Last week marked the first meeting of the Task Force to Study Bicycle Safety on Maryland Highways, created by legislation last session to study and make recommendations on issues related to bicycle safety on highways in the State.
According to the Task Force website, the Task Force’s charge covers, generally, the following areas:
- Safety issues and operations of bicycles and motor vehicles on highways in the State.
- Adequacy of infrastructure and issues related to traffic control devices.
- Policy implementation and public education.
- Funding to support/encourage the safe operation of bicycles in the State.
- Bicycle infrastructure design, siting, and best practices.
MACo is represented by Chris Eatough, the Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator for Howard County. Chris Eatough received a Masters in Transportation Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1998. A six-time world champion in endurance mountain biking with a successful 14-year athletic career, Chris most recently served five years as the bike and walk program manager for Arlington County, Virginia, where he helped launch the successful Capital Bikeshare program.
At its first meeting, the Task Force received presentations on salient statistics on bicycle use and safety in Maryland, recently passed legislation, and unresolved issues considered by the General Assembly in recent years. Then the group participated in a facilitated discussion to identify key topics of interest.
Members highly prioritized identifying ways to design and adapt transportation infrastructure so that it accommodates all users – and does so in a manner which provides safe bicycling opportunities in an equitable manner. Other issues of concern included encouraging ridership, driving down fatalities and injuries, ensuring that appropriate data is tracked, network connectivity, and education for both the general public and law enforcement on bike laws and safety tips.
The Task Force’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 21 from 1pm to 3:30pm at the State Highway Administration Complex in Hanover. All meetings are open to the public, with opportunity delineated for public comment. The group must deliver its recommendations to the Maryland General Assembly by December 31, 2017.
Task Force members, schedule, items of interest, and more are available on the Task Force website. Inquiries regarding the Maryland Bicycle Safety Taskforce can be emailed to MDBikeSafetyTaskforce@mdot.state.md.us.