What to Know About Cycling in Boston

In Boston, more people are cycling than ever before. If you are a cyclist, enjoy yourself. From Faneuil Hall Marketplace to South Station to the waterfront, Boston is a fun city to explore. City officials have encouraged riders, adding over 40 miles of bike lanes and shared lane markings in recent years.

Be prepared. Taking the time to learn where the city offers bike lanes, the most dangerous intersections and your responsibilities as a cyclist can help you make better decisions and avoid bicycle accidents.

Boston Bicycling Map

The Boston Bikes Map produced by the City of Boston and its Boston Bikes initiative shows the degree of difficulty in riding areas, throughout the city, where bike lanes are offered and identifies the most dangerous intersections for cycling accidents. The bike map covers the full city, including areas such as Downtown Crossing, Roxbury, Allston, Jamaica Plain, the North End and South Station.

Massachusetts Bicycling Laws

As a cyclist, you are required to travel on the road. The only exception is outside some business districts unless signs prohibit it. This is one of the most important rules, but there are others you should learn to travel safely. Read the Facts About Cycling in Massachusetts.

Most Dangerous Intersections

Find out on the Boston Bikes map where the most dangerous intersections are and if possible, plan your travel to avoid them. A couple areas to note are Massachusetts and Commonwealth avenues and the Packard’s Corner area, near Commonwealth and Brighton avenues.

Differences Between Bike Lanes, Shared Lanes and Areas With No Lanes

Boston offers many cycling options. Some, such as the HarborWalk in South Boston, are strictly recreational and cyclists only have to share the travel lane with pedestrians. Other areas, such as Dudley Square in Roxbury, have shared lanes for bicyclists and motorists.

Others such as Beacon Avenue have dedicated bike lanes. But be aware that many areas do not offer any bike lanes. On these, bicyclists should travel on the side of the road if possible. But they are also allowed to travel in the center of the lane, up to two abreast. See this city bike traveling map.

New Balance Hubway

This is a bike-share program launched in Boston in the summer of 2011. Users can sign up for annual memberships or casual memberships. Annual members pay $85 per year and casual members pay $12 for 3 days or $5 for 24 hours. The first half-hour is free for members, with charges accruing beyond that. Kiosks are located at approximately 60 stations throughout the city, in areas such as Government Center, South Station and Ruggles Station. Click for information on Hubway and the Station Map.

Bike Helmets

Bicycle helmets are the most effective way to prevent a head injury or brain injury in a bicycle accident. The City of Boston reports 72 percent of its cyclists wear helmets, but it is actively trying to increase this number. The city has arranged for a number of local retailers to offer helmets at a discounted price of $7.99 as part of the Hubway program. See the full list.

Bike Parking

The law says you can park your bike anywhere it does not disrupt vehicle or pedestrian traffic. The City of Boston has also installed over 1,500 bike parking spaces over the past three years. You can find a bike rack before you make your trip by visiting this Boston Bike Parking map.

Bike Accidents

The law requires you to report any bicycle accident resulting in $100 or more in damage to police. If injuries are serious, you should visit an emergency room.

Bike Accident Insurance

Many cyclists do not know they can purchase protection for bike accident injuries and financial losses through their car insurance policy. The coverages are often affordable and are worth asking your agent about. Click to read What Every Massachusetts Bicyclist Needs to Know About Car Insurance.


The Boston bike accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck sponsor bicycle clubs and advocacy groups throughout Massachusetts. We promote safety and bike accident prevention through education. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. Contact us for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1233 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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