AAA Takes One Step Forward, One Step Back For Bikes: MassBike Responds

In its April 2010 Horizons magazine, AAA did MassBike a huge favor by featuring our "Same Roads Same Rules" campaign. Read the whole article here. This reached literally millions of motorists with our message that motorists need to respect bicyclists on the road. Unfortunately, in the same article, AAA listed several "rules" for bicyclists that is a mixed bag of good advice and flat-out wrong:


For a safe ride, bicyclists should follow these rules:

  • Do not ride bikes on sidewalks. Stay on the roadway, traveling in the same direction as motor-vehicle traffic.

  • Bicycles should stay to the right along the curb.

  • Ride in single file unless passing another bicycle.

  • Before veering into traffic, make sure it is safe to do so.

  • Walk a bike across an intersection rather than riding.

  • Obey traffic signals and signs, and indicate actions such as turning and stopping by using appropriate hand gestures.


And, the rules are the same for adults and children.


Here is MassBike's response to AAA:

Thanks so much for including our Same Roads Same Rules campaign in the recent issue of Horizons. It is a big help for us to reach motorists. There is, unfortunately, some significant misinformation in the part of the article regarding rules for bicyclists.


  1. “Do not ride bikes on sidewalks.” While bicycling on sidewalks in business districts is prohibited by MA law, it is lawful everywhere else unless prohibited by local ordinance. We do believe it is generally safer for bicyclists to ride in the roadway, but many parents will not allow their children to ride in the road, and for some newer adult bicyclists it can be a step toward being comfortable riding in the road. So if it comes down to a choice of people riding on the sidewalk or not riding at all, we prefer to see them riding on the sidewalk and learning how to do so safely.

  2. “Bicycles should stay to the right along the curb.” This is incorrect. Bicycles are legally vehicles in MA, and are entitled to use the full lane. While bicyclists are permitted to ride to the right of other traffic, there are many situations when this is unsafe, such as when the road is too narrow for a car to pass safely, or when that would place cyclists in the door zone, or riding through roadside debris, or riding too close to the curb and risking a crash. Telling cyclists to stay to the right also encourages the very dangerous practice of weaving in and out of parked cars in an effort to stay as close to the curb as possible at all times. We always say that bicyclists should “hold their line” (ride as straight as they can) because this makes them more predictable and thus safer.

  3. “Walk a bike across an intersection rather than riding.” While it is of course legal to walk your bike across an intersection like a pedestrian, it is not something we recommend because when you get to the other side you will need to return to the roadway, which motorists are not expecting someone in the crosswalk to do. For young children, or at a complex intersection, or where bicyclists can legally ride on the sidewalk, crossing like a pedestrian might be a good option, but otherwise it is not. Telling bicyclists to walk their bikes across is more likely to lead to bicyclists riding in the crosswalk, which is illegal and hazardous to pedestrians, and increases the risk of the bicyclist getting “right-hooked” by a turning car that is not expecting bikes in the crosswalk.

  4. You do not mention that helmets are required in MA for children age 16 and younger.



I think these issues (particularly #2) are serious enough that you might want to correct them in a future issue of Horizons. We would be happy to work with AAA in the future to help you get the most up-to-date bicycle safety information to your members.

2010 Mass BikePike Tour Registration Is Now Open, Proceeds Benefit MassBike

The Mass BikePike Tour, a bicycle tour in Massachusetts, is now accepting registrations for its four-day event to take place August 5th-8th, 2010. The bike tour will begin and end in Amherst, MA with daily riding options ranging from 30 to 65 miles though Central MA, the Quabbin Watershed, the Connecticut River Valley and hundreds of small towns, quaint villages and lush parks, farms and scenic vistas in between.



The Mass BikePike Tour is a celebration of cycling in Massachusetts. Families and individuals alike will enjoy ample opportunity to explore the state’s scenic byways, quaint towns, and all the varied attractions the region has to offer. The routes are scenic with terrain that ranges from rolling hills to challenging climbs and a spectacular descent to banks of the Connecticut River. Riders can pedal fast and finish the day early, or take a more leisurely pace and explore the countryside. Organizers will provide information about the history of the areas, interesting places to visit, and even where to take a dip along the way or at the end of the day.

Overnight stops will feature great places to camp and hardy meals featuring fresh local fare. Last year, riders enjoyed great Bar-B-Que from BT’s Smokehouse in Warren, a Mexican Buffet at Anna Maria College in Paxton, and a gourmet Farmers Market Evening Picnic prepared by the Hardwick Cooking School and Rose 32 Bakery in Orange. Vegetarian options are available. Group breakfast can include coffee, fruit, bagels, eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, cereals, and toast. Snack stops with lots of fresh fruit, cold water and Gatorade will be provided along the route

Participants who prefer an alternative to camping can sleep indoors at host schools or choose to stay close by at local inns or B&Bs. The tour camps at local schools with all facilities including pleasant bathroom facilities. No tents? No problem! The tour offers Camptel VIP Service – ride into camp at the end of the day, and tents will be propped, air mattress filled, and clean towels and chairs await. One night, the tour will be staying at a local college and everyone gets to sleep inside with air conditioning and comfortable beds. A good night’s sleep equals a good ride the following day.

