Cycling and Traffic post. I received a ton of helpful advice! I thought that I would add it here so that everyone can benefit.
First of all, there is this brilliant essay from Eye on Annapolis, which was sent to me from Jen. In the essay, Ann Brennan talks to drivers about why she does some of the things she does while she is out on the bike. A great read for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
Kitzzy sent me a few links that are specific to the Orlando area, but are still wonderful tips for everyone. CommuteOrlando offers some tips about being a confident cyclist. Cycling Savvy comes from the Florida Bicycle Association, and offers some tips about certain maneuvers you can make while on the road.
Kitzzy also sent the Bicycling Street Smarts manual, which includes a lot of helpful information, plus diagrams about riding in traffic, on streets, in darkness, etc. I especially like the section on riding through traffic circles, which will be helpful if and when I get up the nerve to ride the Route 30 (Hampstead) Bypass, which is the closest Bike Route to my house.
My friend Misty sent me a link to Bicycle Safety. This offers a lot of information that was in the Bicycling Street Smarts manual, but in a shorter version with catchier titles. This site also offers a lot of statistics on how many bicycle accidents occur from different mistakes. My takeaway is that around 33,000 people die in car crashes in the U.S. each year. About 1 in 41 is a bicyclist.
After Kitzzy's links that were local to Orlando, I decided to do my own research to see if Maryland or Baltimore had any bike information out there. I found my county office of tourism offers some interesting bike tours of my local area. This is interesting, and offers some routes I'd love to try, but doesn't really go into safety at all.
Baltimore City offers some information on Bike Baltimore, but again, this is mostly maps and not really information about biking safely in Baltimore City. The Maryland Department of Transportation offers similar services, with bike maps of the Bike Routes in the state of Maryland.
The best Maryland resource that I found was OneLessCar.org, This includes events, news and information for Maryland cyclists, but their safety page didn't include nearly the important information that was found in any of the links that anyone sent me. It did, however, include a wonderful fact sheet on Bicycle Safety for Children. There are some great tips on that one, so take a look at it if you are thinking of buying your child a bike.
The biggest thing that I've learned from reading up on all of these websites is that I should sit and memorize all of this before going out on the road. Right now, I only interact with cars at trail crossings and in my own neighborhood. I can begin practicing the safety lessons that I've learned in my neighborhood, but it will be a little while before I've learned enough to ride on roads outside of my neighborhood. Right now, for example, I am still not quite confident enough to reach down and grab my water bottle while I'm riding. If I can't do that, then I'm not ready to ride on a bigger street just yet.
Image Credit: One Less Car.org