Earlier this month I had the opportunity to spend the day with my state and local government, a plethora of bicycle advocacy groups, and a bunch a really great bike people at the annual Bike Maryland Bike Symposium (yes, it is supposed to say bike twice). Held at the Maryland Senate Building in Downtown Annapolis, this day-long series of lectures and Q&As – and happy hour! – left me comically inspired and excited about the current and future advancement of bicycling in the state of Maryland. I rolled out of there really feeling like we can do anything!
In all seriousness, there were some really great topics covered, the foremost being the opening of the Hatem Bridge to cyclists starting July first. While they’re still trying to figure out just how to make the arrangement the safest possible (if anyone knows the bridge, it is extremely narrow) and are thinking about a light system that warns drivers when cyclists are on the bridge. I suppose something is better than nothing, and it is a very exciting opening because it means that cyclists can now bike across the state. You can read more about the opening here.
Also, another big deal for Maryland, a bike share program is coming to Baltimore! Soon Baltimorians won’t have to look on to DC through green eyes!
One of my favorite parts of the symposium was the talk held by Steve Carr from the Maryland DNR. In addition to promoting road cycling, he had a lot to say about expanding off-road riding. Maryland is also getting hip with technology, and he talked about using a GIS mapping system of on- and off-road bike routes, hosted through the DNR, that could be accessed on- or off-line through a GPS based navigational app. This would mean real-time “Google-like” navigation for all cyclists to utilize available routes and infrastructure.
Of course, one of my favorite parts was the Baltimore Youth Cycling, who are perhaps too awesome and cute for words.
On a related note, a lot was said for getting bikes into schools, and normalizing cycling through raising a generation of people that understand the importance of cycling, how to be safe (both as a cyclist and driver), and how cycling is reasonable option for both transportation and recreation.If any Marylanders are interesting in attending Bike Maryland’s next meeting, which is open to the public, it’s going to be held at Toole’s HQ in Silver Spring, April 22 and will involve a group ride I believe. If you’re in Silver Spring, I suggest going to Quarry House for an amazing burger and beer!