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Is City Hall serious about cracking down on red-light-running bicyclists?

Mike Ball, himself an avid bicylist, ponders the ramifications of a City Hall statement that Hizzona Himself wants bicyclists to stop for red lights and wonders if the new enforcement will also involve going after signal-disregarding motorists as well:

Given the adversarial and disdainful attitude of many non-cyclists here, a well-handled education program should be amusing all around. To hear the anti-cyclist types tell it or read their comments on newspaper and other websites, every single cyclist is a crazed scofflaw who terrorizes the aged, toddlers and law-abiding motorists and pedestrians.

Yet, if the Mayor's release is right, a very overdue crackdown on red-light runners, crosswalk blockers, and those who don't yield to walkers or other vehicles (including bikes) should follow. Motorists, whose tickets for moving violations are considerably higher than $20 and can come with license suspensions and multi-year insurance surcharges, will be in for a much greater shock than cyclists.

Ed. car karma note: This morning, I was approaching the city's worst intersection, where Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard slam together, to get onto Gallivan from Morton, when I had to hit the brakes because some jerk on the other side blew through the stop sign and barreled onto Morton. This was followed almost immediately by the sound of a police siren and the sight of flashing blues as a cop waiting by the hardware store took off behind me after the miscreant.

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It doesn't work.

Why?

Because the assumptions are faulty. The central problem is that people - be they pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers - don't get that the laws apply to them. You can't go after cyclists while ignoring the scofflaw motorists, pedestrians behaving like blindered livestock, taxi drivers "owning" the road and bike lanes, etc. It simply makes no sense, because it doesn't solve the central problem.

People around here believe that it is a sacred and special right to ignore the laws because they are special, grown up, etc. and this has been completely aided and abetted by absent enforcement and scofflaw behavior by officials. Tackle that on all fronts. Since most pedestrians and cyclists do have licenses to drive, too, start requiring them all to show some basic rules knowledge of all modes to obtain that license. Ticket for jaywalking and make people go to pedestrian school like so many cities on this continent do. Ticket for "five through on red free with each green light" drivers. Nail light running cyclists at the same time. Crackdown on entitled behavior by people driving vehicles with blue plates.

Going after a few cyclists is a high profile feel good - but it won't solve any safety problem when cars hitting people is what kills.

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So how much are you willing to pay to hire the personnel to do all this enforcement? Do you think they have cops in boxes in a warehouse somewhere, just waiting to be let out?

When a cop sees a cyclist run a red light, they should be able to cite them - just like motor vehicles. "Unless you do everything, you can't do anything" is not a principle of law.

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... then we will talk. I have rarely seen a cop bother to do squat about a motorist blowing through a light.

Fair is fair.

Go stand out on Cambridge Street, at an intersectin right by a effin police station on a typical morning and see two or three light violations PER CYCLE, right in front of cops.

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I'll be honest, I don't see this. I've seen people blow through lights. Hell, once I came close (I swear to god it was a yellow), and got pulled over. But when people do it in front of cops, they generally get in trouble. Also, they generally do it on the light change, where it's an overlap with the first second or two of the red.

Meanwhile, probably 80-90% of the bicyclists I see approach a red light will blow through it, even mid-cycle. I have seen them pass cops who were waiting at the light to do this. I have NEVER seen a bicyclist pulled over.

I don't even think they should really get fined for it. I get it. I understand it. But maybe just a talking to? That'd be nice.

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Sit at Brigham circle for 2 changes of the light and watch at least a dozen drives plow right through, anywhere from 1-3 seconds after the light goes red. It's so bad you have to look both ways before starting out, and I've watched red-light-running drivers nearly get T-boned by the 39 bus so many times I've lost count. Because the intersection is so large, they're still crossing a second or two later, which means you could be staring at a green light for quite some time, start up, and get broadsided.

Also, many lights in Boston have NO delayed green, and the yellow time varies as well. Seems all the state highway ones do, and Cambridge signals seem to be the most carefully timed of anywhere. Boston is a total clownshow block to block.

