Join us for the 4th Annual Rush Hour Challenge!

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An Inaugural Bike Adventure: Montreal to Boston!

The Boston Cyclists Union is very lucky to have members and volunteers who are so dedicated to our work.  At the start of 2016, a few Bike Union volunteers got together, with Community Organizer Doug Johnson, to hatch a plan to host the Boston Cyclists Union’s very first ride – and not just another fun day trip, a multi-day fundraising bike ride!

On Wednesday May 25th, Team Bike Union will begin an exciting 400 mile journey from Montreal to Boston in an attempt raise $15,000 for the Boston Cyclists Union! The first annual MB400 will take our riders from the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal across Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains before they arrive back at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston on Memorial Day. That evening, there will be an after party celebrating Team Bike Union’s return at long time Bike Union supporter Flat Top Johnny’s. Please come and join us!

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Funds raised by the ride will go to support the BCU’s three key strategic priorities, which are:

  • Our Bikeways for Everybody Campaign, which is to create connected, cross-region, low stress bike routes that are either protected bike lanes or off-street paths, so that people of all ages and abilities can be comfortable riding a bike as a sustainable & healthy mode of transportation;
  • Vision Zero, to make the streets safer for people biking and for all road users. The goal is to reduce traffic fatalities to zero through policy changes and designing safer roadway infrastructure;
  • Bike to Market and our indoor Bike Workshop, which allow us to teach bike repair skills and fix bikes for free in neighborhoods without bike shops and in communities that otherwise may not be able to afford to pay for work to be done on their bikes.

Do you want to support the 14 riders as they go on their journey and the work of the Boston Cyclists Union? You can meet each of the riders and contribute to the ride’s general fund by clicking here. Thank you for your support and for helping us make Boston a world class city for living and biking!

Last chance to Save the Green Line Extension and Community Path!

This is it.  With the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project facing a steep budgetary shortfall, MassDOT has been looking for ways to trim costs, including eliminating part or all of the proposed Somerville Community Path Extension (CPX) between Lowell St and Lechmere.

THANK YOU to those of you who have attended and spoken out at meetings, written to elected officials, and fought hard to preserve the Green Line Extension (GLX) and Community Path Extension (CPX).GLX

However, the fight is not over.

There will be a meeting this Monday, May 9 at 1:00 PM of the MassDOT Board of Directors and MBTA Fiscal & Management Control Board (key decision makers on the GLX) at the State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza in Boston.

At this meeting, the Mass DOT / MBTA Boards will consider recommendations for GLX & CPX cost reductions, budget and schedule.  We need you to express continued support to ensure that the whole project is built – both GLX branches, to Union Square and Route 16 – and the Community Path Extension is completed in its entirety.  This is a project that the community has been fighting for for decades.  The Green Line Extension and Community Path Extension will address a lack of transit access for East Somerville and Medford and air quality issues affecting the region.  We need this project to make biking as a means of transportation more accessible, not less.  The community path must be kept off of the street,

Continue reading Last chance to Save the Green Line Extension!

Duck boats - Unsafe for our city streets?

By Peter Furth

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The motor scooter underneath the front wheel of Duck Boat involved in Saturday’s collision. Source: Fox 25

On April 30, a duck boat ran over a scooter that was right in front of it, killing the scooter’s operator, Allison Warmuth. Both she and the duck boat were at a red light on Charles Street at a corner of Boston Common, with scooter lined up directly ahead of duck boat, waiting in a right-turn-only lane to turn onto Beacon Street. When the light turned green, both vehicles started to move, but the duck boat accelerated faster than the scooter and ran it over. 

People are calling it a “terrible tragedy.” Those sympathetic words usually come from a feeling of helplessness, a feeling that nobody could have done anything to prevent it. Considering it a freak accident, unpredictable and therefore essentially unavoidable, is a story that fits in well with the old way of thinking. We wring our hands and lament the loss, but then things continue without any change.

Another side of the old way of thinking is to wait for statistical evidence before making a conclusion. This is the first serious crash of this type from a duck boat in Boston, so how could we conclude that duck boats operating on city streets are inherently unsafe?

This old way of thinking stands in stark opposition to Vision Zero, the “safe system approach” to traffic that originated in Europe and that Boston adopted in 2015. Vision Zero is premised on the ideas that society should not put up with a traffic system in which human errors lead to death and serious injury, that nearly all serious crashes are manifestation of safety risks that can be identified and neutralized, and that it is the responsibility of the traffic system to neutralize those risks.

DUKWblindNobody imagines that the duck boat operator intended to run somebody over; it is obvious that the operator didn’t see the scooter ahead of it. And even a casual look at a duck boat makes it obvious how that could happen – the operator is positioned high above the ground, with the deck of the duck boat extending 10 ft beyond the windshield, creating a large blind spot directly ahead of the vehicle. And because the operator sits on the left side of the vehicle, the blind spot is particularly large at the right front corner.


Continue reading Duck boats – Unsafe for our city streets?