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The “Red Solo Cup” synonymous with “barbeques, tailgates, fairs and festivals” are now being associated with bicycling rights awareness and Boston bike crash reduction.

Boston Bicycle Accident

Image Courtesy of Peter Cheung

The #redcupproject is an international movement, coordinated in memoriam of Washington D.C. cyclist Dave Salovesh, an advocate recently killed in a bicycle crash when the driver of a stolen van barreling down the road at twice the posted speed struck him and a pedestrian. The #redcupproject in Boston took off with the help of cycling advocates like Peter Cheung, organizer of the Boston Bike Party and leader of Boston’s ghost bicycle project, which honors cyclists who died in Boston bicycle accidents.

As explained in The Boston Globe, the red cups are filled partially with water and lined in a row within existing or makeshift bicycle lanes, alongside traffic where most cyclists ride. At every location – from here to San Francisco and in countries as Spain, Denmark, Australia and Mexico – the cups were smashed within minutes.

The message: How incredibly vulnerable bicyclists are riding alongside moving traffic, separated only by a painted road line. 

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A fatal bicycle crash in Fenway killed a much-loved children’s librarian from Cambridge, sparking renewed calls to action for city leaders to take the lead on better cycling safety throughout Boston.Boston bike attorney

As our Boston bike attorneys understand it, 69-year-old Paula Sharaga was struck by a cement truck driver near the same area where a 24-year-old Boston University student bicyclist was killed in November by a dump truck.

Tragedy in Fenway: Bicyclist Dies in Crash With Truck

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“Urban roads aren’t meant for bicycles,” was the headline of a 2015 Boston Globe editorial by long-time columnist and WBUR commentator Jeff Jacoby, following the 13th tragic bicycle crash death in the city in five years.bicycle accident lawyer

“That number is sure to rise if Boston keeps encouraging people to ride bicycles where bicycles don’t belong,” Jacoby wrote, adding that if people want to ride bicycles, “Massachusetts Avenue during business hours shouldn’t be one of them.”

As longtime Boston bicycle attorneys and cycling rights advocates, the fact was then (as now) MGL Ch. 85 s. 11B legally gives bicyclists the same right to the road as motorists, with few exceptions. But we’ll give the writer this much: Boston roads weren’t meant for bicyclists, at least in the 20th Century (though cyclists were the driving force behind the first paved roads in the U.S., before cares become commercially available 110 years ago). American traffic engineers throughout the 1900s, however, made cars the priority, building wider lanes that encouraged higher speeds.

This, combined with the fact none of us alive today remember life before automobiles likely fuels drivers’ sense of roadway space entitlement. Regardless of who was here “first,” the fact that something has been done a certain way for a century doesn’t mean it should stay that way – particularly if it is proving inefficient and especially if it isn’t safe for others sharing that space lawfully.

Leaders with both The City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation don’t appear to be heeding critics like these, instead recently pledging further commitment to the cause of multi-modal traffic infrastructure that offers more options for safe access. Continue reading

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As far as busy biking corridors in Massachsuetts go, Inman Square in Cambridge may easily score No. 1 for the most bustling. It’s also a dangerous mess, resulting in numerous car accidents and bicycle crashes – most causing serious injury and a few resulting in tragic deaths.Boston bicycle accident attorney

Although city officials have made some improvements in recent years, Boston bike injury attorneys know Inman Square (where Cambridge Street and Hampshire Street intersect at an oblique angle at which three other streets also intersect) continues to be one of the most chaotic thoroughfares to navigate.

In general, diagonal intersections are known to be more dangerous. One study published by researchers at Harvard three years ago concluded they are 37 percent more crash-prone. Some are advocating for a redesign that incorporates a newer traffic safety solution known as a “peanutabout.”  Continue reading

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Electric scooters will be rolling into Boston this spring as part of a pilot program approved by city council, now meeting with three separate companies: Lime, Bird and Lyft. Unlike Blue Bikes, e-scooter services wouldn’t be limited to a single company. Their presence – just like that of any other alternative transport mode that’s smaller, slower and non-reliant on fossil fuels – will make city streets cleaner, less congested, safer and more accessible to a broader range of travelers. Long-term, it also drives down costs for road and bridge repairs (more frequent with heavier traffic) as well as emergency response resources for serious injury crashes (you’d much rather your bike get hit by an e-scooter than a dump truck).escooter

Boston bike attorneys know that much of the vexation around e-scooters is two-fold: Bold guerrilla marketing and confusion about they are supposed to fit into the traffic matrix. Bird’s dockless e-scooters showed up unannounced on Cambridge and Somerville sidewalks overnight last summer, taking motorists, cyclists and pedestrians by surprise (never a good thing in traffic) and sparking ire among city leaders who weren’t given the chance to weigh in first. Technically the service wasn’t operational in Boston, but a few made their way across those borders (to the chagrin of the mayor, who warned the company if they were found lying unattended they’d be hauled to a tow yard). Bird, a California company, used the same strategy in other cities with mixed success. It only lasted about two months in the Boston suburbs before caving to pressure and packing up.

