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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.

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I was going to post this while down the beach but given the recent events I decided to hold off until now. So here it is…

My original plan was to ride from 139th to the OC inlet at the end of the board walk but, after careful consideration, recommendation of a local and a reader of this blog, I decided to ride North instead. I, liking to beat myself up, decided to begin my ride around one p.m. on the hottest day we where down there. You know 90 some degrees with 100 heat index. Whatever, it’s flat on the shore, right? Anyway my first stop was of this watch tower.

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For anyone who doesn’t know, these towers are haunting reminders of how close German subs came to our coasts in WW II. I’ve always been fascinated with these concrete sentries. I think they’re creepy in a neat sorta way. Moving on, I next rolled into the town of Bethany. In my opinion this is what a beach town should look like.  Quiet, sandy and lived in. I pasted the Bethany bike shop. I don’t think I have to explain why I took a picture of this.

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I wasn’t ready to turn back towards home so I continued North on 50. Before I knew it I was looking 2 miles down the road at the inlet bridge. I road down alone side the bridge where there is a parking lot for folks wanting to fish, go to the beach or out on a boat. There I took a water break and a few more pictures.
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After hydrating a bit I jumped on my ride and headed home for the day. The ride took me about 2 hours to go up and back, with a few breaks of course. Over all total mileage was just under 25 miles. It was a very relaxing ride. I highly recommend it. The only draw backs are no shade and you are riding on 50 where vehicles pass you are doing, well, 50 or so. That was the most surprising part of my ride is that I did not feel unsafe on 50 at all. Delaware really has it together when it comes to bike lanes and markings for them. The lanes where very clearly marked and there was signage everywhere saying “Look out for bicycles” which, is much more to the point than “Share the road”.

Maybe next time I’m “danny oshin” I’ll ride South. I think that with be in the off season.

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So says Jack Conahan in The Baltimore Sun:

Our self-righteous pedallers will argue that they are reducing emissions by having one less car on the street. They neglect that the hundreds of motor vehicles they impede burn far more fuel following them in first or second gear than they would in fourth or fifth gear if the bikes were absent. Let them ride public transportation, which would certainly benefit from more fares.

Read the rest (and leave a comment pointing out the multitude of complete BS in this article).

Hmmm, cars don’t actually burn more gas in low gear when they are moving slowly.  In fact, if cyclists make cars drift, that saves gas.  But even that’s a smoke screen.  You know who’s responsible for the planet-killing effects of your car?  YOU ARE! If you’re so damned worried about pollution, why are you driving?!  And if you can get your car into fifth gear in city traffic, you’re driving too fast.

I am very, sincerely, utterly sorry if I am the cause of you not being able to drive up Charles Street at 45mph.  Really I am.  You’re right.  I concede.  You pay to register YOUR car and to put gas in YOUR car to pollute MY lungs.  You’re out more money than I am, and I have MUCH more fun on my bike than you have on your way to work in your car.  So.  Okay.  You can have Charles Street on your way home.  We’ll all get out of your way because you have to pay for your own car.  I know — who would have thought you should have to pay for your own license and registration and insurance?  What?

Oh, yeah.  You pay for your license and registration because you are paying for the right to drive your car around other people.  You’re not paying for the road.  That’s paid for by taxes we all pay.  That’s right.  I don’t drive a car, and I have to  pay for the road you ruin with your car through my taxes.  I don’t pay for highways, but I don’t use them either, not personally.  And anyone that delivers me something via highway pays it themselves.

And you pay for insurance because of all the other people (because I’m sure YOU are a safe driver) who run their huge metal boxes into other people and their boxes and ruin their metal boxes and hurt and kill people, even people walking or cycling without big metal boxes.  In short, you’re paying insurance because cars are dangerous, not because it’s some toll giving you sole access to the road.  All the money you pay is because you ruin the road, because you pollute the air, because you hurt people.  You pay these things because of the nature of cars, which is to trample the road, people, other cars and the environment.  These are not your ticket to claim everything paved.