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please spend 5 minutes at berkeley and tremont, or at any light on herald street.... it's ludicrous. Hire a cop to police the many trouble intersections in this city and I guarantee you his/her salary will be covered. Give me a radar, a badge, and a cruiser and I'll get you 1 or 2 grand in tickets a day, no problem. Shoot I'll be home before morning rush hour is over

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I agree on the enforcement. In municipalities where jaywalkers and scofflaw vehicle operators (motorized and otherwise) know the cops ticket and haul away repeat offenders, the behavior is different. Cops don't do it here, regardless of drivers' revisionist fantasies.

I even had my own amusing-yet-sad exchange with our police commissioner on this. After noting many cops breaking traffic laws, I complained. He sent a form letter, the gist of which is cops get retrained in a single class session each year on traffic laws and regulations. Therefore, wrote Commissioner Davis, they obey the laws.

We need an SNL sketch in the REALLY? category for that.

Sure, jaywalking has a $1 fine and bike tickets start (and realistically end) at $20. Moving violations for drivers tend to range in the $85 to $200 class. You can sort of see why a cop wouldn't want to mess in the $1 and $20 end...unless public safety was a real concern.

Until the cops get the orders to take the time and make the effort, it won't happen. Honestly, it's not like they're all detectives busting their butts on cold-case murder investigations. When too many of them drive while punching cellphone buttons and passing red lights without even bothering to signal much less slow, that's all drivers really need to know about what to expect for enforcement.

I bike, walk and drive, and occasionally take the T. I say enforce the law. The BPD could put in four or six months of effort and Boston would be a vastly safer and more pleasant town. Even Boston drivers/cyclists/pedestrians would get the message.

massmarrier, a.k.a. the actual Mike, accept no substitutes or anon sigs

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I think SwirlyGrrl nails it. The pathological behavior of motorists and pedestrians in this region is immense in its scope and deeply rooted.

As an example: Most Massachusetts towns have always insisted on using the "press button for WALK signal" method for pedestrians to cross streets at intersections. Yet growing up in this area (ca 70s-80s) I virtually never saw anyone under the age of retirement use those buttons ever. The rule, for anyone between the ages of 5 and 65, was always "Cross when and where you want, and look out for your own ass if you don't want to get flattened."

And things really haven't changed that much since then, the efforts of cities ike Cambridge notwithstanding. Many bicyclists seem to adopt a similar approach out of necessity, i.e., it gives them a much better chance of actually arriving at their destination, uninjured and in a timely fashion, than attempting to follow the inconsistent and unenforced traffic laws.

Unless the state and towns are willing to take the extraordinary steps that would be required to effect a massive change in attitude (on a scale with the anti-smoking campaigns over the last 20 years), it seems unreasonable to expect any significant changes in the behavior of cyclists, motorists or pedestrians in Massachusetts.

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I think we need to define "red light running" for cyclists.

Are they:

1. Cyclists who run lights transitioning from yellow to red like 90% of drivers of motorcars do.

2. Cyclists who stop at a red look both ways to see if it's clear and then charge ahead. I haven't seen many motor car drivers do this to tell you the truth. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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Numerous intersections outside downtown are very large and have yellow lights so short that even if I entered the intersection on a green light, doing 10-15mph, I can't clear it before the other side has a green. Makes life very exciting, and probably makes a lot of drivers think I "ran" the light.

By the way, while we're on the subject of people running red lights: Brigham circle is a constant stream of drivers who take red lights as mere suggestions unless the red light has been displayed for several seconds.

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Great post.

Nothing to add other than I'm consistently amazed at the stupidity and self-centeredness of commuters here (no matter what form). From riders blowing through red lights with headphones on to pedestrians going against the walk light in front of a firetruck with its lights and siren on, the range of idiot behavior knows no bounds.

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The very worst, most dangerous, and most road rage inducing intersection in the City is Melnea Cass Blvd and Mass Ave. If the Police cited everyone who violated this intersection, they would no longer need the revenue from property taxes, or parking tickets, and could pave the streets with gold. Nothing makes me happier than when I see the Police citing people for going straight from the left turn only lane.

