With National Bike Safety Month and Bay State Bike Week taking place in May, the Cambridge Police have a number of events, initiatives and materials planned to increase the safety of all people who walk, cycle or drive.
Officers and City employees will be stationed at highly trafficked areas in the city and will provide giveaways, fliers with bike safety tips and address any questions or concerns at the following areas.
|Monday, May 11||7-9am||Central Square*|
|Tuesday, May 12||7-9am||Alewife T Station*|
|Wednesday, May 13||7-9am||Harvard Square*|
|Thursday, May 14||7-9am||Kendall Square*|
*Free breakfast, as available, generously provided by Charles River TMA
On-Bike Training & Bike Rides
There are a number of bike rides and training-related activities taking place in May that the Cambridge Police will be involved with, all of which residents are highly encouraged to participate in:
- The MA Walk & Bike to School Day is taking place Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00am at the Vassal Lane Upper School.
- There will be bike tune-ups and games on Wednesday, May 12 at the Cambridge Public Library, which is located at 449 Broadway, from 12-2pm.
- CPD, Community Development Department (CDD) and the City of Cambridge will be taking part in Bike Tours of Cambridge on Saturday, May 16 at 10am. Ride details are available here.
- A free on-bike training course, which is geared for new bike riders and covers the basics of riding a bike, will take place at Danehy Park on Saturday, May 16 from 2-6pm. The training is sponsored by CDD and jointly instructed by the Cambridge Police and Mass Bike. Interested participants must RSVP with firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A Healthy Aging Dinner & Focus Group on Wednesday, May 20 from 6-8pm that will focus on the conversation about barriers to bicycling for people ages 50+. Interested participants must RSVP with email@example.com.
- CPD, CDD and many in the City of Cambridge will be participating in the Walk/Ride Day Corporate Challenge Outreach Event on Friday, May 29 from 7:30-10am.
Be sure to view a complete list of events coordinated by the Community Development Department on their website.
With the warmer weather, the Cambridge Police Department once again has a full staff of bicycle patrol officers riding the city streets. These officers not only help provide residents with a greater sense of safety around the city, but they will also be promoting safe driving, riding and walking, as well as enforcing traffic laws in the Commonwealth. One area of emphasis will be keeping bicycle lanes clear from illegally parked vehicles. Cambridge Police will also aggressively seek and look to mitigate bicycle theft.
Thanks to a Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program Grant funded by Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Cambridge Police are collaborating with a number of community and regional partners to reduce overall crashes and injuries in the City through enhanced enforcement efforts now through September 2015.
Electronic Sign Boards
The Cambridge Police are soliciting bicycle safety-related tips and messages on Twitter and Facebook for the City’s electronic sign boards, which will be stationed in Inman Square, Central Square and other areas throughout May. CPD encourages residents to submit their suggestions in the comment field on Facebook. Each board can feature up to 18 characters at a time (36 with two rotations).
In addition to the initiatives previously mentioned, the Cambridge Police will be leveraging their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels to educate bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians about the rules of the road, as well as offer theft prevention tips. The Department is also currently working on a series of Public Service Announcements in conjunction with the City’s Bicycle Committee (CBC) to provide a deeper understanding of riding, driving and walking in Cambridge from a bicyclist’s perspective.
content taken from Cambridge Police Dept. press release
I can’t let Bike Month go by without mentioning a thing or two about some of the realities of the emerging bicycling infrastructure that is (unfortunately) favored by some individuals working for the City of Cambridge.
Perhaps the most common problem I see are bike lanes painted on streets in such a way that right-turning motor vehicles are encouraged to turn across the bike lane at intersections. This is common along Massachusetts Avenue westbound from MIT heading toward Central Square, and I see near-misses daily. In those locations it would be much safer without the bike lane or with the lane reconfigured so that right-turning vehicles would be directed to move as far right as possible prior to turning – as required by state law. Cyclists being "right hooked" by turning vehicles is probably the most common cause of crashes.
Another reality that I witness every day is the dysfunction of the Vassar Street "cycle track". This sidewalk-based bike facility was constructed in such a way that delivery vehicles, taxis, and other vehicles have no other option than to drive up onto the sidewalk (and the cycle track) in order to do what they need to do. I don’t fault the drivers in any way since there really is no other practical option. I’m entertained when I see official City photos of this facility showing nothing but right-way cyclists riding along an unobstructed path. The everyday reality is that cyclists routinely ride wrong-way on this track and pedestrians generally make no distinction between the track and the rest of the sidewalk. It’s like an obstacle course of pedestrians, parked vehicles, and turning vehicles and an accident waiting to happen. The better option is to ride in the roadway, but the right-of-way has been narrowed to the point where you generally have to "take the lane" to ensure your safety. Crossing Vassar is easily the riskiest part of my daily commute.
If I could have one wish granted it would be that City officials seriously reevaluate some of their decisions regarding bicycling infrastructure. – Robert Winters