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Items filtered by date: May 2021

Friday, 07 May 2021 03:54

The SUV of Bicycles

Have you ever wanted to turn off the paved road and head down an inviting dirt road but knew your bike couldn't handle it? If so, a gravel bike could be the bike for you.

Gravel bikes have exploded in popularity due to their all-terrain versatility. From commuting city streets to rugged adventure rides, gravel bikes are the SUVs of bicycles that can go just about anywhere. 

Published in Health & Wellness

Motorists Driving in the Presence of Bicyclists Must Follow These Laws in Massachusetts

Do you know your responsibilities as a driver when sharing the road with bicyclists?

Bicyclists have the right to use all public ways in this state except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted. When riding on public ways, bicyclists must obey the same basic traffic laws and regulations that apply to motor vehicle operators. Motorists must follow additional rules and regulations when driving in the presence of bicyclists.

The following is a summary of Massachusetts bike law for drivers:  

As a motorist in the presence of bicycles: (see Massachusetts General Law Chapter 89, Section 2 and Chapter 90, Section 14)1 

  • Do Not Cut-Off After Passing: When passing a bicycle traveling in the same direction that is on your right, you must not return to the right until you have safely passed the overtaken bicycle. (Chap. 89, Sec. 2)

  • Do Not Make an Abrupt Turn After Passing: When passing a bicycle near an intersection or driveway where you want to turn right, you cannot turn unless you are at a safe distance from the bicyclist and you can make the turn at a reasonable and proper speed. (Chap. 90, Sec 14)

  • Do Not Squeeze Bicycles in a Narrow Lane: If a lane is too narrow to pass a bicycle at a safe distance, be PATIENT until you can safely use an adjacent lane or WAIT until it is safe to pass in the lane you share. (Chap. 89, Sec. 2) You should stay at least three feet away when passing.

  • Do Not Fail to Yield When Turning Left: When turning left at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway, you must yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, including a bicycle, if it is in the intersection or close enough to be an immediate hazard. (Chap. 90, Sec 14)

  • Watch for Bicycles on Your Right: Bicycles can legally ride to the right of motor vehicle traffic. The law says it is not a defense for a motorist causing a crash with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of other traffic. (Chap. 85, Sec 11B)

  • Do Not Open a Door Without First Looking: Drivers and passengers can be fined up to $100 for opening a vehicle door into an oncoming bicycle. (Chap. 90, Sec 14) Before opening your door, you should always check behind you to make sure that no bicyclists are approaching. 

    (Related post:  Dutch Reach Technique.)

  • Be aware that bicyclists can ride two bicycles side-by-side. However, on a road with more than one lane in the direction of travel, they must stay in one lane. (Chap. 85, Sec. 11B) 

  • Be aware that bicyclists Do Not Always Have to Signal Turns! Bicyclists must signal their intent by either hand to stop or turn. However, the signal does not have to be continuous or be made at all if both hands are needed for the bicycle’s safe operation. (Chap. 85, Sec. 11B)

Published in Bicycle Safety
Thursday, 06 May 2021 21:49

Bicyclist Rights and Responsibilities

Before you head out for a ride, know your responsibilities as a bicyclist. 

Bicyclists have the right to use all public ways in this state except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted. When riding on public ways, bicyclists must obey the same basic traffic laws and regulations that apply to motor vehicle operators.1

MassBike has summarized Massachusetts’ bike law regarding bicyclist responsibilities in clear language.2 Please read the complete text of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Chapter 85, Section 11B.


Your Rights as a Bicyclist:

  • You may ride your bicycle on any public road, street, or bikeway in the Commonwealth, except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bikes have been posted.
  • You may ride on sidewalks outside business districts unless local laws prohibit sidewalk riding.
  • You may use either hand to signal stops and turns.
  • You may pass cars on the right.
  • If you carry children or other passengers inside an enclosed trailer or [another] device that will adequately restrain them and protect their heads in a crash, they need not wear helmets.
  • You may have as many lights and reflectors on your bike as you wish.
  • You may ride on sidewalks outside business districts, unless local laws prohibit sidewalk riding.
  • You may use either hand to signal stops and turns.
  • You may pass cars on the right.
  • If you carry children or other passengers inside an enclosed trailer or [another] device that will adequately restrain them and protect their heads in a crash, they need not wear helmets.
  • You may hold a bicycle race on any public road or street in the Commonwealth, if you do so in cooperation with a recognized bicycle organization, and if you get approval from the appropriate police department before the race is held.
  • You may establish special bike regulations for races by agreement between your bicycle organization and the police.
  • You may have as many lights and reflectors on your bike as you wish.
Published in Bicycle Safety

The Dutch Reach Method Prevents "Dooring" 

Dooring, or car dooring, is the act of opening a vehicle door into a bicyclist, pedestrian, or another vehicle.

Open vehicle doors pose a very serious threat to bicyclists. The Dutch Reach Project began as a way to prevent dooring accidents by using a simple technique called the Dutch Reach method which originated in the Netherlands. Also known as the Far Hand Reach method, the technique forces your body to turn, which will better allow you to see approaching bicyclists, and prevents the vehicle door from being opened too fast. This not only protects bicyclists and pedestrians but can also prevent your door from being damaged or torn off by an approaching motor vehicle.1

When opening a vehicle door, drivers and passengers should do the following:

  1. Check the rear-view mirror.
  2. Check the side-view mirror.
  3. Open the door with the hand farthest from the door (far hand reach).
Published in Road Safety

Bicycling is one of the best ways to get exercise outdoors, yet bicyclists face many hazards when sharing the road with motor vehicles. National Bike Month is a great time to reacquaint yourself with bike safety before you head out for your next ride. 

Bicycling Safety Basics

  1. Check Your Equipment. Make sure your seat is set at the right height for you and locked in place; properly inflate your tires; add a working horn or bell, a rear-view mirror, and a headlight.
  2. Wear bright-colored clothing. Florescent, bright colors help others see you, especially in the shade during the day.
  3. Use lights at dusk and at night. According to Massachusetts law, you must use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if you are riding anytime from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise. At night, you must wear ankle reflectors if there are no reflectors on your pedals.
  4. Wear a Helmet. Massachusetts law requires that persons 16 years old and younger must wear a helmet. While adults are not required to wear a bike helmet, it offers head and brain protection in the case of a fall or crash. (Watch a helmet-fitting video below.)
  5. Know the "rules of the road." Download the Mass.gov rules of the road for bicyclists and motorists driving in the presence of bicyclists. (Watch rules of the road video below.)
  6. Ride at least three feet from parked cars. Stay outside of the "door zone" and protect yourself from getting hit by opening vehicle doors.
Published in Bicycle Safety

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