Safe Cycling Needs Your Help NOW

We know you love cycling. Wouldn’t it be great to put more measures in place that ensure your safety? We normally don’t send e-mail about cycling advocacy, as we have MassBike here to support us, but this bill flowing through the senate and house is huge. Please take a moment to read through the summary below. If you’d like to cut to the chase, head over to this page where you can quickly drop a note to your local legislators.

We need your help:  Mass Bike and numerous other cycling organizations have been hard at work to create the 2017 Massachusetts Bike Bill, officially named “The Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities”, and we desperately need your assistance to get it passed.  The actions we each take, no later than February 2, could make the difference between making our roads safer … or not.

What we are asking you to do:  Please call your legislators (state representative and state senator), tell them you support the bill and ask them to co-sponsor it.  Phone calls are much more effective than e-mail! You can get information about how to contact your legislators by clicking here.  It takes less than one minute per call, that’s just two minutes total, and it could end up saving a life. In the Senate, the bill number is SD.1545.  The House Bill is number HD.3006.  Refer to these numbers when you contact your legislators. Please remember to make your calls no later than February 2.

When you make your calls:  You don’t need to be an expert on the bill to speak to your legislator and speaking with a legislative aide is just as effective. You can just explain that you’re a bike rider and you support the bill because you want to make the roads safer for all users.  Don’t forget to ask your legislator to co-sponsor the bill. Regardless of whether your legislators give you a definite commitment of support, please thank them for their consideration.

Massachusetts Bike Bill – 2017 Highlights
  • Trucks must be equipped with enhanced mirrors for better visibility and with “lateral protective devices” to prevent vulnerable road users from falling under the truck where they could be crushed by the truck’s wheels.
  • Mobile electronic devices (not just telephones) can be used only in “hands-free” mode.
  • A cyclist may ride through a red light when:
    1. Going straight through an intersection where pedestrians have a “walk signal”  on the  crossing street
    2. Going straight or turning left, after a full stop, when there is no street to the right
    3. The traffic signal is unresponsive after two minutes.
  • Cyclists may pass motor vehicles on the right whether the vehicles are moving or not. The current law does not allow cyclists to pass cars (on the right) that are stopped at a red light.
  • The term “Vulnerable Users” is defined to include many types of non-motor-vehicle road users including cyclists.
  • Motor vehicles must allow at least 3 feet when passing a vulnerable user at 30 mph or less and must allow an additional one foot for each additional 10 mph.
  • Motor vehicle drivers may cross the centerline if this is necessary to safely pass a vulnerable user.
  • Motor vehicle drivers must yield to cyclists who are crossing the roadway on a multi-use path or who are traveling through an intersection in a bike lane.
  • No driver of a vehicle may pass another vehicle that has stopped to allow a cyclist to cross a roadway.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and helping make safer roads for all of us.  See you out there on the roads soon!

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