Lane changers create danger Reckless: Drivers' faulty turns at the intersection of Northern Parkway and Liberty Heights Avenue put others at risk.

The Intrepid Commuter

February 26, 1996

ONE OF the joys of driving is watching the recklessness -- should we say stupidity? -- of other motorists.

They're the ones who take unnecessary chances and blatantly disobey traffic signs.

That said, we now trek to the intersection of Northern Parkway and Liberty Heights Avenue/Liberty Road near the Baltimore-Baltimore County line.

At this intersection, Northern Parkway traffic has three options at the traffic signal: turn left or right onto Liberty, or bear right at a traffic island to proceed west on Liberty Road.

Here's where it gets tricky.

Those who bear right at the traffic island are supposed to continue on Liberty Road, while those who turn right at the signal can either go west on Liberty Road or bear left onto a turn lane for Flannery Lane less than a half-block away.

"They have signs there but cars who take the fork [created by the traffic island] always think they can weasel over and turn onto Flannery," said Corey Street, who lives in the Pimlico area and travels Northern Parkway daily en route to Randallstown.

Susan-Maria Frazier, who lives in a nearby apartment complex, said Northern Parkway motorists simply ignore the sign that directs them to go to the signal if they want to turn right onto Liberty Road and then left onto Flannery Lane.

"I have twice missed being hit by someone who was turning on red and either not paying attention to the fact that their light was red or they were just trying to beat oncoming traffic," Ms. Frazier said.

Lt. J. D. Smith of the city police traffic unit said officers will monitor the intersection.

Adults try to talk way out of child car seat violations

"We weren't going fast."

"We live close by."

"They aren't my kids anyhow."

Creative? Yes.

Accepted? No.

These are some of the excuses given to Baltimore County police officers by motorists who were pulled over Thursday for not having the children in their cars either in a car seat or restrained by seat belt.

About a dozen motorists were stopped and issued $45 tickets for seat belt or car seat violations during a 45-minute span at a child safety checkpoint on Eastridge Road, a block from Timonium Elementary School. The violation carries no points on the driving record.

Many of the drivers themselves weren't buckled up.

"How do you expect children to buckle their seat belt when yours is not buckled?" Officer John W. Kelly asked one parent. "Parents should set the example."

State law says children under age 4 or weighing less than 40 pounds must be restrained in a child safety seat. Also, children under 10 who weigh more than 40 pounds must be secured in a child safety seat, or in a seat with a properly fastened safety belt.

The three-man team of Officer Kelly, Sgt. Robert Schmidt and Cpl. Richard A. Howard gave a handful of warnings, but most violators received tickets.

Janice Weinstein, who car pools to a school less than a mile from her home and often carries five or six youngsters in a car not equipped to carry that many, said it's more dangerous for her children to walk to school.

"So a $40 fine or points on my driving record are far more appealing than finding my children's names or the names of any child in [The Sun's] obituary column because of some lunatic taking advantage of an innocent child walking to school," Ms. Weinstein said.

Perring Parkway is site for city's speedy drivers

Just got new wheels and want to open it up to see how fast that hummer can move?

Check out the southbound lane of Perring Parkway between Belvedere Avenue and McClean Boulevard, one of the best speedways north of Daytona Beach.

It's a mile and a half of sheer driving pleasure. With a speed limit of 45 mph (which no one pays much attention to), it's three lanes of open road with great sight lines, smooth terrain, few bends and infrequent speed traps.

"For the road runners it's fine, but for us who want to ride with our families, we have to creep along in the right lane -- and even there people get right up on our bumper and crowd us to make us hurry," said Robert R. Duvall, who lives in Parkville.

Numerous accidents -- including a fatality or two -- have occurred the stretch over the years, especially in the area beneath the Northern Parkway overpass, police said.

"It's like a highway in the middle of the city," said Lieutenant Smith of the city traffic unit. He said radar-equipped police occasionally monitor the stretch, especially after complaints.

We occasionally see police with radar just south of Belvedere Avenue during the day, but much of the speeding -- at least what we've seen -- occurs at night.

Lieutenant Smith considered last week's query from the Intrepid One a complaint, and the next day had officers stationed there. ** They netted a "handful" of speeders and an illegal alien, Lieutenant Smith said.

Yes, an illegal alien.

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