Investing In Biking Could Save Lives

States with the lowest levels of biking and walking have higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease. A new report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking shows that lack of investment in biking and walking could be contributing to higher traffic fatalities and chronic disease rates in the U.S. Bicycling and Walking in the United States: The 2010 Benchmarking Report reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars.

While 10% of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. Biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. Seniors are at an even greater risk. While adults over 65 make up 9% of walking trips and 4% of biking trips, they account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities and 9% of bicyclist fatalities.



State investment choices can be a life or death issue for people who walk and bike, says Jeff Miller, President of the Alliance. Creating safe streets for everyone will save lives and improve health and quality of life in communities.



The report also highlights the fact that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In contrast states with the highest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. In addition, where rates of biking and walking are greater, more of the adult population is likely to achieve the 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to CDC, physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.



The report also ranks states and the 51 largest U.S. cities in biking and walking levels, safety, funding, advocacy, and policies. It further compares U.S. cities to their international peers finding that overall, U.S. investment in biking and walking lags far behind that of other developed nations. This may explain why the U.S. has fewer people who bike and walk than its international peers.

Miller says, our data show that increasing investment in biking and walking could lead to more people biking and walking. The more people bike and walk, the safer it is and the healthier the community. It's a virtuous cycle.

Bicycling and Walking in the United States was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from Bikes Belong Coalition and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit http://www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.

For a fact sheet highlighting report findings click here. (pdf)

[caption id="attachment_1081" align="aligncenter" width="391" caption="Source: 2007 ACS Notes This ranking is based on the combined bike and walk to work share from the 2007 ACS. The number one position indicates the state and city with the highest share of commuters who commute by bicycle or foot. View graphs illustrating this data on pages 34 and 35 of this report."][/caption]

You can download the full report here. (pdf)

Ask MassBike: Where Are Cyclists Allowed To Ride Their Bicycles?

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 Pascal about what streets are ok to ride your bicycle on.

I am a student from the Netherlands and I will be doing an internship at MIT. I have a question about cycling in Boston. Is it allowed to cycle on all boston streets (except interstates)? For example, is one allowed to cycle the boston university bridge? This bridge has no dedicated bicycle lane, so I'm wondering.

Thanks in advance for your response!

Kind regards,
Pascal



Hello Pascal

Yes you can cycle on all streets in the entire state except for, limited access highways or express state highways where it is posted off limits for bicycles. You can most certainly cycle the BU Bridge, but as you mentioned it doesn't have bike lanes, but will after the current construction project is completed.

Hope this helps

New Multi-Use Paths In Watertown

Governor Deval Patrick has announced a new multi-use path and other bicycle improvements for the Watertown area. We here at MassBike support the construction of multi-use paths, and are working hard to make sure we hear more announcements like this in the future.



Press release from the governor's office below.

-------------------------------

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Department
Office of Governor Deval L. Patrick
Press Release
Contact: Juan Martinez, Kim Haberlin, Alex Goldstein “ 617-725-4025; Colin Durrant (MassDOT) “ 617-973-7870

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES WATERTOWN MULTI-USE PATH, INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

WATERTOWN “ Friday, January 15, 2010 “ As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the construction of a multi-use path and various intersection improvements in Watertown will move forward this spring.

Across the Commonwealth, we are investing in bike and pedestrian improvements and expanding multi-use paths to improve public health, strengthen our communities and boost the quality of life for residents," said Governor Patrick.

The Charles River/Alewife Connector multi-use path in Watertown will construct a path along an abandoned rail corridor from School Street to the Arlington Street intersection (at Nichols Avenue, Coolidge Hill Road and Crawford Street), with a spur connecting the new path to Arsenal Street across from the Watertown Mall parking lot. The $847,000 project will fully fund the project as designed, including the removal of existing railroad rails and ties followed by construction of a ten-foot wide asphalt path with grass shoulders over a distance of approximately two-thirds of a mile. In addition, under a $1.4 million project approved in late December the intersections of Spring and Summer, Mount Auburn and Summer, and Arlington and Nichols at the eastern limit of the new multi-use path will be resurfaced and traffic sensing devices and new, more accessible sidewalks with wheelchair ramps will be installed.

