Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    My Bikes
    Many English 3 Speeds
    Posts
    165
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Bicycling in Cambridge, Boston, Lexington

    I'll be in Boston the last week of this month and would like to bring a bicycle to go a few places in Boston, Cambridge, Lexington, and probably Arlington.

    When I lived in Cambridge & Somerville and worked in Boston from 1980-1990, traffic seemed fairly easy to deal with - follow the usual traffic paterns (chaotic), and the congestion slowed all traffic down to bicycle speeds. My questions concern 2 developments since I've left:

    (1) Cambridge & Boston bicycle lanes
    All the google photos and descriptions I read of the Cambridge bicycle lanes sound like they are as badly designed as every Philadelphia lane I've seen so far. They are almost all in door zones, and they are still installing new bike lanes to the right of right turn only lanes. Since a few bicyclists I know have been doored, these lanes scare me far more than congested city traffic.

    Do the police in Cambridge and Boston enforce mandatory use of the bicycle lanes (pull over bicyclists outside the bike lane, automatically fault bicyclists outside of bicycle lanes in accidents, etc.)? Does Boston have any significant bicycle lanes yet?

    If bike lane use is enforced, do Cambridge and Boston motorists make right turns from the right hand edge of the road (merging into any bike lanes present), or do the normally stay to the left of the bike lane and turn across the bicycle lane instead of merging? (The latter seems to be the practice in Philadelphia; turn signals are optional but not encouraged.)


    (2) Minuteman Bicycle Path to Lexington
    I think a friend of mine might enjoy the Minuteman Bike Path; since it was built after I moved from Lexington, I am curious to see it either Friday or Saturday (Oct 23 or 24th). My assumption is that it is pleasant if you ride slowly to share with pedestrians and walk across most of the intersections. (similar to the urban parts of the Schuylkill trail.)

    Does anyone have suggestions on Friday vs. Saturday, or other points of interest near the path?

    Thanks for any comments

  2. #2
    low and laid back atom bomb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newton, MA
    My Bikes
    'bent hi-racer, 'bent trike, folder, road bike, longtail cargo bike
    Posts
    130
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AngeloDolce View Post
    Does anyone have suggestions on Friday vs. Saturday, or other points of interest near the path?
    Saturday, if weather is good.... expect a crowd. In my experience, on a weekday, the path is not busy very early - before rush hour commute, and then just after.... between 9:30 and noon. Best to ride when it's not crowded. In October beware of wet leaves, twigs, pine needles and acorn debris.

    Incidentally, from Bedford, at the end of the Minuteman, you can easily ride out Rt. 225 to a newly completed 8 mi. section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Westford, which goes up to Lowell. I haven't ridden on it yet. Info here:

    http://www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org/Phase1/index.html
    Atom Bomb

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    101
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Getting doored is my biggest fear when riding in MA towns where everyone is parked on the street - it makes for a very unpleasant bike ride just to have to keep thinking about it. My advice is get out of those towns and find a nice quiet road. There are some out by Lexington and Bedford so seek them out.

    (2) Minuteman Bicycle Path to Lexington
    I think a friend of mine might enjoy the Minuteman Bike Path; since it was built after I moved from Lexington, I am curious to see it either Friday or Saturday (Oct 23 or 24th). My assumption is that it is pleasant if you ride slowly to share with pedestrians and walk across most of the intersections. (similar to the urban parts of the Schuylkill trail.)
    If you are a road cyclists stay off this trail as it is a gauntlet from hell. If you enjoy riding at 7-8mph and still have to dodge joggers, dogs and the unhuman roller bladers, then do so at your own peril. I rather ride on roads and deal with cars then the troglodytes that are on this path most of the time. That is my $.02

  4. #4
    weakling beat.tk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    My Bikes
    giant ocr1
    Posts
    47
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    welcome back!!

    (1) Cambridge & Boston bicycle lanes
    Expect there to be vehicles stopped in them
    Expect there to be cyclists going the wrong way in them
    Follow traffic laws and use signals even though nobody else does. There have been way too many car on bike crashes recently.
    Bike lanes on major roads like Broadway in Cambridge can have debris in spots
    Obviously, pot holes
    Mass ave around Central is crazy, and mass ave by MIT you'll get a ticket for blowing lights.
    Boston, there are nice bike lanes on Comm Ave and Beacon, but lots of stopped cars and trucks.


    Do the police in Cambridge and Boston enforce mandatory use of the bicycle lanes (pull over bicyclists outside the bike lane, automatically fault bicyclists outside of bicycle lanes in accidents, etc.)? Does Boston have any significant bicycle lanes yet?


    You don't have to ride in the bike lane
    Always expect drivers to try to hit you.


