Articles Posted in bicycle safety

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According to a recent news article from Wicked Local Cambridge, a new, two-direction bike lanes program on Brattle Street in Harvard Square is leading to some major disagreements between business owners and cyclists. The bike lanes are a new design that places two bike lanes closest to the curb and sidewalk along Brattle Street.

bike crash lawyerThis design is very different from existing bike lanes in other areas. The first thing that distinguishes it is that it is a protected bike lane.  This means that there is a painted divider between the lane intended for vehicle traffic and the bike lanes with plastic poles installed on the painted divider to serve as a physical barrier.  This is not an impenetrable barrier like a Jersey barrier as they are designed to brake away, but it would make cars much more likely to keep their distance than if the divider was not present. Continue reading

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There are a lot more people on bikes in Boston and the surrounding areas than there are in many other cities across the country, but Boston is not by any means the only city in which more people are taking bikes to work than they have in years past.  It is not only about commuting on bikes, either, as we see many more people riding for fun and exercise.

bicycle crash lawyerHowever, as we have more people on bikes, we are seeing more serious, and sometimes fatal, bike crashes involving a collision between a bike and motor vehicle.  While we are going to talk about a ways biking can be made safer, as well as things bike riders can do to avoid a collision, it is important to understand that, despite the fact that many motorists, and even police, like to assume the bike rider is at fault, the reality of most of these situations is quite different. Continue reading

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A recent news article from Health.com takes a good look at how to avoid the most common collisions between bicycles and cars.  A lot of the information deals with bike safety techniques for riders.  While it should be noted that many bike crashes are not the fault of the bike rider, and the at-fault drivers should be held responsible, it never hurts for bike riders to do whatever they can within reason to prevent a serious bike crash.

bikelane accident lawyer Boston This is important, as there has been a growing trend in people in urban areas such as Boston riding bikes. We have more people than ever riding bikes, and now we have bike share programs where anyone who registers for the service can grab a bike and ride it to their destination.   In Boston, we have Hub, which allows people to purchase an annual membership and then use the bikes whenever they choose. Continue reading

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Attorney Andrew Fischer of BikeAttorney.com has been awarded MassBike’s first-ever Paul Dudley White Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is bestowed for unyielding advocacy of bicycle safety and cyclists’ rights in Massachusetts.Bike Attorney Andrew Fischer

A renowned bicycle injury lawyer, Fischer is also a founding member, former president and long-time director of MassBike. He is also recognized as a pioneer of bicycle law in the Commonwealth. He personally penned legislation that protects cyclists from “dooring” and removed the legal loophole that gave negligent motorists a defense when they struck bicyclists passing on the right. Fischer has been a bicycle safety advocate in the Bay State since the 1970s. He is now the first annual recipient of this prestigious award.

“(He) put in a full 50 years and started when NOBODY believed an adult could, or should, ride a bicycle for transportation,” wrote MassBike Director Richard Fries. “During the day, he represented victims of bicycle crashes as one of the country’s first bicycle lawyers. And his case work helped define many laws. And if there were no laws, he helped write them! … (Bicyclists) are safer because Andy made sure cops and district attorneys and engineers recognized that a person on a bicycle belonged on the road with as many rights as anybody else.” Continue reading

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If you follow this blog at all, you’ve likely heard us reference the term, “Complete Streets.” It’s a concept that involves taking into account the equality of all road users – not just those who drive a motor vehicle. boston

Most streets in the country in existence today were constructed with a single road user in mind: Motorists. People moving on foot or by bike – and even public transportation – were largely left out of the equation. What this means is we have so many cities – and even still locations within our own progressive city, Boston – that simply aren’t safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. The Boston Complete Streets initiative aims to improve that a little bit at a time by retrofitting older streets with certain bike-friendly features, like bike lanes and sharrows, as well as reducing speed limits, narrowing roads and creating more sidewalks, crosswalks and comfortable bus stops.

But meanwhile, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) – sometimes referred to as “the Bible” of American street engineering, still don’t recommend these kinds of designs that promote bicycle safety. What this means is traffic engineers across the country are slow to follow designs we know have been proven to reduce bicycle crashes resulting in injuries and deaths. For example, protected bike lanes are known to lower the risk of a bicycle-versus-car accident because creating a barrier between bicycles and cars means there is less of a chance the two will collide. Yet even this very basic point is not included in the MUTCD.  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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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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The Lexington Department of Public Works has announced it will be paving a section of the popular Minuteman Bikeway that runs between Hancock Street and Bedford Street.biketrail2

Beginning today, this section of the bike path will be closed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to dusk. However, it will still be open for bike traffic in the evenings and on weekends until further notice. Officials with the agency, who offered this map of the paving work, speculate it will be completed before the end of the month.

Riders who would otherwise use the path aren’t going to be completely without options. Those traveling north will exit the trail on the left onto Harrington Road and then swing out onto Bedford Street. They can remain on that path, past Lois Lane, Carol Lane and Larchmont Lane, to hook a left back onto the trail just past Sunny-Knoll Avenue. This initiative should make the bike trail a safer place for riders. Continue reading

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In an effort to highlight the varying challenges and issues that face commuters of all walks – and rides – of life, advocacy group MassBike hosted its fourth annual, “Boston-to-Somerville Rush Hour Challenge,” (previously known as the “Rush Hour Race”). bicycle5

Seven different commuters were challenged to see who could be fastest to get from the MassDOT headquarters in downtown Boston to Davis Square in Somerville. The challenge involved three bicyclists – one on an electric bike, one on a Hubway bike and one on a personal bicycle), an MBTA “The T” passenger, a runner, a walker and someone who drove their own vehicle.

The winner? The electric bicycle rider, who was first to cross the finish line in just 28 minutes. Meanwhile, the driver of the car came in sixth place – just ahead of the person walking the route. It took the car driver 40 minutes to reach the finish line.  Continue reading

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Should new bike lanes be added to Massachusetts Avenue? sharetheroad

The question has sparked a heated debate, as many fear that the precious few parking spaces that exist along the road will evaporate if we prioritize pedalcyclists.

But bike safety advocates say it’s simple: “Save Lives, Not Parking.”

Massachusetts Avenue has seen more fatal crashes than anywhere else in the city, and bicycle accidents are a top concern. The city has vowed to be create a more bike-friendly atmosphere, and that means making sure that bicyclists are safe to ride where it’s legal for them to do so. That’s the driving force behind the initiative to install protected bike lanes along Mass. Ave. That’s going to mean posts being installed between car lanes and cyclist lanes.  Continue reading