MassBike Participates In T's New Bus Driver Training

MassBike, along with other transportation advocates, has been working closely with the MBTA to revise their bus driver training to better prepare drivers for interactions with bicyclists, and earlier this week, MassBike Executive Director David Watson participated in the first of these trainings. We are happy to report that the new training is a vast improvement over past policies and should go a long way to making bicyclists safer on the roads.

You may remember our earlier post about MassBike's collaboration with the T and other advocates (including LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists' Union, and representatives of the cities of Boston and Cambridge) to improve the training. The result of our efforts is a full day training and evaluation that thoroughly covers bus driver-bicyclist interactions and safety. During the training, a bus driver will review past incidents, participate in a classroom session with a bicycling advocate present to answer questions, go through a number of bicyclist-driver simulations, and finally be tested through road evaluations. The end result should be a bus driver who is knowledgeable and well-prepared for operating a bus safely around bicyclists.

The T not only worked with local advocates, but talked with other transit agencies about best practices, and borrowed some very helpful materials. Included in the training is this excellent video from Chicago - we encourage every bicyclist to watch it for important tips on riding around buses (and to understand the bus driver's perspective).

Share the Road - Buses and Bicycles from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

The MBTA has committed itself to putting all drivers who have incidents with bicyclists through the course. More than that, over the next 18 months every bus driver will receive a shorter version of this training as part of a new re-certification process.

While not perfect, the new training goes a long way to improving the relationship between bicyclists and buses. We at MassBike are pleased that the T has taken these steps to ensure that bicyclists and bus drivers can share the road safely. We look forward to continue to working with the T towards safer roads for all road users.

Building For Bicycling

Earlier this year, MassBike announced our new bicycle infrastructure policy. Since then, we've been working on key projects throughout Massachusetts to ensure that bicyclists are safe on the roads and that state and local governments think of bicyclists in design and implementation.

With bicycling infrastructure becoming a hot item for politicians and designers, now is a critical time to make sure that projects are planned and built well. We hope that by setting good standards now, well-designed bicycling infrastructure will become second-nature for designers in the future.

MassBike has been involved in key projects throughout the state. We've posted about our role on the Longfellow Bridge, our support of local advocates trying to extend the Community Path in Somerville, our work for bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, and our help on the Whittier Bridge. These projects not only impact the particular communities where they are located, but the regions they serve and Massachusetts as a whole. They set important precedents about how we as a state want to handle bicycle infrastructure and connect communities. MassBike's participation in these projects informs state and local governments of community support for bicycling and pushes them to be innovative in project design.

We are collecting all the information on key infrastructure projects that we are working on into one place — our Building For Bicycling campaign. While we can't get involved in all projects across the state, we are involved in projects that we think will have significant regional or statewide impact. We'll update you on our progress, tell you about new initiatives we are getting involved with, and let you know how you can help.

Keep an eye out for upcoming Building For Bicycling projects and stay involved in your own community!

Whittier Bridge Success!

Earlier this year, MassBike spoke up about the need for bicycle infrastructure on the Whittier Bridge as an important way to connect communities across the Merrimack River. After hearing from regional advocates (including Coastal Trails Coalition), local bicyclists, MassBike, the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and local officials in Salisbury, Amesbury, and Newburyport, MassDOT has announced that the bridge design will include a bicycle and pedestrian path along the bridge that will connect to roads and paths along both sides. For the first time in Massachusetts' history, an interstate highway bridge will have bicycle and pedestrian access.

MassBike spoke up at a public meeting and worked with community members and MassDOT officials to help bring a voice for bicyclists. Local advocates and officials took a lead role in making sure that MassDOT understood the importance of including bicycle and pedestrian access in the design.

As one of the five "mega-projects" in the Accelerated Bridge Program, this will be an important step in not only linking communities, but also encouraging bicycle infrastructure on other bridge redesigns across the state. It sets an important precedent and we hope to see other innovative bicycle and pedestrian designs as the program continues.

With the Accelerated Bridge Program's goal of fixing over 200 bridges in Massachusetts, the Whittier Bridge is just one of many bridges that MassBike has been working on for bicyclists. We have been involved with the Longfellow, Craigie, BU, Anderson, River Street/Western Ave, and Fore River Bridges. We want to ensure that the opportunity for enhancing our important roadway connectors isn't missed. We'll have more updates to come as projects continue.

Bicycle Access During Craigie Drawbridge Replacement

The Craigie Drawbridge (one of the two bridges in front of the Museum of Science in Boston) is about to be replaced by MassDOT. Work will begin on November 6th and continue into April 2011. The entire drawbridge will be replaced during this period. A temporary bridge will provide two travel lanes across the river during construction. Look here for more project details.

This is a major route between Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville for bicyclists and motorists. No inbound (Boston-bound) motor vehicle traffic will be permitted during November and again January-April 2011. Outbound (Cambridge- and Somerville-bound) travel lanes will remain open throughout the project. The good news is that two-way bicycle access will be maintained at all times, with a combination of shared travel lanes and shared sidewalk.

The outbound travel lanes will be marked as shared lanes so that motorists know to expect bicycles in the lane. Throughout the project, bicyclists may also share the sidewalks with pedestrians, but the sidewalks will be narrow (7 feet) and only one sidewalk will be open during November and January-April 2011 to serve two-way bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Bicyclists and pedestrians may be directed to cross from one side of the street to the other, but there will be a marked crosswalk with a crossing guard. As conditions dictate, bicyclists may be asked to walk their bikes across the temporary bridge.

Yes, this will be inconvenient, but MassDOT is trying hard to help by maintaining two-way access for bikes and pedestrians (but not for cars). If anyone encounters an unexpected problem or safety issue as the project progresses, please let us know so that we can work with MassDOT to address any issues.

We've actually got it pretty good this time compared to what motorists have to do.

When construction is complete, there will be bike lanes and improved sidewalks in both directions.

Support Mountain Biking In The Middlesex Fells

As we reported last February, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is conducting a planning process for the Middlesex Fells Reservation. The draft plan is now available for comment until November 19, 2010. (Download draft plan)

MassBike supports the efforts of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) to expand opportunities for mountain biking in the Fells while increasing their already substantial stewardship of the park and making the trails more sustainable for all users. NEMBA is asking interested bicyclists to submit comments on the draft plan. See NEMBA's update on the process here.

MassBike's New B&B Partner

Not only do MassBike members get a good feeling from supporting bicycling advocacy, but they also enjoy great discounts at bike shops and bed & breakfasts across the state.

Out latest partner is the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center. The inn is offering MassBike members discounts on two nights stays, so just show them your membership card and enjoy the savings.

Interested in finding out more of the perks of being a MassBike member? Click here to see the benefits.

See And Be Seen: Get Some Lights!

I noticed a lot of people riding after dark last night without lights, so it seemed like a good time for our annual Fall reminder about bike lights. There is no debate about this - you need lights when riding at night - so the only thing you should be thinking about is which ones to get. There are more light choices than ever, some simple and utilitarian, others incredibly high-tech and blindingly bright, and still others with a more artistic side.

For more info and a good read, check out our previous posts about lights, visibility, and the law:

It's Time To Light Up!

Light Up The Night!

Boston Bike Film Festival: This Friday And Saturday!

Ride over to Harvard Square for the 2010 Boston Bike Film Festival is this weekend at the Brattle Theatre! Get your tickets now and don't miss out on:

  • Snacks by Redbones

  • Silent Auction - including restaurant gift certificates, helmets by Nutcase, bike shop gift certificates, an aromatherapy facial by Gwen at Pour Le Corps in Back Bay, 4 yoga sessions by Jill Braverman at the Watertown Center for the Healing Arts, BaileyWorks messenger bag, a family membership to Club Passim, theatre tickets to the Wheelock Family Theatre, and much more

  • And lots of cycling themed films, including: Cycle of Love, by Cat Marshall (a tricycle yearns for true love); The Cyclist, by Andros Ostrom (a pseudo bike messenger tells his sorry tale to a documentary filmmaker); Shortcut by Lynwen Brown (why take the easy road when the tricked out route is so much more interesting?); Falling Uphill, by Scott Stoll (a trip around the world by bike in about 8 minutes!); Recollection, by Tave Fasce Drake (an original music video); Biking the Bike, by Nathan Aronow (another music video, with local cyclists); and more!

Come see your friends or make new ones. All to support cycling advocacy in Greater Boston (including MassBike). Sponsored by Ciclismo Classico and Jason & Fischer!

Get tickets online and save: Tickets for one night will be $15 (online only); both nights $25 (online only). Tickets at the door will be $18/night.

Doors open at 7pm each night, films start around 8pm.

Visit for more info and tickets

MassBike Affair Tonight: Save On Tickets Until 2PM!

The MassBike Affair Presented By Cycle Loft is tonight! Online ticket sales are closed - tickets are $30 at the door.

Join us tonight for your chance to win big, while helping support your statewide bicycling advocates. The MassBike Affair Presented By Cycle Loft goes from 6-10pm at The Greatest Bar, 262 Friend Street, Boston, near North Station and the TD Garden (map). Come and spend a great night with friends in support of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition!

A fun-filled evening is planned for all, with action on three floors!

  • 1st Floor: Stuff! Check out the latest goods from the Dutch Bicycle Company, Cantabrigian Mechanics, and Ted Wojcik Custom Bicycles. Or you can bid on some of the great items in our silent auction!

  • 2nd Floor: Fashion Show! Featuring the latest in bike fashion from some of the top designers and merchants, including Pedaler Clothing, Outlier, The Hempest, Cycle Loft, Wheelworks, Ride Studio Cafe, and more!

  • 3rd Floor: Real Casino Gambling! You can try your luck on the casino floor with games including Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em, Roulette, and more. And the first 100 people on the casino floor receive a FREE beer, courtesy of Harpoon!

Dinner Specials! Light Appetizers will be provided but we’ll also have dinner specials including a classic burger or veggie quesadilla and beer for $10!

All proceeds support the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) and our mission to promote a bicycle-friendly environment and encourage bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation.

FREE VALET BIKE PARKING! Ride your bike and take advantage of our signature valet parking. Or, take the T to North Station. Car parking is available in the area if you must drive.

Online ticket sales are closed - tickets are $30 at the door.

Presented By Cycle Loft


Live From Moving Together Conference

Moving Together is the annual statewide conference on biking and walking held each year by MassDOT.  Secretary of Transportation Jeff Mullan is speaking to a packed house of over 300 advocates, citizens, and state, local, and federal officials.  He's talking about the new GreenDOT sustainability initiative.

Donate Join Volunteer
Accept Credit Cards