Registered riders will receive maps, route descriptions, lists of local attractions along the route, access to snack stops, SAG support, a commemorative T-shirt, and the camaraderie of friendly folks having a good time and sharing the love of riding, all while raising money for a great cause. Commemorative jerseys will also be available for $55.

Proceeds from the event will benefit MassBike, Massachusetts’ statewide bicycle advocacy group. Proceeds help it achieve its mission of promoting a bicycle-friendly environment and encouraging bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. The tour is sponsored by Food Should Taste Good, Raw Revolution, Bike Rides for Ordinary People, Larabar, Landry’s Bicycles, Boston Bike Film Festival, MassBike, and Ciclismo Classico.

For more information and registration details, visit the web site at www.MassBikePike.org, visit Mass BikePike on Facebook or call Bruce Lederer at 617-710-1832. Registration is due by July 19, 2010.

I Am A Librarian, And I Ride

Here is yet another great And I Ride story. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.


We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.


Our next story comes from Matt.





Where I Ride: Mostly Somerville, Cambridge and Boston, but all over eastern Mass

How Often I Ride: Daily


My Story:


I hadn't been on a bike since I lived in Amsterdam ten years ago during college. Then I was laid off from my job in Seattle last year and moved in with my long-distance boyfriend, Pete, in Somerville -- with no car, not much money and a lot of free time. Pete's a musician; the bassist in his band commutes by bike from JP to Nonantum and offered to hook me with a good deal on a used bike so I could get around. Two weeks after I moved here I spent Patriots' Day riding to Walden Pond via Lexington Green and Minuteman National Park. I've barely gotten off the bike since.



My bike kept me fit and sane through six months of unemployment. It took me to the interview for the job I ended up landing in September; now, it brings me to work every day. It helped me learn my way around my new home -- over hills, across rivers, and along beaches. It has couriered posters all around town so that people would come to Pete's shows. It means that all the daily errands that would take hours to by transit can get done in an hour on my way home in the evening. Even on the coldest winter days I'm pulling on my long johns and riding ten miles. I can't imagine doing without the convenience or the pure enjoyment of having a bike, any more than I can imagine not having Pete in my life. He loves the bike, too, because I love it so much!



Thanks Matt!


We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.



  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


Neponset River Bridge Lane Closings

MassDOT’s Contractor will be installing the final components associated with the work zone for the first phase of construction on the Neponset River Bridge Phase II, which carries traffic between Quincy and Boston.



On Monday, May 3, from 7 AM to 3:30PM – there will be a Southbound double, left-hand lane closure.

On Monday May 3, at 3:30 PM to Tuesday, May 4 at 7 AM – the Southbound right lane will be closed.

On Tuesday, May 4, from 7 AM to 3:30 PM there will be a Southbound double, left-hand lane closure.

On Tuesday May 4, from 3:30PM to Wednesday, May 5 at 7 AM the Southbound right lane will be closed.

On Wednesday May 5, from 7 AM to 10 AM there will be a Southbound double, left-hand lane closure.

On Wednesday, May 5 at 10 AM, the remaining components of the Phase I work zone will be implemented. Beginning at approximately 3:00 PM, Southbound traffic traveling to Quincy Shore Drive will be directed to the left lane that will occupy a portion of the northbound side of the bridge and Southbound traffic traveling to Hancock Street will be directed to the far right lane on the southbound side of the bridge in order to accommodate the work zone.

Once the Phase I work zone is implemented, there will be 3 northbound travel lanes from the mid point of the bridge to Neponset Circle and one southbound travel lane from Neponset Circle to the midpoint of the bridge weekdays between 6 AM to 10 AM. At all other times, two lanes will be provided in each direction on the main span of the bridge; however, there may be instances where only one southbound travel lane from Neponset Circle to the midpoint of the bridge will be available between 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM weekdays to allow for construction activities to occur.

MassDOT strongly advises drivers to reduce speed and use extreme caution when travelling through the work zone. Drivers travelling southbound towards Quincy over the bridge should pay close attention to signage and traffic control devices approaching the bridge and through the work zone to ensure that they utilize the correct lane to access either Quincy Shore Drive or Hancock Street.

MassDOT encourages auto commuters to consider taking advantage of alternative transportation opportunities during the construction work and avoid traffic and increased commuting times. There is currently available capacity on the Hingham Ferry, the Quincy/Hull Ferry and the Greenbush Commuter Rail line. The Red line also runs from Quincy to Boston. For additional information on alternative commuter options please see www.mbta.com or contact the MBTA Customer Support Services Center at (617) 222-3200 or TTY (617) 222-5146. Customer Service representatives are available Monday-Friday 6:30 AM - 8:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday from 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM

MassBike On The Airwaves: Listen To David Watson On WGBH 89.7

Click here for streaming audio of MassBike Executive Director David Watson on WGBH's The Callie Crossley Show on April 21, 2010. David discussed bicyclist safety with Boston's Director of Bicycle Programs Nicole Freedman.

