Updated on December 27, 2022 to reflect the finalization of a few details which held up the Governor’s approval of the bill.
Note on January 3, 2023: The Governor has signed this bill — it is law in the form described below.
Today, the House and Senate both again passed a bill intended to reduce fatalities among vulnerable road users. There was substantial agreement about this legislation in July, but it didn’t quite make it across the finish line until September. The Governor then sent it back with some recommended changes.
Through the fall, House Transportation Chair Bill Straus led careful discussions with MassDOT. As of today, December 27, 2022, the bill is back on the Governor’s desk with a few changes that we understand will render the bill acceptable to him.
I’m so glad we could get it to Governor’s desk again. I feel the final bill is as strong as what we originally submitted: It will save lives on the roads. The final text of the bill of the bill appears here.
The legislation defines vulnerable road users broadly to include construction workers, emergency responders, pedestrians, cyclists — essentially anyone who isn’t inside a vehicle:
“Vulnerable user”, (i) a pedestrian, including a person engaged in work upon a way or upon utility facilities along a way or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the way; (ii) a person operating a bicycle, handcycle, tricycle, skateboard, roller skates, in-line skates, non-motorized scooter, wheelchair, electric personal assistive mobility device, horse, horse-drawn carriage, motorized bicycle, motorized scooter, or other micromobility device, or a farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use; or (iii) other such categories that the registrar may designate by regulation.
The legislation as finalized today requires that motorists leave a safe distance of not less than 4 feet when passing vulnerable road users:
In passing a vulnerable user, the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 4 feet and at a reasonable and proper speed.
Existing law (a) spoke only to cyclists as opposed to all vulnerable road users; (b) did not include a specific minimum distance. The original version of the bill, as it landed on the Governor’s desk in September, included a new sliding minimum distance that was a function of speed. MassDOT perceived this as too complicated to enforce. The original bill required a minimum distance of 3 feet a 30 miles per hour, so the finalized 4 foot minimum distance is an improvement over the original bill for cyclists on most roads that they lawfully can use; for other vulnerable road users like police and emergency workers on highways the existing move-over law provides good protection.
The legislation allows drivers to cross the center line to achieve a safe passing distance (as does existing law with respect to passing cyclists). The final exact wording of this language was another issue that the Governor sought clarification on. The final language is as follows:
If it is not possible to overtake a vulnerable user, as defined in section 1 of chapter 90, or other vehicle at a safe distance in the same lane, the overtaking vehicle shall use all or part of an adjacent lane, crossing the centerline if necessary, when it is safe to do so and while adhering to the roadway speed limit.
Finally, the legislation directs MassDOT to erect and maintain signage notifying operators of the safe passing distance rules.
Truck Safety Devices
The legislation requires trucks to have devices installed to protect vulnerable road users. The act applies to large vehicles that are leased or owned by the commonwealth (starting in 2023) or used under contract with the commonwealth (starting in 2025).
- devices to make it easier for drivers to see vulnerable road users — backup cameras, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors.
- devices to prevent vulnerable users from coming under the side of the vehicles
Some of the most tragic accidents have occurred when large vehicles started up and could not see people on the street around them. Other tragic accidents have occurred when people have been caught by the sideways sweeping motion of longer trucks when they turn.
While these safety devices should be installed on all large vehicles, we had to limit the scope of the legislation to those with a nexus to the commonwealth to avoid running afoul of the federal constitutional prohibition on state regulation of interstate commerce. Over time, we may be able to somewhat expand the scope. But with this first of group of vehicles, the Registry of Motor Vehicles can sort out regulations. Additionally, MassDOT can study how well the devices are working.
These provisions were not altered from the September version to the final version.
Under legislation passed previously, municipalities may elect to set a 25 mph speed limit in thickly-settled areas and business districts.
Notwithstanding section 17 or any other general or special law to the contrary, the city council, the transportation commissioner of the city of Boston, the board of selectmen, park commissioners, a traffic commission or traffic director of a city or town that accepts this section in the manner provided in section 4 of chapter 4 may, in the interests of public safety and without further authority, establish a speed limit of 25 miles per hour on any roadway inside a thickly settled or business district in the city or town on any way that is not a state highway.G.L. c. 90, s. 17C
The September version of the legislation extended the 25 mph limit, if adopted by a municipality, to state controlled roads and parkways (other than limited access highways) within the municipality. This language was not acceptable to MassDOT and the Governor sent it back.
The final compromise version, just sent to the Governor’s desk, takes a different approach. It preserves for the state the authority to control speed limits on state-controlled roads. However, it rewrites Chapter 90, Section 18 to clarify the process for municipalities to alter speed limits both on state-controlled roads and on the roads they control.
As to state-controlled roads, the final language of the current bill creates a pathway for a municipality to request a modification from MassDOT:
The city council, the transportation commission of the city of Boston, the board of selectmen, park commissioners, a traffic commission or traffic director may petition the department to modify the speed limit on a state highway within their geographic boundaries. Said petition shall be made in writing to the state traffic engineer. The department shall have 90 days to approve or deny the petition. Upon approval of the petition or the expiration of the 90 days without action, the petitioned speed limit shall become effective and the department shall erect upon the state highway affected thereby and at such points as the department may designate, signs, conforming to standards adopted by the department, setting forth the speed limit.
As to municipally-controlled roads, under existing law, there are two kinds of speed limits : (a) statutory limits; (b) special limits. Under Chapter 90, Section 17, the default statutory limit within a thickly settled area is 30 miles per hour. Under Chapter 90, Section 17C shown above, a municipality can lower that statutory limit to 25 miles per hour. Special limits are limits above or below the statutory limit. In general, special limits have been specially approved by MassDOT after a speed study. MassDOT’s position after the passage of Section 17C, has been that a municipal reduction of the statutory limit to 25mph does not alter special limits.
