Understanding the rules can help reduce risk of Boston pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents

The Boston Globe recently addressed confusion regarding right-of-way rights as the Minuteman Bike Trail crosses numerous streets between Cambridge and Bedford.

Stop signs for traffic and painted crosswalks mark just about every crossing on the bike trail. But stop signs are also posted on the trail, essentially turning each crossing into a four-way stop. The Arlington Police Department reports that pedestrians have the right of way, both on the path and in the crosswalks. Bicycles are considered a moving vehicle and should stop at stop signs and wait for traffic to clear before proceedings.
If cyclists want motorists to yield, they should dismount and walk across the crosswalk. By dismounting, cyclist becomes a pedestrian with the right-of-way — this rule applies wherever there is a crosswalk, not just on the bike trail.

Massachusetts bicycle accidents continue to be a real threat. The Boston Globe reported more than 700 cycling accidents occurred in 2008. Nationwide, 716 cyclists were killed and more than 52,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Massachusetts pedestrian accidents killed 75 people in 2008, accounting for about 1 in ever 5 Massachusetts traffic fatalities. Nationwide, 4,378 pedestrians were killed and more than 69,000 were injured.

The bike trail is a wonderful resource for Massachusetts residents. And, as Boston strives to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly, walking and cycling have become more enjoyable. Understanding the rules, for motorists, cyclists and walkers alike, will help make it more enjoyable and safer for all involved.

You can visit the system’s website for more information on Minuteman Bikeway.

If you have been injured in a Boston bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, contact Massachusetts Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

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