To the Maryland Transportation Authority’s plan to allow bicyclists onto the Hatem Bridge starting July 1. The more we find out about the state’s proposal, the more we simply cannot believe that it is moving forward. Bicyclists won’t have the safety of an additional lane to ride in, but will be forced to ride along with traffic, commercial tractor-trailers included, in the two-lane span that features relatively low jersey walls. So far, the state is not proposing any age limit for crossing and even if there were, it would be impossible to enforce. Bicyclists who wish to pass at nighttime will be prohibited, but the only safety measure to prevent them from doing so would be an MDTA official monitoring the toll facility calling a Transportation Authority police officer to respond. We understand that biking advocates have long griped about the inability to cross the Hatem, but where do we stop for the vocal minority? Will cyclists soon be crossing the Bay Bridge as well?
To 2016. Seriously though, how many cultural and artistic icons must we lose in one year? The year has seen the loss of actors Alan Rickman, Garry Shandling and Doris Roberts; musicians David Bowie, Merle Haggard and Glenn Frey; and authors Harper Lee, Pat Conroy and Jim Harrison — in just the first four months. Then on Thursday, the news began to spread of the loss of the iconoclast musician Prince. As of press time, no cause had been reported for the 57-year-old’s death, but he was reportedly not in good health and had recently begun writing his memoir. The Artist Formally Known As Prince was famous for his infectious mix of funk, rock, R&B and pop music, culminating in hits like “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain.” His androgynous showmanship harked back to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust days, and his guitar playing could rival Jimi Hendrix. We can only hope that the year has fewer such losses in its midst after losing so many already.