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Bicycling in Boston

When we were young our parents taught us to look both ways before we crossed the street.

In the city of Boston there are numerous one-way streets. When we cross these streets, we tend not to look both ways, thinking there will be nothing coming the opposite way.

But that’s where we’re wrong. The danger of bicyclists going the wrong way is an ever-present danger in the city.

Some of the laws on bicycling in Boston include:

  • Cyclists must allow pedestrians the right of way.
  • Cyclists are also supposed to speak or alert pedestrians when approaching or passing them.
  • Cyclists must obey all traffic laws.

Additional, detailed guidelines can be found at the official website,  http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/bikesafety/laws.asp

If bicyclists must follow the laws, why are there so many collisions with pedestrians?

A Suffolk student, Casey Sullivan, a sophomore, describes one instance of a near collision.

While crossing the Tremont Street by towards her dorm at 10 West Street, she started to cross the street with a walk sign on the other side. The student describes almost getting hit by a bicyclist that ran the light on Tremont.

“I don’t bother looking,” she said, “[Because] the light says it’s safe to cross. Bicycles are supposed to abide by the traffic laws, so I assume the bikes would just stop.”

As she stepped out onto the street, in a blink of an eye, a bicyclist zoomed by.

Another student Suffolk student, Jessica DiLorenzo, posts on social media after a close collision, exclaiming, “Just stepped into the street at the wrong time and was almost killed by a biker.”

Over on Massachusetts Ave and Beacon Street bicyclists and pedestrians can be seen violating the laws. Cutting through traffic, running through red lights, assuming the right of way with cars and pedestrians.

While driving around Boston with a family friend, she is trying to operate the vehicle alongside of the bikers, she burst out, “These bikers are dangerous!”, hands gripping the wheel. “They make me nervous and have no concept of where they are. They don’t follow any of the traffic laws,” she said with a frustrated tone.

Talking with Suffolk University Police Department, SUPD, they reiterated that bikers must follow the traffic laws.

An SUPD officer, who wanted to remain anonymous for occupational reasons, said “Do we bikers always follow the laws? No.”

He explained that there are certain situations that call for your own judgment. “I always stop at red lights and allow pedestrians the right of way. But if there are no pedestrians and it’s safe to continue, I continue.”

When asked about following traffic flow, he said that traveling on the side walk is allowed, except in the business district. “If it’s 11:00 p.m., I will not go to Boylston Street, then around to Beacon Hill, I’ll cut through to get to where I need to go, it saves time.”

SUPD officers do get written up if they are caught breaking the traffic laws.

 

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