Your recent post about bike paths around Alewife reminded me of something I’ve had wandering in my head for a bit of time now…
Bicyclists currently have to abide by the same rules that cars do, but I don’t think this makes sense. Firstly, cyclists don’t represent quite as high a danger as cars/trucks, since they don’t weigh as much and they can’t go as fast (although they’re certainly still dangerous). Secondly, cyclists don’t have 2000 pounds of steel protecting them, and they’re harder to see, which means they’re more at danger. An accident that would be a fender-bender for two cars could be quite serious if it’s between a car and a bike.
At large intersections (like the intersection of routes 20 and 16 in Waltham), it seems safer for cyclists to cross with pedestrians. And at smaller intersections, when navigating slightly more dangerous maneuvers (like a left turn), it seems safer to get a head start on the green light so that cars don’t try to gun past the biker. In general, it seems to me that cars and cyclists would both benefit if bikers were able to get out of the way in intersections.
Has there been any thought about modifying biking laws in MA? For instance, letting bikers cross at the same time as pedestrians (but on the bike, and driving on the road rather than the crosswalk)? Or possibly even turning red lights into stop signs for bikers — they have to come to a complete stop, but can then cross if the path is clear?