As to municipally controlled roads where there is a MassDOT-approved special limit in effect, our final language provides that:
The city council, the transportation commission of the city of Boston, the board of selectmen, park commissioners, a traffic commission or traffic director or the department, on ways within their control, may make, amend or rescind special regulations as to the speed of motor vehicles . . . . In the case of a speed regulation, or an amendment or rescission thereof, no such action shall take effect unless the department shall have certified in writing that such regulation, amendment or rescission is consistent with the public interests.
. . .
Upon rescission of the speed regulation, or a portion thereof, and removal of the signs, sections 17 and 17C shall govern.
The main change from existing law in the paragraph above is the words “amend or rescind” — previously, there was no explicit provision for alteration of special regulations. Additionally, a vestigial requirement that the Registrar of Motor Vehicles approve special regulations is removed, leaving MassDOT as the sole state-level approving authority.
To improve our understanding the causes and locations of crashes involving vulnerable road users, the legislation requires MassDOT to develop a reporting system for those crashes. The reports are to be published in an accessible database.
. . . the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in consultation with the department of public health and the executive office of public safety and security, shall develop a standardized form to report crashes and incidents involving a motor vehicle and a vulnerable user, as defined in section 1 of chapter 90 of the General Laws. In developing the standardized form, the department shall consider best practices in reporting crashes and incidents involving vulnerable users, including the Federal Highway Administration’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool.
Rear Red Lights
For cyclists, the legislation adds a new requirement for use of rear red lights at night. The final bill includes the following compromise language to mitigate the possible effects of that requirement.
The provisions of this paragraph related to front and rear lighting shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when an operator of a bicycle has been stopped for some other offense, A violation of this paragraph related to rear lighting shall not be used as conclusive evidence of contributory negligence in any civil action.
. . .
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security shall within one year report the results of a study of the implementation of this bill focusing on racial, gender and geographic disparities if any.Sections A2 and 13A of H5103 as amended by Senate amendments 3 and 4
There will be little enforcement of this new rule on the street, but we may hope that bike stores will advise their customers.
This legislation reflects over ten years of collaboration with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities. It has evolved substantially over that time. A bill with a long history has many contributors. An early version was filed in 2011 by Representative Sean Garballey. The most recent effort has additionally included Representative Mike Moran (the lead House sponsor), Transportation Committee Co-chairs Senator Brendan Crighton and Representative Bill Straus, the Baker administration, members of the Vision Zero Coalition (including MassBike, the Boston Cyclists Union, Walk Boston, Livable Streets and others), Representatives Kipp Diggs, Dan Hunt, Dave Rogers, and Tommy Vitolo, and Senators Cindy Creem, Joanne Comerford, Lydia Edwards, and Adam Hinds. Appreciation to all of them, to House and Senate Leaders, and to many others unnamed. For more of this long history, browse the “Rules of the Road” thread on this site.
The effort to improve traffic safety is, of course, vastly broader than this bill. Much more remains to be done on many different levels. This bill does represent the second part of an informal three-part agenda discussed a decade ago. The top priority was the hands free cell phone bill that we passed in 2019. The remaining priority is authorization of automated traffic enforcement. That bill bogged down in March 2020 as COVID hit. Automated enforcement is controversial, but I’m hopeful that additional effort may yield a consensus framing for it.
I’m still shocked at how often I see on the highway that motorists, who have plenty of room to do so, do not move over one lane when a car is in the breakdown lane.
Yes, I agree! It’s the law in some other states.
It’s the law in Massachusetts too. Has been since 2009. Most of this new bill is just virtue signaling, no real way to enforce. Construction sites throughout Brighton don’t give the space, and don’t even have police details anyway. The sensors for big trucks is the only part of this bill I can see that is truly useful. I am an avid biker, pedestrian, and automobile user. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/move-over-law
Agreed that the broader regulatory aspects of this bill — safe passing distance and red lights — will rarely if ever be enforced by police. But safe passing will be come part of standard drivers education and red lights will get sold more consistently by bike stores. Some positive change will result.
Several years ago I was routinely passed by the driver of an empty long truck (sufficient to transport 5 or 6 cars) on Harvard St in Cambridge at high speeds, yelling out “check that your left leg is still attached”; there is an attitude problem here as well, and the need to prevent such an empty vehicle being used for recreational use at all.
Great work Will. I would like to point out a couple of things. First, if the construction site or roadwork being performed is of a large scale, a police detail should be required. Secondly, and not related to construction or road work, is the bike lanes the Citu has put in place. I am referring to, in particular, the bike lane that runs from the intersection of Surface Artery, along Kneeland Street to Stuart Street. First of all, the lane markers are all broken, and I have never observed anyone on a bike using the bike lane. The traffic in this area is very tight with 2 lanes for traffic each way. This needs to be redesigned.
I used to use the bike lany there but there’s always cars and people meandering in the lane. Had to find another route. Sigh…
This is great and long overdue! Thank you for you support! Fatalities of people outside of cars has been rising nationwide, largely due to the increasing side and weight of passenger vehicles. This bill will help to make our streets safer, however we also need to keep working at a state and national level to regulate the size and weight of our cars so they are not as deadly as they are today. Unfortunately a misapplied tax law intended for commerical vehicles is regularly being used encourage vehicle manufacturers to make passenger vehicles as large and heavy as commercial ones. Ugh!
Thank you for continuing to push on this long-awaited legislation.
Thank you Will!! Every step in the right direction counts.
Will, would the change to the 25mph state law apply for Trapelo Road/Belmont Street through Belmont?
That is a Belmont owned road, so Belmont’s 25 mph hour limit applies.
