Come to the LMA Bike Summit tomorrow!

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Help us get this massive Vision Zero safety bill passed by the state legislature!

The Bike Union, along with our partners in the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition including MassBike, Livable Streets Alliance and WalkBoston, have been working with State Legislators, led by Senator Brownsberger and others, to file a road safety omnibus bill!

The bill, An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities, would take a number of steps to improve safety for people biking, walking and driving.  We’re thrilled that two policies that the Bike Union championed at the local level that have been adopted by the City of Boston – side guards and truck safety measures as well as improved bicycle crash reporting – have been elevated to be adopted state-wide in this legislation.
The bill also includes, among other provisions,
  • Lowering default speed limit on state highways and parkways in thickly settled areas from 30mph to 25mph
  • Allowing municipalities to install limited traffic safety cameras exclusively for speeding and red light & right turn violations
  • A statewide biking & pedestrian safety curriculum for elementary school students, and more!
This bill could be the most impactful step towards bike safety since the last Bike Safety Omnibus Bill was passed in 2008!
 
In order for this bill to move forward it needs co-sponsors! Our friends at MassBike have a list of current co-sponsors that you can see here. You can click here to generate a letter that you can send to your State Legislators! The linked form will also allow you to figure out who your Legislators are by entering your address.
It only takes a few minutes! Help us make our streets safer for everyone! 

A better solution for Inman Square

By Becca Wolfson, Doug Johnson and Elena SaportaScreen Shot 2017-01-27 at 2.55.58 PM

Just imagine: instead of gritting your teeth as you attempt to navigate the vehicular minefield that is present-day Inman Square, you could soon be circulating pleasantly along the rim of a traffic-calmed motoring peanut, a point of genuine interest lending harmony to this key crossroads.

That is, if the “Peanut-about” is selected as the design for Inman Square.

This past Tuesday night, January 25th, the City of Cambridge held a public meeting to present the design options for a new Inman Square. Attendance at the meeting, which far exceeded the room’s capacity, illustrates how important this project is to so many people, and just how badly a redesign of Inman Square is needed. In fact, so many people showed up that many could not fit into the meeting room to hear the presentation, but the City has promised to schedule another meeting very soon, so stay tuned!

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There are four options currently being considered for Inman Square, which we will describe below. Before we do, full disclosure: the Bike Union commissioned the design of the “peanut-about” by Kittelson & Associates because we felt that the options being considered by the City had significant limitations, and after last night’s meeting, we’re even more convinced that the peanut-about is the best solution for Inman Square. That said, each design has its merits, and we look forward to a robust public process in which the merits and shortcomings of each design are fully vetted.

Option A: Bend Cambridge Street

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The first option for Inman Square presented by the City is to bend Cambridge Street so that it intersects Hampshire Street at right-angles. “T-ing” the intersections like this improves pedestrian crossings and makes traffic more predictable, which reduces the chances of conflicts between road users.

Bike traffic, which currently makes up 26% of all weekday-morning southbound traffic on Hampshire Street, would continue through the intersection as it currently does. Continue reading A better solution for Inman Square

10 Tips for Bike Commuting while Pregnant

by Emily Balkam 

One of my first concerns when I found out I was pregnant was, “Can I still bike to work?” My 8 mile commute is only 45 minutes by bike compared to 90 minutes via public transit. I’m now in my third trimester and still bike commuting. Here are 10 tips that have helped me make it this far:

  1. Get Your Doctor’s Approval: Talk to your Doctor about biking. If you have a high risk pregnancy or medical complications, exercise may be limited or not allowed. Have the conversation early and it’s one less thing to worry about. 
  2. Plan a Safe Route: Sometimes the most direct route isn’t the safest. Take some time to plan a route that uses bike lanes or quieter streets using Google Maps or Ride the City. Not finding good infrastructure for your commute? Think about volunteering with a your local bike activist group: The Boston Cyclists Union, Somerville Bike Committee, Cambridge Bike Committee, Brookline Bikes, and MassBike, to name a few.  You can also send an email to your local government officials or alderman for your specific district. Provide your address and urge them to support safer streets for you and your growing family. 
  3. Balance: This is probably not the best time to learn to ride if you haven’t done it before. I’ve been biking regularly since I was a child. I’m making a point to keep it up, biking at least 2x a week and doing indoor balance exercises on bad weather days. So far, I haven’t noticed any issues with balance while riding. However, I am slower and get winded faster (both very normal as pregnancy advances). You could always test out how you feel on a stationary bike at a gym if you know how to ride but are feeling a bit rusty. 
  4. Nausea: Some women struggle with “morning sickness” throughout their pregnancy or in the first 8 weeks or so. I’m not sure why they call it morning sickness, as you can have it at any time of day or night. I felt the worst around 2 pm in the first trimester, but found biking to/from works actually made me feel better, as long as I hadn’t just eaten. Experiment with eating breakfast at work, rather than before you leave. In my second trimester, I needed 2 small breakfasts, one when I first woke up, and another at my desk. Lunch was just too far away and being “hangry” isn’t going to help your career or your health. Continue reading 10 Tips for Bike Commuting while Pregnant