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As Cycling Grows Cambridge Proactive In Education

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 25

The City of Cambridge is handing out a copy of the bike laws to all the residents (including incoming Harvard students).  Education is a key component in preventing bike accidents, and I am glad they are passing it out to ALL new residents, because the vast majority of people in Cambridge are not riding their bike daily, and they need to know the laws just as much as the cyclists (if not more).

Perhaps this could be expanded to EVERY resident in Cambridge, as they could use a refresher on the laws as well.

From The Crimson:

New residents of Cambridge, including incoming Harvard students, will receive information on local bicycle regulations, the Cambridge City Council ordered at its weekly Monday night meeting.

A trio of resolutions, all focused on increasing knowledge about bike laws in Cambridge, passed unanimously. The resolutions, sponsored by Mayor E. Denise Simmons, requested that the City Manager’s office work with the city and local colleges to provide new residents and students with relevant bicycle safety information.

“There’s a good deal of volume of bicycles in the area, and people may be coming from areas where there aren’t as many,” said Sandra Clarke, Cambridge’s deputy director of community development. “[The resolutions are] intended to reach out to folks who may be new to the community.”


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City Releases Crash Statistics: Mayor Proposes Mandatory Helmet Law

Written by Boston Biker on May 16

As a follow-up to City Councilor Ayanna Pressley’s hearing in December 2012, the City of Boston’s Crash Data Report has finally come out. You can find the report at the following URL: http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/uploads/16776_49_15_27.pdf.

highlights include this lovely opening from the Mayor.

Dear Fellow Bostonians,

During the summer and fall of 2012, our city experienced five fatal bicycle incidents that led to this report. Through detailed analysis of four years of police report data, City officials will have concrete information with which to make the roadways safer for vulnerable users. This document will help us smartly apply our resources to continue improving our streets using the “six E’s of bicycle planning”: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, Evaluation, and Equity.

Since the City of Boston bicycle program launched in 2007, we have gone from being called one of the worst cities for cycling in the country to one of the best. The addition of nearly 60 miles of on-street bicycle facilities, hundreds of new bike racks, and the overwhelmingly successful New Balance Hubway bike share program has brought cycling into the mainstream here in Boston. Boston is well on its way to becoming a world-class cycling city. The bicycle has become a critical part of our transportation system.

Boston streets are full of people commuting to work and school, families enjoying a weekend ride together, and every type of rider in-between. This spirited resurgence of the bicycle has placed our city streets in a time of transit ion, from one dependent upon cars, to one embracing more active transportation options. Transitions can be difficult.

The close-knit community among cyclists continues to impress me. When one member of the community suffers from a terrible incident, the degree of separation to all cyclists is not far. We must work tirelessly and collaboratively to continue improving the safety of our streets. This report will help guide the process of continuing to grow Boston’s vibrant bicycle community.

Sincerely,
Thomas M. Menino
Mayor, City of Boston

But what really seems to have some in a tizzy is the notion of a mandatory helmet law being proposed by the mayors office.

Helmets are very useful in reducing injury to your head AFTER the accident occurs. Having a helmet on will reduce your chances of getting brain damage once the car has run into you, but wont keep it from hitting you in the first place. Or from the street being full of pot holes, or from poorly designed intersections, or red light runners etc.

One can only assume at the behest of the Boston Public Health Commission. The BPH seems to be obsessed with helmets, something I (and many others) have disagreed with in the past.

The whole thing is full of statistics here is just a taste:

74% of people are already wearing helmets

21 is the age most likely to be in a crash

Most crashes happen at 5pm

The report is well worth a read, read it all here.  Leave your thoughts, findings, statistical analysis in the comments.


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MassBike Unveils Its Legislative Agenda For 2013

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 26

via MassBike:

It looks like they are going to tackle some important issues, head over to their site and support them if you want them to keep working on these important issues.

———

billLast week, two bills written by MassBike were filed in the Legislature, and we are strongly supporting two other bills to make biking and walking safer.

MassBike’s bills are the “Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users”, S.D. 723, and the “Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes”, S.D. 731. Many thanks to Senator William Brownsberger, who sponsored and filed the bills on our behalf.

YOU CAN HELP

We are actively seeking co-sponsors for all these bills, but the deadline is February 1, so there isn’t much time! Please email your own state senator and state representative and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. If you’re not sure who they are or how to email them, enter your address here.