    (2) Minuteman Bicycle Path to Lexington
    Go on Friday
    It's beautiful in Bedford where the path ends... you can buy "pocket rides" laminated route cards at the bike shop at the end of the trail--Bikeway Source.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    just north of Boston, MA
    My Bikes
    Fat Chance. Concorde. Ironhorse MKIII. Cannondale Cyclocross
    Posts
    10
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There's a lot more of an awareness of bicycles all over Boston & Cambridge now than there was in 1990. It's gratifying to see bike advocacy efforts come to fruition.
    Mileage may vary

  6. #6
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Easthaven Isle, ME
    Posts
    915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Re the Minuteman Trail, I have a post about it here with lots of photos and commentary. In the summer, I would say to avoid it on Sundays like the plague. But now the number of cyclists has reduced considerably and any day should be fine. Even the Charles River Trail was nearly empty over Columbus Day weekend. So yes, go for it on any day you like.

    As for cycling in Cambridge/Somerville... I live right on the city line and cycle through both on a daily basis. There is a great deal of variance depending on the neighborhood, and in general there is no consistent standard of behavior on the part of either motorists or cyclists. I don't want to rant about it here, but it really can be chaotic and frustrating at times!
    Last edited by Veloria; 10-17-09 at 11:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pocky's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Watertown, MA (Boston)
    My Bikes
    '00 Kona Yee Ha, '83 Schwinn World (fixed/free), '96 KHS Montana Descent (w/ RS J3 SL), '05 Fort Ro.SLC, '01 Burley Rumba tandem
    Posts
    195
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AngeloDolce View Post
    mandatory use of the bicycle lanes
    Everyone in Cambridge -- motorists, cyclists, and police alike -- completely ignores the existence of the bicycle lanes. The wits that you developed cycling here in 1990 will serve you just as well 20 years later.

    The relatively new lane on Comm Ave in Boston is, by comparison, pretty well respected by cyclists and motorists and much of it is far away from door-zone, though cargo trucks constantly park in it when they unload. Still makes Comm Ave a better place to bike than it used to be. Police won't care whether you use it or not, but you might as well.
    Last edited by pocky; 10-17-09 at 06:27 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Delaware
    My Bikes
    Many English 3 Speeds
    Posts
    165
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the replies, they are helpful.
    I'm not surprised everyone ignores the bike lanes; my recollection was that there was minimal enforcement for both motorists and bicyclists. I don't expect any problems stopping at stop signs.

    I saw the entry on Lovely Bicycles; I think my friend will like a 7-8 mph ride for 1-3 hours on the trail; we'll see if we return on the trail or just take Mass Ave. (I suspect Mass Ave may be a little busy for her.)

  9. #9
    Powered by Veggies Midol_Mohawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Cape Ann, MA
    My Bikes
    Two wheels, it goes
    Posts
    122
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I found this ride on Bikely if you were interested in doing a century...

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...ge-to-Cape-Ann

    The north shore needs more bike paths. The closest one to Cape Ann is in North Reading, ugh.
    "I hope people will think that I am:

    Independent minded. Original. A person with a sense of humor. Somebody who doesn't take himself too seriously."
    -Sheldon Brown

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    107
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Midol_Mohawk View Post
    I found this ride on Bikely if you were interested in doing a century...

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...ge-to-Cape-Ann

    The north shore needs more bike paths. The closest one to Cape Ann is in North Reading, ugh.
    All of the Metro area requires more bike paths. Actually, the only places with an active trail are such as Concord and the area surrounding there.

    There are no bike paths south of Boston until you reach the cape.

    The "Bike path" in scituate is actually a SIDEWALK. I will pass.

    Bill

  11. #11
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Somerville, MA and Catskill Mtns
    My Bikes
    '71 Mercian, '72 Jeunet, '82 Jack Taylor, '13 Rawland
    Posts
    3,543
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    Everyone in Cambridge -- motorists, cyclists, and police alike -- completely ignores the existence of the bicycle lanes. The wits that you developed cycling here in 1990 will serve you just as well 20 years later.
    i agree. the motorists hate the cyclists, the cyclists hate the motorists, and the police hate both, more or less. cambridge has more bike lanes on more streets than boston or somerville, and somerville is rapidly adding bike lanes throughout the city, but don't let that create the illusion that the police in those cities are also bike-sensitive. neither the cambridge nor somerville (don't know about boston) police care much for cyclists and see them more as a nuisance than a legitimate vehicular entity worthy of the protection of law. most police in cambridge and somerville don't want to get involved in responding to accidents involving cyclists, and do the minimum they have to to avoid being sued (arrive on scene to do nothing, basically). they rarely fill out meaningful and helpful police reports and then fail to respond to emails and phone calls inquiring about missing police report details. they do very little because they want to avoid being called in as witnesses.

    i witnessed a cop in cambridge (central square) open his car door into the bike lane without looking (technically a ticket-able violation in MA). he very nearly caused the cyclist in front of me to slam into it, and the only way the cop responded was by muttering some expletive about "damn cyclists get in the way". i very nearly got into a shouting match with the cop but decided to keep cool and continue on my way instead, as nothing had actually happened.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •