Here are a few tidbits about what some Maryland advocates did over the summer.
Jack Cochrane is known as the key bicycle advocate in Montgomery County, but he is also a summertime advocate in western New York. Until recently, Route 394 had a door-zone bike lane as it passed through one of his favorite towns. He wrote the state department of transportation:
But after resurfacing, the line separating the parking area from the bike lane has not been repainted (all the other lines were repainted). This creates a wider parking area at the expense of the bike lane. The bike lane symbols are gone too. Please leave it that way. Now bicyclists are free to ride in the travel lane (safely away from parked cars) without drivers getting upset at them for not riding in the bike lane.
He wanted to urge the state to place "Use Full Lane" (R4-11) signs there, but New York State explicitly decided not to adopt the sign.
Another Maryland advocate persuaded the police on Long Beach Island (New Jersey) to change the text on a variable message sign from "Cyclists obey traffic laws. Stop at red lights and stop signs" to "Walk to the left, bicycles ride right." When a driver wrote a typical letter to the local paper urging a police crackdown on scofflaw cyclists, he wrote a letter commending the police.
Clueless drivers ... threaten the lives of cyclists and pedestrians...So many drivers park on the sidewalk that one must assume that most drivers do not know what a sidewalk is... So many drivers fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks that one would assume that many drivers do not know what a crosswalk is...So many drivers speed that one must assume that drivers mentally add 10 mph to every posted speed limit—not so different from cyclists who run red lights and stop signs (5 mph instead of 0 mph)...Almost all drivers make illegal right turns on the bike lanes along Atlantic, Beach, and Long Beach Boulevard south of Beach Haven....Many drivers illegally honk their horns at cyclists riding in the center of the lane for their own safety...Fortunately, the Long Beach Township police are trying to educate drivers and cyclists on how to be safe.
Finally, the Maryland Department of Transportation's director of bicycle and pedestrian affairs spent some time in the cooler climate of Calgary, Alberta. The Calgary Herald reported
Today, the conference heard from a delegate from Maryland named Michael Jackson, who examined schools in his state that have actually banned students from walking or riding a bike to school. It seems absurd, but it’s not uncommon, and it’s hard not to think poor understanding of cycling drives some of those prohibitions.
(Jim Titus is a bicycle advocate from Prince Georges County, Maryland)