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I despise scofflaw cyclists (and motorists, and pedestrians) as much as the next UHub reader. But doesn't the BPD have better things to do right now, like, say, stopping gang members from gunning each other down in the streets?

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So BPD should be pulled off all traffic enforcement and sent to work homicide? This is why you are managed, and not a manager.

And what would you do about gang members gunning each other down - round them up and throw them in a hole? "Someone should do something" is not a solution.

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EDITED: Oh, I thought you meant the worst intersection from a bicyclist's perspective. If that's the case, ignore the following.
--------------------------------------------
Cyclists running red lights: yawn. But Gallivan and Morton as the worst intersection in Boston? That can't go unchallenged. I propose the series of intersections that almost but doesn't quite constitute a "rotary" at Sullivan Square. Biking that shit should be an event at the X-Games.

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... when I lived in Dorchester, that intersection didn't even have stop signs. You think it's a fun time getting through it now? Hah! It was a never-ending game of chicken in the 60's and 70's.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Freeport and Dot Ave is one that freaks me out ... why aren't there lights? Where am I supposed to go? Etc.

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and can easily do so, if going from East Somerville to Charlestown or vice versa. Here's what I do

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... and live in Medford or Malden. That detour puts you into the thick of Cambridge as well as adding several miles to the journey.

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I can't quite tell from your post, Adam.

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Most and I say most car drivers do stop for red lights. I can't say the same for bike riders. Most bike riders I see in the city do not stop for red lights, stop signs, and the like. Again, most car drivers do. If they did not, we would have many more nasty car accidents each day.

While I am a fan of the bike (and rode many miles as a bike commuter from the burbs to the city) as a mode of transportation, until I see most bike riders, like car drivers, stop and obey lights, stop signs the like, I see nothing wrong with a bit of "education" directed towards them, per the Mayor's decree.

Also, the Mayor did also say car drivers will be also be pulled over if not playing nice so I do not know why some are simply ignoring that fact.

And if we all just played nice with each other, none of this would be necessary. But alas...

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Most cyclists I see going through red lights do so only after careful analysis of the traffic patterns and timing. Rarely does one see one barrel through at full tilt with nary a worry.

In a car you can't see sh*t compared to what a cyclist can see, hear, and even (without sounding too woo woo) "feel". There are maybe a few thousand people on the planet who have a natural feel for their cars the way many cyclists do their bikes, and they are all professional automobile racers.

Frankly if it wasn't for cars we wouldn't need intersection lights at all. Look how well, and mostly politely, they manage with primarily bike and scooter only traffic in Vietnam.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr5Gssaxl6g

Or also look at how a car heavy city like Amsterdam works, where the car drivers know that they aren't innately superior to anyone.

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While I am not a frequent commuter through Boston and Cambridge, most commutes through these towns I witness a bicyclist going through a red light at 15MPH. Need to close my eyes sometimes watching.

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I'd dispute this. I see plenty of cyclists barrel full speed, or near it, through an intersection.

As I've said before I think on problem is that cyclists want to behave in the anarchic manner of movement that pedestrians do but with their relatively high speeds, penchant for straight line movement, and difficulty in stopping quickly they're closer in nature to cars than pedestrians.

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The way it works in Amersterdam is that every vehicle has to watch out for larger vehicles, and this is basically the law in terms of right-of-way, except at marked crosswalks, traffic lights, etc.

So while car drivers know that they aren't "innately superior to anyone", they are innately larger than pedestrians and bikers and take the right of way when it's theirs.

Likewise, they're smaller than streetcars and must yield to them to avoid death and destruction.

I didn't see this for myself but it certainly seemed like you would probably get creamed (as you would in Germany, e.g.) if you stepped off the curb in the wrong place, or pulled out in front of a car (for bikes) or a trolley (for cars) who had the right-of-way.

