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Thread: Bike Safety

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Pelham Island

    Default Bike Safety

    I've been biking to work. In Cambridge. Not that often, because I am not one of these spandex bikers, but a middle aged, somewhat overweight, t-shirt biker.

    I just wanted to mention a few things that would help me survive the week.

    I am eagerly awaiting a paved Wayland Rail Trail from the town Library through to Weston, but in the meantime, I bike along route 20. The problem is that few roads in Wayland are bike friendly, but you can help!

    (About that rail trail, please see Wayland Rail Trail and check out the Minuteman Bike Trail from Lexington to Alewife or the Charles River Bike Path )

    For my fellow residents:

    • Take a look at the street in front of your house or other property.
    • Keep the shoulders clear of debris, sand, leaves, sticks, broken glass, etc.
    • Try and deal with the poison ivy that loves the edges of roads. I am so allergic to that stuff that I don't dare ride right at the edge.
    • If you have a sidewalk, please keep it clear. In addition to the debris, it is hard to navigate around those mailboxes and trash cans.

    For our public works folks:

    • When we do have sidewalks, they tend to be pretty awful, and unusable for bicycles. The paving isn't up to street standards, and is broken by roots, holes. etc.
    • The sidewalks tend to fill up with leaves, fallen branches, and so forth, which make them unusable.
    • Guy wires cross from utility poles at just the right hight to clothesline a tall guy like me. Of course they are invisible at dusk!
    • Many road corners lack curb cuts, so you can't actually get on or off the sidewalk anyway.

    Without sidewalks, I have to ride in the street. That is fine, but...

    • The shoulders are, um, badly paved: potholes, jagged gaps in the top paving, bumpy drains
    • The shoulders collect sand, which is like ice for bicycles, you can't steer on sand.
    • On Route 20, there is an unfortunate amount of broken glass.

    Maybe we could street sweep more than once a year?

    And that paving on Pelham Island Road is nasty, but that is a topic for a different letter.

    For Drivers:

    Most drivers are actually pretty awesome with bicyclists, Thank you! However:

    • Look at that right side mirror once in a while. When you are caught in traffic, I will be passing you at my astounding 12 miles an hour or whatever. I'll be coming up on your right.
    • Don't keep so far to the right that there isn't room for me! The lanes are actually fairly wide and the shoulder is often very narrow.

    For my part, I signal, I don't run red lights, and I really try to watch where I am going and to be aware of my surroundings, but not every cyclist (especially the kids) will follow the rules. Treat them with suspicion and when possible, give extra space when passing a cyclist, just in case they have no idea you are there and swerve to miss a stick or pothole.

    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-18-2013 at 01:30 PM. Reason: fix broken link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wayland MA


    Larry, great post. And as for commuting to Cambridge, excellent!

    I'm a cyclist who puts in a lot of mileage each year. I pride myself on riding safely and with respect for motorists.

    • When riding next to a friend (which is allowed by law), I single up when there's a "car back" (note to drivers--you're MUCH easier to see if you have your lights on, meaning that we can single up that much more quickly.
    • I signal my turns and stops.
    • I use lights before dawn and after dusk.
    • I stop at traffic signals (but after stopping, may roll through if it's safe to do so--that gets me out of the way of motorists that much faster).
    • And at stop signs, I may roll through slowly, but only after checking to make sure that it's safe and that I'm not interfering with motor vehicle traffic.

    To make sure that I understand my rights and responsibilities as a cyclist, I spent a bit of timing digging into the MA laws that relate to cycling and put this web page together--I hope that you and others find it to be useful.


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