I am thrilled that this long-awaited project is moving forward and that funding has been awarded for the construction of Phase I of the bike path, said Senator Steven A. Tolman. After over a decade of hard work by various government agencies, community groups, and my brother, former Senator Warren Tolman, this multi-use path is now one step closer to completion. I hope that today's announcement is the first of many and that together we can continue to make Watertown an even better place to live and work.

The Connector path is a significant step in integrating Watertown into the growing network of bike paths in the Metro Boston area, said Representative Jonathan Hecht. The intersection projects address long-standing issues of safety and accessibility. Together they represent a major investment in better multi-modal transportation in Watertown.

This is a great day for the residents of Watertown and I can't wait to see the end result, said Representative Peter Koutoujian. These improvement will create an even more vibrant and enjoyable community. This is a prime example of how our delegation can work with the administration to make something good happen for our constituents.

MassDOT is committed to balancing the needs of all transportation users, whether they be drivers, bikes or walkers,'' said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan. These multi-use paths and intersections will improve accessibility and allow cyclists and walkers to enjoy the outdoors while also expanding commuting options.

How To Lock Up Your Bicycle

In our constant quest to return oldies but goodies from our old website I present the MassBike guide for locking up your bicycle, with some updates. You can download this brochure for printing here (.doc)

LOCKING YOUR BIKE

We've all seen them “ lone bicycle wheels locked to parking meters, and broken bike locks hanging from fences with no bicycle in sight. Maybe you've come back to where you left your bike “ and found that it's been stolen! We here at MassBike never want this to happen to you.

Here's what you can do to avoid bicycle theft:


  1. Always lock your bike! It takes only seconds to pedal away on an unlocked bike.



  2. Use two different locks, with separate locking mechanisms. Thieves carry tools that will either snip cables, or pry-apart U-locks “ but rarely both. A cable-lock and a U-lock together are very secure.


  3. Each lock should have its own built-in locking device (a key-lock or combination lock, but not a padlock). Don't use a cable that's secured by a U-lock “ once the thief gets through the U-lock, he's got your bike!


  4. Pull your cable lock through both wheels, and lock it around a bike rack or other closed loop stand. Open-top posts (like parking meters or traffic signs) let thieves lift bikes over them. If you use a cable lock and a Ulock, you don't need to remove your front wheel to secure it.


  5. Wrap your U-lock around a secure post. Then pass it around your rear wheel rim inside the bike's rear triangle. It's not necessary for the lock to secure the frame “ if the U-lock locks the rim inside of the frame triangle behind your seat-tube, the bike cannot be stolen by removing the rear wheel. If you can get the frame as well that is a bonus.


  6. A small U-lock is better than a large one. Small locks are much harder to pry open with a crowbar than a wide U-lock.





This bike is locked to a rack with a cable lock and a mini-U-lock. The cable lock secures both wheels to the rack, and the U-lock locks the front wheel and frame to the rack. It cannot be stolen unless the thief can defeat both locks.


MORE THEFT DETERRENTS


  • Don't leave removable gear on your bike. Take pumps, lights, and other accessories with you.

  • Park your bike where you see other bikes parked. Seek lighted areas with foot traffic.

  • Write your name and telephone number on a piece of Tyvek (a sturdy cloth-like plastic available at hardware stores), and identify yourself as the bike's owner. Put this inside your rear tire between the rim and the inner tube. A bike shop will see this if they are asked to repair a flat tire!

  • Ask your employer, your favorite shops, and other places you visit on your bicycle to provide safe, weather-protected bicycle parking.




Here are some rather poor locking jobs:









It is possible to go a little overboard:

[caption id="attachment_1024" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="via flickr"][/caption]

Make Your Business A Bicycle Friendly Business, MassBike Can Help!