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I think part of one's impression of bikers as a group depends on where you live/work/experience cyclists. I am a (not-hardcore) bicyclist and I recently moved to Cambridge from JP. I walk to work most days, and I swear to Pete I am going to shove the next goddamn hipster assed/fixed gear/beach cruiser and basket/fair trade coffee toting cyclist (or a permutation thereof) who blows through the red light and cuts in front of me as I am stepping off the curb to cross Mass Ave (in front of the Post Office, to head toward City Hall). Happens to me at LEAST once a week. This is the first time I've ever experienced such anti-cyclist rage. Before I moved here I thought there were a few bad apples but I am seeing a LOT more jerko cyclists here than I was seeing in JP.

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I work on Mass Ave. and based my original post on what I also experience. I am now a commuter who runs instead of rides (i.e. I leave work and run to South Station or Back Bay with my little back back). Anyway, I constantly have to watch out for cyclists (head phone wearing, cell phone checking) blowing, usually at a high rate of speed, through crosswalks when I have the pedestrian signal and through red lights. Also, I sometimes run across the Mass. Ave bridge and have to constantly dodge cyclists who refuse to use the bike lane coming at me and from behind me.

The problem, as I see it, is that some cyclists feel that they are on a higher mission (just read some of the posts on this thread) to rid the world of the evil auto and its polluting ways but they also feel that, for some reason, the rules of the road do not apply to them. That because the ride clean, they should be held to a different standard? Who knows.

I rode a lot in the 1980s and 1990s and even back then cyclists would not obey the rules of the road so I am not sure how effective the Mayor is going to be with this education initiative.

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Where I swear that I will either wrap my cable lock around the next cell-phone yammering or headphoned pedestrian who hops off the curb as I'm coming through a solidly green light on my bike OR find a way to train some kelpies and border collies to nip them if they so much as look like they are going to jaywalk.

Seriously - the jaywalking downtown is extremely bad and extremely dangerous. They all seem to think that cars and bikes WITH THE RIGHT OF WAY somehow magically won't hurt them. I've seen livestock with far more sense.

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I find the following to be very therapeutic:

Aim behind them as they cross, but reaaaal close, and right as you're a few feet away, still approaching:

"Hi"

They turn, see you zooming by, and shzam! 30 days off the ol' ticker, and they (maybe) learn to look both ways and hold hands.

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Amen. I almost hit someone today at South Station. There are always a lot of jaywalkers around 9 and 5, but I had the light and was going at a decent clip and there was an opening. I assumed people stepping off the curb would, you know, look first. I always do, because I am a champion jaywalker. Anyway, thank God her companion signaled to her to not step off the curb. Christ.

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Follow the law. I commute from Somerville to Alston on bike every day, and I am THE ONLY cyclist that stops when REQUIRED TO STOP. It's not hard, you don't get to chose which laws you follow because you feel you can pull it off. Cars hate cyclist because of you, and every other cyclist that make their own rules...

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HOLY CRAP! Are you serious? We obviously live in different neighborhoods.

Most cyclists I see going through red lights do so only after careful analysis of the traffic patterns and timing. Rarely does one see one barrel through at full tilt with nary a worry.

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Rarely does one see one barrel through at full tilt with nary a worry.

Cyclists do that all the time here in Copley Square. They have colorful hand gestures for those of us pedestrians who remind them that red lights apply to bikes as well.

It doesn't really matter that you think it's safe. The system works best when EVERYONE obeys the existing rules. Pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, EVERYONE. That means you cars quit trying (and failing) to beat the yellow. And look for the no turn on red signs before you try to run me over. Cyclists stop at the stop line and stay there until the light turns green, yes every time. I promise to continue using the walk signal and waiting for it. It means those driving police cars have to follow all the rules as well, like the role models they want us to see them as. Yes, yes, exceptions apply during pursuit but if they can't use a turn signal when heading into the station parking lot, it's because they don't have the habit of following the rules the vast majority of the time.

The "everyone else is crappier than me so I can do what I want" argument is juvenile. Cut it out and get off my lawn.

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Have fun waiting for those. I'll obey all the rules when the city considers all modes of transportation equally. As of now, you'll waste minutes of time staring down red hands when there is often literally no possibility of conflict from turning vehicles.

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The problem is twofold: Lax enforcement of ALL road rules against ALL users, and a pervasive attitude of entitlement toward violations

Spot enforcement against cyclists won't change that.

