Driver of Japanese station wagon with newly cracked windshield sought for bicyclist hit and run in Cambridge

Ezra Finney reports on an incident around 10:10 p.m. yesterday in Cambridge:

I was riding south on Prospect Street in Cambridge with a green light at Harvard Street. There was a car in the oncoming lane with its left turn signal on. I have a bright white flashing front light on my bike, and clearly had the right of way, so I continued across the intersection. The car turned in front of me, and though I braked I couldn't stop before going over the hood and hitting the windshield with enough force to break it. The middle aged woman with short hair behind the wheel appeared to be on her iPhone at the time. I yelled at her to pull over, but she drove off down Harvard Street towards Harvard Square.

As I went to follow her, a witness insisted he had the license plate number. Unfortunately, when the police ran the number he had, it was not correct. Also, I didn't get a great look at the car, and am not sure of the make, or even whether it was silver or grayish blue...

but I’m quite sure it was a station wagon of a Japanese make (Subaru or Honda?) and definitely had a smashed up windshield as of this morning. I am hoping someone will spot this car and its negligent driver, and alert Cambridge PD and/or me.

Finney adds:

Luckily, I escaped with a few cuts and bruises and a bloody shirt. An ambulance came by but they cleared me.

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Comments

japanese car

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blame it on the japanese, as if the car origin was important. why not say white middle aged lady mowed over an equally aggressive white person on bike who does not understand that intersections, while warranting right of way, are caution areas where everyone should slow down.

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You don't know much about cars, do you?

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He wasn't blaming anything on the Japanese. He was pointing out what he could of the type of car it was, to possibly aid in its identification. And, yes, Japanese station wagons look different from American or German ones.

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Reading skills?

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Nobody's blaming Japanese cars. Nobody's blaming station wagons. Nobody's blaming women.

They do appear to be looking for a specific woman driving a specific station wagon of a specific Japanese make.

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@johns What's your point

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@johns What's your point about the "equally agressive white person on bike"? Don't tell me that you slow down when driving your car expecting to yield to left turning vehicles. I won't believe you! It's important that all drivers, bicyclists included, pay attention and follow the rules of the road. Operators of left turning vehicles need to yield to ALL traffic, including bicycle. Don't divert blame to the cyclist. It's the fault of the other operator.

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This Is Why I Ride My Bike On The Sidewalk ...

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... not everywhere, but on some streets where I just don't feel safe amidst motor vehicular traffic. I'd rather slow down and creep along behind pedestrians, than get doored or run down by an inattentive driver.

There's a tremendous need and also a demand for safe bikeways. The sooner the cities and state make this a priority over accommodating cars, the Commonwealth will become a much better place.

I'm glad to hear that Ezra wasn't seriously injured; having had a similar experience not too long ago myself, I know that it can be very unsettling. You can never, ever, ever assume someone driving a car is paying any attention to bicycles (or pedestrians).

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Bicycling on the sidewalk is

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Bicycling on the sidewalk is illegal in certain areas like business districts, and the idea that we shouldn't assume drivers pay are paying attention is blaming the victim, bicycles are allowed to drive in the road and drivers should pay attention or be made to pay the consequences. Unfortunately in the US, drivers are almost always let off the hook, sometimes, as in the case of the driver in Kenmore that murdered a cyclist, by the police even though it was a hit and run.

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To ride safely on a sidewalk,

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To ride safely on a sidewalk, and avoid accidents just like this one, you have to ride so slowly at intersections, driveways, and buildings that you might as well forget the bike, and walk instead.

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No, That's Not True

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I don't mind riding really slow through certain areas, because then I have my bike with me when I get to a more "bikeable" area.

In other words; I can bike as slow as I can walk, but I can't walk as fast as I can bike.

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Young people today, can't

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Young people today, can't identify a vehicle model but can determine the brand of smartphone negligent drivers are using,

Riding on the sidewalk is generally more dangerous than riding with traffic. You still have to cross intersections, but drivers are even less likely to notice you when you are not on the road.

I'm also glad Ezra is mostly alright and wasn't seriously injured.

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Umm

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the iPhone was easily recognized because their head went through the windshield and they were looking right at it. The car model was not easily recognized because they were on the hood of it with their head in the windshield, and then on the ground as the car sped off. Not really anything to do with "young people today."

