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Poor Bike Lanes in Boston Increase Injury Risks for Bicyclists

Boston is reportedly one of the most dangerous cities for bicyclists in Massachusetts. Many bike paths are poorly maintained, clotted with leaves and gravel, worn out, and only extend for up to 150 yards or less.

Northeastern University Professor of Civil Engineering Peter Furth says that the local government does not take bike lanes seriously. Last month, however, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino appointed former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman as the city’s bike czar. The appointment is part of his efforts to turn Boston into a more bicycle-friendly city. An online map system and 250 new bike racks throughout Boston are included among the first phase of improvements he plans to make.

Bike Czar Freedman says she will lead efforts to review the streets and bike lanes. She also cited enforcement and education as key factors in making sure that the city’s biking facilities are of use to bicycle riders.

Mayor Menino promised stricter fines against motor vehicle drivers that block bike lanes. He also said he would create a series of bike lanes on a number of roads, including Commonwealth Avenue, the Fenway, Massachusetts Avenue, and the Back Bay. The mayor is considering installing bike storage areas, showers, and an automated bike rental system that would allow anyone with a credit card to rent a bike.

Boston is usually listed in Bicycling magazine as one of the least bike friendly cities.

Last April, a bicyclist was killed near Northeastern University on Huntington Avenue in a traffic accident involving two motor vehicles. Studies show that many bicyclists are injured on Boston roads every year-some of these accidents result in deaths. In 2005, 5 cyclists died in traffic accidents; 711 others were injured.

Cambridge, considered a bicycle-friendly area, has a bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue that runs through Central Square but does meet civil engineering standards that are designed to allow cars and bikes to share the roads safely. Because the bike lane stretches out just 12.5 feet from the curb-six inches short of what the ideal extension should be-bicycle riders tend to get too close to parked cars. If a passenger or driver opens a car door and hits the cyclist, the rider could get pushed into oncoming traffic. A bicyclist died in such an accident in 2002.

Menino mounting bid to make city a bicyclist’s dream, Boston.com, September 20, 2007
Boston’s not the hub of biking safely, Bostonnow.com, September 21, 2007
Related Web Resources:

Bicycle Crash Statistics, Massbike.org
Get your ride on (bike paths), Boston.com, September 20, 2007
If you or someone you love was injured while riding a bicycle anywhere in Massachusetts because a car driver, motorcyclist, truck driver, bus driver, or local government agency was negligent, you should contact an experienced Massachusetts bicycle accident lawyer who knows how to properly represent bicyclists injured in a traffic accident.

Altman & Altman LLP is a Massachusetts personal injury law firm that is committed to helping bicyclists recover compensation for their injuries. We know how to investigate your case and determine who was negligent. We have helped many of our bicycle accident clients receive compensation by successfully negotiating settlements or winning verdicts in court for them.

Contact Altman & Altman LLP today to schedule your free consultation.