Biking in Boston: A Guide on How to Get There Routinely and Safely
Boston is no stranger to cyclists. According to one city count, there was an average of 40,000 daily bike trips in 2017. While the city is investing in new bike paths and making Beantown more pedestrian friendly, getting to your destination and home again on a bike still requires diligence. Before you jump on your men’s or ladies’ cruiser bike and make your way to the office or farmer’s market, check out these tips for arriving safely and without incident.
Review the City’s Rules for Cyclists
First thing’s first: Do you know the rules of the road? MassBike has assembled a helpful list of bike laws in Massachusetts to get you started. When biking in a city as big as Boston, cyclists should know the following:
- Cyclists may ride on any public road or path, except on highways or where signs say bikes are specifically prohibited.
- Bikes are permitted on sidewalks except in business districts.
- Hand signals must be used for stops and turns.
- Cyclists must follow all traffic rules, including stopping at stop signs.
- All cyclists 16 or younger must wear a helmet that meets US safety standards.
- Bikers must use a headlight when riding up to a half hour before sunrise and beginning a half hour after sunset.
Violations of bike law may result in a ticket.
Plan Your Route and Give It a Test Run
Once you have the rules of the road down, it’s time to think about your route. Keep in mind that the most direct route may not be the most effective for arriving safely and on schedule. Commonwealth Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue may provide a straight shot to your destination, but they also have narrow bike paths combined with heavy traffic in spots. When you’re mapping a new route that you’ll use often, give it a test run on a day with lean traffic. You may find an alternate, more residential route along the way. Going an extra few blocks is worth it if you can avoid a busy intersection.
Wear the Right Attire
Bostonians are famous for wearing tennis shoes with a power suit until they get to the office. Just as you trade pumps for Nikes while walking around the city, so too should you consider special attire while you bike. Loose fitting pants and dress shoes can result in a bike accident. Dress for the job of cycling and change at your destination. Bikers should also outfit their bikes with Monkeylectric Monkey Lights and other reflective surfaces so they’re visible in any weather conditions.
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