Cyclists riding through Inman Square now have a safer ride home. The City of Cambridge has recently installed separated bicycle lanes on Cambridge Street, from Inman Square to Quincy Street. The lanes are clearly marked, with flex posts creating a barrier between cyclists and drivers.
These lanes should have many benefits. We hope one is to reduce dooring crashes, such as the one that killed Amanda Phillips in Inman Square in 2016. The 27-year-old Somerville resident was riding a bike and collided into a Jeep door which was left open. The impact pushed her into the travel lane, where she was hit and killed by a landscaping truck. The accident happened near Hampshire and Cambridge streets.
Dooring has been against the law in Massachusetts since 2009. M.G.L. c.90 § 14 states, “no person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”
The law further states there is a fine up to $100 for each offense.
Dooring accidents can happen when a driver parks, opens a door without looking and hits an oncoming cyclist. But it can also happen when someone carelessly leaves a motor vehicle door open as they unload goods.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, most state laws only mention cyclists. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Oregon specifically state cyclists and pedestrians are protected.
Even with these laws in place, cyclists continue to be injured. According to the Boston Cyclist Safety Report, dooring accidents accounted for 7 to 20 percent of all bike crash reports from 2010 to 2012. The report was published by the City of Boston.
The City of Cambridge is not alone in making changes to protect cyclists from dooring or other collisions. The City of Boston has included cycle tracks in the Commonwealth Avenue project, which runs from the Boston University Bridge to Packard’s Corner.
The state of Massachusetts made another change, adding a page about the Dutch Reach method to the Massachusetts’ Drivers Manual. Now, the manual instructs drivers to take three steps before exiting their car. First, check your rear view mirror, then check your side view mirror and open the door with your far hand, so you have to reach over your body. This gives you more time to check out your surroundings. More on the Dutch Reach method.
More information on the protected bike lane project near Inman Square:
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 100 years combined experience handling personal injury cases in Massachusetts. We specialize in bicycle accident cases, fighting for the rights of cyclists who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of drivers. Our attorneys represent cyclists who have been injured in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts. We are long-time supporters of MassBike and Boston Cyclists Union, which have been strong advocates of adding bike lanes in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. We are also active in promoting safe cycling through our Project KidSafe campaign; so far, we have donated over 15,000 bike helmets to children in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, contact us today to learn your rights. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.