2018 Road Safety Legislation

When I cycled across the country in 2011, I saw a lot of roadkill.   I was constantly aware that all it would take was one mistake by me or by one of those caffeinated guys in big rigs and I’d look about the same.

On the open road, I developed a profound gratitude towards the tens of thousands of drivers who did not hit me.

The Senate just approved a safety package that would require a clearance of at least three feet for vehicles passing vulnerable road users like highway workers, cyclists and pedestrians.  It would add an additional foot of required clearance for each ten miles per hour of speed.

The package also would mandate side guards on big trucks used by or for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   We cannot regulate trucks in interstate commerce, but the measure is a start towards reducing the gruesome slide-under accidents that are all too common on urban roads.

The bill includes several other modest measures: better reporting on accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians, lower speed limits on state roads in thickly settled areas (governed by local choice) and a requirement that cyclists have rear red lights (in addition to the already-required white front light and rear red reflector).

The package should help reduce road injuries and I’m hopeful it will also pass the House.

The most important thing we could do to improve safety for everyone is to reduce distracted driving.  I’ve now voted twice now to ban hand-held cell phone use by drivers, but so far that legislation has not made it to the Governor’s desk.

An idea we should keep studying is automated enforcement — red light and speed cameras.  Cameras raise privacy concerns. In other states, municipalities have abused cameras to generate revenue.  Automated enforcement hasn’t gained traction in Massachusetts, but I’m hopeful that, perhaps in the next session, we can develop an approach that works.

I often hear from annoyed drivers and frightened pedestrians calling for licensing of cyclists and registration of bikes.  Their complaints are legitimate: Cyclists tend to continue or swerve when they should simply stop. Starting on a bike can be hard work for tired legs.  Because stopping means starting, subconsciously cyclists hate to stop.

Still, I’m opposed to cyclist licensing.   It wouldn’t be cost-effective. We license drivers and register motor vehicles because of the enormous damage they can do — motor vehicles are vastly heavier and faster than bicycles.  Cyclists often annoy drivers. They often frighten pedestrians. They very occasionally harm pedestrians, but they do a miniscule fraction of the annual damage that motor vehicles do.

There is a conversation that we need to keep having with and among cyclists about road behavior.  In 2008, I helped pass legislation to make it easier to ticket cyclists. Unfortunately, the truth is that urban police rarely have the time to ticket motorists, much less cyclists.  So, it’s more about education.

Cycling and walking are healthy, exhilarating and good for the environment.  I will continue to work to protect cyclists and pedestrians, but also to encourage cyclists to ride responsibly.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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60 Comments

  1. So cyclists are inconvenienced by the law but because they have covered themselves with (their own version of) virtue they claim they are above the law. Is that the situation?

    Suppose I sent my state income tax to United Way instead of to the state. Would the Commonwealth give me a bye?

    Will, either rescind the law or enforce the law. Letting people purchase get out of jail cards with self-granted virtue points does not pass muster as equal standing before the law.

    IMHO, as always.

    1. Scott, I don’t feel that anyone is above the law and I do favor enforcement. My only point above was that police resources are limited, unfortunately.

      And just because not everyone follows a law is not a good reason to repeal it. By that logic, we’d repeal stop on red for vehicles and there would be chaos.

      Sometimes laws are a little aspirational, but at least they state a standard for most citizens.

  2. Roads should be used to enable mobility. They should be configured and regulated to allow movement and commerce. Beacon Street is an example of devoting too much real estate and regulation to bicycles (and parking) at the expense of mobility. For motor vehicles, Beacon Street is now a no turn on red, one lane street (2 lanes reduced to 1 by delays turning and double parking). It appears the objective is “Vision Zero,” no lives lost. Pursuing that single objective is a lost cause with the trade off being unreasonable traffic delays.

    1. The primary goal of the Beacon Street changes was to reduce a ridiculously high rate of vehicle crashes and injuries by reducing the driving lanes from three to two. (Making the street safer for cyclists was a secondary goal, so they should not be blamed.) When we get the results, we’ll see if improved safety offsets the annoyance of traffic delays.

  3. Accommodating bikes at the price of inconveniencing drivers is not the answer. Also, too many cyclists flagrantly disregard the rules of the road. It doesn’t exactly engender sympathy towards their situation. Same thing with pedestrians and the ridiculous number of crosswalks in the city that screw up already bad traffic.

  4. When Governor Weld made an effort to reinstitute pedestrian right of way in a crosswalk, sometime ago, it may have taken a decade or more for significantly more observance by drivers. Pedestrians could step back onto the curb. Cyclists cannot, and therefore more in danger.

    I would rather persuade and remind drivers of others, unarmored, using the streets. A fine can raise pushback.

    A fine can also represent someone injured or worse.

    1. And, to move more commuters who are coming to all the new commercial development, favor bus lanes on the fixed street space.

  5. I am in favor of protecting bicyclists – cars are bigger, but I also want protection for pedestrians. Cyclists run lights, ride in bike-restricted areas (Comm Mall, Public Garden and Common) and generally seem to think they own the road. I want protected areas for walkers. Keep bikes on the street NOT on sidewalks. And YES license them so I can IDd them when they cut me off!

  6. When the question asks about “penalties” does this mean cash fines? The bike lanes are awkward with parking. It means that when I, as an elderly person, parks that I need to step right out into a traffic lane and that is hazardous. Another problems is that cyclists do not always follow the rules of the road and this creates hazards for drivers. I have needed to brake with not warning because a cyclist ignored a stop sign and cut right across the travel lane. This type of thing can destroy both our lives. The city keeps building at a furious rate with little regard for the traffic and parking these new apartments require making it really difficult for the residents

  7. When I was a bit younger, I did some serious cycling all around Eastern Massachusetts. We have a beautiful state that makes for some gorgeous bike riding. We have a lot to be thankful for!

    That experience leads me to believe that we need to do whatever we can to convince drivers that the road belongs as much to cyclists as to them–and convince cyclists that the rules of the road apply as much to them as to drivers!

    Regarding road safety, years of experience–sometimes very scary–convinces me that the easiest and most important thing we can do to increase the safety of cyclists is to keep the roads in good repair. Potholes that are merely an annoyance for drivers can be a life-or-death matter for cyclists, and when cyclists are forced to the curb or breakdown lane of a road, the precariousness of that location varies enormously depending on whether the sides of the road are in good repair or disintegrating.

    As I’m sure you know, Will!

  8. I don’t think these legislated fixes will have much impact on cyclist, pedestrian or driver safety. To have real impact (in Boston, my focus) we need to change the culture of drivers and cyclists, and more enforcement, which would reinforce culture change. Unfortunately, the BTD refuses to think that way, and continues to tinker with signs and lights and lanes and whatever, to little effect.

  9. NO to requiring a rear bike light.
    YES to banning hand-held cell phone (or any other such device) use.
    NO to automated enforcement (better to put sensing at every busy intersection to have better timing/changing of traffic lights; ‘Big Brother’? No thanks!)
    NO to licensing bicycles (that would only discourage folks from cycling).
    And don’t place the bike lane indicators in the middle of the car lanes!!!

  10. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses: drivers must be licensed and pass a written test proving they know the state-created rules of the road; must pass a yearly safety test (lights, brakes, horns, etc.,) for their vehicles; must show a license, often given a hefty fine, and given an insurance increase when stopped for breaking a rule.

    Cyclists over 18 years of age should be required to follow the same set of rules, tests and requirements as the other vehicle operators. This is for their safety, as well as others.

    All concerned must play by the same rules when sharing the same roadways.

    Equal rights must equal equal responsibilities.

