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Barriers for Bike Safety, July 23rd, 2014

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20 Comments on Barriers for Bike Safety

  • Stephanie Henry on 07.23.2014 at 7:56 am

    I’d love to sign David’s petition! The link above for more information leads to a closed petition on Change.org. Is there an active one we can sign?

  • King Anonymous on 07.23.2014 at 8:20 am

    Not well thought out. …basically turns Commonwealth Ave. into a 1 lane for motor vehicle traffic….eliminate parking may be better but then what for deliveries and handicapped who drive….make sidewalks narrower?????? make commonwealth into a 1 way street….put the T underground?????? again the proposal shows no depth of thought

    • susan c on 07.23.2014 at 4:51 pm

      Well,hey, if you have a student at BU who can only get around via bike, perhaps you would feel differently. The BU community has lost several of its students to fatal bike vs car accidents. I have lost my daughter almost at least twice. She probably has spared me other near miss details. Think about it.

      • Bob R on 07.30.2014 at 5:09 pm

        We have BU bus that goes all over campus every 15 minutes. We also have the T. No one needs a bike to get around this campus or this city. They are a dangerous nuisance and I witness cyclists ignoring the law nearly every day.

        A congested traffic, urban area is a dumb place to ride a bike. I am sorry but it is true.

    • David Miller on 07.24.2014 at 4:36 pm

      The exact specifics of the cycletrack we are advocating for have not been decided yet. The petition is simply a way of saying, “There should really be a cycletrack on Comm Ave.” We do have several different ideas of how the cycletrack would be integrated into the existing design, although none of the ones I’ve seen involve reducing Comm Ave to a single lane.

      To reiterate; we are NOT advocating for any single cycletrack design. We are advocating for a cycletrack in general, with details on the cycletrack to follow.

  • Lance on 07.23.2014 at 9:41 am

    If he’s an Engineer Student, he should study Commonwealth Ave and come up with something a little more realistic. How would the buses pull over to pick up passengers? If you really wanted a perfect fit between bikes & cars on the normally congested Comm Ave., (thanks to the BU bridge merge and the Agganis Arena traffic)
    you would have to eliminate all parking, period. Until then, the inclusion of bikes as a vehicle on Comm. Ave will always be complicated and sometimes dangerous.

    • David Miller on 07.24.2014 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Lance,

      It is important to understand that this petition is not advocating for a specific design for Comm Ave. We are not saying, “use OUR design for Comm Ave, not yours”, rather we are saying, “there should really be cycletracks on Comm Ave to protect cyclists. Here are some of our ideas for how this could be done.”

      And yes, the solution won’t be simple. But the BCU is working with traffic engineers to develop plans that meet the goals of the city and also include a cycletrack. So hopefully they will come up with solutions that satisfy each party.


  • Tessa on 07.23.2014 at 1:18 pm

    To both King Anonymous and Lance: Clearly you have no depth of thought. Commonwealth Avenue already has two lanes of traffic, a bike lane and parking. The space is already there. This proposal is to rearrange the order so the parked cars would move closer to traffic and the bike lane would be closer to the sidewalk. There’s even a picture on the link. This set up is common in bike friendly cities like Amsterdam and can be seen on some streets in the Boston area (Western Ave for example). As for buses and deliveries I would imagine they would stop in the parked car lane but the city planners would be the ones to consider that.

    • David Miller on 07.24.2014 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Tessa,

      Thanks for your support. The actual plans for the cycletrack are still being developed. There are many different solutions and the BCU (Boston Cyclist’s Union) is working with traffic engineers to develop them to show to the city. It is important for everyone to know that by signing the petition you are not advocating for a specific plan for Comm Ave designed by cyclists, rather you are advocating that cycletrack be incorporated into the design before it is finalized. You can sign the petition here if you haven’t already:


  • shaida on 07.23.2014 at 1:57 pm

    How about a raised bike lane, like a bridge…any thoughts? might be a bit more expensive…but attainable I’m sure…at least in the busier streets…?

  • Jake on 07.23.2014 at 4:37 pm

    Where’s the petition to get the bicyclists off the sidewalk? I saw another one hit a pedestrian just last week.

