Monday, January 26, 2009

Miscellaneous Notes

"Once-a-Year Meg" sends along an update on the new Bicycle Safety bill signed into law by Governor Patrick this month. The quite comprehensive law can be read in the comments of the blog. Included in the new law: dooring. (It's a verb!)

Lynda was featured in the Providence Journal online over the weekend. Our brevet queen participated in a Women's Wilderness Weekend in Rhode Island. Check out the video! Lynda, we always knew you were wild.


Email from Meg said...

What the New Bicycle Law Means for You: A Practical Guide

Yes, it's true: the Bicyclist Safety Bill is law after 8 years and 4 legislative sessions -- perseverance and grassroots support paid off in the end! MassBike played a central role throughout the history of the bill, from drafting the language, to lobbying for its passage, to the successful 2006 effort that ended in a veto, and now to a law! MassBike thanks our many supporters in the House and Senate for their persistence, and thanks Governor Patrick for recognizing that this law will help make Massachusetts a healthier, greener, more sustainable state.
This is a great victory for cyclists, and it was a true team effort, ranging from MassBike to legislators to you, our members and supporters. Without all your calls, emails, and letters to legislators and governors over the years, this could not have happened. You let the politicians know that bicyclist safety is an important issue, and they heard the message! So thanks to all of you.

Among the many changes the new law makes, it adds police training on bicycle law and dangerous behavior by bicyclists and motorists; explains how a motorist should safely pass a bicycle; explains how a motorist should safely make a turn in front of a bicycle; makes "dooring" (opening a car door into the path of a bicycle or other vehicle) subject to ticket and fine; permits bicyclists to ride two abreast when it does not impede cars from passing; and adds legal protections for bicyclists who choose to ride to the right of other traffic.

Changes for Bicyclists

1. Safer Signaling : Bicyclists were already required to use hand signals when stopping or turning, but now it is clear that you are not required to signal when you need both hands on the handlebars, such as when operating the brakes, shifters, or when steering.

2. Riding Two Abreast Permitted : Bicyclists are no longer restricted to riding single file at all times. You can now ride two abreast (two bicycles, side-by-side), except that you still have to help faster vehicles to pass. So stay in single file when cars need to get by! On multi-lane roads, you can ride two abr
east, but all the cyclists in your group must stay in one lane (which will usually be the right-hand lane unless you are making a left turn).
Changes for Motorists

3. Don't "Door" Bicyclists : Motorists (and their passengers) can now be ticketed and fined up to $100 for opening car or truck doors into the path of any other traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians. "Dooring" is a frequent cause of bicycle crashes and bicyclist injuries, and while motorists could already be sued in civil court or charged in criminal court under certain circumstances, they could not previously be ticketed and fined on the spot by a police officer.

4. Don't Cut Off Bicyclists After Passing : Motorists used to be required only to stay a safe distance to the left of a bicyclist (or any other vehicle) when passing; now, motorists are also prohibited from returning to the right until safely clear of the bicyclist.

5. Don't Squeeze Bicyclists in Narrow Lanes : If the lane is too narrow for a motorist to pass a bicycle (or any other vehicle) at a safe distance while staying in the lane, the motorist must use another lane to pass, or, if that is also unsafe, the motorist must wait until it is safe to pass.

6. Don't "Right-Hook" Bicyclists : A "right-hook" is when a motorist makes an abrupt right turn too close to a bicyclist, causing the cyclist to crash or make an emergency maneuver to avoid crashing. Motorists are now pro
hibited from making abrupt right turns at intersections and driveways after passing a cyclist.

7. Yield to All Bicycles Before Turning Left : Motorists are already required to yield to oncoming vehicles (including bicycles) before turning left. The law now expressly includes yielding to bicyclists riding to the right of other traffic (e.g., on the shoulder), where they are legally permitted but may be more difficult for motorists to see.

8. Motorists Liable for Hitting Bicyclists Riding to the Right : Bicycles, unlike other vehicles, are permitted to ride to the right of other traffic (e.g., on the shoulder), and motorists are not permitted to use this fact as a legal defense for causing a crash with a bicyclist.

Changes for Bicycle Rental Businesses

9. Helmet Availability : Bicycle rental businesses are now required to make helmets available to renters. The renters can still choose not to wear a helmet (except for children 16 and under who must wear helmets in Massachusetts), as long as a helmet is available if they want one.
Police Training and Enforcement

10. Police Training : Police recruits are now required to receive training on the bicycle-related laws, bicyclist injuries, dangerous behavior by bicyclists, motorists actions that cause bicycle crashes, and motorists intentionally endangering bicyclists. The training is optional for in-service training of experienced officers. MassBike has developed a police training curriculum, which w
ill be revised to reflect the new law, and we will work with the police to determine how to proceed with the training.

11. Enforcement : Under the old law, each city or town that wanted to write tickets to bicyclists for violating traffic laws had to create its own procedure, unlike the procedure for ticketing motorists, which is the same throughout the state. Very few communities implemented this cumbersome separate process. The new law eliminates the separate procedure for bicyclists, and intends that the existing procedure for motor vehicles be used for bicyclists as well. MassBike will work with the state to determine how to proceed with enforcement.
Other Changes

12. Bicycle Registration Repealed : The bicycle registration law permitted any city or town to require residents to register their bicycles, to require bicycle rental businesses to register their bicycle fleets, and to require bicycle shops to file reports identifying the purchaser of every bicycle. The registration law was not being used or enforced anywhere in the state.

13. Safety Standard for Helmets : The acceptable standard for bicycle helmets is changed to refer to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Specific changes to the Massachusetts General Laws required by the new law:

Creates Chapter 6, Section 116D, requiring police training on bicycle law. Repeals Chapter 85, Section 11A, regarding bicycle re

Amends Chapter 85, Section 11B, regarding hand signaling and riding two abreast.

Replaces Chapter 85, Section 11C, enabling enforcement of bicycle law.

Amends Chapter 85, Section 11D, requiring bicycle renters to provide helmets.

Amends Chapter 89, Section 2, regarding safe passing.

Amends Chapter 90, Section 14, regarding turning in front of bicycles and dooring.

Disclaimer: This is not a legal opinion, but is provided for informational purposes only. If you have legal questions about this law, please consult an attorney.

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Tam Cronin said...


Lynda said...

It was a stir-fry. That part of the footage was par-cooking the carrots and potatoes. Then we sauteed onions, zucchini, summer squash and shelf-stable camping chicken (it was pretty good! garlic-herb chicken breasts). We had a third burner going, with a side of cheesy broccoli (another camp food in a bag item).

It was a wonderful weekend! Along with the outdoor cooking session, I also took a gps trail navigation class and snowshoeing/animal tracking.

All of you ladies are more than welcome to attend! If outdoors is not your cup o tea, there are plenty of arts and crafts going on, some writing classes, yoga, dance, etc. There's also entertainment on Saturday night, this time it was a West-African drumming group. Everyone learned some traditional dances and we danced and had loads of fun!

log onto for more info.

I am going in May and maybe October.

ccm said...

Always knew you ARE a WILD Women!!!!

ATB :)