    1. How many deaths are caused by cyclists each year in Massachusetts? How many by cars? When those numbers are anywhere near each other, even when adjusted by amount of biking vs. driving, then it would make sense to talk about licensing cyclists. Before that, arguing for licensing is not a good-faith effort to find realistic improvements to how shared civic space are used.

      1. FWIW, cyclists do have to follow essentially the same rules of the road as vehicles, although the licensing and testing requirements are different.

        Licensing is overkill to me. I don’t favor licensing for cycilsts or for pedestrians — although a runner on a sidewalk is almost as much as a menace as a cyclist.

        1. Cyclists do not have to follow the same rules as other vehicles in all states or cities.

          See:

          Idaho stop
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3aTOsdSCGs

          According to:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop

          —-
          Advocates for Idaho stop laws argue that they improve safety. Two studies of the Idaho stop show that it is measurably safer. One study showed that it resulted in 14% fewer crashes and another indicated that Idaho has less severe crashes. Similarly, tests of a modified form of the Idaho Stop in Paris “found that allowing the cyclists to move more freely cut down the chances of collisions with cars, including accidents involving the car’s blind spot.”

  11. Enforcement and legislative priorities should address cars, bikes, and pedestrians according to the relative amount of damage they cause and the danger they pose to others.

    Cities will never be good places to drive, particularly Boston, but they are historically well-suited to (and even designed around) walking and are fine for biking, particularly when combined with public transportation and bikeshare. We shouldn’t try to force Boston and other Massachusetts cities to take on more traffic than is safe and healthy, but should work to reduce it as much as possible.

    Also, we should stop the handouts to car owners (free parking, oversized roads, prioritization of car throughput over pedestrian convenience) and put the money saved into public transit and better pedestrian infrastructure.

  12. You’re exactly right about education. Maybe require bike shops to provide a safety introduction, or give a pamphlet with each sale. I think there are too many rules already on both sides, and if they are not enforced then we create a world in which we encourage society to break the rules. I have also been a bike commuter, and the safest way to be in traffic in the 70s was to be out in front visible and decisive, even aggressive. So I am not a fan of bike lanes on smaller roads. The safety zone idea does not take into account bad decisions by bikers such as riding on fresh pond parkway. Some roads should be off limits to bikes, and they should be marked. Of course rail trail conversion will help a lot where possible.

  13. Over several years of commuting from Belmont to the Prudential Center by bike, most of my scariest moments were with distracted pedestrians, who would regularly wander into roadways and across the lanes on the Esplanade shared pathway while talking on phones. I’m not sure whether there are any policy changes that could address this, but we need to find some way to convince pedestrians that they need to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and those around them.

  14. We all tend to notice when someone behaves badly. Bicyclists, like pedestrians and drivers, sometimes behave badly. But there’s a common prejudice toward bicyclists that stems from and also reinforces the false belief that bicyclists are not legitimate road users. Drivers need to be taught that it’s their responsibility to share the road with cyclists, and to check for bicyclists whenever they pull out of a parking space, just as they check for pedestrians and other vehicles.

    Resentment and hostility toward bicyclists, like all prejudices, reinforces labeling inconsiderate, risky and inappropriate behavior as “typical”. The reality is that regular bicyclists generally cycle carefully, are law abiding and know that if a moving car hits them while they are bicycling they are put at serious risk. Licensing them is not a solution. The penalty of being hurt or killed for a mistake is enough, although bicyclists’ reckless behavior should, of course, be penalized, just as other road users are ticketed and fined.

    I’m older than most of the people reading this. I respect bicyclists for trying to save fossil fuels and reduce vehicle congestion while trying to stay fit and healthy. Drivers should feel gratitude that bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users are helping us reduce our dependency on motor vehicles. Unfortunately we are not doing enough fast enough to improve our public transit systems.

