Cycling Safety From MassBike

MassBike, the cycling advocacy and education organization in Massachusetts does many things to promote cycling in the Bay State. I want to bring two recent things to your attention.

The first thing is a proactive move by the Pioneer Valley Chapter of MassBike. Chapter President James Lowenthal and the President of the Northampton Cycling Club Mike Hempstead met with Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and his Deputy, Janice Healy to discuss cycling safety. James reported that the meeting went well as they discussed concerns about autos and bikes sharing the road.Many cyclists don’t know their rights and responsibilities, and motorists haven’t been educated about theirs in regards to sharing the road. Even though it’s quite simple really, Same Road, Same Rules. This dual lack of education sometimes need police intervention, which means police officers need education also.

James and Mike reported the discussion went well, and that the DA offered to put up information on his website about cycling safety. Well done all around.

The second thing MassBike did recently which I want to bring to your attention is publish in its Quick Release email newsletter a list of Good Bike Manners, reminders to cyclists of how to be safe around other cyclists. One in particular hit home with me:

Passing Without Warning: Though it’s not required by law, it’s really nice to give a bell ding or “Passing on the left” if you are going to overtake a bicyclist. This lets people know that they need to keep a straight line to allow passing, making biking safer for everyone.

As I’ve said before, I don’t ride for speed, so getting overtaken by other cyclists happens to me on the road and on the bike path. Too often the passing occurs without warning. One of the attractions of bike riding is how silently they travel. The drawback is you can’t hear them approach.

Why is this disconcerting? Ever been driving on the highway and suddenly a motorcycle appears and zips around you, seemingly from out of nowhere? Yes, you’d checked the mirrors, but the motorcycle is so fast and maneuverable that you did not notice it until it was right beside you? Unsettling right?

Same thing with being suddenly passed by a bike. You have less than a second to think about keeping a straight line, making sure there is enough room for both bikes, keeping safe distance from parked cars and the auto travel lane. I often wonder how that passing cyclist can be sure that I will not swerve, being unaware of their presence and knock them into a passing car?

How much safer for both cyclists when a warning is called!

Please take the time to click over and read the Good Bike Manners list, and see if there’s something you could incorporate into your cycling behavior.

About Pedal Paradise

Cyclist, Mom, Travel Nut, Bike Riding Empower-er!
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2 Responses to Cycling Safety From MassBike

  1. Passing without warning- Yup, a pet peeve of mine. Despite how fast I ride, I still get cyclists passing me without warning, particularity when on the bike path and on my commuter bike. It is just plain polite to do such a thing anyway, not to mention being safe. Be assured you’ll hear me if I want to pass. Of course there is the related frustration that even after warning other cyclists or pedestrians, they either do nothing (since their ear buds are so loud), move the wrong way (don’t know left from right), or stop and look back all confused!

  2. Tim,

    I’m glad to know it’s not just a concern for us poky cyclists! I don’t get why people wouldn’t make some kind of announcement that they are passing.

    And that ear bud thing! Arrgh!!


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