For drivers and bicyclists: Share the road reminder and area bike trails

Above: A warning about sharing the road with bikes reminds me to share again alternatives for cyclists seeking a great ride.(Photo posted to Flickr by Trailnet)

Southborough Police shared a reminder to drivers that we have to share the road with bicyclists.

A message from the Highway Safety Division of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security & The Southborough Police Department: “Drivers, during these busy summer months, be aware of bicyclists on the roads. Please remember to share the road!”

Posted by Southborough Police Department on Thursday, July 2, 2015

I have to confess to being occasionally irked at getting stuck behind a bike on our narrow roads. But it’s important to be patient and remember they legally share our roads. (Especially now that my kids have started hitting the streets on two wheels!)

Unfortunately, Southborough doesn’t have any bike trails of its own. Those of you who bike may enjoy our rural roads, but if you’re sick of sharing them with drivers, below are some alternatives.

Last summer, I asked my intern, Alyssa, to share regional trails cyclists can enjoy. Here’s what she wrote:

If you’re looking for a place to spin your wheels, here’s a roundup of area rail trails:

  • Listed on CBS Boston’s best biking trails in MetroWest is the Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT). (My friends and I always say one day we’re going to try this –  there’s still a few more weeks left of summer, so we’ll see if we get there!) The trail takes you through Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Maynard, and Acton. 
  • Hop on the Mass Central Rail Trail in Hudson and go through parts of Hudson, Berlin, Clinton, and West  Boylston.  The trail goes out as far as Northhampton, Mass.
  • A little further past the Southborough Commuter Rail Station on Rt. 85, is the Upper Charles River Rail Trail that connects Milford, Hopkinton, and Ashland.
  • Coming soon through Sudbury and Framingham is the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, a 25 mile route of the old New Haven Railroad Framingham and Lowell line. Until phase two is completed, riders can begin at the Lowell/Chelmsford line (Click here for trail map).
  • There’s also the Minuteman Bikeway – a trail that follows where the American Revolution began. Cyclist will travel through Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge.

Enjoy your ride. And, most importantly, don’t forget your helmet!

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9 years ago

I’m always cautious around bike riders. Just a slight jolt on their part could put them in harm’s way. That being said, I think police need to be a bit stricter on them. I can’t tell you the countless number of cyclists I’ve seen riding on the incorrect side of the road, running red lights, weaving between cars, or not signaling. It’s nerve wracking driving near a cyclist. Though, to be honest, for the most part I usually do not see reckless driving here in Southborough.

Tim Martel
9 years ago

The pendulum has swung all the way to the other side. Cyclists in Massachusetts enjoy all the rights of the public way with few of the responsibilities. Here are some things to remember. Motorists beware.

1. There is no correct side of the road for cyclists. Cyclists can ride in the middle of the lane on Route 30. And they can do it two abreast now.
2. You cannot pass a cyclist if it endangers them to any degree. The cyclist is only required to not attempt to prevent you from passing him.
3. Cyclists are allowed to pass on the right, even in a traffic jam. So given that nothing requires them to be on the right in the first place, there isn’t really such a thing as weaving.
4. Cyclists are not required to signal. If they feel that they need both hands to safely operate their bike, then they can stop or turn without any signal. Its their judgment, and its your fault if you hit them.
5. Cyclists have the right of way at intersections in regards to turning (right or left).
6. Cyclists can ride on public ways while drunk. They are not held to OUI laws.
7. Cyclists do have to obey red lights. But then, they can also ride on sidewalks now, so they could just move into the crosswalk with the pedestrians when at a red light.
8. The cut-off age is 5-years-old.
9. Cyclists 17 years and older are not required to wear helmets.

This isn’t a complaint against cyclists on the road. Its a complaint that our legislators allowed MassBike to write the law. Its a really bad one.

9 years ago

I to have noticed that bike riders don’t seem to be following the rules of he road when in fact they need to be following the same rules as cars do.

The other day I was passing a bike rider who was going slow only to see he was riding with no hands when I was half way through my pass. Talk about nerve wracking.

Does anyone know the group of riders that comes to town on some weekends. There is a lot of them. They seem cautious but the volume is big.

9 years ago

Here is a summary of the Massachusetts general Laws for motorists and bicyclists.

As a motorist in the presence of bicycles:

• Do Not Cut-Off After Passing: When passing a bicycle traveling
in the same direction that is on your right, you must not return to
the right until you have safely passed the overtaken bicycle.
(Chap. 89, Sec. 2)

• Do Not Make an Abrupt Turn After Passing: When passing a
bicycle near an intersection or driveway where you want to turn
right, you cannot turn unless you are at a safe distance from the
bicyclist and you can make the turn at a reasonable and proper
speed. (Chap. 90, Sec 14)

• Do Not Squeeze Bicycles in a Narrow Lane: If a lane is too
narrow to pass a bicycle at a safe distance, be PATIENT until you
can safely use an adjacent lane or WAIT until it is safe to pass in
the lane you share. (Chap. 89, Sec. 2)

• Do Not Fail to Yield When Turning Left: When turning left at an
intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway, you must
yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite
direction, including a bicycle, if it is in the intersection or close
enough to be an immediate hazard. (Chap. 90, Sec 14)

• Watch for Bicycles on Your Right: Bicycles can legally ride to the right of motor vehicle traffic. The law says it is not a defense for a motorist causing a crash with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of other traffic. (Chap. 85, Sec 11B)

• Do Not Open a Door Without First Looking: Drivers and
passengers can now be fined up to $100 for
opening a vehicle door into an oncoming bicycle.(Chap. 90, Sec
14) Before opening your door, you should always check behind
you to make sure that no bicyclists are approaching.

• Bicyclists can now ride two bicycles side-by-side. However, on a
road with more than one lane in the direction of travel, they must
stay in one lane. (Chap. 85, Sec. 11B)

• Bicyclists Do Not Always Have to Signal Turns! Bicyclists must
signal their intent by either hand to stop or turn. However, the
signal does not have to be continuous or be made at all if both
hands are needed for the bicycle’s safe operation. (Chap. 85,
Sec. 11B)

Bicyclist responsibilities:

For exact requirements, please read the complete text of the laws pertaining to bicyclists and bicycling in Massachusetts. General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Chapter 85, Section 11B.

You may ride your bicycle on any public road, street, or bikeway in the Commonwealth, except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bikes have been posted.

You may ride on sidewalks outside business districts, unless local laws prohibit sidewalk riding.

You may use either hand to signal stops and turns.

You may pass cars on the right.

If you carry children or other passengers inside an enclosed trailer or other device that will adequately restrain them and protect their heads in a crash, they need not wear helmets.

You may have as many lights and reflectors on your bike as you wish.

You must obey all traffic laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.

You must use hand signals to let people know you plan stop or turn; however, you are not required to signal when you need both hands on the handlebars, such as when operating the brakes, shifters, or steering.

You must give pedestrians the right of way.

You must give pedestrians an audible signal before overtaking or passing them.

You may ride two abreast, but must facilitate passing traffic. This means riding single file when faster traffic wants to pass, or staying in the right-most lane on a multi-lane road.

You must ride astride a regular, permanent seat that is attached to your bicycle.
You must keep one hand on your handlebars at all times.

If you are 16 years old or younger, you must wear a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements on any bike, anywhere, at all times. The helmet must fit your head and the chin strap must be fastened.

You must use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if you are riding anytime from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise.

At night, you must wear ankle reflectors if there are no reflectors on your pedals.

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