Living in a beautiful city such as Cambridge or Boston or any of its surrounding boroughs comes with many benefits, and one that thousands of people take advantage of every day is being able to ride their bicycles as a form of efficient, green and healthy transportation. The Boston Globe reported in 2015 that an estimated 8,100 people cycle to work every day, more than triple the amount estimated in 2005. The actual number of cyclists riding in Boston on a day-to-day basis is essentially impossible to accurately predict, but there’s no doubt that the number is much, much higher than just those 8,100 commuting to work.
There are over 150 “Hubway” bicycle rental stations peppered throughout the Boston metropolitan area, where anyone can rent a bicycle and return it to any other Hubway station once they are done. There are numerous bike paths, bike lanes and cyclists are welcome on all public Boston streets and even the sidewalks, so cycling is a very popular mode of transportation in a city that’s notoriously hard to drive in. Cambridge was listed in 2006 by Bicycling magazine to be one of the friendliest cycling cities. Boston, however, has been noted in the past as one of the most dangerous cities for cyclists, though it is making strides to improve. More and more projects are being completed with “complete streets” initiatives, which puts an impetus on the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
Still, no matter of safety measures or precautions can prevent accidents from occurring, such as a deadly accident that just happened in Porter Square in Cambridge on Oct 5. Boston Emergency Medical Services records showed that an average of 520 fatal and nonfatal cycling accidents occurred annually in Boston between 2010 and 2014. Accidents that involve cyclists can obviously be much more damaging to an individual, and potentially deadly, than accidents merely involving two cars. It is imperative for cyclists to observe local ordinances and also use common sense when heading out into an automobile-dominated, urban environment.
Cycling safety tips
- Make sure your bike is prepared for a commute. Check to make sure your tires are properly inflated, that your brakes are working and that your reflectors are in good shape. Adjust your seat height and positioning so it is comfortable to both sit and stand
- When possible, avoid riding at night. If you must ride while it’s dark, wear reflective tape, bands or bright colored clothes. Visibility is your best method to avoid accidents
- Always maintain control with at least one hand on the handlebars at all times
- Avoid road hazards such as construction or precariously small, highly-trafficked streets
- Follow all traffic rules. If you are riding on the street, you must obey all signs and traffic lights. You must signal all left and right turns with hand signals.
- If you are riding on the sidewalk, you must alert pedestrians that you are passing by with a bell or a verbal call. In some areas, cycling on the sidewalk is prohibited.
- Never cross the street unless at a pedestrian crossing. Emerging from in between parked cars is incredibly dangerous and gives motorists little time to react
- Do not ride sporadically or weave in and out of traffic. Maintain straight lines and be predictable
- Keep an eye out for parked cars. Crashes often occur when a motorist opens their door without looking behind them. Give enough space between yourself and parked cars to avoid this
- Although it is tempting, avoid listening to music while riding. Being able to hear oncoming traffic or a car horn may save your life.
If you are injured while cycling despite doing everything right
Call us. Motorists are responsible for being aware of and sharing the road with cyclists. In highly-populated areas such as Cambridge and Boston, this responsibility is taken to a different level. If a motorist is at fault and causes an accident with you or somebody you love while on a bicycle, you are entitled to compensation for injuries sustained and damage to your property as well. Our team of dedicated attorneys are extremely experienced in handling collision cases involving negligence and dealing with insurance companies to ensure you get the settlement you need and deserve. We don’t get paid unless we are successful in your case, and a consultation with one of our expert attorneys is completely free. Call today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199 or visit online at https://www.altmanllp.com. We are available 24/7.