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Bike riding is becoming increasingly popular nationwide, with a growing number of cities launching bike-friendly initiatives, including bike share programs, Complete Streets road design and safe cycling education campaigns. bicyclelane

Minneapolis-St. Paul, also referred to as the “Twin Cities,” has joined the bandwagon too, installing bicycle lanes throughout the city, which has a number of bicycle clubs, meet-ups and annual sponsored rides.

However, a lawmaker has recently caught heat after introducing a bill in the state legislature that would make bicycling more expensive. House File 499, introduced by Republican Duane Quam, would require cyclists who want to use public bicycle lanes to purchase a permit, pay a $5 fee and complete a bicycle safety education course. Additionally, all bikes being used on public streets would need to be registered with the state public safety commissioner. Additionally, riders using bicycle lanes would need to be at least 15-years-old, making no provision for where school children commuting to class are supposed to ride. Continue reading

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It’s one of those cases where simply no amount of money is going to alter the circumstances or make it right. Still, it’s an action that matters for one Illinois man and his five children, who lost the woman who had been the center of their family. It’s particularly important for the two youngest children, who both have special needs and had relied on their mother to ensure their daily nbicycleeeds were met.

Now, local media reports, decedent’s widower has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sport utility vehicle driver who struck his wife, who was on a bicycle in a crosswalk, last summer. Plaintiff and his children gave emotional testimony in October when a county judge issued a $150 fine to the driver of that SUV in connection with the crash for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The penalty was pittance compared to the magnitude of the losses suffered by the family, and their attorney noted it was important for the driver to hear from them about what her carelessness had caused.

An attorney for the driver explained her client was deeply shaken by the crash, and has been unable to return to work. Remorse can be healing, but it doesn’t ease the burden now borne by the family, particularly with regard to the care of the two youngest children with special needs.  Continue reading

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Last year, when actress Carrie Fisher of “Star Wars” fame suffered a heart attack near the end of her flight to Los Angeles, the first crews to respond to the health emergency on the ground did so via bicycle. It was medics on bikes who helped to revive the actress. bikes

That emergency rescue medic team is employed by the Los Angeles Fire Department. It’s one of hundreds in larger cities, including Boston and Philadelphia. It’s even been picked up in some smaller cities. The idea is that in an emergency, every second is critical. Ambulances are technically faster than a bicycle, but that’s only if they can get through the traffic in a reasonable amount of time. In congested urban areas like Boston, that can be an impossibility, especially at rush hour.

Medics and firefighters on bicycles can quickly weave their way in-and-out of traffic. They can get through large crowds quickly. They can cut through parks and yards and parking lots much quicker than an ambulance.  Continue reading

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Boston University’s independent student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, reports that the Boston Transportation Department is now accepting applications for itroundabouts upcoming 2017 Neighborhood Slow Streets Program. The intention is to implement traffic calming measures that will help bolster road safety in residential areas, which could be especially beneficial for people on bikes.

A spokeswoman for the transportation department explained that the program uses a number of different approaches to help reduce the overall speed of traffic, which in turn curbs the danger.

For example, physical cues may include speed humps, traffic circles or narrower lanes, while visual cues might use include posted signs or strategic landscaping.  Continue reading

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Our Boston bicycling safety advocates know that words can have a great deal of power. In order to be effective in our efforts to promote safety of those who travel by bicycle, whether for daily commute or in leisure, it’s imperative to properly frame the issues, the challenges and the people involved. bike trail

The power of smart language can be compelling, as evidenced by a recent blog post published as part of the Green Lane Project, a venture of the Seattle bicycle advocacy group PeopleForBikes.org. Writer Michael Andersen notes that rather than using the word, “cyclist,” it’s better to talk about “people on bikes.” Rather than use the word, “accident,” the word “collision” packs a more potent punch. And we can drive the point home better with a phrase like “protected bike lane” instead of “cycle track.” 

Why do these seemingly minor changes matter? Some might view these fixes as trivial, but its effect is evident when we look at the so-called “war on cars” that was reportedly raging in Seattle just a few years ago. That three-word phrase was dominating the conversation about improvements to bicycle infrastructure in the city. Instead of discussing whether it should be safer for people to walk, bike or ride public transit, they were instead debating whether they should give in to demands to “make driving worse.” What should have been a winning issue for everyone became a losing issue all-around. But that shifted when a small non-profit group stepped in to champion a city-wide network of local streets that were low traffic and safer for those on bikes. And instead of calling themselves “biking advocates,” they labeled themselves “neighborhood advocates.”  Continue reading

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Advocates for Boston bicycle safety are applauding the new statewide measure that bans drivers from “standing” or parking in established bike lanes. As our Boston bicycle injury lawyers know, this practice puts cyclists in grave risk because it forces them into moving traffic in order to avoid the stationary vehicle in their path. bikelane

The measure was initially part of a larger bill that had numerous other bicycle safety components. Unfortunately, this larger bill didn’t pass, but bike advocates know this is a start. Safe biking can’t be achieved simply by creating bike lanes. Those lanes have to be policed and the laws enforced so that it’s safe for cyclists to use them.

Boston Attorney Andrew Fischer Bikeattorney.com was part of that team of advocates who helped to draft the bike land protection law, as well as other proposed legislation.  Continue reading

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World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, held on the third Sunday of November each year, had special significance for us at BikeAttorneys.com this year. bikememorial

That’s because last year, in October 2015, a former client and talented musician, David Tasgal, was killed when he was struck by a pickup truck while bicycling near his home in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Tasgal, a gifted and accomplished musician on numerous instruments and a beloved teacher of music, was killed in the bicycle accident at the age of 72. 

On November 20th, human-shaped silhouettes were installed throughout Boston and carried along the memorial ride, representing the lives of those lost too soon to traffic crashes. Each of these deaths – including Tasgal’s – was 100 percent preventable. In each case, it is the negligence and general carelessness by motorists that results in needless, tragedies like this one.  Continue reading

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It’s been more than a century since massive crowds gathered in Madison Square Garden to witness, “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World.” He was perhaps better known as, “the Worcester Whirlwind.” His defiance of Jim Crow segregation in the sport drummed up headlines and publicity, but his performance that year made history. Marshall “Major” Taylor became a world champion bicycle racer.bicycle race

He was the first African American world champion – and this was years before Jack Johnson, also a black man, became the heavyweight champion of the world in 1908 and nearly a half a century before Jackie Robinson was integrated into baseball.

To honor his history, strife and contributions to the sport of cycling and society at-large, a number of Major Taylor birthday rides are being hosted throughout the country. Taylor was born on Nov. 26, 1878. This year, rides are being held on that day in:

  • Los Angeles;
  • San Diego
  • Chicago
  • Pittsburgh
  • Worcester County (Massachusetts)
  • Oakland, CA
  • Indianapolis

All this has been part of an ongoing, concerted effort not to allow Major Taylor’s memory to be lost in light of such remarkable accomplishments. Continue reading

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Biking in Boston is a way of life for many people, but as many of us know, it can also be quite treacherous. This is especially true anytime there is construction. construction

Recently, a special alert was issued by Boston Bikes to use extra care on Massachusetts Avenue from Boylston Street to Westland Avenue, as the city works to improve the roadway. Of course, the ultimate goal is to make the road surface safer for all users – including bicyclists and pedestrians. However, the city made it clear that over the course of the next several weeks, the area will be, “more uncomfortable for anyone who is biking or driving in the construction zone.”

The plans involve milling the pavement (removing the surface to smooth out irregularities and create a uniform depth) and then installing a temporary surface that will be re-striped with limited and temporary markings. These temporary markings are only going to include a double yellow center line and dashed white lines that will make the travel lanes clear. The city urged cyclists to consider taking this alternate route, which has riders taking St. Botolph Street to West Newton Street across Huntingon Avenue, where the road turns to Belvidere Street and then turning onto Dalton Street at the Belvidere/Dalton Plaza. Continue reading

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Marshall “Major” Taylor, also known as the “Worcester Whirlwind” was a champion bicyclist who broke world records and competed around the globe at the turn of the century. He was also a black man. He started racing professionally at age 18 and in a single year, by 1900, he held several major world records and had competed in events around the globe. Intense racism, however, was always an uphill battle for Taylor, who retired at age 32. autumnbike

Now, a giant banner will show him, steely-faced on two wheels, on the side of the Casey Storage Solutions on McKeon Road, visible to motorists on Interstate 290. As the Worcester Telegram reports, the 23-foot image sites alongside basketball player Bob Cousy, an astronaut suit designed by the David Clark Co. and a distinctive neon sign that depicts Coney Island Hot Dogs.

News of the $100,000 banner project comes just ahead of the Gran Fono New England KMC Cross-Fest bicycle race, which benefits the Major Taylor Association. The Gran Fono race offers both challenge and enjoyment for riders of all skill level. The four different routes will each weave through the breath-taking autumn landscapes of New England. Passing through small towns, farms and stunning fall foliage, riders will have the opportunity to ride through Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, with portions covered by hard-packed gravel and others fully-paved. There will be competitions on each route, but competition is optional.  Continue reading