Articles Tagged with bicycle safety

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The demand for more protected bike lanes in Boston has become insatiable. This was underscored – quite literally – across the Congress Street bridge, connecting the neighborhood of Fort Point to the Financial District. The Boston Globe reports an anonymous bicycle activist painted a shaky white line between the barrier-protected pedestrian walkway and the rush of traffic. Periodically inside those lines was a roughly-drawn bicycle, indicating the clear intent was to carve out a safe space for cyclists. bike safety lawyer

Reactions within the cycling community have been largely positive, with some commenting the “artist” behind the guerrilla-style streetscape was heroic and “brilliant.” Tweets from all over the world were shared, many noting this is a major bicycle route through the city – and one where bicycle safety needs to be a top priority.

City officials were quoted as saying that while they appreciate the sentiment, bicycle lanes must go through a full proper review of the engineering process. But there had been a review, as there had been a bicycle lane on the bridge before, that had worn off over time. Then City workers power-washed off the spray-painted line along the northbound lane.

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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