City of Boston Announces Major Bicycling Safety Initiative: MassBike To Provide Bike Safety Classes

The City of Boston has just announced a major bicycling safety initiative, commencing with a bicycling safety summit next Wednesday, April 21st. MassBike will provide free bicycling safety classes (details below) as part of the initiative, as well as free valet bike parking at the summit.

Read the press release:
Mayor Menino Convenes First-Ever Bicycling Safety Summit

Mayor and City Officials Call for a Shared Respect When Traveling Boston's Roadways and Encourage Helmet Use



Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the city's first-ever Bicycling Safety Summit at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, April 21 at Boston University's Morse Auditorium. The Summit will gather area bicyclists and high-ranking city officials to discuss ways of improving safety for everyone who uses Boston's roadways. The Mayor's announcement comes in the wake of a third recent bike accident and ahead of Boston Bike Week next month.

This is about the need for a shared, common respect amongst everyone who uses Boston's roads, said Mayor Menino. We have to come together and recognize that everyone is responsible for keeping our roadways safe and that we all have the right to safe passage through our beautiful city. We can start by fulfilling the personal responsibility of wearing a helmet.

Mayor Menino has ordered the Boston Police Department (BPD) to immediately launch a focused enforcement effort aimed at both cyclists and motorists in an effort to assist them to better share the road. Officers will more proactively seek out and fine for safety violations committed by those on a bicycle and those operating a motor vehicle. This effort will include the strict enforcement of Massachusetts laws dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian safety. The BPD is also researching the possible implementation of an enhanced reporting mechanism to document all accidents involving bikes.

Two years ago Mayor Menino developed Boston Bikes to increase cycling safety around Boston through the use of marked bike lanes and various educational campaigns. Since, Boston has seen much improvement including:

  • the installation of 15 miles of bike lanes with another 20 slated for this year;

  • the publication of the first-ever Boston Bikes map;

  • the installation of more than 500 bike racks;

  • the formation of the Boston Bikes Advisory Board designed to advise city officials on how best to implement proven safety measures such as dedicated bike lanes;

  • and the passage of a city ordinance making it illegal for cars to be parked in bike lanes, the enforcement of which will be heightened by Boston Transportation Department ticket writers.


In light of the recent accidents, however, city officials encourage people to:

  • Visit the Boston Bikes fanpage on Facebook or join the Boston Bikes Twitter feed to learn more about the program and share concerns about specific roads in Boston;

  • Call the Mayor's 24-hour Hotline at (617) 635-4500 if they notice a safety concern that needs immediate attention including roadway obstructions like potholes or debris;

  • Visit the Boston Bikes homepage at www.cityofboston.gov/bikes to receive updates on the Cycling Safety Summit;

  • Visit www.massbike.org to register for classes on bicycling safety conducted by MassBike on April 22, May 6 and May 19 at City Hall;

  • Wear a protective helmet at all times when riding a bike (helmets can be bought for $5 at the Boston Medical Center gift shop);

  • Come to the Bicycling Safety Summit on Wednesday.



In response to the three recent serious crashes in Boston and in cooperation with the City of Boston's new bicycling safety initiative, MassBike has scheduled additional bicycling safety classes in Boston in April and May. This is a great opportunity to learn the secrets to safe bicycling, for new and experienced urban riders alike. The classes are FREE and open to the public, but pre-registration is required by emailing shane@massbike.org or calling 617-542-2453.

Intro to Bicycling Skills, (a classroom session, 2 hours Free):

Evening classroom session (off-bike) covers bike-safety principles, bicycling laws, guidelines for riding in traffic, and more. You must take one of these classes before you can attend our on-bike classes.

Cost: Free

Intro to Bicycling Skills: Thursday, April 22, 6-8pm
Intro to Bicycling Skills: Thursday, May 6, 6-8pm
Intro to Bicycling Skills: Wednesday, May 19, 6-8pm

Intro to Bicycling Skills
Boston City Hall, Room 937
1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Enter at corner of Broadway and Third
Nearest T stop: Government Center on Green and Blue Lines; Haymarket on Orange Line.
Enter at Congress St. after 5:30pm, take elevator to 9th floor, then follow signs.
MUST RSVP for this class by emailing shane@massbike.org or calling 617-542-2453

Click here to donate $15 to support these classes

MassBike is proud to work with the City of Boston on its bicycling safety initiative.

