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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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Posted in advocacy, infrastructure, news | 3 Comments »

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.

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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

    • Back From The Corn! July 28, 2014
      TweetI spent last week riding my bike across the fair state we call Iowa, or as the natives of Iowa call it, Iowa.   I had a really good time, and am in the process of catching up on things, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Should A Cyclist Give Advice When Safety Is In Question? July 28, 2014
      TweetWhen you ride a bike as much as I do, you see almost every kind of riding at least once. Sometimes it seems as if there are as many ways to ride a bicycle as there are cyclists. Each one … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • Kayak Totin’ Utility Bike !! July 28, 2014
      TweetI love riding, but getting out in my big kayak is always an adventure too, and I live about a mile and half down the street from Spy Pond in Arlington.  So, I’ve been wanting to do this for a … Continue reading →
      altbiker
    • Changing the Behavior of Bike Lane Violators July 27, 2014
      TweetPart one of two. I’d like to change the world in profound ways, but in the near term I’ll settle for small change in just my community. So let’s start small. I seek to change the behavior of people who … Continue reading →
      mattyciii
    • #boston bike polo by dec0g July 27, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by dec0g appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
      polonick
    • #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo July 25, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
      polonick
    • What happened to low hanging fruit? July 24, 2014
      TweetWay back when Bostonbikes was just getting started, there was talk of a four pronged approach to developing bike infrastructure and pushing along the bike agenda. The one that has been sticking in my head lately was the supposition that … Continue reading →
      dotriderblog
    • Bicycling Experience And The Development Of Strategies July 24, 2014
      TweetA conversation has been underway on this blog about where cyclists should position themselves on the road for safety and efficient riding. Comments on this subject have spanned across several posts. One of the problems with having a scattered discussion … Continue reading →
      IsolateCyclist
    • #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo July 24, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
      polonick
    • #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo July 24, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
      polonick