Ever drive in Canada west of Quebec? Ever drive on the west coast of the USA? Notice how people follow the rules? That's because it is considered a civic duty AND because there is a solid chance that you will get caught, fined heavily, and pay dearly on your auto insurance for what massholes claim as their divine right.

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Red light running is a bit of a faux pas for car drivers, though I still see taxis do it from time to time. However, car drivers break other rules with a much higher frequency: speeding, failing to signal, double parking, parking in a bike lane, rolling through stop signs, etc.

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So don't sink to their level. Be the best exemplar of road behavior.

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sounds like a great idea to me. If the bike share program is a success we'll have lots more bikes on the road. Perhaps many who are not regular bicyclists. Why not start promoting safety and enforcement to these potential new riders?

And motorists have not been left out: "Boston police will join Northeastern University and Boston University police in handing out tickets to cyclists for running red lights and to motorists disobeying the rules of the road and thus creating dangerous situations for cyclists." Running a red light is disobeying the rules of the road.

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1)In an increasing number of states, cyclists are specifically allowed to proceed through a stop sign or red light.

2)In Europe and elsewhere, the most vulnerable road users (cyclists and pedestrians) are given the presumption of innocence in a collision investigation, and collisions are actually investigated in an inquest if there is a death. Here in the states, the driver is given the presumption of innocence and "I was distracted" is an acceptable defense of criminal negligence resulting in maiming or death.

3)Enforcement and the most stringent laws must be applied towards the most dangerous vehicles. When a vehicle runs a red light, people die. When a cyclist runs a red light, the only life they endanger is their own.

Dear Nicole Freeman and Mayor Menino and the Boston press:

Find me a single record in the last ten years of a traffic fatality or hospitalization in an incident where the cyclist was at fault and the person killed or hospitalized wasn't the cyclist themselves.

Now tell me how many cyclists have been killed, maimed, injured, or otherwise hospitalized in being run over, doorings, right-hooks, oncoming left hooks, or getting squeezed.

Oh right - you can't, because there's barely the slightest investigation. If I get shot out in front of my apartment, Boston Police will devote detectives and officers to canvassing the neighborhood for witnesses and evidence. If I get run over by a bus, they'll decide how it happened before my body hits the morgue and the driver won't even get a traffic ticket.

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From the Boston Globe 11/12/1997:

Margot Hill, a police spokeswoman, said a task force is reviewing a 1990 ordinance that requires bike couriers to be licensed, to wear helmets, and to follow traffic laws.

The group's task grew in importance two weeks ago when School Committee member William Spring was struck by a courier on a bicycle as he crossed a street. Spring, who lapsed into a coma after the Oct. 30 collision with Jonathan Gladstone on Commonwealth Avenue, remained in the intensive care unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center yesterday

Yes, outside of your 10 year timeframe, but this was just one example that popped into my head while reading your post. Another example is a friend of mine who was hit by a cyclist in Chicago and spent some time in a coma. So bikes can and do injure other people. Traffic rules should apply to all street vehicles.

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The cyclist was proceeding on a green light. Spring was NOT IN A CROSSWALK and STEPPED OUT BETWEEN PARKED CARS. According to witnesses, SPRING WAS CLEARLY AT FAULT FOR THE COLLISION.

BUT Spring was politically connected, and a buddy of those in power. So much so that his wife went down and pouted and threatened and threw fits until the simple facts of his jaywalking were removed from the police report and the witness testimony removed from the file.

Nice try. Those of us who were around then remember this bitterly - you can't possibly be at fault for jaywalking when you are MR IMPORTANT.

OH YEAH - GLADSTONE WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED BY MR. SPRING'S NEGLIGENCE TOO! That's someting those in power carefully ignored, too, while vilifying cyclists and couriers. Too convenient to pick on a low wage worker WHO WAS NOT BREAKING ANY LAWS than to hold the wealthy and powerful and connected responsible for their negligence.

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And my apologies for the faulty memory on my part.