  15. agree with all your points- licensing bike riders sounds very impractical – we are having a hard enough time licensing automobile drivers, we shouldn’t add casual riders and children to the lines at the RMV. next would be licensing pedestrians- agree with comments about danger caused by pedestrians but licensing people to walk about doesn’t sound right either… What we need is continuing improvements in bike lanes- Trapelo Road is better, but could have been much better IMHO

  16. It is intrinsically dangerous to have heavy traffic a few feet from bicyclists. If anyone loses concentration for a moment someone could die. Drawing a picture of a bicycle on a street is useless, and drawing a bike lane along the edge of the road is not much better. The safe way is to provide cycle routes with zero or only light traffic. This is perfectly feasible to do, but so far Cambridge, Belmont and most cities in the Commonwealth have instead mostly opted for painting lines and bicycles on the high traffic roadways with little consideration for actually reducing the risk to cyclists by providing them with a safe attractive alternative to driving along next to the trucks and other heavy traffic. It would not be productive for the state to mandate other cities follow the mostly rather poor examples we have so far, which are more about narrowing the roadway to slow the cars than about actually providing a safe commuter route for bicyclists.

  17. I on my bike was a victim of a hit and run at the intersection of Boylston St and Ring Road (late night). One of the Marathon bombs went off there and here was me, a few years later, same place, and then waking up in critical care at Tufts Med Center with a subdermal hematoma. I got mostly better but so wanted to know what exactly happened that night. Did I run a red light, or did the car? Where exactly in that intersection was I found? There are video cameras right there but the police told me nothing is recorded by them. I wish something was. I now live with the fact that I will never get answers as to what exactly happened. Even the question as to I was hit by a car is up to debate, but a few weeks later I got a photo like picture in my brain of a car and a horrified passenger that now I think is probably real. I remember details of that passenger, the car was blue etc. I wish though that the city saved those videos for awhile but my understanding now is that state law prohibits that. I wish we could change that law, esp for late night when the streets are typically empty of witnesses except for those cameras. One nice thing was that I was told that an ambulance came via a 911 call reporting a guy in his 30s passed out on the street, nice because I was approaching the age of 60!

  18. Will — why is banning hand-held phones so important? AFAICT, most of the distraction is in the conversation, not the tech used; why spend effort on the tech instead of banning any cell-phone use by drivers?

  19. We don’t need more tickets. We need effective segregation of bike travel from cars and busses and killer trucks, Start by making a protected 2-way bike path on the Mass Ave bridge & connect it to the Esplanade. Close Newbury St to cars & trucks. Visit Amsterdam to see how in can work.

  20. Why have bike lanes next to the parking, rather than between the parking and the curb? MUCH safer for all.

    Cell phones should not be in the hands of cyclists, and that should be a law.

    I have noticed that when cyclists act crazy — weaving, running lights, even driving the wrong way, etc. — they are the ones with no helmets either.

    And of course pedestrians have the right of way! Every time someone is injured by a vehicle turning right or left across the place where pedestrians walk, there is an outcry that we should have a law against such turns. Well, we do — how come people don’t know that?

  21. I forgot to state my strong opposition to cameras — very “big brother.” No, thanks. However, sensors adjusting wait times would be great. At my corner there’s an over 2-minute wait for the light to turn — even when it’s 2 am and no one else is there. Result: more emissions; bad tempers; etc. Lights are not changed to go with the rush-hour flows, and also result in drivers and cyclists rushing madly to beat the next light. Unsafe.

  22. I don’t have a problem with red light cameras. The presence of a camera, however, should be accompanied by a sign saying it’s there.

    I’d also like to see cameras at our most dangerous pedestrian crossings.

    I don’t want a camera to raise revenue, I want it to deter bad driving. I’m sure the privacy concerns could be addressed.

