(May 19, 2017) – In recognition of Bike to Work Day being celebrated today, the Maryland Department of Transportation joined partners in Baltimore and Bethesda events to raise awareness of bicycle safety and access.

In Bethesda, Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis, Jr. presented a proclamation issued by Governor Larry Hogan declaring May 19 as Maryland Bike to Work Day.  In Baltimore Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Administrator Gregory Slater biked to work and stopped at the MDOT SHA-hosted Bike to Work Day pit stop along Guilford Street.

“Bicycling is a very important part of Maryland’s transportation past and future, and Bike to Work Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate this healthy, environmentally-friendly and convenient form of travel,” said Transportation Deputy Secretary Lewis. “The Maryland Department of Transportation is committed to a truly integrated transportation network that connects Marylanders to life’s opportunities in every corner of our state.”

(MDOT SHA photoMaryland Department of Transportation Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator Paul Comfort (left) and State Highway Administrator Gregory Slater (right) participate in Bike to Work Day 2017.)

In advance of Bike to Work Day and throughout spring and summer, MDOT SHA is raising awareness about bicyclist safety through its continuing education and outreach campaign: Look Out for Each Other.  On billboards, radio and television public service announcements, transit ads and social media, actual Maryland professionals who bike remind drivers: A Bicyclist May Be Someone You Know.  A teacher who also is a mom, an aeronautical engineer who is a son, a project manager who is an aunt, and a nurse who is a dad ask drivers to look out for bicyclists and pass bicycles with at least three feet of space.

This week, SHA is airing a new video PSA with four different scenarios emphasizing the importance of personal space, especially on the road when passing bicyclists.

“MDOT SHA is expanding bicycling opportunities through bike lanes, wide shoulders and trails, and enhancing safety through our We’re on This Road Together bicycle education campaign,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Slater.  “Whether biking, driving or walking, we all need to follow the rules of the road and look out for each other.”

Click here for a video of MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater talking about Bike Safety.
Unfortunately, bicycle-involved fatalities increased in Maryland from 6 in 2014 to 11 in 2015 to 16 in 2016 (preliminary statistics).*  In the past five years, more than 3,200 people were injured and 44 people killed in bicycle-related crashes in Maryland.  Statistics show that most bicycle crashes happen in warmer months, May through August, and nearly half of all bicycle- involved crashes occur during “rush hour” between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

When developing highway improvement projects MDOT SHA engineers evaluate bicycle access, enhancements and signage.  In recent years, MDOT SHA improved more than 132 miles of roadways with bike lanes or wide shoulders.

The MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) includes bicycling safety education in Unit One of its driver’s education curriculum as parents/coaches are required to attend with the new driver.  A video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1PXvxh_6MI) developed by the League of Illinois Bicyclists is included in a later lesson to further demonstrate safe driving around cyclists in a variety of circumstances. Since 2012,  MDOT MVA has added this message, “Give Bikes THREE FEET when passing – It’s the Law” to the outer envelope of 120,000 vehicle registration renewal notices

Bike to Work Day is a time to celebrate biking throughout the state.  These events are designed to entice and show the public that they, too, can commute by bike.  On Bike to Work Day drivers should be more vigilant with more cyclists on the road during rush hours.  Learn more about Bike to Work Day events around Baltimore at www.Bike2WorkCentralMD.com.  In Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, visit: www.biketoworkmetrodc.org.
On Bike to Work Day and every day, drivers should expect to encounter bicyclists in their travels.  Here are several important tips for drivers:

• Allow plenty of following distance.
• Look for bicyclists before turning or opening car doors.
• Slow down when approaching a cyclist.
• Pass bicyclists carefully, giving at least three feet of space.
• Do not honk your horn.

Tips for cyclists on the road:

• Follow all the same laws as the automobile drivers and avoid distractions.
• Use hand signals to indicate turns.
• Wear protective gear, especially a helmet.
• Be visible with bright clothes and reflective material at night.

Editor’s note: MDOT SHA has a record amount of highway construction projects underway across the state to reduce congestion and improve safety.  From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.