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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Activities planned across Worcester County for Bike Month

Members of the Worcester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and other community groups are preparing to host Bike Month with organized bicycle rides scheduled throughout May and safety education efforts.

Bike Fest-submitted

Participants in a previous year’s Maryland Coast Bike Festival are pictured leaving West Ocean City. Submitted Photo

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer 

 The Worcester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and other community groups are gearing up for Bike Month with organized bicycling rides scheduled throughout May and a focus on safety education.

The Maryland Coast Bike Festival has three rides around Assateague for cyclists to choose from at their Saturday, May 4 event. The Island Ride, with a tentative start time of 8 a.m., is 17 miles and begins and ends at Sunset Avenue. The longer rides, Surf and Turf, set to start at 7:30 a.m., and Half Century, scheduled to kick-off at 7 a.m., also begin at Sunset Avenue but cover more ground of Worcester County for a milage of 34.4 and 50, respectively. After the rides, cyclists and their families are invited to stick around for live music, live demonstrations and clinics, bike shops and vendors, local food trucks, beer and refreshments and artists and merchants.

Buckingham Elementary School students will also get to partake in Bike Month festivities. At the Bike to School event, set for May 30, the children and adult chaperones will meet at different locations before connecting on West Street to ride to school together. The group convening at the Berlin library should plan to arrive by 8:30 a.m., the Henry Mill Drive team will assemble at 8:30 a.m., and kids starting at Henry Park will gather at 8:15 a.m. The routes are scheduled to converge at 8:40 a.m. for the final stretch to BES. 

BES music and movement teacher Colby Haines, the event’s organizer, said the students will prepare for the ride by learning bicycle safety in their physical education class. 

The Ocean Pines Spring Bike Ride is back for its fourth year on Saturday, May 11. The event, organized by the neighborhood’s Recreation and Parks Department and the Worcester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, starts and ends at the Clubhouse Bar and Grille. The ride is scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m., and cyclists will be welcomed with a celebratory happy hour and a free drink ticket once they cross the finish line. Seven- and 14-mile routes are offered based on preference. 

The Ocean Pines bike ride specifies that participants must be 12 years or older and “experienced.” The coalition’s chair, Patti Stevens, explained that riders must be proficient and comfortable cycling on the road with traffic, as much of the route is on Ocean Parkway. The community’s police and fire departments will monitor intersections to maximize safety. For registration and additional information, contact ride coordinator Pam McGregor at 703-955-0745.

Stevens and the bike coalition urge participants to practice safety at these events and when embarking on solo rides. According to Zero Deaths Maryland, roughly 636 cyclists are injured every year in collisions with motor vehicles. “Of all crashes involving a bicyclist or pedal cyclist, over 80 percent resulted in an injury, more than twice the rate of drivers and passengers in all crashes statewide,” the website reads. 

Additionally, a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a motorist going 40 miles per hour is eight times more likely to die than those hit at 20 mph. Stevens urges drivers to maintain a safe distance—at least three feet per state law—from cyclists or walkers. Bikers can also increase protection by using hand signals to indicate when they intend to turn or stop. 

“Always wear a helmet and bright and reflective clothing, like a vest, especially at night,” the bike coalition chair advised cyclists. “Make sure the bike has lights in the front and back. The worst accidents involve those who ride bikes in black with no lights. That is dangerous for themselves and drivers.” 

The Worcester County Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition was formed in 2020. Its mission is to facilitate planning, funding, and improving bike, walking, and rolling routes. While Bike Month is full of festivities planned and supported by the group, the coalition meets with county and municipal governments, homeowner associations, and non-profits throughout the year to plan walking and biking events. 

Stevens maintained that the group was integral in Berlin being awarded $1.2 million by a federal grant to plan and design a Route 113 Crossing. Earlier this year, they also helped get pedestrian yield signs, sidewalks, and crosswalks in Ocean Pines. 

“The coalition is pleased with the progress we’re making and raising awareness of creating safe places for residents to bike and walk, and we look forward to continuing,” Stevens said.  

This story appears in the May 2, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.