  23. When I worked on Federal Street in Boston, I enjoyed bicycling to work from Cambridge and later from Belmont. I understand the sense of independence that comes from not being reliant on either a car or on the T, and, while I agree that bicyclists have a right to travel safely on roads, I agree that they, too, have the responsibility to follow the rules of the road that drivers must follow. On two occasions when I needed to drive to the area of Commonwealth Avenue near Kenmore Square, the weaving, swerving, and cutting across lanes of traffic at very high speeds by bicyclists, coupled with the incomprehensible lane markings on the road, nearly caused me to have an accident. I do agree that cyclists should be licensed. If there are too few police officers to enforce the laws, those limitations should affect both cyclists and drivers. Injuries and damage can occur when an accident results from a driver trying to avoid hitting an aggressive cyclist.

  24. Part of the issue with cyclist is they do not financially contribute to the road system or the bike path system like autos do , they are not subject to safety inspection do not have to register their vehicles , pay excise tax and when was a bicyclist ever cited by a cop for traffic violation ? Really – not that I am anti cyclist but I have come really close to killing a couple who blow through a red light or stop sign – Messengers who use a bicycle for transportation should also carry liability insurance

    1. Actually, cyclists do contribute. Bike wear and tear on streets is microscopic compared to wear and tear from heavier cars and trucks (road damage is proportional to the cube of the wheel weight). For almost every cyclist out there it comes to less than a dollar a year, which is less than the sales taxes paid on consumables (tires, tubes, chains — if you’re not buying those on an annual basis, you’re not biking that much either).

      Gas taxes and tolls, on the other hand, do not cover all of the costs for road construction and maintenance. For many years that has been subsidized from income, sales, and property taxes, which are paid by everyone, including cyclists.

      And I know this doesn’t sound right, bikes take up space on the road and a dollar a year isn’t proportional to that at all — but *that* would be a congestion tax, which is both a great idea and not at all popular in this country, though congestion taxes have worked well (and become generally-though-not-unanimously popular) in those places they’ve been tried. And, in addition, bicycles don’t take up space on limited access highways like interstates or sections of route 2 or route 3. If you’re going to complain about the fraction of the road space bikes use, you have to look at all the roads.

      I do math and stats for fun, here’s the stats (with references) for highway spending:

      https://dr2chase.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/updated-numbers-for-cartruck-road-subsidies/

      and here’s estimates for road damage plotted on a logarithmic scale because a fully loaded semi truck is does almost a million times more road damage (per mile) as a medium-sized person on a bicycle:

      https://dr2chase.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/more-on-road-damage-and-other-costs-of-transport/

      (I apologize in advance for the difficulty of understanding that chart; the source spreadsheet might be easier to understand: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oFeZd3CZJLysse-Y93rs2No2PhqS1B5Z6ESigpkOnsU/edit?usp=sharing )

  25. Hi Will, in response to your 3 question survey, I would have liked to answer them in a different manner. I mostly drive my car to work, out of necessity, because of my need to bring equipment with me for gigs. But when the weather warms up and I don’t have to bring the equipment, I actually prefer to bike in. Belmont to Boston. So my response to question 1 would have been both bike and car.
    On question 2, I picked the 2nd answer because I would have answered as more middle of the “road” on that question.
    And on question 3, I agree with both. Cars and bikes both have to be more vigilant of each other on the roads.
    And pedestrians…….. Especially through Cambridge where people walk into the middle of the street, against the light, without even looking. On very busy streets.

  26. I’m delighted the city is recognizing the importance of bicycle commuting. I’ve been commuting in Boston by bike for over 40 years. I’m sure I would not be in as good of heath as I am if it weren’t for my bike commuting. It’s a great way to get around. Besides having one less car on the road, I find it’s just plain more fun than driving. I’m delighted other are coming around on to it.

  27. I’m an avid cyclist and also drive a car. I believe that both cyclists and car drivers need to use the roads safely and correctly; so both need to stop at red lights etc. The police should more actively enforce the rules of the road on cyclists. The state should also develop some road cycling education courses and teach proper road use.

    One other thing the new bike lanes between the sidewalk and a row of parked cares are dangerous as pedestrians often stray into them and cyclists are obscured from cars turning right.