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"Bike messengers insist they are being unfairlysingled out for transgressions of a relative few. The offer datato show that automobiles are far more dangerous that couriers. Indeed,an incident in Chicago in April, in which an angry motorist chased downand ran over a bike messenger, indicates that the couriers themselves aresometimes victimized."

So, buddy - one guy, back in 1997. How many cyclists were killed since then? I can tell you of probably half a dozen cyclists killed in the last 2 years alone.

So, let's please SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT A VICTIMLESS ISSUE AND FOCUS ON WHO IS ACTUALLY BEING HURT, MAIMED, AND KILLED.

God DAMN. Menino didn't go down and tell that mother she should put her kid in a fucking bulletproof vest and not wander around a park at 9:30 in the evening, but he's happy to scream blue bloody murder at us about wearing our fucking helmets and how we all run red lights, and if we fix those two "problems" cyclists will magically stop being run over and doored.

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...someone would bring this incident up. It seems people only remember what they want to remember.
See Swrrly's comment for what really happened.

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If I get shot out in front of my apartment, Boston Police will devote detectives and officers to canvassing the neighborhood for witnesses and evidence. If I get run over by a bus, they'll decide how it happened before my body hits the morgue and the driver won't even get a traffic ticket.

And in either case, the entire UHub community will throw a celebratory party.

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Why is it every time the issue of policing bicyclists comes up, bike-riders are so quick to point the finger somewhere else?

Yes, motorists blow through lights, stop signs, yields, etc. - we get it! Doesn't mean however the city can't police bike riders at the same time.

If bicyclists want to be treated like regular traffic, then they should expect the same level of enforcement. If you do nothing wrong - you have nothing to worry about.

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Who said anyone was pointing the finger elsewhere?

The problem is everywhere and in every mode of use of the public way.

Therefore, the solution should have to apply to all users.

Therefore, singling out one group of users won't work.

QED

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if you refuse to stop for red lights, will you at least stop texting while riding the wrong way down one-way streets? You almost hit me in the crosswalk last week because you weren't watching where you were going or obeying the signals. love ya!
thanks, pedestrian

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Ugh! A few times I've been almost hit by bicylists going the wrong way, while I'm walking in a crosswalk (at a crossing w/ no traffic light). They usually yell something like "Watch where you're going!"

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Please

-stop opening your car door in front of me which at the least launches me over my handlebars, and at worse throws me into the lane where I am run over

-stop passing me and then immediately making a right turn, causing me to crash into the side of your car

-stop making oncoming left turns and plastering me over your hood

-stop passing me so close your side mirror clips my handlebars and I crash

-stop playing "chicken" with me by shifting your car over to the right in the lane, forcing me into the curb and causing me to crash, when I try to pass, which I am legally allowed to do

-stop jogging/walking your stroller/parking in the bike lane, the one place that's supposed to be ONLY FOR ME

-stop walking/jogging on a DEDICATED BIKE PATH when there is a DEDICATED PEDESTRIAN PATH RIGHT FUCKING NEXT TO IT

-stop cutting me off when you squeeze over to try to illegally pass a stopped car on the right

Am I forgetting anything...hmm.

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-stop opening your car door in front of me which at the least launches me over my handlebars, and at worse throws me into the lane where I am run over

Drivers (and passengers too!) absolutely should pay attention and not open their doors into traffic. The law says that they are liable for any dooring collisions, and I agree that this is an excellent law.

But cyclists can easily avoid being doored by riding outside the door zone. NEVER ride within 3 feet of parked cars (measured from your right handlebar, not from your wheels) unless you are going slow enough to stop quickly (e.g. when slowly passing bumper-to-bumper traffic between the travel lane and the parking lane). It's a shame that so many of the new Boston bike lanes are right in the door zone.

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In biking in this city over the last year, I've seen about 12 bikes going the wrong way down streets, and I've seen 4 cars going quickly the wrong way down streets. Sure, there are more bikes doing it, but cars do it too. And 3 of the 4 cars were doing it in reverse. Believe me, nothing is as scary as a car who doesn't think there's anyone there, barreling in reverse trying to back up a full block before any other cars come and you're frantically trying to figure out how not to get run over. And the guy who was straight up driving the wrong way, I still don't know what the fuck was going on because it was packards corner and there were a ton of cars honking at him and he just seemed psychotic.