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iPhone has become the commonly accepted term

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for any smartphone, regardless of actual operating system used or maker of the phone. Just like all video recorders in the late 1970s/early 1980s were referred to as "BetaMax", even though most of them were actually VHS format and were not made by Sony.

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Which is a good thing.

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Which is a good thing. Obsessive American car culture wasn't all it was cracked up to be in the first place. I never gave a shit about who has what car growing up so I never became one of those people who can identify a make and model with a quick glance. In most instances, it simply doesn't matter.

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There is absolutely a need

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There is absolutely a need and demand for safe bikeways and educated drivers/cyclists/pedestrians/officers. Boston is further along than alot of other cities but still has more to go, clearly.

However - if you are on the sidewalk, you should be off your bike. It's absolutely logical to choose the sidewalk over riding in unsafe or uncertain areas (I now live in Mexico City and often do that), but biker etiquette (and the law) is to dismount and walk your bike until you get to a point where you're comfortable riding in the street again. Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

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That Is Essentially What I Do - But Is It Technically A Bicycle?

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dismount and walk your bike

My bikes have no seats, so I'm always "dismounted". Whenever there are pedestrians in the vicinity, I keep one foot dragging on the sidewalk, so I can stop instantly and/or switch off and on to walking. (which is very easy when there's no seat in the way!)

I realize my technique might not be appropriate for everyone; some bikers can't ride a bike without a seat; others would try to go too fast and/or not pay enough attention to pedestrians. It requires a lot of patience and courtesy towards others, but it's a solution that works for me.

I'm much more confident that I can avoid annoying any pedestrians, than I am that cars will avoid hitting me when I ride in the street. I don't want to endanger anyone, myself included! I have a right to safe travel, and where the city/state fails to provide safe streets or bikeways, I feel forced to use the sidewalk.

If a two-wheeled vehicle has no seat, is it technically a bicycle? For example, scooters have two wheels and handlebars, and they're ridden on sidewalks in very much the same manner as my seatless "bikes". A much bigger threat to pedestrians on sidewalks are Segways! (which also have two wheels, handlebars, and no seat)

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Matching Pedestrian Speeds is the Key

On the few occasions where I will hop a curb (or, most recently, where I had to in a construction zone) I often stay mounted but travel no faster than pedestrians do.

That is because I take up a lot less room if I am astride the bike and impede oncoming pedestrians far less than if I were walking the bike. I also have the skills to ride steadily at very low speed (or even stop and stay up).

Matching speed is important, as is not passing people just because you can. Cyclists are guests on the sidewalk.

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I Completely Agree, SwirlyGrrl ...

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Cyclists are guests on the sidewalk.

... so I try very hard not to wear out my welcome.

This means watching out for each and every pedestrian (and their dogs), being prepared for people to dart out of doorways without looking, and stopping completely when necessary to yield a narrow section of sidewalk to someone walking the other way.

I've never encountered a pedestrian who seemed irritated by me on my bike. Quite the contrary; when people see I've stopped specifically to make way for them, they often graciously wave me to go on instead (which, of course, I thank them for doing).

The other day when coasting down Cambridge Street, I came up alongside a sight impaired pedestrian, but there was some utility construction work obstructing the sidewalk just ahead. It was very easy to stop and tell the pedestrian about the obstacle, and then slide along with her until she was safely past it. She was grateful for the assistance, but it was just a small way of paying back, for the privilege of sharing the sidewalk.

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Someone needs to tell the

Someone needs to tell the assholes who jog on the sidewalk with (and without) battle strollers with headphones in about matching pedestrian speed.

Are You Serious?

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Biking in the sidewalk is one of the biggest pet peeves of most decent human beings in the city. You should not be riding on the sidewalk unless you just showed up from some foreign country and no one included it in your Welcome To Boston packet. I'm going to steal your bike.

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I'm More Peeved At Drivers Who Run Down Pedestrians And Cyclists

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... causing needless injury and death, because they were too preoccupied to consider the safety of others in a public street.

I said I don't always bike on the sidewalk, but there are places where I feel forced to use it because the street is simply too dangerous. I'm grateful to be alive; I don't wish to die! There have been several tragic deaths in just the past couple of years where bicyclists were killed by drivers. How many pedestrians were killed by bicyclists during that same time?

If you don't want people to ever bike on the sidewalk, then you need to speak up and lobby for safe bicycle pathways everywhere, even where it means fewer lanes for motor vehicles! That is the future for modern, vibrant communities.

BTW - People don't often steal my bikes because they're old and rusted and have no seat. If you want it that badly, you may have it (if you can ride it). I have others in my fleet ready to go.

Put an alert out to local glass shops

This is a hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident. They might be willing to help if such a vehicle comes to them for repair.

Also, Elmer? I ride near here frequently and there are often better routes than Prospect Street to avoid these awful intersections and more awful drivers in the area. I don't know the cyclist's route, but one example would be Inman, to a short stretch of Mass Ave by the Post Office to whatever that street is there by the 7-11 or to a right turn on Prospect and on.

Riding on the sidewalk won't protect you from idiot drivers like this anyway ... you could have the walkiest walk light ever at the intersection and she would still illegally turn, run you down, and make excuses for her awful driving and leaving the scene.

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Inman Street

..is your friend over there. http://goo.gl/maps/6YvTp

Someone is actually setting up bike friendly route stuff on google maps now and Inman is the choice between Prospect and Harvard Square in that area.

And it feeds to Pleasant, the street between the PO and 7/11.

Columbia and Windsor Street are likely options between Prospect and MIT.

The mind trap is thinking you need to go head to head with motorists when it's really survival, evasion and escape.

Walking down Prospect sux. It is the traffic windpipe of the area.

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Exactly!

The mind trap is thinking you need to go head to head with motorists when it's really survival, evasion and escape.

I have found that taking even smaller roadways can be far more useful than taking major routes - if only because road conditions limiting car speed to 20mph or less means evasion and escape from traffic on a vehicle that is narrow and doesn't go that fast.

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That's a nice map!

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That's a nice map!

Windsor is kind of narrow in parts, it makes me nervous when people double park (mostly the stretch between Broadway and Main Street) and cyclists and drivers have to swerve around. That wouldn't really affect a commute to MIT though I suppose.

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In many ways, a key solution

.is a more coherent basis to provide cyclists with this kind of route information. It's great to see it as a new Google Maps feature.

I used those side streets in the 80s when I pedaled. They are more serene and their constriction makes motorists pay more attention.

Here's a cool mnemonic route map I found on the Watertown Greenway

https://flic.kr/p/nEGHKX

The usual suspect bike advocacy groups like Mass Bike have crappy outmoded websites as the various bike advocates are slow to use all the killer potential in the post Cascading Style Sheet world.

Some are even hung up on some shingle thing they must have laboriously hand coded so it's personal. The older, early adopter web types around here don't always get that clinging to clunky design isn't doing their users any favors.

I'm making it a priority to scout routes for my you tube nonsense because building out capacity with alternate routes is essential and getting stuff up that people can review helps lay a groundwork for getting more public support.

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No, My Route Is From Oak Island To MIT

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So, it's either down North Shore Road or Revere Beach Boulevard to Wonderland. Sidewalks are the only safe option for that leg of the trip.

From Bowdoin to MIT, I first have to get down Cambridge Street. There's a lot of traffic, with much of it turning off and on to the cross streets to the right. If I'm walking down Cambridge Street, it's much better to cross to the far side of the street where there are very few conflict intersections with cars. So, for the same reason, I'd rather creep down that side of Cambridge Street on my bike than ride with traffic on the other side.

After going around the far side of Charles Circle via the sidewalks, there's that wonderful buffered bike lane across the Longfellow Bridge; I love it!

Then, rather than bike amidst the cars and busses of Kendall Square, I loop under the Longfellow Bridge (through the "Trophy Room"), and down the sidewalk on Memorial Drive.

Coming back, I'll sometimes use the Red Line from Kendall to Charles, and if I'm feeling really brave, I might bike some of the way up to Bowdoin in Cambridge Street, rather than the sidewalk. Either way; like I said above; you can never, ever, ever assume someone driving a car is paying any attention to bicycles (or pedestrians).

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That intersection

..is awful.

I nearly got flattened by a similar critter walking across Harvard st on the Whole Fools side at the exact same spot.

The Whole is a major SUV ditz maven cluster zone and some have extreme difficulty tearing themselves away from the hyperanxiety a smart phone can induce if you imagine Prince Charming or Some Big Score is fixin to burst through the ether ..At Any Second!!!!

The fixed stare at the tiny 5 inch screen is the tip off but it isn't always easy to spot when they are in one of their armored fighting vehicles.

Another harrowing element of that stretch is the WF tractor trailer delivery , usually in the middle of morning rush hour, that utterly chokes Prospect while the truck fuck tries to shoehorn his motorized heffalump into the lot with inept assists from a few WF stooges.

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Agreed, it's terrible

But unlike other horrible intersections in Boston, this one isn't because of a strange configuration or anything except people being idiots. I was picking up a friend who lives on Prospect Street a couple of months ago and saw a woman with a double stroller walking across that intersection almost get hit by someone flooring it to beat an oncoming car and make a left.

Sometimes these smaller streets lull drivers and pedestrians alike into a false sense of safety. I'd rather loop Government Center, Beacon Hill and the Financial District at 5:05 on a work day than navigate through the residential areas around Cambridgeport and Central Square. And the absolute worst thing I've ever seen when driving was a woman in Newton who hit a guy in an electric wheelchair when he was in the middle of the crosswalk *and* had a WALK signal because she was on her cell phone and swung a right without looking.

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Whole Fools

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I would need several arms to count the number of times I have been almost flattened when passing the parking lot entrance to both the Whole Foods on Prospect Street in Cambridge, and the one on Washington Street in Brighton/Brookline as well.

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It's like they

... are in some strange Diane Ackerman induced sensory immersion that doesn't readily dissipate until they've driven a few blocks.

You'll see them gazing ecstatic at plums or whatever as if the heavens are about to open with a cascade of glistening sensory epiphany ambrosia.

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Self-Congratulatory

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It's probably because there are no MUTCD compliant signs indicating there are cyclists riding by the parking lot entrances.
Ha Ha! see what I did there?

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"I didn't see the cyclist officer!"

The middle aged woman with short hair behind the wheel appeared to be on her iPhone at the time.

How many people need to be injured/killed before we ban cell phone usage in cars?

I've had a few close calls the past few weeks with drivers that can't be bothered with paying attention to other road users. Almost got hit last night walking through Brighton Center by some bro that was turning left over the crosswalk, looked at me, looked down at the phone, kept driving and just sort of slowed down almost to a not quite complete stop a few feet from me. All the while I'm like a deer in headlights wondering which direction I needed to jump.

But I'm sure Markky will be able to relate to this poor drivers need to drive fast or whatever, maybe the bump outs on the road caused this. Let the excuses fly.

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bike horn

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I'm one of those rare bikers who doesn't like to filter up at lights in shared lanes - this morning I was stuck behind someone fiddling on their phone while the light was green - had the person behind me blaring their horn (drivers, it's really f-ing loud for those of us not in protective metal and glass boxes), I was yelling and waving and futilely dinging my bell... I'm contemplating getting one of those airhorns for my bike just for drivers who aren't paying attention.

I sometimes fantasize about riding along side someone's open window and either smacking that phone out of their hands or blaring one of those boat horns in their faces... maybe slapping a huge sticker on their car that says "I TEXT AND DRIVE!"

IMO - those google self-driving cars can't come soon enough.

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So?

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(drivers, it's really f-ing loud for those of us not in protective metal and glass boxes),

Which is precisely the point of a horn - to get people's attention. And the driver was correctly using it in this situation.

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Agree that

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"laying on the horn" is unneceesary and just obnoxious. But the fact there may be a cyclist within earshot is irrlevant and shouldn't factor into a person's decision to honk the horn in the first place.

!Horns

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The fact that there is ANYONE within earshot should factor into that decision. Horns should only be used as emergency warning devices in only the most dire of circumstances, not because one is impatient or my all time favorite, too lazy to get out of the car and ring the doorbell.

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I live right there ...

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I live a couple blocks in on Harvard st and bike through that intersection routinely. Never had a problem with it but a couple years ago I did have a massive turning SUV try to run me down while I was crossing on foot (with a walk sign). I had to sprint across since he didn't slow down at all. Fortunately, I got his attention by slinging a 25' contractor's tapemeasure at his driver side window as he sped off. It hit but didn't break the window, sadly. I never did find the tapemeasure again; someone probably found it in their bushes months later.

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I'm seriously contemplating

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I'm seriously contemplating rotten food around with me to throw at drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

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fruit?

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I used to contemplate water balloons filled with red paint

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90%

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Technically that is what occurred when the OP went into the windshield.

*Actually that % is a false but commonly repeated amount, it's actually around 60%.

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Driving manuals

Many years back, I grabbed a bunch at the RMV, marked the relevant page, and distributed them to those who demonstrated a need.

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Fashion

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Those baggy pants don't go with that top at all!

The city of Cambridge

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The city of Cambridge recently made this area worse by adding turning lanes on Broadway on both sides of Prospect, encouraging drivers to speed up and swerve as they get to intersections, instead of slow down and pay attention as they should. Cambridge seems to be on a mission to make what was a bike and walk friendly area more car centric for some reason, perhaps as Boston and Somerville have improved for pedestrians and bicyclists they want to distinguish Cambridge as the car centric alternative?

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I don't mind the new turn

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I don't mind the new turn lanes on Broadway.

Before, the double-yellow was in the center of the road. Drivers waiting to turn left would be in the regular travel lane, and other drivers going straight would pass them on the right in the parking lane. That didn't leave a lot of room for bikes. http://goo.gl/maps/tlISe

Now, the double yellow is offset to the left of center on each approach. There's a left turn lane in the center of the road, plus a through lane, plus a dashed bike lane. Just be sure to check for cars turning right, and move left as appropriate, so you don't get hooked!

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Jamaicaway question

Not trolling here, honest but is it legal to ride a bike on the J-way? I saw a guy negotiating the rotary at the south end of the Pond today heading inbound on the J-Way and wasn't sure if he was legal but foolhardy or a death-defying scofflaw.

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I don't know if it's legal

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I don't know if it's legal but even as a daily cyclist with a chip on my shoulder who will ride just about anywhere, I think people are insane and basically a-holes when I see them cycling on the road on the J-Way. Esp since there is a bike path right there. And since driving a car on there is already suicidal, never mind a bike.

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When I was riding,

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I never road in the J-Way, always on the bike paths. Way to dangerous then, even more dangerous now!

It is probably legal but suicidal, in my humble opinion.

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Avoid it when driving a car, too

That roadway isn't safe for any mode of travel! When there is low traffic, it becomes insane due to speeding. When there is high traffic, it is insane due to frequent lane changes and random driver behavior.

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Just FYI, News You Can Use,

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Just FYI, News You Can Use, the bike path on the J-way isn't too safe either. I had someone try to mug me off my bike by hiding in the bushes and throwing a big rock at my head. They hit my shoulder, I swerved but maintained control of my bike and got the hell out of there fast. If there had been two of them they would have been able to get me down. There are too many stretches of that path that are overgrown, obscured from view, and dark.

After that I made my nightly commute home from work a few miles longer over to South Huntington instead (where I got hit by a bus, but that's a story for another day).

Re actual point of this post, hit-and-runs are the worst. Even if a driver is in the right somehow (which they are not here), they lose that status immediately if they leave the scene.

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Agreed

I've ridden from Rosi to the Fenway/Longwood area a lot and once you are at the Pond, it's great. From Walter St. to the Centre/South rotary is fine, but between that rotary and the ponside rotary is terrible. I took to riding (wrong way!) up May St. and then it's just a short jog across to the bike path on the east side of the Pond. If you're going outbound, then it's ok to ride on the west side of Centre St. past the Xmas lights castle, but inbound is uniformly bad.

Legal

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I think they have to install signs if there's a justification for keeping bikes off the parkway. I don't ever recall seeing signs saying you can't bike on it.

That having been said, the behavior is fairly self-regulating.

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"Every person operating a

By on

"Every person operating a bicycle...shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted"

So yeah, it's legal.

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4000+ Cyclists . . .

use the Arborway from Parkman Drive through the rotary to the Arboretum every fall for the Hub on Wheels ride, with 99% of riders using the right lane of the road as opposed to the sidewalk--that's a lot of stupid riders! I agree that's is crazy to see cyclists on Soldiers Field Road (where it is technically also legal to ride), but, as someone else mentioned, there are certain areas, such as this one, where using the state road is pretty much the only way to get through.

I wouldn't necessarily call someone stupid just because they ride on a fast state road like Soldiers Field Road or the Jamaicaway--let's be honest--these aren't (typically) touristy Hubway users, these are usually in-my-own world racers-in-training making a statement on their $3000 Specialized bikes. I'm honestly less worried for them than for the Hubway person with no helmet riding the wrong way down Mass. Ave.

What does a large organized

By on

What does a large organized ride like Hub on Wheels have to do with everyday conditions?

I often ride on Fresh Pond Parkway through the rotaries. It's not that bad, especially outside rush hour when there isn't a traffic jam to get past.

I would call them stupid

. . .because riding your bike in traffic on the J-Way is stupid. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's advisable. That's the situation here. There are alternate routes - longer and less direct, maybe, but safer. If a cyclist values their limbs and the integrity of their skull, they would be smart to find one.

It's not just that the Jamaica Way is fast, and you certainly can't think that the riders that are careening down the J-Way with normal traffic on a Tuesday at 8:50 are racers in training. The J-Way is dangerous because it's windy, there's no shoulder and the lanes are very narrow.

The Hub on Wheels ride is a very different situation. Thousands of bikers have a lot more visibility and will slow down traffic to make for a much safer ride. I don't even know why you brought that into the conversation, actually. It's like saying someone should go ahead and run down Route 9 because hey, the Marathon does it once it a year!

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Not disagreeing with you

I'm just a huge semantics person and I hesitate at the terminology "stupid." Crazy, sure, but stupid implies someone should "know better," like something's actually wrong with doing it. I hear what you're saying, but you're ignoring common sense:

A) It's legal to do.
B) Other than the rare wayward hipster in JP, the only people I've ever seen do it were aforementioned racers, well in control of said $3000 bikes.
C) With proper lights and riding technique, it's only marginally less safe than any other riding. This is where I think the "stupid" part comes from: most people see it and immediately think, "Oh my GAAAWD, but the bike is going so much slower and there's a perfectly using bike path--why doesn't he/she just use that!" But, really, when's the last time you heard about a bike-motorized vehicle crash along the Jamaicaway or Storrow/SFR compared to the dozens along Mass. Ave., Comm. Ave., etc.

I used the Hub on Wheels example because, amongst the throng, is a large group of inexperienced riders--if they can manage to not get hit every year, surely Mr. Bike Racer knows what he's doing.

Lastly, c'mon, you're upsetting me--the Marathon doesn't touch Route 9, crosses over it once.

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I can beat the biking on J-way story

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Late last week, I was (driving) outbound on Rt. 9 in the right lane approaching Hammond Pond Parkway. There is a large truck in the right lane ascending the overpass very slowly. I signal, and change into the left lane.

100 ft in front of me is a guy on a bicycle in the middle of the lane (remember, we're in the left lane here). The guy continues to ride in the middle of the left lane until getting into the left turning lanes for Wegmans (a distance of at least a couple of hundred yards.

Now there's a man with a deathwish.

legal - but there's not a good way to get through there on bike

By on

the bike path ends at the south end of the pond and you have to ride on the street, btw... the only way to get through there is to ride on the rotary. there is a bike path, but it's only on the east side of the pond.

plus - the speed limit there is 25-30 - there are two lanes... most reasonably fit roadies can ride up to 20+ mph.

multi-lane rotaries are dangerous for bikes AND pedestrians, btw...

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Two birds one stone

Example of a place where it is appropriate to ride on the sidewalk:

Between the Pond and the Arbs.

They even took out the curbs there used to be at Prince and Parkman to make it easier.

right of way?

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This is some silly concept not at all applicable to Massholes. Just stand at any intersection and you'll see what I mean. Bigger and bolder goes first!
On a side note, if there were any real traffic enforcement for drivers and cyclists alike these kinds of accident would be greatly reduced.

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kinetic energy rule

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The defacto Massachusetts right of way law is known as the kinetic energy rule, although it can be shaded a bit by the state of the vehicle. i.e. scratches and dents induce a bit more fear

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Left cross crashes

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Ezra Finney's description indicates that the driver had no excuse. Ezra had a clear view of the car, and so the driver has to have had a clear view of him as well. Not only that, Ezra had a flashing headlight.

There are things ot keep in mind though to avoid this kind of crash (the left-cross crash):

Be in plain view, like Ezra. What you can't see can hurt you. It's best to wait in line with motor vehicles or, if possible, pass them on the left with plenty of clearance, rather than to pass them on the right (which could also get you a Right Hook. In case you can't get past a traffic jam without passing on the right, please see advice on how to do it safely, in Bicycling Street Smarts

In case a left cross happens anyway, it helps to have a good command of the quick stop and swerve, covered in chapters 5 and 6 of the same online tutorial.