The City of Boston is once again calling for local business' to become Bicycle Friendly. MassBike can help your business qualify for the coveted designation of Bicycle Friendly Business. If you are interested in getting one of our awesome commuter workshops, or adult safety classes so that your business can qualify, please contact us. Below is the letter the city is sending around, it has valuable information for how your business could qualify for this award.

The deadline for applications is Feb 26, so act now!



-----------------------------------

Dear Friend:

Do you know an individual or a business making a difference in Boston to help green our city? I'm sure that you do, and I encourage you to nominate them for Mayor Menino's Annual Green Business, Residential, and Bicycle-Friends Recognition awards.

Mayor Menino recognizes that Boston businesses and residents are an integral part of our efforts to turn Beantown into Greentown. We want to honor those businesses, residents and community leaders who are at the forefront of sustainability, from energy and water conservation, to green building and bike friendly practices. There will be numerous awards in three major categories:


  • Green Business Awards will honor companies in Boston that implement exemplary sustainable business practices in their day-to-day operations. Boston Green Business Awards will be given in a variety of categories.



  • Green Residential Awards will honor residents who incorporate sustainable practices in their home and neighborhood. This is a great tool to showcase the efforts that residents make and to educate others on ways they too can green their homes. Awards will be presented in a variety of categories.



  • The Bike Friendly Businesses Program recognizes businesses that encourage bicycling among their employees by engaging in bicycle friendly practices. All companies engaging in at least nine bike friendly practices from the application receive recognition. One special award will be presented for the Most Bike Friendly Business.





Green Business Award winners from 2009 were Lights Out Boston; Boston Green Building; Boston Sand and Gravel; City Feed and Supply; Equal Exchange Café; Hostelling International-Boston; Katsiroubas Brothers; Nitsch Engineering; OMBE; Studio G Architects.

Green Residential Award winners were West Roxbury Saves Energy; Joseph Porcelli and Dan Goldsbury; and Walter Hope and Jeff Doretti.

Bicycle Friendly Business award winners were Gale International for the Most Bike Friendly Business and Urban AdvenTours for Most Improved. Also, 33 businesses were recognized for their bike-friendly practices.

A brief description of the recipients' practices can be viewed on our website.

Forms for the awards can be found here should be submitted by February 26, 2010. All winners will be announced and honored by Mayor Menino at a reception in April.

To find more information and to download and submit forms, please go to the City's website.

Sincerely,

Jim Hunt

__________________________________
James W. Hunt, III
Chief of Environmental and Energy Services
City of Boston
One City Hall Plaza, Room 603
Boston, MA 02201
(617)635-3425, f. (617)635-3496
james.hunt@cityofboston.gov

DCR Notice: Work Near Charles River Bike Path

Heads up everyone, seems the DCR will be doing a bit of work that might affect the bike path for the next couple weeks, see below.

------------------------------------



Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) crews will begin lead-abatement work on about one mile of decorative fencing between the bicycle/pedestrian pathway and the Charles River along Memorial Drive in Cambridge. During the work, bicyclists and pedestrians may experience minor detours.

Lead abatement is the first step in DCR's plan to replace the roughly 5,700 feet of embankment fence, which is decaying. The $2 million project, to be funded through DCR's capital budget, will replace the existing fence with new, historically correct, fencing. The fence replacement is expected to begin in March and be completed by the end of June.

WHEN: Monday - Friday
Beginning January 18, 2010, and continuing about three weeks
7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., each day

WHERE: Bike/Pedestrian pathway
Between Fowler Street and the Longfellow Bridge
Cambridge

MassBike: Now In 48 Languages



We understand that not all bicyclists in Massachusetts use English as their primary language, we also know that we get a lot of visitors to our website from people in other countries, with that in mind we have recently integrated a translation system here that will allow you to read our website in any of 48 different languages. Look over on the right (I will wait), see those little flags, click on the appropriate flag to select the language you want to read our website in, it's that easy! We know it is not perfect, but it works pretty well, we hope this will allow you to read our site in a language that is most convenient for you.