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Bikes should be able to look both ways and safely cross. It's no different than responsible jaywalking. No need to stop, just slow down and look. Give all your attention to the road just as a responsible driver or pedestrian would.

Anyone saying cyclists should sit at stoplights and stop at stop signs has never ridden a bike in a city before. Try it sometime before you knock it.

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So true.

And what the person above said about knowing your route is true, too. There are certainly people who don't pay attention to where they're going. I had an elementary school friend who couldn't find her way to the candy story a mile from our houses if I wasn't leading. But I do, and it does affect the way I ride. But I wouldn't claim to speak for everyone to that end.

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And in addition, these people who whine about jaywalkers need to get a clue. You're in a city. Cities are for PEOPLE first and foremost. If you don't like that, go drive in a big wide open sprawled suburb.

Cities with jaywalkers are better off than cities without. The people in the streets force the cars to slow down -- just the thing you are complaining about. Well guess what, it's intended. Slow the fuck down. It works, we're #1 in pedestrian safety.

Enforcing jaywalking regulations and sending pedestrians to "reeducation" camp, besides sounding Orwellian, is a surefire way to turn your lovely city into a concrete wasteland where cars are king and few dare to tread.

If bikes proceed carefully, minding other people, then I have no problem with them rolling through stop signs or red lights. I don't generally do the latter unless it's really deserted, but with stop signs there's no reason to stop unless there's someone else around. I only have so much fuel in my tank, and stopping and restarting every block takes a lot out. What I get annoyed at is people riding bikes at full speed on the sidewalk.

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EXACTLY.

Jaywalking laws = cars first approach.

Look at LA, they enforce their jaywalking laws. Not exactly a walkers paradise.

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Sorry Billy W, the law is you have to stop and wait for the light to change. Feel free to work to get the law changed, but you still have to follow it for now. If you want to cross like a pedestrian, you're going to have to walk your bike.

Your way is no different than a car blowing through a stop sign because they "can see it's safe". Or running red light because it's 3 am and they can't see anyone near the intersection.

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To Adam's editorial comment about the 203 bifurcation, this is really one of the state's worst. Mass Highways publishes stats on where the crashes occur and this one is always high in the list.

A year ago for his science project, I helped my youngest analyze the intersection, with reasons for all the wrecks and propose possible solutions. It is a horror and still needs work, including lights in, and on each side to control traffic.

As a cyclist, I would have picked others in town, but this one was a sure winner/loser by the numbers.

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You know what kind of enforcement would make life for everyone better?

1)
Insanely high tickets for people that "block the box". Thats where so much anger and lawbreaking comes from. If you sit at the same light for three cycles because someone was blocking the intersection, you sure as hell wont stop for yellow when its your turn because you do not want to sit there one more time.

Aggravation leads to reckless driving.

2) Tickets for all non-emergency honking. Again, this causes aggravation which leads people to break the law. It also is terrible for quality of life. Fortunately, less blocking of box = less honking.

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What makes so many bicyclists think they are too special to follow traffic laws? I say this as a cyclist who rides to work almost every day. Nothing worries me more when I'm riding my bike than another cyclist because I have no idea when they are going to decide they're better than traffic laws and ride into me or something far more dangerous.

Personally I follow the traffic lights even when I feel like an idiot for not going through them. But you know what? I never encounter the rude, bicycle hating drivers so many of you fellow cyclists are complaining about. Never! Try following the rules of the road and see if it doesn't work.

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Personally, I'd be happy if bicyclists would use the freaking bike lane on Beacon Street or the shoulder on Comm Ave instead of barreling down the sidewalk at me when I'm on my morning run at 6am. There's hardly any traffic at that hour so there's no need to be on the sidewalk.

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McGrory's column wil for sure generate a few more comments. ;-)

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I now await the inevitable Emily Rooney show featuring McGrory and an angry bicyclist.

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...can we at least start a new page for this?

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Your wish is my command - please click there to calmly and rationally discuss America's finest news columnist.

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