I Am A Community Organizer, And I Ride

More awesome stories 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 Aisha.

 
Where I Ride: Everywhere I have to go and daily from Jamaica Plain to Dorchester for work 
How Often I Ride: Every single day that I'm healthy

My Story:

I'm a Community Organizer in Dorchester working with an amazing organization called Close To Home that works to build strong communities to prevent domestic and sexual violence. While we believe that direct service and shelters are necessary we also believe that we have to work to stop abuse and change social norms that allow abuse to be accepted in our society and communities. I'm a resident organizer working with neighbors and their family members and friends to strengthen our community (Fields Corner) and strategize ways to bring community members together and build relationships among them. Relationships are important for broaching difficult topics like domestic and sexual violence and for educating and raising awareness.
 
I ride a 2008 Schwinn Madison fixed gear. My bike is my most valuable material possession. It's my exercise and my transportation. It helps me feel like part of the environment around me and I'm always happy when I get to work. It definitely helps me unwind and helps me face the day with happiness. I wish everyone I knew could experience the pleasure of riding a bike everyday. Needless to say, I love my bike

Thanks Aisha!

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:


Ride With MassBike For Patriots Day!

Bicycles will be part of Arlington's Patriots Day parade this year, and we want you to ride with us! This Sunday, April 18th, you can ride down the middle of Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington and show everyone that bicycling is a healthy, green, fun way to get around. It doesn't matter if you are a commuter, a roadie, a fixie rider or whatever - we're all bicyclists! Bring the kids - we're also promoting the Safe Routes to School program, and there will be bike-decorating before the parade.

You can meet up with us at your choice of three locations. Here is the schedule:

12:00pm Option #1: Bike Decorating (for kids of all ages), Hurd Field (off Minuteman Bikeway behind Trader Joe's)
12:00pm Option #2: Coffee at Starbucks (next to Trader Joe's)
12:30pm Bike Decorators and Coffee Drinkers meet up and ride to parade start
1:00pm Meet at parade start (group must be there by 1:00 to get into position), Mass Ave & Forest St
2:00-3:00pm Ride in parade!

NOTE: The Arlington parade is on Sunday, not the actual Patriots Day on Monday.

This event is sponsored by member Lauren Hefferon and her company Ciclismo Classico, see her blog for more info.

Volunteers Needed: We need a few volunteers to help with bike decorating and keeping our group organized during the parade. Contact David Watson if interested.

Not a MassBike member? Join now or join at the parade!

Continue the celebration on Monday, April 19th: Free Coffee from Peet's Coffee in Lexington - Anyone with a bike helmet who mentions the "MassBike offer" on Patriots Day can get a free small hot or iced coffee, or apply the price of a small coffee to any other beverage. Offer good only at the Lexington Peet's (a long-time MassBike supporter).

I Am A Nanny, And I Ride

Here comes another interesting bicycle 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 Alissa.

 
Where I Ride: All over Boston and Cambridge 
How Often I Ride: Everyday unless its snowing or below 45

My Story:

I spend 40 hours a week taking care of children. I teach them about life and try to expose them to as much of this world as I can. For most of them I am the only person they know who rides a bike for fun and as transportation, I don't have a car. I hope that every little life I touch can take something from our relationship, be that open mindedness, an ability to be independent and strong or just a sense that they can have fun at any age.

That's awesome Alissa!

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:


It's Time To Pass A Vulnerable Road Users Bill

Each of us in the bicycling community has been affected by the two collisions of the past two days. We are sad, angry, and scared. Many of us are wondering what we can do.

We, at MassBike, have been working on a new piece a legislation that will help to raise driver awareness of bicyclists and make sure that those motorists that harm us are held accountable. These tragic recent events have only strengthened our conviction that heightened awareness and increased safety are needed.

Currently, Massachusetts law does not adequately deal with motorists who kill or injure vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Motorists should have a greater responsibility to protect vulnerable road users than they do to protect other motorists, because vulnerable road users are not protected by two tons of steel, seat belts, crumple zones, and airbags.