Mass BikePike Tour Registration Now Open!

The Mass BikePike Tour, a bicycle tour in Massachusetts, is now accepting registrations for the four-day event on August 5-8, 2010. The bike tour will begin and end in Amherst, with daily riding options ranging from 30 to 65 miles.

The Mass BikePike Tour is a celebration of cycling in Massachusetts. Families and individuals will enjoy ample opportunity to explore the state's scenic byways, quaint towns, and all the varied attractions the region has to offer.

[caption id="attachment_1000" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo From dlogrono photoset on flikr, click for link to original."][/caption]

Overnight stops will feature great places to camp and hardy meals featuring fresh local products. Participants who prefer an alternative to camping can sleep indoors at our host schools or choose to stay close by at local inns or B&Bs.;

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.

Proceeds from the event will benefit MassBike, the statewide bicycle advocacy group.

Early discounted registration is available until March 1st, 2010

For more information and registration details, visit the web site at www.MassBikePike.org, visit Mass BikePike on Facebook or call 617-710-1832.

Bike To Fenway

We recently received a great email from Mike Beck detailing a fantastic brochure he made for how to bicycle to Fenway Park from points north. These same directions could be modified for points south east and west, the bicycle parking information is particularly valuable. Below are some excerpts from the Brochure, download the entire thing here (.doc)

Love the RedSox but dislike the cramped GreenLine? Do you put off driving to a game to avoid shelling out $30 for parking? Does RT 2 traffic backed up to Lake Street, make you reach for the remote? Fenway Park may be closer than you think!




Check out this great map of how to bike to Fenway.

Even though Fenway Park is in the heart of the city, it is only a baseball throw from the Esplanade and the Paul Dudley White Bikepath along Storrow Drive. There is a Boston University ramp wheelchair/pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive opposite Silber Avenue. That bicycle bridge makes getting to Fenway as easy as 1, 2, 3.

From Arlington Center “ ride along the Minuteman Trail to Alewife Station. Cycle to Concord Avenue to Huron and Sparks across Brattle to Memorial Drive. Cycle along Memorial Drive, past Anderson Bridge and John Weeks Footbridge to Western Avenue bridge. Cross over to the Boston side of the Charles River and continue left on bikepath. Once on the Paul Dudley White bikepath, you have a flat enjoyable scenic ride until you reach the Silber Street bike-ramp bridge at Boston University.


If you have any favorite routes to Fenway please let us know in the comments. If you have links to maps I will update this post with them.

Ask MassBike: Crash On The Esplanade

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 Farzad about a crash he had on the esplanade.

hello massbike,

i'm a cyclist living in cambridge and i use the paul dudley white bike path along the charles to get to work. i've noticed that the city seems to plow the path but does not salt it, and, as a result, the path becomes a sheet of ice in the winter. i'm upset because on my way to work on friday i hit a huge patch of ice as i tried to go around a runner by the longfellow bridge, and i hit the ground hard and badly fractured my clavicle. i go back in two weeks for more x-rays to determine whether i'll need surgery. i'm writing to get your help in determining what my rights are, if i have a case. thank you so much for your advocacy and for helping make MA a better place for cyclists!

cheers,
farzad


Hello Farzad

Yikes! I hope you heal up fast, I have broken a collar bone before, and while painful doesn't always need surgery. Good luck with the recovery.

The bike path on the Esplanade is maintained and plowed by the DCR, not the City of Boston. We would guess that the DCR probably limits or prohibits the use of salt and deicing agents on the Esplanade due to the proximity to the river and risk of contamination from runoff, however we do not know for sure.

For information about how the DCR clears the bike path in the winter, we recommend contacting Samantha Overton, Director of Urban Parks and Recreation Samantha.Overton@state.ma.us.

Unfortunately MassBike is unable to give legal advice. For legal advice, we recommend consulting a lawyer. We recommend Andrew Fischer of Jason & Fischer, 617-423-7904, is very good, other lawyers also handle bicycle cases.

Hope this helps


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