Massachusetts gets bike-friendly laws

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law on Thursday a "Bicyclist Safety Bill" designed...

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law on Thursday a "Bicyclist Safety Bill" designed to help more people, particularly new and less experienced bicyclists, take advantage of bicycling as an affordable transportation option. The bill was drafted by now-retired Representative Anne Paulsen of Belmont, who worked closely with the bicycle advocacy group MassBike to modernize Massachusetts' bicycle laws and improve bicyclist safety.

The new law adds police training on bicycle law and dangerous behavior by bicyclists and motorists; explains how a motorist should safely pass a bicycle; explains how a motorist should safely make a turn in front of a bicycle; makes "dooring" (opening a car door into the path of a bicycle or other vehicle) subject to ticket and fine; permits bicyclists to ride two abreast when it does not impede cars from passing; and adds legal protections for bicyclists who choose to ride to the right of other traffic.

"The new law will encourage more people to ride bicycles by enhancing bicyclist safety and comfort level on Massachusetts roads," said David Watson, Executive Director of MassBike, the bicycling advocacy group that shepherded the bill forward for eight years.

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