Sadly, Bicyclists represent 3% of deaths and 2% of serious injuries, but only 1% of trips. Pedestrians represent 16% of deaths and 5% of serious injuries, but only 4% of trips. This disproportionately high number of deaths and serious injuries for vulnerable road users tells us that greater protections need to be put in place.

A motorist who injures a vulnerable road user faces no punishment unless the victim dies, or is seriously injured, or the motorist is under the influence. There is currently no incentive for motorists to exercise greater caution around vulnerable users than they do around other motorists.

For these reasons, MassBike is working on a new Vulnerable Road Users Bill, aimed at addressing the concerns and needs of those who use the road. We've drafted a bill and our legislative supporters and legal friends are currently reviewing the document. We'll post a copy of the full bill as soon as it is available. Our aim is to increase penalties when the victim is a vulnerable road user, including increased suspension or loss of the motorist's license and community service based around traffic education. We believe that by moving forward with the Vulnerable Road Users Bill we can increase drivers' awareness of bicyclists on the roads, and ultimately, our safety.

There are many ways that you can become involved to help make this bill become a law. We are petitioning bicyclists and pedestrians to let their legislators know that they should co-sponsor the bill when it is introduced into the legislature. The more legislators signed on, the faster the bill will move through the law-making process. We need your help to come out and petition with us on the street. Our upcoming dates are as follows:

Monday, 4/12, 5-6:30pm, SW Corridor Park, near Stony Brook T Stop, Jamaica Plain
Monday, 4/26, 5-6:30pm, Massachusetts Ave. & Memorial Dr. (Mass. Ave. Bridge), Cambridge
Tuesday, 5/3, 5-6:30pm, Broadway & Galileo Galilei Way, Cambridge

You can check our volunteer calendar for future dates or RSVP to volunteer@massbike.org.



You can also collect signatures on your own, by downloading our petition here. For information on how to use the petition effectively, click here.

Finally, if you aren't already, you can become a member of MassBike. We are grass-roots organization, funded mostly by bicyclists like you, concerned about the issues that matter to those of us on the road. We need your help to continue working hard for bicyclists across the state. People in government listen to us because we have the voice of so many cyclists, they will listen more if we can come to them with an even broader coalition of cyclists. Join today to support this and all of our efforts to make cycling safer.

Bicyclist Killed By Bus: Our Response

A bicyclist, 22-year-old Eric Michael Hunt, was killed in Boston yesterday in a crash involving an MBTA bus. While the investigation is ongoing, and we do not know the cause or circumstances of this crash, we do know that the intersection where the crash occurred is a mess, with unprotected Green Line tracks in the road, narrow lanes overlapping the tracks, heavy turning traffic, poor sightlines, and lots of on-street parking. And there are lots of bicyclists in the area. In fact, there is a bicyclist in the middle of the intersection in Google Streetview, showing exactly the dangers faced by bikers at that location. We've contacted the City of Boston to open a conversation about that intersection.

Another thing we know is that bus drivers do not always seem to place the highest priority on bicyclist safety, as any biker knows who has been passed too closely and then cut off as the bus swerves to the curb. We think the T needs to have a much stronger program to educate bus drivers how to safely interact with bicyclists, and we've contacted the T's new general manager Richard Davey to urge him to take action (and we offered our assistance to help him do so).

While crashes do happen, when they are caused by bad roads or bad decisions this should be unacceptable to everyone, and we need to make sure that the City of Boston and the MBTA (and more broadly, the Commonwealth, all the municipalities, and all the transit agencies) do more to prevent these tragedies.

Our best wishes go out to Eric's family we will keep you in our thoughts during this trying time.

I Am A Research Scientist, 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 Sylvian.

 
Where I Ride: Brookline, Boston and Cambridge
How Often I Ride: Everyday, rain, snow, shine, freeze

My Story:

I work in a research lab looking at brains of people affected by mental disorders or traumatic brain injuries (yes, I wear a helmet and so should you). When not working, I spent most of my time playing classical music with friends. I always loved cycling as a kid and have been following le Tour de France for as long as I can remember. I started to really get serious about cycling as my primary transportation when I moved to Boston in 2003. I ride everyday to work, and pretty much everywhere else. I have not owned a car since 1998 and intend to keep it this way for as long as possible.

