Bicycle Advocacy in Frederick County

Joe W. sent me a message to let me know about a new bicycle group called the Frederick Bicycle Coalition:

The Frederick Bicycle Coalition has been formed to advocate for and promote cycling in Frederick City and County. With good reason, many cyclists view Frederick County as the best all around location for cycling in Maryland. Both the road riding and mountain biking are top notch and the C&O canal offers great family biking options as well as a perfect place for bike touring and camping. From the tough terrain of the Catoctin mountains to the rolling roads of the Monocacy river valley, Frederick County offers something for every cyclist.

The biking here is great, but it can even be better. Improving on-road transportation corridors, safe routes for children and increased bicycle trails are all things that can improve the quality of Frederick life. One of our goals is to get Frederick City designated as Maryland’s first Bicyle Friendly Community.

Interested in what we are doing? Have questions? Want to become a member? Visit us at www.FrederickBicycleCoalition.com where you’ll find membership information, contacts and a link to our Facebook page.

Thanks for the info Joe!

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16 thoughts on “Bicycle Advocacy in Frederick County

  1. There is ‘no’ safe route in Frederick for biking. I know it’s legal to ride, and motorists must share the road by law, but it’s an issue of personal safety. Before there are safe route, I hope no more cyclists be injured by careless drivers. This is like the Mount student runner case. She was running, obeying all laws and following all guidelines. You can do it and you have the right to do it, but why do you do it (in this unfriendly environment)?

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    • John Doe – Do you stop driving because there are auto accidents every day? Rt 15 and Hayward seems to have a serious accident each week and I’ve never heard of one involving a bicycle.

      Life is full of risks but riding a bicycle is a fairly low risk endeavor. It is an unfortunate myth that bicycling on the road is dangerous. I encourage you to read up on the actual risks of bicycling. This page breaks things down fairly well:
      http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

      There are plenty of safe routes in Frederick City and County, I ride them all the time. Of course, there are ares you should avoid as well. Improving cycling routes is one of our goals as things can always be improved.

      Why do we ride? Fun, enjoyment, transportation. There are many reasons, hopefully you’ll get out and enjoy this fine weather on two wheels and see what we mean.

      Ride smart, ride safe and have fun!

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  2. This is great. I’m shocked and dismayed to hear how many people do not understand the simple “rules of bike riding.” I cringe every time I hear someone tell me that cyclists shouldn’t be on the road, but on the sidewalk.

    Considering it is illegal to ride a bike on a sideWALK (as Elaine would emphasize) in most areas, and motorists believe that the road is simply for them, it is great that there are groups out there promoting advocacy and awareness.

    I agree with Joe, just because something is a risk, doesn’t mean we should just all hang up our bikes and quit riding.

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    • Being fairly new to Maryland, I was checking out the bicycle laws just yesterday (Earth Day, you know). I was shocked to see that riding on the sidewalk is legal as far as the state is concerned, unless local code prohibits it.

      I agree that some areas are not good places to ride, but there are alternate roads available which fit my comfort/risk level. All in all, I feel much more inclined to bike here than I did when living in the Atlanta ‘burbs. That was a surprisingly unfriendly environment to any mode of transportation other than autos.

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      • I’m from Louisiana, where riding a bike on the road elicits all types of terrible responses (and there are no sidewalks, so walking isn’t an option either!). Frederick is definitely more friendly in that aspect, but I think all localities have a ways to go.

        As James pointed out, downtown sidewalks are no bike zones so make sure to check up on all the codes.

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  3. When I was young and living in Arlington, I would ride my bike on the roads, but I would keep far to the right. I’ve noticed on some of the back roads here that I will come up on bike riders who are riding two or three abreast across the lane. I don’t know if it’s a law or not, but just from a safety standpoint, wouldn’t it be better to ride single-file so that a car can pass when it is safe to?

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  4. I depend on a bicycle as my primary form of transportation here in Frederick. To gain the respect of drivers (try to, anyway), I follow all traffic rules. Unfortunately, many cyclists don’t observe these rules and it just ruins it for riders like me. Idiots ride their bikes on the downtown sidewalks eventhough street signs say it’s illegal. If I’m walking and see one of these idiots coming at me I pretend not to seem them and give them no choice but to stop. Then I point to one of those signs (like it really helps). And I have been hit (‘soft’ hits, just knocked over) three times in the past by drivers not observing traffic rules. On a positive note, both Urbana Pike and Buckeystown Pike have bike lanes so it’s no problem getting to Target or Wal Mart. You have to be an ‘offensive’ rider in this town. Do not back down on cyclist’s rights.

    I have never heard of this coalition until just now. I guess I’ll have to join.

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  5. “You have to be an ‘offensive’ rider in this town. Do not back down on cyclist’s rights.”
    James – I agree on both points. Its important to know the law and know your rights as well. We have a link to the MD cycling laws on our website.

    K – riding 2 abreast is legal in MD if you are not impeding traffic. When traffic is behind you, you should ride single file. (Disclaimer: don’t take this as legal advise!).

    This is all good conversation and I appreciate the civil dialog.

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  6. I am glad to see this because I do think bicycle riders should have safe areas to ride. Can someone clarify for me? Are bike rides bound to the same traffic laws as cars? I see many folks out riding their bikes but I also often see them riding through red lights, turning without arm signals and going the wrong way down one way streets. Are the rules different for bikes? (I don’t ride, so I honestly don’t know.)

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  7. Shelly, bicyclists have to obey all traffic laws, too. A lot of what you see is just ignorance. What bugs me are the riders all dressed to the nines in their tour-de-France uniforms blazing through red lights and stop signs. I take these riders to be professional, well-educated people (judging mainly by my estimate of how much they have invested in their bikes and accessories). They should know better, but they purposely ignore it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr….

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  8. In general, bicycles follow the same laws as cars. There are exceptions both to the state law as well as local laws. Not everyone follows the rules, just look around and watch auto drivers speeding, blowing through red lights and pedestrians jaywalking to name a few common infractions by other user groups. Cyclists are no different, many follow the rules but some don’t. I won’t pretend to be perfect myself and in a given situation I will always put my safety before the rules. That said, I try to follow the rules the best I can but if I break them I’ll accept the penalty.

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  9. I believe the traffic signals at the intersection of W. 2nd and College Ave. (Baker Park tennis courts) are weight activated. If no car is in vincinity I’ll go through the red light.

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  10. Thank you for clearing that up and good point about drivers who don’t obey the traffic laws. I see many drivers doing the same (unsafe) things that I see bicycle riders doing. Only it’s much more dangerous to do when you’re operating a vehicle!

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  11. Bicycle riders should have to pay to use the roads, so the money can be there to build/add bike lanes. Also anyone that uses the roadways should have to learn to use them properly and safely. that means safely for others as well as the biker. that also means being tested because they are a hazzard on the roads as well as any other drivers. It seems many of the bike riders do not know the rules/laws of the road from what I have seen out there.

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