  28. The war on cars and parking is getting out of hand. I have done substantial amounts of commuting by car, by bike, and by T. It’s time to stop and take a breath and look at reality not hysteria.

    Some of these new configurations for bike lanes are awful, tho some are good. Many bikers and pedestrians do things tthat would get a driver in trouble, yet drivers are always the bad guys .
    Doing less, in these matters, unless directly indicated by a strong sustained data is an option. Policy by squeaky wheel, is not the way to go.

    Some bikers don’t have the skills it seems to be riding in the city

    (I agree with some of the concerns about the survey questions)

  29. I agree with prioritizing segregation and making helmets more available with bike rentals.

    Trucks and cars regularly block and turn into the painted bike lanes making them totally ineffective. The day they painted signs requiring bicyclists to use the street lanes rather than the paths inside the Rose Kennedy Greenway my colleague was struck and had her foot run over by a turning truck. I can’t imagine why dedicated separated bike paths weren’t designed into the big dig. Any improvements to roadways should include a Health Impact Assessment for options to improve bike safety. I traveled to Brazil and found they had much more substantial bike lanes and other countries that fully design for bicyclists have much better safety.

    Sure bicyclists need to also follow rules, but they are rarely a safety concern. Sometimes I choose to go against a light (when it’s clear and pedestrians aren’t crossing) to protect myself from the rush of vehicles that may be turning or meandering into my lane once the light turns green.

    Thank you so much for advancing this vital issue. Bicycling offers huge advantages protecting air quality, reducing greenhouse gasses, and improving quality of life. We can find a way to all move ahead safely!

  30. While I support space for bikers and their safety, I think things are getting out of control in the Back Bay with too many out of control bikers who run lights and DO NOT use dedicated bike lanes. Not to mention the added crazy bike lane on Beacon st that seems completely unnecessary when there is already one on Comm ave. All this does is snarl traffic and make it even more dangerous for bikers. Bikers need to understand they cannot go max speed on city bike paths as if it’s some grand prix. Enforcement needs to be increased.

    1. I completely agree with you about the new bike lanes on Beacon Street in Back Bay. They are extremely dangerous and poorly thought out. Driving west along Beacon past Arlington Street the other day, I was in the right-hand lane and when I came to the corner of Berkeley and Beacon, if I had continued street, I would have driven directly into parked cars. This pattern is is absurd and dangerous and must be returned to a normal pattern.

      1. Make that “if I had continued straight”, I would have crashed into parked cars.

      2. At the meetings, it was explained that many, many people turn right from Beacon to Berkeley. That rightmost lane is now ONLY for right turns. You should not be continuing straight.

    2. The restriping of Beacon Street in Back Bay is specifically intended to constrict traffic. The speeding was out of control on Beacon Street.

      Given the need to narrow the street, the bike lane was an afterthought.

  31. We really need to give bikes a safe place to ride AND SEPARATE THEM FROM PEDESTRIANS, because of the many, mostly unreported accidents of bikes driving into pedestrians which is especially bad for seniors and for children.
    Reduce the number of carlines to make this possible.

  32. I love riding my bike to work and go out of my way to ride on bike paths or less traveled roads To avoid traffic (stay safe) even although doing so adds extra time to my commute. I am in favor of dedicated bike lanes but NOT if it means less space for cars!!! New England climate only allows the true “die-hards” to commute by bike every day.

  33. YES to protected bike lanes! It works wonderfully in Europe (in similar climate to Boston). Protected bike (and Bus) lanes will also make drivers happier as there will be less bikes *and cars* on the road, since many drivers would switch to biking once the roads are safe enough to do so. It would be a win-win for everyone.

