Tag: danger

No Skating on Lake Roland? Since When?


Last week and the week before were really, really cold.  Cold enough to freeze Lake Roland’s shallow waters to more than a 5” thickness: perfect conditions for ice skating!  Which is just what some area residents did – groups of kids took to the ice with hockey sticks and rosy cheeks, and some adults put edge to ice, as well.  It was a joy to behold.  Good, clean fun on a freezing winter day when it was otherwise hard to appreciate the single-digit weather.

Sadly, the skaters were interrupted by admonitions from the police to get off the ice – someone had called 911.  The reason?  They were told that Baltimore County Recreation and Parks prohibits skating on its park waters.

The park rules are posted on signs at the main entrances:

Park Open Sunrise to Sunset

Alcoholic Beverages Prohibited without Written Permit

Park Permits Required for Groups

Dogs Must Be Leashed

Unauthorized Motor Vehicles and Horses Prohibited

Open Fires and Weapons Prohibited

Swimming Prohibited

Violators Will Be Prosecuted. Help Keep Your Park Clean.

(Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.)

On the sign, there is no prohibition nor permission to ice skate, but concerned citizens — including my neighbors and me — who gathered with the Baltimore County Director of Recreation and Parks this week were told that it is, in fact, a county policy.

Congratulations, Baltimore — You’re No Longer Dangerous (For French People)



Last week, we told you how the French Foreign Ministry’s travel warning website told French tourists to be on guard when visiting Baltimore. Roughly translated, their warning said that Baltimore is “considered a dangerous city except downtown.” Apparently someone at the ministry realized that this was ridiculous for many reasons — one big one being that downtown is often dangerous! — and the website has been changed.

Hey, Baltimore — France is Afraid of You



If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you may have come across the State Department’s travel advisories. You know, like “No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence,” or “U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.” Well, the Washington Post had the brilliant idea of checking out what other countries warn their citizens about America — and it turns out they’re scared of pretty much every decent-sized city along the Eastern Seaboard.

Here’s what the Post uncovered:

New York: Be wary in Times Square and at the Statue of Liberty, and don’t go to Harlem, the Bronx or Central Park at night.

Washington: Northeast and Southeast should be avoided, and Union Station is dangerous at night. “Le quartier Anacostia n’est pas recommandable de jour comme de nuit.” Translation: Don’t go to Anacostia, day or night.

Baltimore: “Considered a dangerous city except downtown.”

Baltimore Ninth on List of America’s Most Dangerous Cities



Yes, that’s Baltimore. Photo courtesy Business Insider.

Courtesy Citybizlist – The national capital, Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami and Orlando are among the most dangerous cities in America, according to a report in Business Insider.

The Dumb Habit That Might End Up Hurting (or Embarrassing) You


Last weekend, the New York Times published a story called “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body,” which pointed out that yoga-related emergency room visits more than doubled between 2001 and 2002.  From 20 to 46. Yawn. (Read Baltimore’s popular yoga studio Charm City Yoga’s rebuttal to the article here.)

But what you may have missed during all the yoga-attacking (or yoga-defending) furor was a way-more-scary statistic from the same day’s paper:  in 2008, more than a thousand pedestrians had to go to the emergency room because they were somehow injured while talking or texting on their cell phones.  One thousand! And since that number had doubled each year since 2006, more recent years have probably seen even more people who were hurt by walking-while-texting.

But, hey, I’ve done it myself — probably within the past week. And since we’re probably not going to get people to stand still when they need to send a message (seeing as we can barely get folks to stop text and driving), maybe it’s best to just develop some ground rules.  That’s what filmmaker Casey Neistat does in this video. He suggests that you pay attention to your blind spot (“everywhere is the blind spot”), don’t force other pedestrians to yield to you, and — if you can — force yourself to stop and lean against a wall before you send that message. It’s safer and less irritating for you, and for everyone else on the street. Plus, think of how embarrassing it would be to have to go to the hospital for a texting-related accident.

Discount Buses: A Cheapskate’s Dream; A Safety Nightmare


My bus trip to New York last week cost me $13 (one-way). We left on time, arrived on time, and had (sluggish) wifi all the way.  With Baltimore-New York train tickets hovering around $100+ and often plagued by delays (and no wifi!), no wonder more people are turning to the low-cost bus lines that run up and down the east coast.  They’re so convenient that I sometimes wonder what the catch is. Well, we got one answer this week:  the catch is that your bus might catch on fire.

Yep, an MVP bus from New York to Baltimore caught fire on the New Jersey Turnpike after a right rear tire blew out. (Dramatic photo here.) Sure, accidents happen — but these low-cost bus lines seem to be plagued with more than their share. A speeding bus overturned int he Bronx in March, and 14 people died.  A Greensboro-New York Chinatown bus flipped in May, leaving four people dead. A Greyhound bus turned over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week, sending 21 people to the hospital. A double-decker Megabus had its second level sheared off by a bridge last year, killing four passengers.

Low-cost bus services stay cheap by being efficient; sometimes, it seems, that means cutting corners, letting sleepy drivers go out for one more run (they’re supposed to be restricted to 10 hours of driving a day), and not enforcing safety regulations.  The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced a safety review of the industry. But with gas and train prices staying the way they are, I’ll probably keep taking them anyway.

Do you feel safe on these buses?

Radim Strojek / Shutterstock.com