This marks the second time we have filed the Vulnerable Road Users Bill. In the last session, it got stuck in committee, but we succeeded in raising awareness of the risks posed by motor vehicles to bicyclists, walkers, and other vulnerable users.  The bill will strongly encourage motorists to exercise more caution when operating around vulnerable road users, will educate motorists to operate more safely, and will provide law enforcement with additional tools to protect vulnerable road users. The bill:

  • Defines “vulnerable users” to include pedestrians, bicyclists, and others including wheelchair users, all non-motorized users, and horseback riders (an even more inclusive list than last time!)
  • Enhances the fines applicable to motorists who kill or seriously injure vulnerable users
  • Requires traffic safety education
  • Requires community service

And, new for the VRU Bill: We have added protection that makes it illegal to physically harass a vulnerable user with a motor vehicle, and enables you to sue motorists for a wide range of harassing behavior.

The Bicycle Lane Bill is very straight-forward and addresses a common problem: It makes it a violation statewide for the driver of a motor vehicle to park or stand in a marked bicycle lane or other on-street bicycle facility. When a motor vehicle parks or stands in a bike lane, it endangers bicyclists by causing them to move out of the bike lane into traffic to avoid the parked vehicle, or squeeze between the parked vehicle and the curb or other parked cars. In most communities in Massachusetts, it is not clearly a violation to park in a bike lane. While the City of Boston has recognized the problem and adopted its own ordinance, we run the risk of a patchwork of inconsistent and confusing local laws if we do not act statewide.

MassBike also strongly supports bills filed by our partners:

The “Act Relative To Active Streets And Healthy Communities”, S.D. 676/H.D. 1917, will create a program that encourages cities and towns across Massachusetts to routinely include Complete Streets design elements in locally funded road projects, making streets that are safer and more convenient for bicyclists, pedestrians, and all users – not just cars.

The “Act Relative To Speed Limits”, H.D. 3991, would reduce the prevailing speed limit (the default when there is no sign) from 30mph to 25mph. Even a small reduction in speed limits can dramatically increase the chances of a bicyclist or pedestrian surviving a collision with a motor vehicle.

Finally, the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition (MassBike is a member) has filed three bills aimed at increasing revenue for transportation and accountability for transportation decisions. These bills support the very progressive transportation plan recently proposed by the Governor, including increased funding for biking and walking.


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Somerville To Crack Down On Rule Breakers

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 18

I sometimes hear cyclist bitch about enforcement, but its a vital component in legitimizing and normalizing cycling as a part of our transportation infrastructure. Only when we are given the same respect (and responsibilities) as other road users are we going to be treated as a real viable method of transportation. You can argue about what the rules for cyclists should be, but you can’t really come up with a good argument for why cyclists shouldn’t follow the rules.

Thanks Ron for the tip.

—————–

 

Somerville police are planning to step up enforcement of bicyclist traffic laws in city squares and at busy intersections in coming days, the city said.

“Bicyclists have a right to share the road and they should command respect from other drivers,” said Chief Thomas Pasquarello in a statement. ” At the same time, they need to show respect for the rights of pedestrians and vehicle drivers.”

Per state law, a police officer who views a cyclist making an infraction may demand identifying information from the rider to write a citation. Fines are $20 for a civil infraction, but if cyclists provide false information or refuse to give their name, they may be arrested and fined $50.

Pasquarello said bicyclists should familiarize themselves with state and local traffic laws, which apply equally to motorists as they do to cyclists. (A guide is available through the city’s ResiStat blog. )

“We’re all in this together, which is why we expect full cooperation from everyone on our roads and sidewalks as we work to reduce accidents and improve safety,” the chief said.

A bicyclist was killed when he was struck by a tractor-trailer truck last December in Cambridge. Another was  seriously injured in a collision with a bus in Salem April 9. (via)


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First The Came For Our Fixies..

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 26

Ok so maybe that is a bit of an overblown title, but Cambridge is back at it again, proposing new bike laws (and taxes?), that in this humble bloggers opinion are a total waste of time and money.

Bicyclists may soon have to register and pay excise taxes on their gear to roam Cambridge, said City Manager Robert W. Healy, giving in Monday to a regular sounding of alarms from residents, City Council candidates and city officials.

