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.

We Are Youth Instructors, And We Ride

Here is a group post 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.

This story comes from the Bikes Not Bombs youth instructors: Ben, Victor, Jose Antonio, Zacorah, Ashley, WIll, Kyomi, Lucas, Mauricio, Steven, Stephane, Angel, Modesto.

 
Where We Ride: Boston, Jamaica Plain and every where else
How Often We Ride: Collectively; every day

Our Story:

We, the Bikes Not Bombs youth instructors, are dedicated to teaching youth from the community of Boston about bicycle mechanics and safety. As a group, we do tons of bicycle riding, community organizing, youth education, environmental advocacy, and much more. All of us ride our bikes nearly every day and we promote safe riding by wearing our helmets and following traffic laws. We hope that our presence in the community will help to make Boston a better place for cyclists.

All of us are in charge of running the BNB programs such as Earn-A-bike and Girls In Action. During these programs we teach lessons, lead rides, and assist youth with their mechanics. We all love getting to meet the youth who take our programs and teaching them about bikes and the environment.  

Some of the bikes we ride include a Peugeot, Fuji, Cannondale, Diamondback, Raleigh, Trek, K2B, Giant, Bareknuckle, Centurion, and many others.

If you are interested in our programs or if you want to know more about Bikes Not Bombs go to bikesnotbombs.org

Thanks and keep up the good work at BNB!

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:


Website Back Up

After a long and hard battle (and switching to a new host), we seem to have solved our security problems. Our email is still a little shaky, but if you need to talk to us please call our office 617-542-2453.

Thank you for your patience while we were dealing with this very frustrating problem.

Site Under Attack

We are currently dealing with some security issues, you may notice that Google and other search engines are telling you that this site may be serving Malware, or contain a virus.

Our host (network solutions) has been experiencing security breaches, that have led to our site being attacked. We are currently working on the problem. In the mean time please have patience, and contact our office by phone if you need anything

617-542-2453.

We appreciate your patience in this matter, and we will have this fixed ASAP.

I Am A Retiree, And I Ride

Here's 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 bicyclist bios 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 Cynthia.

 
Where I Ride: Boston, toured in: Wisconsin, Maine, Pacific north west 
How Often I Ride: Virtually every day

My Story:

Of course we didn't wait for retirement to ride our bikes; we've been car free for many years, so biking has been our chief mode for getting around town, for recreation and for traveling. We love our recumbent bikes (including the tandem) and we enjoy riding with friends on weekends around Boston and surrounding areas. We also enjoy traveling by train and bicycle. Every year we put our bikes on the train and ride to Wisconsin or the Pacific Northwest. An advantage of retirement is that we can take long trips. We've been over the North Cascades in Washington, all over the state of Wisconsin (a great place to bike), and this year we'll be riding up the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and later across Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Thanks Cynthia!

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:


Winning A Battle But Losing The War Over The Bridges? Help MassBike Turn The Tide.

At a meeting of the Regional Transportation Advisory Council this week, Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Jeff Mullan announced some good news, and some potentially not-so-good news, for bicyclists and pedestrians.



First, the good news: Secretary Mullan said clearly that MassDOT will take responsibility for Charles Circle, the horrendous intersection where the Longfellow Bridge enters Boston. Advocates have been complaining about the dangers of this chaotic intersection for years, but none of the four agencies with an interest in the intersection (MassDOT, the City of Boston, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the MBTA) were willing to take responsibility. MassDOT had previously committed to fix the sidewalks on the bridge approach and maintain the bike lanes on the bridge in advance of the overall Longfellow Bridge reconstruction. In fact, MassDOT did repaint the bike lanes on the bridge and the crosswalks in Charles Circle recently, although we have yet to see any movement on the sidewalk improvements. We'll be keeping a close eye on the project to see whether MassDOT is really committed to making both the bridge and Charles Circle safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Which brings me to the potentially not-so-good news concerning the Accelerated Bridge Program, MassDOT's once-in-a-lifetime $3 billion effort to repair many of the Commonwealth's structurally deficient bridges (including the Longfellow Bridge and many others in the Charles River Basin and around the state). Many of these bridges currently have no or substandard access for bicyclists and pedestrians, even though they are vital connections used daily by thousands. Despite very productive dialogue with the DCR about bicycle and pedestrian access on the Charles River Basin bridges and the need to look beyond the bridges themselves to the intersections and connections, since the bridges were transferred to MassDOT we've been unable to get a clear signal from MassDOT that they would place a similar priority on bicyclists and pedestrians. MassDOT recently suspended work on an effort initiated by the DCR to produce an overall bicycle, pedestrian, and transit plan for the Charles River Basin. At the recent series of meetings around the state about the Accelerated Bridge Program, we've gotten reports that MassDOT spokespeople are backpedaling on the commitment to bicycle and pedestrian improvements, citing time and funding constraints. And at the RTAC meeting this week, Secretary Mullan also mentioned time and funding limitations when asked the extent to which the ABP would address bicycle, pedestrian, and transit needs.

We worked hard to ensure that last year's transportation reform law, which created MassDOT, included commitments to support biking and walking. While we certainly recognize the pressure MassDOT is under to fix the bridges before they collapse, that cannot be an excuse to ignore the law and MassDOT's own policies regarding bicycle and pedestrian accommodation. (See 1996 Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Law, 2006 Project Development and Design Guide, and 2009 Transportation Reform Act.) Moreover, if MassDOT misses this opportunity, $3 billion will buy us functionally obsolete bridges and it will be another 50-75 years before any major work is done on these bridges again.

We're working directly with MassDOT to get them to do the right thing, but we need you to help us tell them how important these bridges are to you as bikers and walkers. Check our calendar and go to the public meetings on these projects, so MassDOT hears from regular citizens in addition to the professional advocates. And contact MassDOT right now to tell them you want them to make a clear commitment to improving bicycle and pedestrian access on all bridges in the Accelerated Bridge Program, even when that requires doing work outside the footprint of the bridge.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation









10 Park Plaza, Suite 3170 Boston, MA 02116
617-973-7000
Email Us
Toll Free - 877-MA-DOT-GOV (877-623-6846)
Fax: (617) 973-8031
(TTY) 617-973-7306

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.


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