Thank you, Will, for your continued attention to and action on these issues which are important to drivers and bikers alike. Whatever we can do to reduce fatalities and injuries, we need to continue to do.
As I am usually a pedestrian, I thank you wholeheartedly for this effort. I greatly appreciate this legislation. Thank you for working so hard and keeping persistent and getting it passed. It’s not perfect but let’s hope it saves some lives and prevents some unnecessary negative events.
A step forward, The only issue I have has nothing to do with the roads and safety part, but the 10 years part and how long it takes.. Is there any part of the legislative process to automate that can telescope this down while keeping those in concern on the same page? Maybe using technology up to the minute tracking of bill status? AI to sort out fake news, add clarity to the information etc. It sounds like the average legislator is fire-hosed with info and needs to sort out the pertinent stuff to make a decision. Pardon the bad pun .Sort of the legislative equivalent of driver assistance technology to help avoid unintended crashing in to the rights of others.
It often takes several sessions to build consensus on new legislation. Building consensus is a laborious process that cannot be automated. People have to digest new ideas.
I am all for keeping those who work in the street safe, they have no choice to be there, but as for bikers, well, read this section-
“The provisions of this paragraph related to front and rear lighting shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when an operator of a bicycle has been stopped for some other offense, A violation of this paragraph related to rear lighting shall not be used as conclusive evidence of contributory negligence in any civil action.”
I love this part – ‘…when an operator of a bicycle has been stopped for another offense’ When has ANY cyclist EVER been stopped for ANYTHING? Really, what kind of offense would it take to stop a biker? I live on Beacon and have witnessed the most obnoxious illegal behavior from bikers from driving in the street to riding on the side walk to running red lights to riding the wrong way in the bike lane (IF they use it). If you can cite just ONE instance when a cyclist has been written up on ANYTHING, maybe this proposal might make sense. Otherwise it is a waste of time- time that can be used to solve other problems in the district. Bikers have to show some ownership and responsibility for their actions, which I’ve yet to see.
Good to see the legislature taking action on road safety for the vulnerable in an effort to prevent vehicle related fatalities and injuries. Thanks for you work on this.
Thank you for your longstanding dedication and leadership to create safer streets for all.
I’m recalling the bike safety forum we co-led at Suffolk University several years ago, with several dozen advocates and community members. Thank you to the advocates who have championed these issues for many years.
Last night in Charlestown I witnessed a crash involving a bike and a car. There are things we can do to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, and enable more people to bike. This legislation is a step in the right direction.
Thank you. Now, onward to passing automated enforcement.
Will, when is the Legislature going to get serious about licensing bicycle operators? I observe, with much frequency, many bicyclist scoff-laws acting with impunity. With Massachusetts being such a tax hungry Commonwealth, I do not understand why bicyclists are not required to attend a safe riding and licensing operation, with appropriate fees, and obtaining a registration plate or sticker to be applied to their vehicle. Additionally, it is absolutely incredulous that no enforceable legal action will be taken for absence of a rear red light unless being stopped for some other infraction. The bicycle lobby must have a quite strong voice in contributing input to establish this legislation (which helps sell bicycles?). I took the time to measure three feet from a marked bicycle lane, and that places a motor vehicle into the oncoming lane of a two lane road even when “yellowed lined.” So apparently the Legislature is hapless about the roadways being jammed up at the self determined pace of the bicyclist. Yes, I can see that 10 years has not quite filled the bill. I can clearly see that the Legislature is not very much concerned with the application of roadway laws and regulations as being essential for the safety of both bicyclists and motorists. In my opinion, it should be mandatory, not discretionary, for bicyclists that violate roadway laws and regulations be pulled over and ticketed.
we should put license plates on the backs of pedestrians too then. fair is fair. lol. And when are we going to require a parenting license to give people a license to procreate? Just wondering…
The licensing idea is to provide a procedure to inform the bike rider of motor vehicle roadway regulations, but mostly to obtain financial support for their use of the road ways. Also Excise taxes should be implemented.
Hi Will, the legislature will never require licensing or drivers Ed for bicyclists because it’s a stupid idea. Hope that helps
To your other point, if you don’t have room to safely pass a bike, then you must wait until you do have the room, and pass them safely without exceeding the speed limit.
If we pulled over all drivers that speed, all motor vehicle traffic would stop. Compliance with speeding rules is 0%. 100% of people driving cars speed. People driving cars pose far more danger to people than those folks riding a bike. Police are afraid to enforce rules of the road because everyone has a gun now. Ask them yourself.
As a cyclist, I do support ticketing of cyclists that engage in reckless behavior and one of the first bills I helped pass in the legislature made it easier to ticket cyclists (by streamlining the police ticketing procedure). The challenge is getting police to enforce the rules — police don’t have the time and also fear scrutiny for stopping people except in the most egregious cases. Traffic enforcement is inevitably discretionary.
I do not support a licensing regime for cyclists. Bicycles can be annoying and can do serious harm in a pedestrian collision, but they are so much lighter than cars and trucks that collisions causing serious harm are rare. A licensing regime for cyclists would be an excess of costly bureaucracy with little safety benefit.
When do we get automated enforcement of speeding??
Great news! Thank you for backing this effort. I agree with many points here (especially that cars have become too big and heavy). My main concern, however, is that despite some good legislation on the books the rules are so seldomly enforced. I live in Watertown where it seems like a solid 1/3 of drivers are: speeding, holding a phone, running red lights and stop signs, ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks…
How can we increase enforcement?
Will, I omitted commenting on the requirement for distancing three (3) feet from a Vulnerable User working on a way or roadway. Sometimes there is barely enough room to pass by the site due to the constriction path established by the Vulnerable User’s, what then? Is there a requirement for the User(s) to provide that three (3) feet?
The rules make sense but what is really needed to improve safety is more funding to make necessary infrastructure improvements in areas such as Metro Boston and other parts of the state. We can make all the laws we want but we need the right infrastructure in place to make it safer for everyone. IE in Boston build out more bike paths, crosswalks ,separated bike lanes pedestrian walkways over busy roads, and work with T and railroads on creating more railroad grade separated crossings. In areas such as the Cape help fund and push for the towns to install significantly more sidewalks as many of the busy areas around parks and town centers do not have adequate sidewalks installed.
Thank you Will and to the many others staying committed to ensuring safety and access for vulnerable road users, also known as humans trying to move around and not get killed. ( :
What can we do to support automated enforcement? On a recent trip to DC, where automated enforcement is used, the experience was *positively shocking* – and I do mean *positive*. I was hyper aware of the vigilant, defensive habits I have necessarily adopted to protect myself in every pedestrian and cycling situation in this area. There, in DC, the compliance by motorists to the vehicle regulations was light years ahead of us. Enforcement is part of the solution. So much of our safety failures are cultural, i.e., lack of enforcement and education.
Certainly, further harassing Boston area drivers is so good for the local economy.
Thank you for not fixing the MBTA. I know, it’s unfixable, so it’s not up for discussion.
Thank you for creating bike lanes virtually nobody uses (in summer and absolutely nobody uses during winter) while creating huge congestion for drivers (Check out Arsenal and Mt. Auburn corridors + Nonantum road and Greenough Blvd).
I guess it’s really hard to comprehend that if you press hard enough, people won’t stop driving or jump on the bicycles – try doing that with kids in daycare or school or if you just have bad knees.
People will just leave or stop patronizing local businesses.
Mass avenue mess should be a great example of how to kill local businesses with bike lanes.
Not to mention, that such harassment will certainly make drivers fall in love with their bicycle pedaling friends and make them extra careful when passing.
I share your frustrations. At least Will failed in his effort to have private for-profit companies ticket our traffic violations. He announced while we were LOCKED DOWN and kids were LOCKED OUT of school in Boston (not a “health” term btw) that he was getting close to getting that pet project passed. I was so relieved when I read this post today and saw that effort. Instead, we got a useless virtue signaling bill. Our state legislature sure does have some curious priorities!!
I was so relieved when I read this post today and saw that effort failed***
Thank you, for this legislation and for the information. Has the governor agreed to sign this, or do we need to contact him?
In particular, I’m glad that lower speed limits in thickly settled areas will now apply to state highways.
as a pedestrian, I am more scared of bicycle riders than I am of cars – I see nothing in this that will help with that
As a pedestrian, you’re much more likely to be killed or injured by a car than by a bike. But keep being afraid of bikes if you want.
the US DOT has no information on accidents between pedestrians and bicyclists so where did you get “much more likely” from?
Bravo. This all sounds helpful and reasonable. Will the rules of the road manuals used in drivers’ ed (or in my case forwarded to me by critics of my driving — I especially appreciate this bill as I try to respect the opinions of Massachusetts’ drivers regarding my abilities and get around other than by car as much as possible 😉 ) be updated? Or does it already have some of this in it?
Regarding the time it took, well, good change can often be slow work.
Speed bump ramps, and separating bike lanes with physical barriers to protect pedestrians, would have been much more helpful than most of this bill. The sensors on trucks make good sense. No pun intended. And I am so relieved you failed to pass private for-profit companies monitoring us and giving us traffic tickets. That’s a money grab and authoritarian move. Spending thought and time and resources to redesign roads and bike paths and pedestrian paths that work for vehicles and people, as well as more police details, would be time and money better well spent in my opinion.
Agree that physical changes are the most important contributors to safety.
We need more of Charles Marohn’s and Strong Towns’s approach throughout Boston and Massachusetts.
Physical changes are important but SPEED kills. Distracted driving kills. Massive vehicles – heavier, bigger, and with major sight line obstructions – kill. Enforcement is key. We all slow down for that automated toll on the pike….
Thank you Will for this. I walk a lot in my neighborhood of Brighton and I have been asking for 6 years for a crosswalk between Hobson and Faneuil. Nothing has happened yet.
Good start on a massive issue. Many thanks. When we worked to make Beacon St. safer we knew that it was a partial victory but the street now is calmer with fewer speeding cars and no fatalities that I know of…so these steps are helpful and appreciated.
My experience is that a large number of pedestrians, including parents with baby strollers, choose to walk on the streets when perfectly good sidewalks (with barrier free ramps) are available. I’ve also noticed motorized wheelchair users in East Watertown traveling at 3 to 5 mph in the traffic lane without visible lights or warning flags even though there are barrrier free sidewalks (installed at considerable expense). My observations of the motorized skateboard riders who weave between traffic and switch between sidewalks and the road (while adopting time honored J-walking protocols at red lights) is that they are a danger to themselves and others. Is this what we want to encourage?
Would it be too much to require persons and wheelchair uses to use sidewalks when they are available? And to require people on motorized scooters and bikes to stay off the sidewalks and obey traffic laws? I guess the answer is yes.
I could go on and on but the short version is BRAVO!
Keep up your good work for us, Will.
I know people are worried about pedestrian and bike safety (as I am, I enjoy participating in biking and walking on a regular basis in Boston, but I also drive a car) but why do you think when I reach out to Will and our other elected and public officials on issues of safety related to big pharma and mandates for experimental warp speed injections that do not stop transmission or infection, mandates many of them, including Will, have supported these past several months, they remain silent on the issue? I sent Will and several others this yesterday, and have yet to hear back…09/12/22
50-Page Study Shows Why COVID Vaccine Mandates for College Students Are Unethical, 98 Times Worse Than Virus
A team of nine experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other top universities has published paradigm-shifting researc?h about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and why mandating vaccines for college students is unethical.
covid vaccine mandate college students unethical feature
By Jennifer Margulis and Joe Wang
A team of nine experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other top universities has published paradigm-shifting research about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and why mandating vaccines for college students is unethical.
This 50-page study, which was published on The Social Science Research Network at the end of August, analyzed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and industry-sponsored data on vaccine adverse events and concluded that mandates for COVID-19 boosters for young people may cause 18 to 98 actual serious adverse events for each COVID-19 infection-related hospitalization theoretically prevented.
The paper is co-authored by Dr. Stefan Baral, an epidemiology professor at Johns Hopkins University; surgeon Dr. Martin Adel Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins known for his books exposing medical malfeasance, including “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care;” and Dr. Vinayak Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist, who is a professor in the University of California, San Francisco Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics as well as the author of over 350 academic and peer-reviewed articles.
But among this team of high-profile international experts who authored this paper, perhaps the most notable is Salmaan Keshavjee, M.D., Ph.D., current director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery and professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Keshavjee has also worked extensively with Partners In Health, a Boston-based non-profit co-founded by the late Dr. Paul Farmer, on treating drug-resistant tuberculosis, according to his online biography.
As the study pointed out, students at universities in America, Canada and Mexico are being told they must have a third dose of the vaccines against COVID-19 or be disenrolled.
Unvaccinated high school students who are just starting college are also being told the COVID-19 vaccines are “mandatory” for attendance.
These mandates are widespread. There are currently 15 states which continue to honor philosophical (personal belief) exemptions, and 44 states and Washington, D.C. allow religious exemptions to vaccines.
But even in these states, private universities are telling parents they will not accept state-recognized vaccine exemptions.
Based on personal interviews with some half a dozen families, The Epoch Times has learned that administrators at some colleges and universities are informing students that they have their own university-employed medical teams to scrutinize the medical exemptions submitted by students and signed by private doctors.
These doctors, families are being told, will decide whether the health reasons given are medically valid.
5 ethical arguments against mandated boosters
Though rarely reported on in the mainstream media, COVID-19 vaccine boosters have been generating a lot of controversy.
While some countries are quietly compensating people for devastating vaccine injuries, and other countries are limiting COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, the United States is now recommending children 12 and older get Pfizer-BioNTech’s Omicron-specific booster, and young adults over the age of 18 get Moderna’s updated shot.
At the same time, public health authorities in Canada are suggesting Canadians will need COVID-19 vaccines every 90 days.
Against a backdrop of confusing and often changing public health recommendations and booster fatigue, the authors of this new paper argue that university booster mandates are unethical.
They give five specific reasons for this bold claim:
Lack of policymaking transparency. The scientists pointed out that no formal and scientifically rigorous risk-benefit analysis of whether boosters are helpful in preventing severe infections and hospitalizations exists for young adults.
Expected harm. A look at the currently available data shows that mandates will result in what the authors call a “net expected harm” to young people. This expected harm will exceed the potential benefit from the boosters.
Lack of efficacy. The vaccines have not effectively prevented the transmission of COVID-19. Given how poorly they work — the authors call this “modest and transient effectiveness” — the expected harms caused by the boosters likely outweigh any benefits to public health.
No recourse for vaccine-injured young adults. Forcing vaccination as a prerequisite to attend college is especially problematic because young people injured by these vaccines will likely not be able to receive compensation for these injuries.
Harm to society. Mandates, the authors insisted, ostracize unvaccinated young adults, excluding them from education and university employment opportunities. Coerced vaccination entails “major infringements to free choice of occupation and freedom of association,” the scientists wrote, especially when “mandates are not supported by compelling public health justification.”
The consequences of non-compliance include being unenrolled, losing internet privileges, losing access to the gym and other athletic facilities and being kicked out of campus housing, among other things.
These punitive approaches, according to the authors, have resulted in unnecessary psychosocial stress, reputation damage, loss of income and fear of being deported, to name just a few.
22,000 to 30,000 previously unaffected young adults must be vaccinated to prevent just 1 hospitalization
The lack of effectiveness of the vaccines is a major concern to these researchers. Based on their analysis of the public data provided to the CDC, they estimated that between 22,000 and 30,000 previously uninfected young adults would need to be boosted with an mRNA vaccine to prevent just a single hospitalization.
However, this estimate does not take into account the protection conferred by a previous infection. So, the authors insisted, “this should be considered a conservative and optimistic assessment of benefit.”
In other words, the mRNA vaccines against? COVID-19 are essentially useless.
Mandated booster shots cause more harm than good
But the documented lack of efficacy is only part of the problem. The researchers further found that per every one COVID-19 hospitalization prevented in young adults who had not previously been infected with COVID-19, the data show that 18 to 98 “serious adverse events” will be caused by the vaccinations themselves.
These events include up to three times as many booster-associated myocarditis in young men than hospitalizations prevented, and as many as 3,234 cases of other side effects so serious that they interfere with normal daily activities.
At a regional hospital in South Carolina, the desk clerk sported a button that read: “I’m Vaccinated Against COVID-19” with a big black check mark on it.
“What about the boosters?” a hospital visitor asked. “It’s starting to seem like we need too many shots.”
“It does seem like a lot,” the clerk agreed. “It’s hard to know what to do.” But she did have some advice for the visitor: “Just keep reading and educating yourself, so you can make an informed decision.”
This new paper is essential reading for anyone trying to decide if they need more vaccines. The authors concluded their study with a call to action. Policymakers must stop mandates for young adults immediately, be sure that those who have already been injured by these vaccines are compensated for the suffering caused by mandates, and openly conduct and share the results of risk-benefit analyses of the vaccines for various age groups.
These measures are necessary, the authors argued, to “begin what will be a long process of rebuilding trust in public health.”
May the force be with brave scientists
The two co-first authors, Dr. Kevin Bardosh and Dr. Allison Krug, both thanked their families for supporting them to “publicly debate Covid-19 vaccine mandates” in the acknowledgments section of the paper.
As we wrote in May, an increasing number of scientists and medical doctors are speaking out about the dubious efficacy and disturbing safety issues surrounding these fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccines. They do so fully aware of the personal and professional risks involved. They deserve our encouragement and support.
Reprinted with permission from The Epoch Times.
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of “Your Baby, Your Way: Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting Decisions for a Happier, Healthier Family.”
Joe Wang, Ph.D., was a molecular biologist with more than 10 years of experience in the vaccine industry. He is now the president of New Tang Dynasty TV (Canada) and a columnist for the Epoch Times.
COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Young Adults: A Risk-Benefit Assessment and Five Ethical Arguments against Mandates at Universities
50 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2022
University of Washington; University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh Medical School
Artemis Biomedical Communications LLC
University of Oxford
University of Toronto – Faculty of Law
Harvard University – Harvard Medical School
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Martin A. Makary
Johns Hopkins University – Department of Surgery
John Hopkins University
Tracy Beth Høeg
Florida Department of Health; Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
Date Written: August 31, 2022
Students at North American universities risk disenrollment due to third dose COVID-19 vaccine mandates. We present a risk-benefit assessment of boosters in this age group and provide five ethical arguments against mandates. We estimate that 22,000 – 30,000 previously uninfected adults aged 18-29 must be boosted with an mRNA vaccine to prevent one COVID-19 hospitalisation. Using CDC and sponsor-reported adverse event data, we find that booster mandates may cause a net expected harm: per COVID-19 hospitalisation prevented in previously uninfected young adults, we anticipate 18 to 98 serious adverse events, including 1.7 to 3.0 booster-associated myocarditis cases in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade ?3 reactogenicity which interferes with daily activities. Given the high prevalence of post-infection immunity, this risk-benefit profile is even less favourable. University booster mandates are unethical because: 1) no formal risk-benefit assessment exists for this age group; 2) vaccine mandates may result in a net expected harm to individual young people; 3) mandates are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given the modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission; 4) US mandates violate the reciprocity principle because rare serious vaccine-related harms will not be reliably compensated due to gaps in current vaccine injury schemes; and 5) mandates create wider social harms. We consider counter-arguments such as a desire for socialisation and safety and show that such arguments lack scientific and/or ethical support. Finally, we discuss the relevance of our analysis for current 2-dose CCOVIDovid-19 vaccine mandates in North America.
Note: Funding: This paper was partially supported by a Wellcome Trust Society and Ethics fellowship awarded to KB (10892/B/15/ZE) and Wellcome Trust grants to EJ (216355, 221719, 203132).
Competing Interest Statement: We do not have any competing interests to declare.
Here is a link to the full 50 page paper:
COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Young Adults: A Risk-Benefit Assessment and Five Ethical Arguments against Mandates at Universities by Kevin Bardosh, Allison Krug, Euzebiusz Jamrozik, Trudo Lemmens, Salmaan Keshavjee, Vinay Prasad, Martin A. Makary, Stefan Baral, Tracy Beth Høeg :: SSRN
COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Young Adults: A Risk-Benefit Assessment and Five Ethical Arguments against Mandates at Universities
Students at North American universities risk disenrollment due to third dose COVID-19 vaccine mandates. We present a risk-benefit assessment of boosters in this
PJ, Will has no electoral competition.
He can do anything he wants and is answerable to no one, not even the voters.
Will is all about compelling people to do things he wants. It could be vaccines (Covid and even flu vaccines for kids), masks, bicycle lanes, electric vehicles, heat pumps, or a graduated income tax.
He favors the latter but wants it to come in slowly with the “millionaire’s tax” so people won’t notice. Mass. voters have always turned down the graduated tax but Will does not care.
Somewhere in his school career Will missed the lesson about individual American freedoms. It could be Cancel Culture, outright censorship, Critical Race Theory, or any of a number of things, but Will favors them all, even if he won’t admit it.
Glad you all finally dragged this across the finish line! Hip hip hooray!
I am a very frequent cyclist and I know you are too, Senator. I understand and follow the laws of the road while observing hundreds of other cyclists per week who don’t. This troubles me:
“Rear Red Lights [for Bicycles]: … There will be little enforcement of this new rule on the street [except when an operator of a bicycle has been stopped for some other offense].”
The existing rules are already unenforced. It’s not uncommon to see occupied police vehicles at busy intersections during rush hour and at other times, presumably to catch violators in motor vehicles, that totally ignore all violations by cyclists. I’ve even seen BPD officers on foot ignoring blatantly unsafe riding — proceeding through red lights, weaving onto and off of the sidewalk, riding on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way on a one-way street. What’s the point of adding yet another safetry rule that won’t be enforced?
I was already upset about that, but this pushed me over the edge. After describing new road use legislation that contains provisions that simply won’t be enforced, you call out another provision that, in my observation, is practically ignored:
“The top priority [of an informal three-part road saftety agenda] was the hands free cell phone bill that we passed in 2019.”
The hands-free law isn’t enforced either, at least not anywhere in the inner Boston area that I regularly travel (inside I-95). Spend a few minutes at any intersection in Allston-Brighton, Newton Corner, Centre Street in JP, Watertown Square, or Central Square in Cambridge and I can practically guarantee you’ll see distracted drivers with their phones in their hands. I would even go so far as to say it’s worse now than it was in 2019, perhaps because experience has taught drivers that they can get away with it.
These rules are performative and ineffective unless they’re enforced. When are we going to do something about that?
For automated traffic enforcement, one might first consider dangerous segments of our roadways.
For example, the State Police from patrol to Lieutenants have stated in person: “Fresh Pond Parkway from Huron Avenue to Mount Auburn Street and beyond, is too dangerous to enforce”.
1. To say that enforcement of the, “Hands-Free Law,” was affected by Covid-19 feels much farther from the truth than the disfunction of the people of MA (MAPOLI) to address the deep, deep racism in the Commonwealth, most of which lies below the liberal patina and the rest conspicuously vocal in many outlets.
2. “Govern yourselves accordingly.” I rebel at the notion of automated enforcement. How about actual enforcement. Do the assorted police in MA operate outside of law in that enforcement is a matter of the political disposition of a police department? Does that power and independence have a legitimate role? Is it a function of MA’s notorious political tribalism?
3. Are gas scooters supposed to ride in the bike lanes when they have the capacity to go the speed limit?
4. I’m seeing more bikes with a red reflector on the front. Is this a matter if ignorance, or is this becoming a thing?
5. A bike’s front brake provides 70% of the stopping power. How is it street-legal to operate a bike without one?
6. Don’t give street traffic a green light to turn through a crosswalk when pedestrians have the walk signal, and/or bikes have the proceed signal.
There’s a law on the books that a driver may not pass a horse and rider until the rider gives the signal to pass. What is that limited to?
7. Hire someone to drive the roads and report all the traffic lights and signs that are covered with foliage.
I didn’t spell out that for my #1 that it seems we’re not enforcing the Hands-Free Law to preserve the safety of our brothers and sisters and folks of color.
9. (Actually) Another thing that can help protect those vulnerable to the kinetics of vehicles is to recognize that anything that hinders the visibility of license plates is legally equivalent to not displaying one’s plate. This have a chilling effect on antisocial driving behaviors.
Signaling should be required: blinkers for all 4+ wheeled vehicles; arm signals for cyclists.
Hands free for those on a bike and for EVERYONE (look where you’re going) in heavily trafficked areas.
Proper arm signaling, extended from the shoulder when able, not a low flick of the wrist. What evennis that?
Massbike’s safety instructors used to teach signaling but also emphasize only to do it when it feels safe. E.g. rough road conditions or a need to balance at slow speeds may trump the benefits of communicating your intentions in rare instances. So flexibility is needed there.
Rear reflector no longer adequate? Battery dies on your LED and you can get cited? Am I understanding this right?
Disappointed that the state doesn’t require a maximum of 25 mph inside of thickly settled areas on local roads. It should not be optional. The law should at least make explicit that municipalities can lower speeds in special speed zones without an expensive traffic study. There’s a legacy of 30 mph speed signs in residential areas that cannot be lowered without a traffic study, and it’s really perverse that the state requires a traffic study to lower speeds.
Will, now retired from state setvice, I remain an advocate for the various alternative modes of on-road transportation. At the same time, I am greatly concerned about the safety of pedestrians in light of the increase in such use in far too many instances without regard to traffic signalization and safe practices on city streets. Trucks and buses, autos, motorized bicycles, electric scooters, and, yes, pedestrians …. all can pose safety issues. I know the answers are complex, but there are program initiatives by user groups and administrative and legislative measures you would see as at least partial solutions?
However, the police need to enforce the current statues. I was rear ended a stop light when motorists at an adjacent light started honking. The officer there said, “whats that all about.” I looked over and a driver was looking at her lap and holding traffic up.
I stated, “she’s texting.” The officer quickly looked away.
I am a pedestrian most of the time I am on the road; I walk to any destination that is within 3.5 miles of me. I do not own a car in order to reduce my carbon footprint. (And I use Lyft and Zipcar ONLY when public transport is not available.)
Generally speaking being a pedestrian in MA is a scary business. We are DECADES behind other developed countries in this issue too. I marveled at traffic calming tools and technologies I saw in Europe in the late 1980s; we are only beginning to get them here. Somehow those countries manage to get their traffic moving smoothly despite protecting “vulnerable road users.” (The Canton (“State”) of Vaud in Switzerland, where I used to work, tickets people driving 6 kmph (3.75 mph) over the speed limit on many roads.)
So, Senator, thank you for your efforts in this area. Now, please get the automated enforcement done. I would be willing to bet that those who oppose this are mostly (1) the “freedom-loving” nutcases and/or (2) bad drivers. Ask your colleagues who oppose it why they have no problems using EZ Pass in their cars. If they really believe that there is something problematical with automated enforcement, they should give up their EZ Passes, should they not?
I agree with your point that privacy reservations about automated enforcement are misplaced — there are so many more egregious violations of privacy in our world today: Basically everyone with a cell phone is tracked every minute of their day by private companies.
“In passing a vulnerable user, the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 4 feet and at a reasonable and proper speed.”
And veer into the left lane and cause an accident with a vehicle there?
Good question. The law is clear that the motorist may cross the center line, only“when it is safe to do so and while adhering to the roadway speed limit..”
Will…I asked you years ago. Of course you did NOTHING. May I yet assume that in all of this meaningless virtue-signaling that the prominent, cyclist-shredder “Mad Max” spikes on the front wheels of so many Class 8 trucks are still “legal” in MA (as you ridiculously told me then)?
Just waiting for the day when a detail cop gets chopped open…THEN they will be illegal. Merry Christmas! Jon
We will look into it again.
Thank you, Will, for seeing this through. As someone who Robert bikes with a camera when doing a lot of road chilling, is there any way to facilitate enforcement of the safe passing distance? Needing drivers to be “caught in the act” by a police will largely render the efficacy moot. Same with bike lane parking. You’d think a few people sitting in a room clicking “yes” or “no” for submitted violations would pay for themselves 10-100x each day.