“We are hearing the people, we are hearing the councillors representing the people,” Healy said at Monday’s council meeting. “We will spend more time on bicycle enforcement. It’s never going to be perfect — you’re always going to see a bicyclist, just as you can see a motorist, violating the law and there isn’t an officer right on the scene to write a citation. But it is certainly something officers are instructed to enforce.”

There are changes to laws that will have to be made and questions that need to be addressed, Healy said, including making bicyclists show identification when stopped and how best to redirect law enforcement from other tasks.

Read the rest here.

Thing is how is the tiny city of Cambridge going to enforce all the bike traffic from say…Boston. How are they going to prove you purchased that bicycle in Cambridge. Will there be border agents asking for your papers when you cross the Longfellow? People like to shout and make a fuss about licenses for bikers, and registration, and they raise questions about hit and runs etc.

Basically there is no good way to do bike licenses, taxes, or any other bike regulation of this nature on a town by town basis. It simply wont work. It will cost WAY more to implement and enforce than you will get from the program, and it will be challenged in court to the hilt.

On top of all that, its not going to actually do what they want to get done. If they want better rule following, enforce the existing laws better for all user groups, educate all road users, and build more (and better) bicycle infrastructure. Those three have been proven to work, while license and registration schemes have failed many times.

The article does say they hope to simplify and universalize the rules, and increase enforcement (which is great so long as its for every road user), but the tax and tag approach is almost certainly doomed to failure.

Its simple, if you want more cyclists obeying the law, enforce, educate, and engineer.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Two Days Left To Register To Vote In Cambridge! October 16, 2017
      TweetFrom the email:   Are you registered to vote? The last day for Cambridge municipal election registration is this Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm. Hi all, All seats on Cambridge City Council are up for election this November 7, and the make-up … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Two Days Left To Register To Vote In Cambridge! October 16, 2017
      TweetFrom the email:   Are you registered to vote? The last day for Cambridge municipal election registration is this Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm. Hi all, All seats on Cambridge City Council are up for election this November 7, and the make-up … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Speak Up For A Safer Beacon Street On Monday! September 29, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Now is the time to speak up for a safer Beacon Street! On Monday, October 2nd, the City of Boston is holding a “drop-in” meeting to share an update on the Beacon Street redesign project, a Vision Zero corridor project. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Action: Ask Council Candidates To Sign Onto The Bike Safety Platform September 29, 2017
      TweetFrom the email: Contact City Council candidates and ask them to sign onto the Cambridge Bicycle Safety platform (text below) urging a more aggressive implementation of the 20 miles of protected lanes called for in the City’s Bike Plan, along … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 15th Annual Historic Bicycle Tour Of Middlesex Canal – This Sunday October 1st September 29, 2017
      TweetHistoric Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal On Sunday, October 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission will sponsor the 15th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal.  Because the MBTA is not running trains on the Lowell Line … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Free Hubway Ride Today! September 29, 2017
      Tweet Today is Free Ride Day! courtesy of High Brew Coffee It’s National Coffee Day! Jump start your morning with a bike ride and an energizing can of cold brew coffee. Come see us at Hubway’s Aquarium Station or Congress Street … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Neighborhood Slow Streets: Construction, New Zones Updates September 14, 2017
      Tweetfrom the email: CITY OF BOSTON Vision Zero Update NEIGHBORHOOD SLOW STREETS Our first two Neighborhood Slow Streets projects are heading into construction, and we’re getting ready to begin community walks with each of the five communities that were selected … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Is Expanding In Boston Voice Your Input On New Station Locations September 13, 2017
      TweetHubway is getting bigger and even better! The Boston Transportation Department is adding more than 70 new stations over the next two years. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) needs your help finding new locations in Boston for bike share stations! Starting this … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Squirrel Head Badge Installed August 30, 2017
      One of my customers sent this awesome picture of my squirrel head badge installed on a bicycle. I think it looks awesome! Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Your Hard Work Paid Off! August 23, 2017
      Tweetfrom the email: ————–   We emailed, we called, we showed up – and we won! Due to the tremendous support for protected bicycle lanes over the past 3 weeks–in emails, calls, and in-person testimonies–on Monday, August 7, the City Council … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker