The state of Massachusetts ranked as the 6th most bike-friendly state in the country for 2013. And we pride ourselves on this ranking.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, Massachusetts earned this ranking for good reason. Out of a scale of 1 to 5, we got a 4 for our bicycle policies and programs. While not the best, we are far from the worst. We earned a 3 ranking for our legislation and enforcement, education and encouragement as well as for evaluation and planning.
Our Boston bicycle accident lawyers understand that we’re not at the top yet, and it’s long road (or bicycle path) to get there. According to researchers, there are some simple steps that could help us to make our area safer for our cycling friends.
-Lawmakers should consider adopting a safe passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet to address bicycle safety.
-Look into getting a tougher vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for motorists that injure or kill a bicyclist or pedestrian.
-There should be a law allowing transportation agencies to post 20 mph or lower speed limits under certain circumstances.
-State lawmakers should look into enacting a statewide, all-ages cell phone law for drivers to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone.
-There should be a policy requiring state official buildings, state parks, recreation facilities and other state facilities to provide bicycle parking.
-Since arterial and collector roads are the backbone of every transportation network, it is essential to provide adequate bicycle facilities along these roads. Increase the percentage of state highway network that has paved shoulders or bike lanes greater or equal to 4 feet wide.
-The state of Massachusetts is spending a low amount of federal funding on bicyclists and pedestrians. Adopt a federal funding protect rating criteria that provides incentives for bicycle projects and accommodations.
-Create a state bicycle rider’s manual to ensure bicyclists have a pocket guide for rules of the road, relevant laws, state bike route and other necessary information.
-Hold a bicycle ride sponsored by the governor and/or legislation to show their constituents that their elected officials support bicycle riding.
In 2011, there were close to 10 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in the state of Massachusetts. According to the latest release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these fatalities accounted for close to 2 percent of all of the roadway fatalities recorded throughout the state that year.
And don’t forget that we’re in the middle of National Bike Month. According to The League of American Bicyclists, there are ways that we can all do our part to ensure that bicyclists have a voice out there and that we’re properly protected.
The truth is that bicyclists have a right to our roadways, too. Make sure you’re respecting these rights and looking out for our two-wheeled friends. And bicyclists — be safe out there. We can’t rely on the safe driving habits of other to keep us safe. Stay one step ahead of the traffic around you and stay out of the danger zone.