    • David Miller on 07.24.2014 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Jake,

      I realize that many cyclists choose to unlawfully ride on the sidewalk. But I actually argue that a cycletrack would address this problem. The reason that many cyclists end up riding on the sidewalk is that they feel unsafe on the road, where they are in an extremely defensive position witht he current bike lane. If a cycletrack were created for Comm Ave, I predict that many of the cyclists who ride on the sidewalk would feel much safer and more comfortable riding in the new protected bike lane.


  • David Miller on 07.24.2014 at 4:53 pm

    It is important for everyone to know that this petition is not advocating for a specific design for Comm Ave. We are not saying, “use our design for Comm Ave, not yours”, rather we are saying, “there should really be cycletracks on Comm Ave to protect cyclists. Here are some of our ideas for how this could be done.” If you agree, then sign the petition. The exact design of the cycletrack will be cooperatively worked out later.

  • Anonymous on 07.24.2014 at 5:06 pm

    Good for you! Stand up for what you believe in!

  • Bicyclist on 07.24.2014 at 5:53 pm

    These changes to Commonwealth Ave are a great idea. A skinny, unprotected lane with worn green paint isn’t enough anymore. And to Jake: a cycletrack for bikes on Comm Ave would keep bikes safely on the street.

  • D. O'Donnell on 07.28.2014 at 10:49 am

    Generally I am ALL for bikes – but . . . . . there is already a devoted bike lane all along Comm. Ave. AND by state law, bikes have access to the street anyway. The major point is that bikes are supposed to obey the rules of the road. Please bear in mind the rules of the road for bikes are very close to those of cars, but they are NOT exactly the same – and for reasons.

    Anyone who rides a bike should KNOW the bike laws as are described at massbike.org. Read them, comprehend them, live them. Go beyond them, and be especially aware of pedestrians – including such things as parents pushing a baby in a carriage. Picture yourself apologizing to a baby. Not a pretty picture. There are circumstances where the margin for error should be just about ZERO!

    Rules for bikes are similar to those of cars, but there are differences – for example: Bikes ARE allowed on sidewalks unlike cars, but you must go at a same or similar pace as the pedestrians.

    We live in a city – it is PACKED – there is room for everyone, but we MUST obey the rules of the road or you invite chaos and injury. Please respect others – cars, trucks, pedestrians, children in carriages!

    I for one see no need for a ‘protected’ bike lane. I cannot even picture what it would be. Protected from ???? cars? Other bikes?

    Please obey the rules of the road, etc.

    • David Miller on 07.28.2014 at 6:53 pm

      If you google ‘protected bike lane’ or ‘cycletrack’ you will see several different styles in use around the world. The general idea is to have some sort of a physical barrier (whether it be parked cars, bollards, or a concrete island/divider) separating the bike lane from motor vehicle traffic.

      Regarding the legislation: yes, there are laws in place that are intended to let bicycles and cars to ‘share the road’ with no protected bike lane, but the reality is that many drivers simply do not want to share the road with us, and act very aggressive and hostile towards cyclists in bike lanes. And even when both parties cooperate and abide by the law, there are still many accidents that occur simply because cars don’t see bikes in the bike lane. This is where protected bike lanes come in. In a standard bike lane, cars can abruptly pull over in front of you, cutting you off. They can also door you. Both of these types of accidents can be completely eliminated with protected bike lanes.

      In essence, the problem is that the system isn’t really designed for cyclists. We live in a culture where cars are the norm and bicycles are the exception, and as a result there is a lack of infrastructure designed for cyclists. Having a protected bike lane would not only be a great added safety measure for that street and prevent many accidents (indeed, that is the main point of a cycletrack!) but it would also send a message to Bostonians that the cycling culture here is changing, that a cycletrack should not be a luxury to cyclists; it should be the norm. Cyclists deserve infrastructure that is designed to keep them safe, just as cars deserve well maintained roads, signs, and signals; and pedestrians deserve cross walks and walk signs. We should not have to settle for legislation that encourages ‘sharing the road’ or bike lanes with demonstrated safety risks.

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