In Boston and Cambridge, Orange Line Shutdown Brings New Bike Safety Concerns
Boston commuters are taking the Orange Line shutdown one day at a time. Many are biking to work and school, some for the first time – and sharing their thoughts and concerns from the bike lane on social media and local news. In Boston, the mayor even joined cyclists on the road and Tweeted about riding conditions.
It’s nice to see cyclists share information to help each other make the ride safely. A few concerns mentioned: dooring, trucks parking in the bike lane and the need for more protected bike lanes in the Boston area.
A Few Safety Reminders for Driving Near Cyclists in Boston During the Orange Line Shutdown
Right now, drivers should expect to see more cyclists on the road in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Malden and other areas. This is an unprecedented shutdown for Boston’s 125-year-old subway line. Starting on August 19, the MBTA closed the Orange Line from Oak Grove to Forest Hills for 30 days to address a maintenance backlog and make planned construction improvements. According to NBC Boston, this line covers 20 stops over 11 miles, from Malden to Jamaica Plain.
Making this more difficult, the MBTA also closed part of the Green Line, between Union Square and Government Center, starting August 22. This closure is to perform final phase construction work required to open the Medford branch this Fall.
Leave the Bicycle Lane for Cyclists. If you drive into Boston, remember to leave the bicycle lane for cyclists. Never stop and park in the bike lane. When drivers park in the bike lane, cyclists have to make a dangerous choice: they can try to swerve around your vehicle into the traffic lane or move onto the sidewalk. In both cases, they are very likely to crash, even the most experienced cyclists.
Open Your Car Door Safely. Drivers can seriously injure cyclists by opening their door at the wrong time. This was the sad story last month in Somerville, when a driver opened his SUV door into a 72-year-old Somerville cyclist on Broadway, near Teele Square. The victim died the next day, according to news reports. The Middlesex District Attorney’s office is now investigating the fatal bicycle crash.
You can make a point of looking for cyclists by learning the Dutch Reach, a topic we recently discussed in another blog. This approach encourages you to park, then check your mirrors and reach across your body so you have to look across traffic before you open your door.
Drive Safely Through Intersections. Travel slowly and give cyclists extra room, especially when turning at intersections. Remember, a cyclist may have to move out of the bike lane and into the traffic lane to protect themselves. They are allowed to do so under Massachusetts law and they may not have time to use hand signals.
Many bicycle accidents happen at intersections. When you stop at intersections, check your mirrors for cyclists approaching from behind you. Let cyclists turn first so you know they have cleared the intersection safely.
Cycling Safety Resources for the Orange Line Shutdown in Boston
If you are riding, we encourage you to regularly check these safety resources throughout the Orange Line shutdown:
Guide to Biking in the Boston Area During the Orange Line Closure, Mass.gov
This web page offers safety information and resources, including information about free Blue Bike passes.
Boston Cyclists Union
The Boston Cyclists Union is providing cyclists with updates on the Orange Line shutdown, including information on bike repair, Blue Bikes and how you can join a bike convoy to work.
Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck, Boston Personal Injury Lawyers
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we fight for justice for those who have been seriously injured or killed by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Breakstone, White & Gluck is located at 2 Center Plaza, across from Boston City Hall and Government Center. Our attorneys specialize in representing cyclists, pedestrians and others injured due to negligent driving, and other types of personal injury claims.
Breakstone, White & Gluck has supported local cycling clubs in the Boston area for more than 20 years. For the past 10 years, we have also worked to promote safety in the Boston area by donating children’s bicycle helmets. With this year’s donations, we have now donated over 36,000 helmets to children through our Project KidSafe campaign in partnership with local police departments, organizations, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, MassBike and other partners.
Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck.