Serving Cyclists in the
Mid-Atlantic States

Easy Eastern Shore Escape
By Neil Sandler

Saturday afternoon, August 9, I dropped my 13-year-old daughter Emma off at a friend’s house, where she and some girl friends and their parents were planning a day trip to the beach in Delaware.

My wife Sonja and son Nathan sort of got bummed out, so I quickly assembled our day away.  

After breakfast Sunday morning I’d load the bikes and we’d head over the Bay to Easton, where we could do the legendary “first timers” ride on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Easton-Oxford-St. Michaels loop would include a ride over America’s oldest privately owned ferry, first operated in 1683.  We’d even get to check out our own beach and stick our toes into the warm bay waters in Oxford.

While we expected some nice ocean air and flat terrain, compared to what we are used to in Western Maryland where we live, what we did not expect was the extraordinary kindnesses demonstrated by the folks on the “other side” of the Chesapeake Bay.

Four instances quickly come to mind.

Little more than five miles into the ride, we came upon one of the most spectacular sunflowers fields we’ve ever seen.  A total photo op, if only there was a way to stand above the seven-foot tall flowers. Sure enough, as we wandered the field looking for an ideal vantage point, we came across a perfectly positioned six-foot tall stepladder, which we used for the photo on this issue’s cover.  How thoughtful!

Less than a mile later I was informed that both wife and son were desperately in need of restrooms. While I looked for a nice spot in a cornfield, they spotted a portajohn.  The owner of the adjacent fruit stand said no problem and after we made use of the facilities, she offered us three of the largest, juiciest peaches for the total of $1. A buck, really?!  Back home these beauties would be a buck each.  Needless to say, our tip more than made up for the bargain price.

When we finally got to the legendary Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, I searched for an ideal spot to take a family “selfie,” when a gentleman appeared and offered to take it for us.  Who else could it be, other than ferry captain and owner Tom Bixler?  “Happy to help out,” he exclaimed.  On busy weekends, hundreds of cyclists make use of his wonderful ferry, which operates 7-days-a-week (Bicyclists: $4 one-way, $6 round-trip; www.oxfordferry.com).

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Cyclist’s Video Prompts VDOT Change
by Ron Cassie

In mid-June, a woman riding her bike across a caged pedestrian section of the Berkley Bridge toward downtown Norfolk was hit, believe it or not, by an SUV. But there’s good news. First, she wasn’t seriously injured. Second, she caught it all on video on her handlebar-mounted camcorder.
Kelley Howell, who shared her video online, was riding on the pedestrian bridge on an otherwise normal Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a passing motorist — who, it later turned out, was a contract employee for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
"I saw this vehicle," Howell told WVEC-TV. "Oh, my God. Brake, scream, when I realized I was hitting him. There was no way to stop it, but I had hit immediately on my hand hit the front of his car, I guess, glanced around the right, top right corner, and, then, what hit me the most was the mirror.”
That driver was eventually placed on administrative leave, but that was hardly the end of the story. Howell and bicyclists who learned about crash wanted a change of policy to prevent another, and possibly worse, collision down the line.
Initially, in a statement two days after the crash, VDOT Jennifer Gwaltney said that the pedestrian bridge is regularly used by their employees to drive to and from work. But, VDOT added, there are warning signs for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Howell, a self-described bike safety advocate, also exchanged information with the driver of the SUV, and called police several hours later after the crash. However, she said the officer who met her at her home told her police could not investigate — despite the video — because they had not been on scene right after the collision took place.

For more, click on picture of "Current Issue," top left....................................................