MassBike Store Is Back Online: Buy Your Bike Night Tickets Now!

UPDATE 5/7/10: BIKE NIGHT 2010 CANCELLED, CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Our online store is not only running again, but is New and Improved! Please try out our new shopping cart and let us know what you think. Memberships, donations, and Bike Night tickets are available now, with our classes, maps, and other merchandise to follow soon.

MassBike presents Bike Night 2010 at The Greatest Bar

SAVE $10: GET YOUR TICKET FOR ONLY $40 ($30 MEMBERS) UNTIL MAY 7TH!

A cocktail party featuring light hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, silent auction, bicycling advocacy awards, and more!

Upgrade to a VIP Package and help MassBike even more – See below for details

The VIP Package includes:

  • Two admissions to Bike Night

  • Name in Bike Night program

  • And more!



When: Saturday, May 15, 2010, 7-10pm
Where: The Greatest Bar, 262 Friend Street, Boston MA map

Click here to purchase Bike Night tickets

MassBike Works To Improve Bus Safety

Yesterday MassBike, along with representatives from other advocacy groups and the City of Boston met with the MBTA bus training personnel to have a long talk about bus safety. In a very productive and wide ranging talk, we got to know a lot about the how the MBTA handles bus safety, specifically safety around cyclists.

Cyclists often see bus drivers as "the enemy." For any of a number of reasons cyclists and bus operators have not always have the best of relations. In reality though cyclists and bus drivers should be allies. Cyclists often tell us they would like to see less cars on the street, every bus is full of people who didn't drive that day.



We learned a lot about what the procedures are currently, and talked about how we could hook into their current training system to improve and extend the training that bus drivers get when it comes to safety around cyclists. They were very responsive and we left the meeting feeling good about the future of bicycle/bus relations.

We are working with the MBTA to develop training scenarios that they can use in driver training/re-certification. We are also working with them to help them craft their safety policies when it comes to interactions with cyclists. There are plans to improve and expand the amount of safety information available over the internet, as well as the development of some handy guides for both cyclists and drivers on how to stay safe.

We were impressed by the candor and openness of the MBTA officials to improving the safety training that their drivers get. MassBike is going to continue to work closely with the MBTA on this issues, stay tuned for more information about this.

I Am A Musician, And I Ride

Here is another great story from our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.


We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.


Our next story comes from Ken.





Where I Ride: To rehearsals, shopping, meetings, performances: wherever I can avoid driving!

How Often I Ride: Daily


My Story:


My bicycle is a one-speed Raleigh that I've owned for about 40 years. I live in Cambridgeport and bike year-round within Cambridge and to surrounding towns. Most of my biking is for utilitarian transportation, but I also try to fit in a daily 6-mile loop along the Paul Dudley White multi-use path on the banks of the Charles River three seasons a year to keep fit. I'm a former Chair of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee.



Thanks Ken!


We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.



  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


I Am An Economist, And I Ride

Here is another great story from our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.


We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.


Our next story comes from Katherine.





Where I Ride: To and from work in downtown Boston on weekdays, and around Massachusetts on weekends

How Often I Ride: At least twice a week


My Story:


I feel so lucky to be able to commute by bike at least a few days a week. I live in Cambridge, and work at a consumer advocacy organization in downtown Boston, so the majority of my commute is along the Charles River bike path. On my way to work, I get to watch the morning sun reflect on Boston's skyline and the college crews racing down the river. On my way home, I bike past dozens of sailboats gracing the Charles.


And on weekends, I take advantage of my bike to get out and see my beautiful state. I ride to the beach, or along the Minuteman bike path to historic Walden Pond.



I've never had a driver's license - going places by bike makes me feel more connected to my community, helps me reduce my carbon footprint, and keeps me healthy and fit.


Thanks Katherine!


We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.



  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


Danger: Bike Lane Sabotage In Cambridge

Some people hate bicyclists so much they actually want to hurt us. We've heard that someone spread hundreds of tacks in the bike lanes on Brookline Street in Cambridge last week, in the short stretch between the BU Bridge rotary and Henry Street/Waverly Street. A Good Samaritan bicyclist picked up as many tacks as he could find and reported the incident to the police. (Unfortunately for him, he discovered the tacks by getting a flat.) Obviously, this is an insanely dangerous and illegal thing for some bike-hater to do. Everyone keep your eyes open for this sort of thing, and make sure to report any incidents to the local police and to MassBike. If anyone saw anything related to this specific incident, contact Sgt. Kathy Murphy at the Cambridge Police.


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