The fact is that most cyclists own cars (not all; I don’t), which entitles them to the road under your criterion anyway, i.e., that they pay for it.  And guess what?  The rest of us pay for it, too.  They are called taxes.  Do your research into how they’re spent before venting your anti-cyclist issues a week after one of YOURS killed one of OURS.

If you think licensing and insuring bikes will lead to better bike life in Baltimore, that’s just naive.  Even with bike lanes and sharrows, drivers like  you act like they/you own the road.  What we’ll have is licensed bikes getting hit by cars, rather than unlicensed bikes.  Car drivers/owners pay for licenses, insurance, everything you want us to pay for already.  Do YOU have great infrastructure?  Hell no.  “Your” roads are crumbling, and it’s not from bikes.

The problem is one of attitude.  And your post illustrates this attitude (this problem), not some solution you think you’ve found in paperwork, fees and bike-sized license plates.

One can boil down 2/3 of the comments on The Sun to some weirdly Rush Limbaugh-esque assumption that being contrary is the same thing as being intelligent.  Well, hell, I’ll play along.  I’m being contrary about your contrariness, so I must be much, much, much smarter than you are.  Bow before my towering, contrary intellect!

Seriously, though.  How can the only “official” news agency to show up for the memorial ride go ahead and print this shameless, low-brow nonsense all the time?

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May he Ride In Peace.

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The Ghost Bike and Memorial for fallen cyclist Jack Yates is this Sunday, August 9th, at 6:00pm. It will take place at the corner where Mr. Yates was killed, Maryland Avenue and Lafayette.

A few of us North Baltimore types will meet at the Watertower between 5:00 and 5:30 to ride down together at 5:30. If you’d like to meet up with us, please send us an email or leave a comment so we know to wait for you.

And, there is a page on Ghost Bikes for Baltimore.

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The cyclist killed by a truck yesterday in Charles North has been identified as Jack Yates. My wife/ElRo used to work for the nonprofit on whose board he was a member, and she knew him. We talked this evening with their Executive Director, and it looks like the Tour du Greater Homewood will happen again this year, in memory of Mr. Yates. Advertisements of it happening this year on the 2nd were a misprint. (More on TDGH here and here.)

Also, Boson of Velocipede and a lot of other folks are working on a Ghost Bike and a memorial to be held Sunday at 6pm.  Stay tuned for details.

More on this tragic story:

Baltimore Spokes

WJZ 13

Baltimore Sun 1

Baltimore Sun 2

Baltimore Sun 3

ABC 2 News also Video

ABC 2 News 2

1000 Mile Summer

Baltimore Sun Ghost Bike article

Pictures from Memorial

Baltimore Sun blogs

Baltimore Sun 4

More WJZ video

Video of Memorial at Baltimore Spokes (in which you can spot three NBBB type folks)

Baltimore Sun, where the police blame the cyclist

I probably speak for everyone who writes for this blog when I say that my I am sick over this tragedy and also over the cold-hearted commenters on sites like The Sun who are blaming the victim. I can’t get the image out of my head that I saw when I went by right after it happened.  If I could, I’d give it to everyone who thinks this is the inevitable outcome of bikes and cars sharing the same space.  When cars bother to share, that is.

I hope SOME good can come of this. Something. Maybe our law-makers can get us a 3-foot rule? Maybe more of us (myself included) will get off our butts to help the efforts of people like Barry Childress and Nate Evans who are all trying to make Baltimore a better place for cyclists? Maybe we’ll all (cars and bikes alike) look out for one another more now?

Not that anything could be good enough to justify what happened yesterday.

Ride in peace, Mr. Yates.  Ride in peace.

(Image: Something I dug up on The Sun. I asked someone who knew him, and she confirmed that it is Mr. Yates.  He looks happy in this photo at Druid Hill, and that’s something we could all use tonight.)

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