  34. Dear Will –
    I am sorry I was too late to answer the 3 question poll. While I support the measures to improve safety for bicyclists that you outlined above, as well as banning handheld cell phones while driving, my concern is more hyper-local: the horrible new traffic and parking pattern here and in Audubon Circle. You and I have spoken about this problem, of course and I appreciate your concern.
    Here, it is not a question of bikes versus cars. It is a question of the safety of pedestrians, which has clearly been sacrificed for bicyclists’ safety in this new design.
    Bicyclists are prioritized over pedestrians. This is especially true for pedestrians trying to get to their cars which are now parked in the middle of the road instead of next to the curb. As soon as drivers and passengers get out of their cars or try to get into the car, of course they are pedestrians.
    Pedestrians trying to get to or from their cars are at a severe risk.
    To get either in or out of the car, all drivers and passengers have to be careful to avoid cars and bikes that are coming along on BOTH sides of the car. There is not enough room to open the door to access the car or to exit the car. That is because these new driving lanes are far toonarrow. That is clearly not an acceptable arrangement. Before this dangerous pattern for traffic, parking and bicycle lanes spreads any further in Boston or surrounding cities, I hope you and other legislators will take steps to permanently eliminate this new pattern in favor of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
    Thank you, Kathy Greenough, Boston

  35. [I was camping and just got this email.
    Vacation time is hard to get questionnaires; I really wanted to be part of your survey.]

    I do believe in mandatory bike safety education for kids and a review sheet for all bike rentals (Hubway, etc). Licensing could work if it was tied to retrieval of stolen bikes and an insurance rebate (car and/or health) for registered cyclists.

  36. As both a driver and a biker, I wonder if speed limits or passing distances are the answer- they are widely ignored as it is. Three reasonable (in my opinion) suggestions:
    1) More bike lane enforcement. Bike lanes only work when they are clear of stopped/standing cars. Otherwise, we have to swerve in-and-out. Alternatively, set up a method to ticket based on bikers’ helmet cameras- we submit a picture, police ticket. Sort of like your red light cameras, but for a need that doesn’t increase rear-ending or create profits for a private company.
    2) Trying to regulate trucks sounds nice, but what about buses? Both MBTA and university buses swerve to the right often. Some are considerate of bikers, but many aren’t. Again, use our helmet cameras if you must!
    3) The Idaho stop- quite controversial, but it lets bikers treat red lights as stop signs. They do anyway, and it separates traffic.

  37. I used to do a lot of cycling until illness overcame me (three RAGBRAIs, countless centuries, bike to work many years. I am happy to see that more cyclists use bright LED lights even during the day. I am not so happy to see cyclists without helmets and on the rare occasion a cyclist on a cell phone (once and only once riding upright without hands on handlebars). I would encourage better maintenance of road surfaces, cameras at intersections, maybe chips for all cars and maybe cyclists so automated ticketing for infractions becomes a real “no-brainer”. What about demand pricing on roads via chips or EzPass? Why should neighborhood streets bear the traffic from those wanting to avoid a toll on a highway?

  38. Regarding the 3 feet rule when passing cyclists, how about putting into law that when cyclists are riding two abreast, that they be required to form a single line and yield to passing motorists.

    How about another law that would prohibit cyclists from riding in a manner that impedes the flow of traffic.

    Mandatory helmet use for all cyclists (not just those age 16 and under). If for safetys sake you support a primary offense for not wearing a seat belt law,
    then it makes even mores sense to support mandatory helmet use for those more susceptible to injury or death.

    1. Cyclists do have the legal right to ride two abreast, but you are right that they should as a matter of courtesy form single file to allow motorists to pass, just as any slower vehicle like a tractor should step aside for a faster vehicle.

      1. I appreciate your reply, but I’m not asking about “matters of courtesy” here,
        I’m inquiring if a legal remedy should apply here and would you support it.

        If motorists will be legally obligated to observe a 3’safe passing distance, then why shouldn’t cyclists be required to provide that safe passing distance?

        If two cyclists are riding abreast (at a much slower pace than MV traffic), and occupying 6′ of the roadway, where does that leave the motorist when they are legally required to stay an additional 3′ away from them?

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