland Parkers”.  In my experience, not so.  Lots of people pass through, from the county, and heading to the county.  And, living in Roland Park, I see lots of $5,000 bikes ridden by folks wearing $200 outfits around here sometimes. But, brother, they ain’t goin to work. This route benefits more than Roland Parkers, that’s for sure.  Hell, I know some people who don’t like the lanes being here.

unihole2
If you’re an MTA rider, you might have noticed the new bus pads going in along the #61 route heading South (Roland-University-St. Paul).  There are orange barrels and construction equipment everywhere.

And there are holes.  BIG holes.  This is in addition to the terrible road surface that makes me avoid St. Paul Street between 33rd Street and North Avenue like the proverbial plague (I opt for Maryland Avenue in this case).

At University Parkway and Roland Avenue, there is a tub hole (graduated from a pot hole) and a huge linear crack running parallel to the lane, right in the middle of a Sharrow, where we’re supposed to ride before the bike lane kicks in — when the cars are still honking at each other because 4 in 10 drivers at that intersection at rush hour are on their phones (yes, I count sometimes when I’m waiting for the bus).  This crack is big enough to throw you off of a mountain bike, so 700c/650b riders should really watch out.  That’s a really hard spot to take the lane, too, since traffic is supposed to be merging.
unihole1
Continue along one of the first (the first?) bike lanes in Baltimore heading South on University Parkway, and you’ll meet a hole large enough to throw a motorcycle (?) right in the bike lane at University Parkway and Keswick road.  This is past that stone wall on the left, when most cars and buses are riding half-way into the bike lane already, and there’s construction equipment parked in the parking lane.  Stopping and/or taking the busy lane might be necessary.

The bus pads have been finished for over a week, and no one’s come to fix these holes, some of which are big enough to be hazards for autos.  The one at Roland and University makes the bus slow down!  And this is a very heavy bike traffic route (for our city), so BE CAREFUL!

Also, right as you pass 40th Street on University Parkway, there is a linear crack where the bus pad and street meet that’s been there for years, and at least one NBBB person almost ate it on there one day a few months ago.  This is the part of University approaching the bridge, between the two sets of bike lanes, when you really have to just take the lane no matter how bad the traffic is.  I have personally almost gotten flattened by a Volvo there when the Sharrows were new two years ago and before I just decided that manners were less important than not getting flattend and started just claiming the lane when I need to.

danleg0909From your friends at NBBB.  Today we salute firemen, cabinet makers, AmeriCorps, activitsts, cafe’ workers, folks in higher ed, bike mechanics, government workers, and workers of every sort and variety.  Nothing happens without work, and work doesn’t happen without you.

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