Massachusetts Bikers : Traffic Laws are Being Enforced

Photo Credit : AllWaysNY (Flickr)
Photo Credit : AllWaysNY (Flickr)

Across the state of Massachusetts you will be seeing more police officers focusing on traffic laws.   The officers will be working overtime hours to not only enforce, but educate about traffic laws and safety.   A subject that is very behind if the United States is going to propel forward the issue of bike commuting or utility cycling.

Nearly $100,000 has been awarded to police departments throughout the state to provide overtime funds so they can address pedestrian and bicycle safety through enforcement and education.

With the money, police departments in Brookline, Concord, Franklin, and Hopkinton are putting more officers at busy intersections, issuing more citations, handing out bicycle helmets for young riders, and hosting public events to reinforce their message.

With one department citing roughly 84 citations in the three weeks the program has been running I would say this is a huge success.   The tough thing is you can only enforce so much without the follow up education.   Many people, including police, think bikes belong on sidewalks and not on the road, or that you should ride the opposite direction of traffic.

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0 thoughts on “Massachusetts Bikers : Traffic Laws are Being Enforced”

  1. If only they would enforce laws for cars as vigilantly.

    When I see these sories I often wonder why it’s cycliss, the most vulnerable, who need ‘educating’. Why do they not stop drivers and educate them about how dangerous their ton of metal is, why talking on a phone while driving makes it worse, and why bikes have a right to be on the road. Somehow it never seems to work that way.

  2. Oh, dear. Lots of typos. Sorry about that.

  3. BluesCat says:

    I agree, Andy.

    Too bad it is about “the law,” and NOT about “safety.” If it WERE about the latter, then you would see the Idaho “Stop As Yield” law more widespread in the States.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Andy. I have been hit from the rear while stopped at a red light and have all kinds of fools show how stupid they are in the metal boxes… but the law for some reason target the lesser problem…

  5. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    The above “Anonymous” is me..

  6. Salvia says:

    I agree also, I always have problems when approaching a corner, all the cars behind me speed up to pass me and get to turn right just before I get there, but that’s dangerous just to me not to them, right?

  7. Barry Korman says:

    Check out my blog! Re: Retro Reflectivity it’s about making a bike rider safer at night or in the dark. If you are more visible to the driver it will help make you safer.
    Also look at

  8. Dan says:

    While I agree with the comments above, I also think many cyclists *do* need to be informed of cycling laws.

    I often see people riding the wrong way in a bike line or riding the wrong direction down the middle of a one way street. Yesterday I pulled up behind a bike at an intersection with a six-lane road. Even though we had a red light, he pulled forward across the first two lanes, then stopped in front of the two turn lanes, wiggling his front wheel to keep his balance and looking for a chance to get across the last two lanes, before finally cutting across to the other side. Last week, I was at an intersection and while the two opposing lanes were making their left turns with the arrow, a cyclist on the corner decided to ride diagonally across the intersection between the two lines of cars. At the same intersection a couple days later, another bike left the same corner but rode between the turn lane and the straight lane of oncoming traffic and then moved back to the right lane after getting around the line of turning traffic, instead of waiting the 30 seconds for the light to change and getting to go straight through like normal.

    All this to say that while motorists can be a danger to cyclists, there are a lot of cyclists out there who act like normal traffic laws don’t apply to them.

  9. Well, I think it’s great that they’re handing out bicycle helmets to young riders, that’s a good start!

    I think let’s focus on the good part here, that they want to do something, maybe not the most effective “education” but at least it’s an acknowledgement that they need to start somewhere. I think all states should put some mandatory pass questions in their driver’s schools (the ones you take to lessen the effect of a ticket on your insurance) in regards to bicycles on the road. If you answer incorrectly on those questions, you don’t pass the course. I think it would be an easy, and cheap, way to increase awareness of cyclists on the road. I’m sure there are some flaws with that theory.

  10. Personally I find the helmet giveaway the wort part.

    If people feel safer in a helmet/want to wear one, then fine. But by giving newbie cyclists one it reenforces the idea that cycling is dangerous, and that you need special equipment to do it. It can also result in them feeling invincible because they have one. I’m open to the idea helmets might help in an accident, but Handing them out in a state-sponsered programme implies they are more effective than they have been proven to be.

  11. Er… sorry tha should be:

    “Personally I find the helmet giveaway the worst part.”

    Time for my morning coffee, methinks…

  12. I’ve seen arguments on both sides of the helmet issue, and I think there are valid points on both sides. But being a rather clumsy person myself, I feel like wearing the helmet will protect me when I make a stupid move and fall down, not necessarily when a car runs me over.

    I thought the the article said young riders, not necessarily “newbie” riders. Young riders, to me, suggests people, kids, students, who might not be as coordinated on a bike, who could get a concussion by hitting their head on a self-caused fall.

    I also think that every little bit of safety and precaution (until everyone in the world is a perfect driver) helps.

  13. Sure, saying a helmet may help is different from the state giving them out, don’t you think? It implies that you need one and that you simply aren’t safe without.

    Again, nothing against people wearing helmets: if it gets people riding that’s great, but I don’t think the risk of a self caused fall is high enough to start telling everyone to wear one.

  14. I guess I just read it as encouragement rather than mandating. Also, I like free stuff.

  15. Greg says:

    The helmet giveaway is indeed the giveaway. If they cared about the safety of cyclists they’d focus on things that make a big difference like teaching lane positioning, not getting to the right of cars at intersections and the like.

    Helmets are pretty much a distraction (otherwise we’d have a lower death and injury rate than Holland where no one wears a helmet – it’s not like concrete is somehow softer over there…).

    These programs are usually a sop thrown to cranky old drivers (“those darn scofflaws”! “And you darn kids get off my lawn while you’re at it!” :-). That way the legislators can say “See – we’re doing something to rein the in the uppity cyclists” to their reactionary constituents. 🙂

    Personally, I blame the darn fixie hipsters! 🙂

  16. Ben Gustafson says:

    Helmets may be a “distraction” to someone living in Holland where drivers have a much greater regard bicyclists than in the U.S. They are no longer a “distraction” to anyone who has hit his or her head on the pavement and been saved from a life-changing head injury. One certainly does not feel “invincible” after such an event!

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