Now, instead of the mayor basically shouting e-scooter companies off his city lawn, they’ve been welcomed with a seat at the table for a chance – with the city’s blessing – to try again. (Cambridge may soon do the same, which is good news because better connectivity boosts use rates with dockless systems.) Continue reading

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UPS is piloting a new electronic bicycle delivery program in Seattle – one of the nation’s most traffic-congested cities – a move Boston Bike Attorneys realize could ultimately drive down carbon emissions, expedite package delivery, encourage better biking infrastructure and make the community safer for cyclists. UPS is one of an increasing number of on-demand delivery services that has seen a boom as a result of proliferation of e-commerce behemoths like Amazon. The success of cargo e-bikes over the next year will be measured by a collaboration between the Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center and the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab, which has sectors that specialize in environmental and civil engineering.Boston bicycle delivery injury

City officials say they are looking forward to learning the results of the study, given the mass of large trucks that clog the city’s center. It’s not the delivery giant’s first foray into e-bike deliveries. The company has reportedly already begun testing e-bike delivery programs in 30 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon in 2016. Those tests involved the use of tricycles that were electronically-assisted, a wagon situated over the back two wheels holding the packages. Obviously these vehicles aren’t able to carry the same number of packages as the over-sized brown trucks that barrel through the streets every day. However, they are safer for other road users and do less damage to the already-taxed and aging infrastructures in so many cities (particularly in older cities like Boston).

The pilot bicycle delivery test in Seattle, which started last month, uses detachable containers that carry up to 400 pounds of packages, presorted per route and neighborhood, returning them once empty. In working with the city’s department of transportation, the bikes will reportedly operate within designated bike lanes, as well as on sidewalks (the wisdom of which our Boston bike attorneys question, but presumably the post-program analysis will clearly show the potential for problems, which includes the possibility of collisions with pedestrians and other sidewalk users – particularly given that part of the test area is in a college town).

It is expected to shrink delivery costs for UPS by reducing the amount of gas and automotive maintenance required, as well as eliminating the need for double handling of packages. The company is also testing approximately 9,300 low-emission vehicles worldwide.
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Sometimes even the most committed bicyclist commuters consider the sight of snow a good enough excuse to find an alternative means to travel. But there are many reasons cyclists find to keep pedaling. Some have noted that keeping up on their daily treks despite the cold overall keeps their immune system virile, their bodies overall healthier. It also remains for many the fastest way to their destination. Whereas a bus or the T might take 45 minutes to travel, a cyclist can often make it in half the time. As Boston bicycle attorneys know, in cities like this where cycling is increasingly common, you’ll notice those bike lanes stay busy, with riders layering up their clothing and some fattening up (their bike tires that is).  Staying safe though can be another matter.Boston bike attorney

An estimated 40,000 bicycle trips were made in Boston every day, according to official counts in 2017. Cycling slips off a bit in the winter, but the reality is biking infrastructure isn’t appreciably worse in the winter versus the summer. The only thing especially perilous about riding in the colder months is the same thing that is dangerous about cycling in Boston every other day: How other road users behave toward you. Primarily, that means careless or inattentive drivers, though pedestrians and other cyclists sometimes pose a risk also.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s wise to head out into a blizzard or ice storm or when the snow becomes virtually impassible. Not only are you more likely to get stuck, motorists are going to have a tougher time seeing you than they do normally. Even if you’re wearing all kinds of reflecting and contrasting gear, drivers may have difficulty slowing or stopping in time to prevent Boston bicycle accident by the time they do see you.

