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Old 01-03-07, 11:13 AM   #1
scotthorrigan
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Massachusetts bike saftey bill vetoed

Healey Vetoes Bill at Last Minute

MassBike is sorry to announce that Lt. Governor Kerry Healey has vetoed the Bicycle Safety Bill, H5372 (formerly the Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, H5194). From the extremely brief veto letter, which you can read at http://www.massbike.org/news/Bike safety - veto.pdf, it appears that Healey completely misunderstood the intent of the bill, believing it to impose new regulation on “recreational affairs”. In reality, the bill would have strengthened the laws that protect all bicyclists from dangerous motorist behaviors such as unsafe passing and turning and “dooring”, required the police to receive training on bicycling issues, and provided for the evenhanded enforcement of the law for both motorists and bicyclists.

Unfortunately, there is no time left in the legislative session to pursue a veto override. We’ll be working with our supporters in the Legislature to file a new bill this month, and we will start the process anew. And we’ll make sure the Patrick administration knows that bicycles are vehicles, and that bicyclists face real dangers on Massachusetts roads.

While we didn’t get the ultimate prize this time around, in many ways this was a victory for bicyclists. Support for the bill extended throughout the House and the Senate: many legislators showed themselves to be friends of bicycling, doing their best to move the bill along. We also garnered support from the highest levels of MassHighway and the DCR, as well as local officials throughout the state. The bicycle industry in Massachusetts stepped up to show the support of the business community. And, most importantly, we mobilized all of you, MassBike’s 3,000+ members, to speak up for bicyclists’ rights. The power of grassroots bicycling advocacy is real, and growing!

Finally, please join me in expressing MassBike’s gratitude for everything retiring Rep. Anne Paulsen, the bill’s principal sponsor, has done for bicycling in Massachusetts. Her tireless support has raised the profile of bicycling issues and led to real, positive changes that will be felt for many years to come.
Thanks Anne!

David Watson

Executive Director
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Old 01-03-07, 11:58 AM   #2
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Being required to ride single file is not a very good tradeoff for an unenforceable 3 ft passing requirement.
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Old 01-03-07, 12:18 PM   #3
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I'm with supcom. Especially on a multilane roadway (more than one lane in each direction), being required to ride single file is BS. I'll ride single file when the widest motor vehicle is as wide as my bike (and lanes are narrowed to match)
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Old 01-03-07, 12:40 PM   #4
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Totally agree on the single file requirement being wrong.

I was just in New England this past week and talked with a couple of non cylists from MA. They all commented to me (knowing I was a cyclist) that 'we' would now have to ride single file with a new law in the works.

There was discussion on this in this thread:
New Massachusetts bicycle law ?

Al

Last edited by noisebeam; 01-03-07 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 01-03-07, 12:45 PM   #5
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I'm basing this on Iowa law. Riding single file is not just for bicycles but it apply's to any slow moving vehicle. The reason for it is regardless of width & especially on 2 lane roadways it is easier & probably safer for a faster moving vehicle to pass more then one slow moving vehicle if they are single file. As far as I know there are no specific exclusions & it apply's to any slow moving vehicle, form farm tractors to bicycles. It could be Mass. law is similar & that it was adopted because of what other states or even the Fed. govt. has as a law on this.
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Old 01-03-07, 12:52 PM   #6
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As far as I can tell cyclists must alrady ride single file in MA, except when overtaking.
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11b.htm

"Operators of bicycles shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) The operator shall ride single file on any way except when passing. "


Al
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Old 01-03-07, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
Being required to ride single file is not a very good tradeoff for an unenforceable 3 ft passing requirement.
Good thing it didn't require that, then!

What the bill actually said was, "(3) Bicyclists shall not ride more than 2 abreast and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane. Nothing in this subsection shall relieve a bicyclist of the duty to facilitate overtaking as required by section 2 of this chapter." n.b. Chapter 89 section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires the operator of a slower vehicle to stay right and not speed up when visually alerted to the desire of a faster vehicle's operator to overtake, where overtaking can be done safely. That's a fairly standard application of the "slow vehicle rule," though not in the language of the Uniform Vehicle Code, since Massachusetts never got 'round to passing the UVC.

