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.

MassBike's New Volunteer Membership Program!

At MassBike, we love our volunteers.

We know that volunteers make up a huge part of our success, so we want to make volunteering with us even better. Starting now, anyone who volunteers ten hours of their time will automatically earn a MassBike membership!

We know that without the amazing support of our volunteers we would not be able to accomplish as much as we do. Our volunteers are our voice on the street, the energy behind our campaigns, and our strength in numbers. Because our volunteers do so much for us, we feel that they deserve to get something in return.



You may think that ten hours is too difficult to schedule into your calendar, but think about how fast those hours can fly by on a busy Saturday afternoon or when you are chatting to other bicyclists. If you work two and a half hours over four days then you already have enough hours for the membership. We've already given out five volunteer-memberships to some of our regulars at volunteer night.

And now with the bicycling season upon us, it's easy to get in those ten hours. Here are some volunteer events that are coming up soon:

On street petitioning:

Tuesday, April 6 - Massachusetts Ave. & Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA, 5-6:30pm
Monday, April 12 - SW Corridor Park, near the Brewery, Jamaica Plain, MA, 5-6:30pm
Tuesday, April 20 - Massachusetts Ave. & Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA, 5-6:30pm
Monday, April 26 - Downtown Boston Location - TBD, 5:00pm “ 6:30pm
Monday, May 3 - Broadway & Galileo Galilei Way, Cambridge, MA, 5:00pm “ 6:30pm

Volunteer night - Tuesday, April 13 - 171 Milk Street Boston MA 02109, 5-8pm

Transportation Fair - Wednesday, April 14 - Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, World Trade Center East building, 2 Seaport Boulevard, 3rd floor, 12-1:30pm

MIT Earth Day - Thursday, April 22 - Stata Centre MIT Cambridge, 11:15am “ 1:30pm

For more information about our upcoming events visit our volunteer calendar  Or email volunteer@massbike.org.

I Am A Business Owner, 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 Lauren.

 
Where I Ride: Everywhere and anywhere 
How Often I Ride: Daily

My Story:

I fell in love with cycling in my teens, cycling all over Southern NH on my Fuji Grand Tourer. By the time I reached college, I decided that cycling was "hub" and that my decisions as to what I would do with my life would revolve around cycling. I moved to Italy after college to study art, find my family's roots AND because I knew it was cycling heaven. Many miles and jobs later, I decided to start my own company that would allow me to do what I love all the time: travel by bicycle, be with people and create work that gave me freedom to do more of what I loved

20 years later, I live in Arlington and the bicycle culture continues to be the hub of my universe. As my son says, "I think & live bike". I have not only shared my love of cycling with over 8000 travelers from all over the world but I now try to inspire my children and all the people in my world to use the bicycle as a form of transportation. I am less concerned about miles than I was in my 20's and more interested in being as involved as I can in making the world a better place through cycling. I have ridden the Pan Mass Challenge for over 19 years, have led costumed peddlers on an annual Jingle Ride  Fundraiser, have increased awareness for cycling to school in Arlington and have gone to Washington, DC to the National Bike Summit to try to persuade our lawmakers to adopt better bicycle policies. I walk the talk by using my bicycle instead of a car whenever possible. My three kids and I ride everywhere.  I am continually searching for ways to more be more involved with organizations, like Mass Bike, that are trying very hard to make the world a better place through cycling. I believe in my heart that getting more people on bicycles will make our world a cleaner, healthier more human place. GO MASS BIKE!

Thanks Lauren!

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:


Bike Night Tickets On Sale Now!



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

MassBike's annual gala event will be on Saturday, May 15, 2010, from 7 to 10pm, at The Greatest Bar, 262 Friend Street, Boston map and directions. Leading into Bay State Bike Week (May 17-21), this is one cocktail party you will not want to miss! Featuring light hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, silent auction, bicycling advocacy awards, and more! Dress up, ride to the party, and show off your bike style! All proceeds benefit MassBike and help us do more work for you.

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

Click here for Regular Admission

Click here for VIP Package (help MassBike even more!)

MassBike Gives Up On Bicycles, Now The MassTrebuchet Coalition

It has been a good run, for the last 33 years MassBike has been fighting hard to make bicycling better for everyone in Massachusetts. We worked day and night to make sure that there were equitable bike laws, pushed for improved and expanded bike infrastructure, and strove to educate as many people as we could about bike safety, but now we have a new love. While bikes are still cool (we guess), we have found an entirely new and amazing way to get around.



The trebuchet!

For those of you who have yet to hear about this super sweet invention:
A trebuchet or trebucket (from the French: trébuchet) is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages either to smash masonry walls or to throw projectiles over them. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of a counterweight.

Isn't that music to your ears! I mean imagine the kind of untapped transportation power that is sitting around being wasted! This might be the most radical change in transportation policy since the invention of the speed bump! Why cycle when you can Trebuchet!

We have already set one up at our office and have gotten pretty good at hitting the inflated Trebuchet landing sites around downtown Boston (T-Stops for short). Don't worry, we used interns for most of the dialing-in process.

[caption id="attachment_1422" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="You've got to wait 'til the wind is just right...."][/caption]

Sure, biking is fun, practical, cheap, good for the environment, healthy and fast. But nothing compares the the thrill of launching yourself through the air at high speeds aiming for a tiny little inflated target hundreds of feet away!

Here is David Watson, our executive director, announcing our plan to set up launching stations all over the state:

[caption id="attachment_1441" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="These highly trained trebuchet technicians support us."][/caption]
Biking was just too easy. Sure, you could get around town quickly and parking was a breeze. And, yes, it was a healthy, cheap, and easy way to get to work, but we wanted a challenge. The thrill of flying hundreds of feet through the air at hundreds of miles per hour with a 50/50 chance of hitting your target really gets the blood pumping.

MassBikeTrebuchet Coalition will be spending all of its time and efforts setting up giant wooden siege engines throughout the state and installing large inflated landing pads near them. Be sure to check our calendar for upcoming trebuchet flying safety courses, and check our flight listings for our upcoming "MassTrebuchet Flies" flights.

Be sure to check out our store to get your own safety aviators helmet (pictured below).



We welcome comments on our new direction.  We are really excited about our new program and hope to see you all out at the trebuchet launching sites!

P.S. What do you think of our new tag line: "MassTrebuchet Coalition: Making flying through the air screaming for your life better for everyone!"

I Am A Photographer, And I Ride

We've got another profile of a bicyclist from our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of the 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 Danny.



Where You Ride: Everywhere; trails, offroad, roads, other states.
How Often You Ride: Daily
My Story:

I am an outdoor enthusiast. I kayak, rock climb, fish, hike, bike, adventure race, camp; almost anything that deals with being outdoors, I do it. I'm also an Urban and Regional planning student at the University of Central Florida. I have 2 daughters, both who love to bike. The eldest is pictured below with her bike.

Together, we all ride to and from school, Publix, coffee shops, and events going on around town. Alone, I am a commuter that bikes roughly 15 miles one way to class, meetings, or to see friends and enjoy a local coffee/tea shop. And to my delight, any time we tell the kids we're going somewhere, the first question they ask is: "are we taking the bikes?"


Thanks Danny! "Are we taking the bikes?" is music to our ears.

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:



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