In general, winter weather bike riding in Boston requires bicyclists to be cautious and alert, dress appropriately and to maximize visibility, ride slowly and be especially careful on roadways and at intersections already known for their danger. Continue reading

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Electric bicycles (AKA e-bikes) are the latest self-transport ride-share option slated for unveiling in Boston. It hasn’t been smooth-sailing in every city, but entrepreneurs and visionary traffic planners in Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and Brookline are moving ahead with big plans for e-bikes. Ultimately, the goal is an altered traffic landscape with smaller, safer, cleaner transport alternatives to motor vehicles.Boston bike attorney

Boldly declaring gas-powered cars are going the way of the covered wagon, MassDOT leaders at a recent global transportation summit said they were on board with prioritizing multi-modal transport, particularly those that are eco-friendly. Hundreds of millions of cars in the U.S. clog roadways and degrade are quality, designated now as the No. 1 climate change contributor in the U.S. Plus, despite technological vehicle safety improvements, they’re quite deadly, especially where pedestrians and bicyclists are concerned. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports bicycle crashes involving cars are rising sharply, in a single recent year killing more than 800 riders and injuring at least 45,000.

Boston in on the forefront of the multi-modal movement, and city officials recently announced an e-bike pilot program in the spring. Continue reading

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The meteoric rise of bike share has transformed the streets of Boston in many positive ways with many more bikes on the streets thanks to bikeshare programs like Hubway, now Bluebikes, but they have not been without their share of problems. In the grand scheme, these are good problems to have, but they still must be addressed. Specifically right now, Boston and surrounding communities are being inundated with dockless bikes. This is in addition to the tremendous growth of the city-backed bike share program.

Boston bike accident lawyer

 

Since the the launch of Hubway (now BlueBikes) which expanded from a starting fleet of 610 bicycles and 60 docking stations in 2011, Boston’s bikeshare program has continued to grow to now 1,800 bicycles at more than 200 stations in Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline.

Now, neighboring towns like Arlington and Newton have added their own bikeshare programs, but with the cheaper dockless bicycles of LimeBike, Spin and other dockless bikeshare companies. Along with Arlington and Newton, bikeshare programs now exist in Bedford, Belmont, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Revere, Waltham, Watertown and Winthrop. The bikes cost $1 for every 30 minutes of use, and unlike bikeshare systems used in Boston and other cities, riders don’t have to find a dock to park their rented bikes.

More bicycles in Boston is NOT a bad thing! The question is how these bike access services are going to co-exist and whether the city will embrace the private dockless biking companies (or at least their model) or resist them.

The new bikeshares have created a real problem. Millions of dollars have been invested in the standard bike-share system, with the bright blue bicycles and stationary docking areas growing ubiquitous throughout Boston. Although extremely popular, two issues have arisen that could impact Boston bike share’s future growth:

  • Lagging bike share equity;
  • Swelling numbers of dockless bicycles from private companies sprouting up in communities like Arlington, Medford and Newton, served by Blue Bikes (formerly Hubway).

The sudden explosion of dockless bicycle companies in cities have taken communities like Boston by surprise as they burst onto the stage, and the long-term impact is unclear.

Less concentration (or total lack) of bike share docking stations in outlying communities has been a long-standing problem since the program’s inception. It was always intended to be addressed gradually as the program grew. However, the issue of private companies swooping in with a dockless bike share option seems to have taken everyone by surprise. It’s not just the fact that there is competition. The problem is private investors like Blue Cross Blue Shield have invested in the bicycles, and the docking stations and ant to protect their investment, putting city officials who granted the docked bikeshare programs an exclusive contract in an awkward situation. The question is whether Blue Cross and other companies that have invested in a docked system will have incentive to continue that investment if they are deprived of market exclusivity.

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials the most recent annual bike share report was the first wherein dockless bicycles were counted, dockless bicycles are used in just 4 percent of rides, but account for 44 percent of all bicycles on the ground in cities, nearly doubling the U.S. bike share footprint. The close of this year will give us a sense of whether these bike companies will crash and burn or adapt and thrive. Continue reading

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In an ideal world, there would not be any serious or fatal Boston bike crashes. While we clearly do not live in a perfect world, and many bike crashes will occur in the greater Boston area each year,  there is no excuse for the driver not remaining on the scene of the accident, regardless of whether the driver believes he was at fault. The actual term is leaving the scene of a traffic accident involving personal injury, but people most often refer to these as Boston hit-and-run crashes.

bicycle attorneyAccording to a recent news article from CBS Boston Local, a 20-year-old woman was riding her bike through a traffic circle when she was involved in a collision with a vehicle that was also in the traffic circle. At this point, the driver in the car that collided with her left the scene of the Boston area bike crash without stopping, or even slowing down to see if she was badly injured. Continue reading