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September 28, 2010

Bike Friendly Baltimore

bike%20lane.jpg In case you missed it... Baltimore was recently named a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

After three years of trying Baltimore received a bronze designation joining the ranks of Washington, Philadelphia and New York among others.

What does this mean and where do we go from here? According to the LAB, "A bronze is a much better community for cycling than one that is turned down for an award, but still has a long way to go before becoming platinum."

Posted by Jerry Jackson at 2:06 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bicycling, City of Baltimore, Philadelphia


What a joke. Try crossing the Hanover Street Bridge on a bicycle which is listed as a bicycle route. Then see if you can ride the rest of the way up Hanover Street (state listed bicycle route).

I agree on the "long way to go." The city's headed in the right direction with its new bike lanes. But for the recreational cyclist -- let alone the commuter -- there's still a lot of work to be done. It also would be great to have more special events, like the midnight rides in Denver and other cities.

The bike lanes in Baltimore are horrible. They position the cyclist in the door zone of parked cars. Also the roads are crumbling - bad for cyclists and motorists.

- Thanks. I am working on a post about the condition of the bike lanes for next week. - jj

Not sure about Baltimore City, but Baltimore County has a LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG way to go until it is really biker friendly. I can't tell you how many times on the smaller windy back roads where there isn't a bike trail that I have literally gotten stuck behind a biker. It is VERY dangerous to ride your bike on a small, windy road that has no bike path - you can very easily get hurt yourself, and cause major accidents when people have to go into opposing traffic just to get by you. There should be laws against these rude bikers who endanger themselves and the others around them just because they 'like the road and think it's nice' or think that 'biking is better than riding a car' for getting to work. I agree, it is, because it is a healthy alternative - BUT ONLY WHEN THERE IS SPACE ON THE ROAD FOR YOU!

Annie, while there are roads that I avoid riding because of traffic, Maryland law is pretty specific. In general Maryland classifies the bicycle as a vehicle with all of the same requirements and restrictions as a motor vehicle. Bicycles are prohibited on roads where the posted speed limit is greater than 50 mph (riding on the shoulder is permitted) and on expressways.

There are laws about passing unsafely into oncoming traffic. And on Friday, a new law goes into effect requiring motorists to give cyclists a 3-foot buffer when passing. -- jj

I love to bike, and if there was a safe route from SoBo to Columbia, I would commute to work that way. However, there are a lot of bikers in Baltimore that need to learn how to ride. Like you say, bikers are held to the same requirements and restrictions as motorists, however more often than not, you see bikers riding straight through stop signs and signals, going down the street the wrong way, and generally ignoring traffic rules. I respect riders and try to give them space, but trying to be a defensive driver with other cars and keeping a 360 view of bikes is impossible. I think in addition to making the city biker friendly, the city should spend time on biker awareness and how to be a responsible biker!

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About Exercists
Andrea Siegel, a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, covers mostly crime and courts in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, as well as legal issues. She wishes she was more physically fit, and, as she's more fond of chocolate than exercise, fitness is a challenge. Her partner on a one-mile-plus daily walk is the family dog, a mixed breed named Moxie, and she exercises at the gym where the D.C. snipers once worked out.
Jerry Jackson has been a photo editor at The Baltimore Sun for 14 years and an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. Inspired by the movie "Breaking Away," he started racing as a teenager in Mississippi when leather "brain baskets" were still the norm. He regularly commutes to work by bike and still enters several mountain bike races a year for fun.
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Patrick Maynard, who will be writing about running and walking, has been a producer for since 2008. In 2009, he tweeted on-course for the Sun from the Baltimore Marathon, finishing in just under 4 hours and almost managing to run the whole time. He sometimes walks to the Sun offices on Calvert Street.
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Leeann Adams, a multimedia editor at The Baltimore Sun, also dabbles in content for the mobile website and iPhone app and covers the Ravens via video. She did a triathlon to celebrate her 40th birthday and continues to swim, bike and run -- none of them quickly, though. Her biggest fitness challenge is to balance working, working out, spending time with her husband and being a mom to a 6-year-old boy.
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Anica Butler, the Sun's crime editor, is a former high school runner and recovering vegetarian who spent more of her early-adult years on a bar stool than working out. She is currently training (though poorly) for a half marathon and is trying to live a generally healthier lifestyle. She also hates the gym.
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