A new partnership between WABA and Bike Maryland

Bike Maryland (“BikeMD”)  and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (“WABA”) are pleased to announce a new collaborative partnership to further strengthen ties between the two groups.  The following are a few of the selected items under a memorandum of understanding both groups signed on August 28, 2022:

  • WABA will provide staff level and volunteer support for Bike MD’s leading role in Maryland-wide advocacy for improved conditions for all who bicycle and walk in the State.  This includes setting legislative priorities and strategies for BikeMD’s advocacy;
  • BikeMD and WABA will together evaluate BikeMD’s website and social media platforms and establish a plan to bring all content current, provide regular updates, and share relevant information with one another;
  • BikeMD, with WABA’s assistance, will recruit new BikeMD board members, including adding at least one board member from Prince George’s County, plus adding other board members that will diversify BikeMD’s board geographically, gender-wise and racially; &
  • Together, the two organizations will develop future plans for BikeMD’s budget, membership recruitment and annual planning overall.

BikeMD and WABA look forward to this collaboration and for BikeMD to mount successful grassroots organizing, legislative, educational and programmatic efforts to serve all who bike and walk in the State of Maryland.

In the coming days, BikeMD and WABA will be rolling out its board recruitment outreach efforts, and we look forward to recruiting new members to join a board that is ready to transform the transportation system in MD. Please contact chair@bikemd.org for more information. 

Peter Gray, BikeMD Interim Board Chairperson

Joshua Feldmark, BikeMD Board Vice Chairperson

Nigel Samaroo, BikeMD Secretary

Kathleen Hayes, BikeMD Treasurer

Jeremiah Lowery, WABA Advocacy Director

Highlights from Maryland’s 2022 Legislative Session  

After the conclusion of the 2022 MD legislative session, we can say that we have made some progress with regards to the state of bicycling in Maryland and the efforts to make state roads safer for people who walk and bike.  

The 2022 session was marked by the passage of a few bills that made substantive progress to make alternatives to cars more available to all of us.  Here are the bills demonstrating this change that passed and are now State law:

HB 254, the Vision Zero Act of 2022, introduced by Delegate Julie Palakovich-Carr, mandates that the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) conduct an infrastructure review of each pedestrian or bicyclist fatality that occurs on a State highway to identify deficiencies and appropriate corrective actions at the crash location. The bill further requires MDOT SHA to complete the review within 6 months after being notified of the pedestrian or bicyclist fatality and publish the review on its website. We hope that this new procedure will bring lifesaving changes to roads already proven to be unsafe for walking and biking, while we push for a more proactive approach to road safety statewide.  See more about this bill at the link here.

HB 19, the Safe Walk to School Act, introduced by Delegate Jared Solomon, mandates that when new schools are constructed or when a school is renovated to add more that 100 students to the school, Counties must submit to the State a new Pedestrian Safety plan that would examine the area that is walkable and identify safe walking and biking routes to the school.  More information about this bill can be found here.   

HB 778, the Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act, also introduced by Delegate Solomon, directs $13.9m in spending to expand MARC commuter rail service, including adding a third track on the Brunswick line between Rockville and Germantown, enhancements to the Penn and Camden lines, new regional service between Perryville, MD and Newark, DE, new regional rail service to Alexandria, VA and extending the Brunswick line to better serve Western MD. Spending must commence in fiscal year 2023 (beginning July 1, 2022). More work will be needed in the future to assure more funds are devoted to this purpose.  For more on this bill, click the link here.

HB 141, Equity in Transportation Sector – Guidelines and Analyses, introduced by Delegate Sheila Ruth, requires MDOT when doing it’s periodic revisions of the Consolidated Transportation Plan (that guides transportation planning in the State), MDOT must “conduct a transit equity analysis, perform a cost-benefit analysis, consult with members and leaders of affected communities, and take specified actions based on the results of these activities before announcing (1) any service change that would constitute a major service change under specified federal guidelines or (2) any reduction or cancellation of a capital expansion project in the construction program of the Consolidated Transportation Plan.”  No such equity analysis was performed prior to passage of this bill.  This analysis will require consulting with affected communities for  a State Plan that better addresses needs and improves transportation equity. . See more on this bill here

SB 210, Employer Provided Commuter Benefits – Expansion, introduced by Senator Guzzone at the urging of MDOT, expands the amount of tax credits that the State is able to grant to employers to cover the costs of biking or walking to commute to work, as well as carpooling and teleworking costs.  Bike commuters are able to help cover their costs for bike maintenance and gear, as well as bike and scooter share memberships.  For more information, look here.

HB 53, which provides more enforcement relating to Bus Only lanes in Baltimore City and HB 73 which provides more funding for Complete Streets and Safe Routes to schools in Baltimore City also passed.  See more on HB 53 here and HB 73 here.

Two bills made significant progress this the session, gaining passage in the House, but failing to pass out of committees in the Senate:

HB 656, Safe Access For All (SAFE) Roads Act of 2022, introduced by Delegate Charkoudian, would have mandated certain minimum amounts be spent by MDOT and SHA on making State roads safer for people walking and biking. The funds would have been used to address the huge backlog of safety fixes needed on State roads to address dangerous road conditions which often have resulted in serious injuries and deaths for those walking and biking.  For more information on this bill click here.

HB 404, Speed Limits, introduced by Delegate Lehman, would have allowed local jurisdictions to study and then set  lower speed limits on some State roads.  Montgomery County already has this authority. See more here.

All of these bills passed, in part due to the efforts of WABA and BikeMD which provided written and some in person testimony and lobbying visits.  WABA and BikeMD also organized members/supporters to send emails and make calls in support of some of these bills.

Together, bike advocates from all over Maryland made substantive progress on making walking, biking, and accessing transit safer and more available.  We look forward to making even more progress, especially on dedicating State funds to active transportation and transit, next year!  To become more involved, contact Peter Gray, WABA’s Maryland Organizer at peter@waba.org.

Attend Bike Maryland’s Hyattsville Bike Friendly Community and Business Workshop Tomorrow, Oct. 29

Bike Maryland, the bike advocacy organization representing the state of Maryland, is holding a Bike Friendly Community and Business workshop tomorrow evening. Per Bike Maryland, here’s what it will involve:
Bike Maryland invites you to join us for a free Bicycle Friendly Community and Business Workshop at the Hyattsville Branch Library on Tuesday, October 29th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. The purpose of this event is to provide information about the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly Business Programs, and to help make the community a safer place to ride for transportation and recreation. Ultimately, we hope to provide communities and businesses with the tools they need to earn a Bicycle Friendly Community or Business award from the League of American Bicyclists. The first half of the workshop will provide information on how to become a Bicycle Friendly Community or Business and highlight some of the perks of doing so with through brief presentations from representatives in Maryland’s Bicycle Friendly Communities and Businesses. The workshop will conclude with an interactive brainstorming session, allowing attendees to explore and discuss the development and implementation of a Bike Friendly Community Action Plan for Hyattsville.
Bike Maryland is encouraging local business leaders, community officials, and bicycling advocates to attend. The workshop is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hyattsville Branch Library, 6530 Adelphi Road. RSVP here.