Safe passing will be more about education than enforcement. Starts with a signage program.
Does the ability for a municipality to petition Mass DOT to reduce a speed limit extend to DCR as well? Could Cambridge petition to reduce the speed limit on Memorial Drive to 25 mph as advocates have asked (DCR says it’s out of the scope of the Phase III Greenway improvements). All other roads in the city are 25 mph or less.
Turns on the definition of “state highway.” But if this provision were found not to apply, I can work with the City if they want to petition to DCR anyway.
Thanks! I think supports designing Mem Dr (at least the segment between Gerry’s Landing and JFK St that’s going to have a road diet) for a speed consistent with other city streets.
17C was a mistake, I’m glad to see that the new version of the bill curbs expansion of arbitrary 25 zones. It’s not clear to me what basis MassDOT would have to approve (or fail to reject) any request that isn’t supported by a traffic engineering study, which is as it should be.
Thanks for sharing the update! A potential gap I’ve been thinking about lately is in driver education. After all, it doesn’t do me much good as a cyclist to require a 4 foot buffer if drivers don’t know about the law, or how to drive safely around cyclists in general. Any plans for publicizing this law(/tips for driving around vulnerable road users in general) and including information about it in driver’s ed programs, license renewal, etc.?
This rule will make it into the learner’s permit test and so into driver’s education.
But I agree that we need to keep working on education and awareness.
Does this provide any protection for essential workers such as those in the waste and recycling industries? These important workers are in and out of their vehicles constantly to pick up stuff most of us want to ignore.
Good question. Yes, absolutely this applies to all people doing work on a public way, including trash haulers.
This is a little late, but thank you Senator for the clarification!
Sounds good. Thank you.
In future improvements please seek out input from Western Mass., particularly Springfield. 2022 was a tragic year for pedestrians there. When I was looking into moving, I found a map suggesting it to be a more dangerous place for pedestrians than most of Boston. The location database the new law mandates will likely show something similar unless Mayor Sarno and Council arrive at a solution first.
this bill is not worth the paper it’s printed on. In Massachusetts, has the nastiest drivers in the USA.
Thank you for your longstanding leadership to create safer streets for all. And thank you to the many people who contributed over the years. Several years we co-hosted a bike safety forum at Suffolk Law School and the room was full of people from surrounding communities who were eager for policies, practices, and infrastructure that would save lives, reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities, and help make biking more feasible. It’s wonderful to see progress being made in terms of what we have on the books. It will be important for there to be a high-visibility awareness campaign about this new law.
I was struck by a speeding vehicle while bicycling on Mass Ave in 2005. I was in college and starting my career at the time. Both pursuits were derailed. The driver’s liability insurance check didn’t come close to paying the medical bills that remained to be paid after heath insurance. The driver was never even given any traffic citation.
I applaud this legislation, even though it will never be enforced. It sends a message to drivers and law enforcement that threatening behavior behind the wheel is not going to continue to be tolerated. You guys are late to this party. MA is one of the last states to add this language to the books. Thank you for the extra foot.
I do not agree with automated enforcement being a future priority. I have driven all over the states and the world. Reckless and erratic driving behavior greatly increases around these camera systems. Drivers see the camera and invariably attempt to evade the system through some combination of speeding and driving in the oncoming lane. Or perhaps some even more dangerous maneuver.
The company providing the camera system often reduces the time for the yellow light, to provide themselves more revenue. Which decreases safety for all types of roadway users. If the photo of the driver is not clear and does not match the registered owner, the ticket cannot be issued. If the driver is not the registered owner, they may not alter behavior around the system. Or a person who registered a vehicle, but was not driving may decide to pay a fine for an infraction committed by someone else. Personal data collected by the system can be misused by the authorized users, rescoped by later changes to law, or distributed in a breach. The problems with these systems are numerous.
The only potentially positive use for these systems is to prevent “blocking the box.” Drivers will absolutely clear an intersection when they see those cameras, functional or decorative. At the expense of safety, you can prevent gridlock.
Let’s focus instead on the scenes of injuries of these “Vulnerable users.” When EMS arrives to a vehicle crash involving a pedestrian or cyclist, often, investigations are forgone. Law enforcement sometimes simply does not believe that pedestrians or cyclists belong near the roadway. Training and accountability are required.
Thanks for sharing this story and I’m sorry it happened to you in our state.
Thanks also for weighing in on automated enforcement. Clearly, automated enforcement can be done wrong. I do think it can be done right. I totally agree that blocking the box is one of the best uses for it!
Will, Thank you for your efforts. It’s never easy to get meaningful legislation passed during an informal session. It takes persistence and the ability to compromise. Great work on your part to get this enacted into law. There’s always more to be done but incremental gins are still gains and every life saved and injury avoided is a plus.
The only traffic calming techniques which actually reduce vehicle speeds are physical. Speed limit signs, even enforcement, do not prevent motorists from driving faster than permitted. My recommendation? Humps, bumps, and speed tables on the road surface. Schools should be teaching students travel safety . Thank you for your work on the issue of road safety. Following are parts of my reappalication to Winchesters Traffic and Transportation Advisory Committee..
Select Board members,
…. My interest in TTAC stems from my belief that traffic safety in Winchester, for motor vehicles – and cyclists – and pedestrians, could be improved with several betterments, including the following.
1. Traffic calming techniques, in particular, speed bumps, humps, and tables.
2. More signage (including lighted) for both speed and warnings.
3. Brighter lighting near crosswalks.
4. Brighter crosswalk marking (and street marking generally).
5. Cycling and walking education in Winchester schools (currently? none).
6. Reduced speed limits in certain areas.
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