A newspaper reporter confused the requirement for cyclists to ride in a single LANE with a requirement to ride in a single LINE. That's not the same thing, tho' the single LANE requirement is a bit baffling in itself, since bicycles are so narrow it's actually difficult to straddle two lanes.

But that nit aside, the current law prohibits side-by-side cycling except where one cyclist is overtaking another. The new law would have eased that restriction.
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Old 01-03-07, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_C
I'm basing this on Iowa law. Riding single file is not just for bicycles but it apply's to any slow moving vehicle. The reason for it is regardless of width & especially on 2 lane roadways it is easier & probably safer for a faster moving vehicle to pass more then one slow moving vehicle if they are single file. As far as I know there are no specific exclusions & it apply's to any slow moving vehicle, form farm tractors to bicycles. It could be Mass. law is similar & that it was adopted because of what other states or even the Fed. govt. has as a law on this.
Yeah, as mentioned in my previous post, that was a news report that confused the requirement to ride in a single LANE (as it would have) with riding in a single LINE (which it wouldn't do). Funny how some reports get legs and start running once they're printed in the newspaper, isn't it?
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Old 01-03-07, 02:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassBiker
Funny how some reports get legs and start running once they're printed in the newspaper, isn't it?
It must have been widely incorrectly reported. A cyclist from outer Boston area told me the law was going to change to single file and two non-cyclists from western mass told me the same. Interestingly this is all that stuck in their minds as the proposed change in law.
Al
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Old 01-03-07, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
It must have been widely incorrectly reported. A cyclist from outer Boston area told me the law was going to change to single file and two non-cyclists from western mass told me the same. Interestingly this is all that stuck in their minds as the proposed change in law.
Al
Yeah, the same story got reprinted all over the state. But it's not surprising that, of all the things that the law would have done to improve the lot of cyclists, it was this non-requirement that everyone remembered.

Forester would bring up his Cycling Inferiority Phobia right about here ....
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Old 01-03-07, 03:40 PM   #11
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Has the LAB gotten involved or will they get involved in this?
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Old 01-03-07, 03:43 PM   #12
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In Iowa a cyclist is allowed one half of one lane except where it is desginated they are limited to a specified lane.

Typically this would be the right lane & there is signage that indicates slow or slower moving traffic limited to the right lane or are to use the right lane only. This is typically on a steep uphill & if it is on a 2 lane road there is a short right hand lane to use so faster traffic can pass. If it on a 4-lane roadway then slower traffic are to only use the right lane until at such time they can move to the left lane if the need to. Of course if slower traffic need to make a left turn they are allowed to safely.
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Old 01-03-07, 06:58 PM   #13
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I felt the most important part of this bill was the requirement that all police officers become familiar with the state's bicycle laws. It is amazing how many are not. Don't believe it? Just ask some local riders. Reference Link

As for Ms. Healy's actions, I am not surprised at all. In the words of my union steward, "It smells bad". I do not believe that she "misunderstood" anything. I think she used her last few hours as Lt. Governor to take a parting shot a particular group that she knows she's unpopular with. Sorry, didn't mean to get political there.
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Old 01-03-07, 07:10 PM   #14
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I see groups ride in pairs all the time in MA.
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Old 01-03-07, 07:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassBiker
Good thing it didn't require that, then!

What the bill actually said was, "(3) Bicyclists shall not ride more than 2 abreast and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane. Nothing in this subsection shall relieve a bicyclist of the duty to facilitate overtaking as required by section 2 of this chapter." n.b. Chapter 89 section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires the operator of a slower vehicle to stay right and not speed up when visually alerted to the desire of a faster vehicle's operator to overtake, where overtaking can be done safely. That's a fairly standard application of the "slow vehicle rule," though not in the language of the Uniform Vehicle Code, since Massachusetts never got 'round to passing the UVC.

A newspaper reporter confused the requirement for cyclists to ride in a single LANE with a requirement to ride in a single LINE. That's not the same thing, tho' the single LANE requirement is a bit baffling in itself, since bicycles are so narrow it's actually difficult to straddle two lanes.

But that nit aside, the current law prohibits side-by-side cycling except where one cyclist is overtaking another. The new law would have eased that restriction.
WIth regard to the baffling nit, I think they're saying that, on a laned roadway, any group of bicyclists riding together should keep to a single lane.
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Old 01-03-07, 07:34 PM   #16
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More power to you, Mass. I lived in NoHo for 2 years & suffered more near misses (& one not a miss, grazing my rear wheel) than i experienced in over 10 years of riding in CT.

The rate of bike accidents must be high there since there are many more bikes on the road in NoHo than around here & motor vehicles swarm like a school of malevolant sardines in the downtown crush. (We have two colleges here but the students don't ride except in rare cases. Neither do the middle school, high school, or tech school kids. I see an immigrant carrying groceries on a beater once in a while, that's about it. I leave out the one or two groups of guys in lycra as being rare birds seldom seen, their passage swift.)
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Old 01-04-07, 06:36 PM   #17
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I ride in Boston/Cambridge all the time. We ride side by side unless one of us is in door zone and the other's in traffic. Outside of Boston I have no qualms riding side by side most always. Oh and during critical mass, then we ride single file .


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Old 01-04-07, 07:12 PM   #18
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A few cities and towns in MA already require their police officers to know the state bicycle laws. (Cambridge and Waltham, among them) This bill would have made in mandatory. Most cyclists feel that the state police were strongly opposed to this legislation. Interestingly enough, Healy had the endorsement of the State police union, and her running mate, Reed Hillman, was a career state trooper before entering the world of politics.

Anything else I have to say on this would belong in the political forum.
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Old 01-05-07, 09:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclepath
More power to you, Mass. I lived in NoHo for 2 years & suffered more near misses (& one not a miss, grazing my rear wheel) than i experienced in over 10 years of riding in CT.

The rate of bike accidents must be high there since there are many more bikes on the road in NoHo than around here & motor vehicles swarm like a school of malevolant sardines in the downtown crush. (We have two colleges here but the students don't ride except in rare cases. Neither do the middle school, high school, or tech school kids. I see an immigrant carrying groceries on a beater once in a while, that's about it. I leave out the one or two groups of guys in lycra as being rare birds seldom seen, their passage swift.)
Thats interesting given the comments others in BF have made about how great riding in Northampton area is:
Courteous Drivers

I used to ride in this area in the mid to late 80s - Northampton, Amherst, S.Deerfield, Belchertown and found it a great place to ride both for routes and for driver consideration - I've been in the area recently and while of course its a bit busier and more developed, the growth is nothing compared to other parts of the country.

Al
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Old 01-05-07, 10:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Thats interesting given the comments others in BF have made about how great riding in Northampton area is:
Courteous Drivers

I used to ride in this area in the mid to late 80s - Northampton, Amherst, S.Deerfield, Belchertown and found it a great place to ride both for routes and for driver consideration - I've been in the area recently and while of course its a bit busier and more developed, the growth is nothing compared to other parts of the country.

Al

Its not 'interesting,' its just typical luddite attitude many bikers have about the fact that they are secondary road users. The NoHo area is a spectacular region for riding: rts 5 north; 9 west, 66 west, 143 west; all are unbelievable roads that climb into the hills, have good shoulders, respectable drivers, gorgeous scenery.

As you know rts 47, 202, 63 and 116 are not far away either, and they are even more lightly traveled than the northampton side.

I avoid the Rail trail because they mixed in crushed glass with the asphalt...one of those wonderful recycling ideas that makes envirowannabees feel good about themselves. Its not as bad as it used to be, when first paved it was a guaranteed flat tire.


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