My bicycle is a modern twist of an old english or dutch bike. It was built by the wonderful folks at Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge, MA. It's the perfect commuting machine, smooth as butter and sturdy as a rock (and almost as heavy!)

Thanks Sylvian!

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:


Ask MassBike: Opening Car Doors, Who Has The Legal Responsibility To Watch Out?

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Diane about an incident she had with a cyclist.

Can you tell me who is at fault if I open my car door and did not see the bicyclist. We avoided an accident but he got off his bike and yelled at me in the middle of the downtown street. I do not think I was wrong. I was parked on the side of the street and getting out of my car.
Thank you
Diane


Hello Diane

According to the law in Massachusetts, the driver of a vehicle is responsible to check to make sure no other road users are approaching before opening the door (this includes other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians). You were at fault, but luckily no one was hurt. If you would have caused an accident you could have been sited on the spot with a ticket, and most likely would have been taken to court for damages.

You can read the relevant parts of the law here or here, or see below.

No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Whoever violates the preceding sentence shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100. MGL chapter 90, section 14

While I do not condone people yelling at motorists, and I would hope that in the future whoever yelled at you would be more civil, getting hit by an opening door is one of the most painful and terrifying things that can happen to a cyclist. I am sure they were just full of adrenalin and not acting in the nicest manner. In the future I urge you to check carefully for cyclists and other motorists before opening your door.

I Am A Mathematician, 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 Rob.

 



Where I Ride: Pioneer Valley, Southeastern Pennsylvania
How Often I Ride: Daily

My Story: I began long-distance cycling as young teenager growing up in the Philadelphia area: a neighbor organized an annual Valley Forge, PA to Cape May, NJ day ride. After doing that on a $50-clunker, he persuaded me to get my first road bike, over my father's strenuous objections (so I had to foot the bill - about $500 back then - on my own). I commuted on that road bike through college, grad school, and to my first teaching jobs at Stanford and UCSantaBarbara: I'd ride right onto the lecture hall stage, take off my helmet, pick up a piece of chalk and do some math...!

When I moved to Amherst in the late 1980s, the winter snow/sand/salt forced me back onto my old $50-clunker. As I got involved more deeply in transportation planning and politics in the Pioneer Valley, I met folks who used mountain bikes to commute in all weather conditions, so I checked out what the Amherst Police Department was riding and bought a pair of Giant Iguana's: a big one for me, and a little one for my then-pre-teen son. My wife still uses the little one daily, despite having been hit by a car while riding it (that little bike is tough, and she's even tougher). The big one was stolen from me in Berkeley a decade ago, and I've been on my current wheels (a big Cannondale mountain bike, outfitted with homemade fenders, a "truck body" fashioned from a large milk-crate, and a recently rebuilt rear wheel with an internal transmission to minimize winter-time chain hassles) ever since.

My good friend and mentor, Arthur Swift, who passed away last year, was a dedicated servant to his profession (physics), to his community(Amherst) and to his passion (cycling). Art's final words to me - and he was a man of few words - neatly sum up my own public involvement with cycling: at the dedication of the Swift Connector (a 2-mile bikeway between UMassAmherst and the Norwottuck Rail Trail that he and I helped design and build), he was already quite ill, but he was able to accompany a hug with "Rob, we did a lot of work together...." And there's still a lot of work yet to be done to make cycling an integral part of our transportation future!


Thanks Rob!

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:


Ask MassBike: Child Biking Lessons

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Alison about where to get good bike lessons for her daughter.

Hello,

I have a 7 year old girl who has still not learned to ride a bike. She is
a bit fearful. I am looking to hire someone to help her learn to ride. She
is a healthy, active kid but needs some help from someone other then her
parents. Do you know of anyone who can offer these kind of lessons? Any
advice is appreciated.


Kind regards,
Alison



Hi Alison,

In Somerville there is a place called the Bicycle Riding School. We have sent people there before and have heard great things about it. They have taught almost two thousand people, from ages three to eighty years old, how to ride a bike. I highly recomend that you check them out.



For more information on their programs go to bicycleridingschool.org Once your daughter has learned the mechanics of riding you can also check out our bike safety classes.


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