Tips for Safe Travel

Cyclists in Cambridge

Laws of the Road

Ride with traffic, not against it. Always use a light if you are riding between sunset and sunrise. Obey all traffic signs and signals

Position on the road

Be predictable. Do not weave in and out of traffic or parked cars. Ride at least three feet (3') away from parked cars and be alert for motorists or passengers opening car doors. Never pass a bus on the right. You could collide with a pedestrian or get squeezed against the curb.

At Intersections

Be especially alert when going straight through an intersection -- look for motorists in all directions, merge behind a right-turning motorist when possible.

Signal your intentions - use hand signals to indicate turns and stops.

Left turns: There are two possibilities: Signal, move into the left lane, and turn left. OR Ride straight to the far side of the intersection, then stop, turn left, and ride across. If you use the crosswalk, walk your bicycle across. A mirror is helpful, enabling you to be aware of traffic approaching from behind.

Look Out for Car Doors

Ride at least three feet from parked cars.

Never swerve between parked cars; use the outside of the next car as your guide.

Avoid riding on the right side of any stopped car, especially if it is near the curb.

View a printable flyer for motorists.

Watch For Bike Lane Obstructions

Watch for motorists crossing bicycle lanes to turn or park.

If there is an obstacle in the bicycle lane, slow down, signal, and make sure you have a clear space or the attention of the driver behind you before you move left into the general travel lane.

If you encounter an illegally parked car, you may call the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department (617-349-4700) or the Police Department (617-349-3300) to report it. Details such as the license plate number and exact location by street address will help enforcement officers.

View a printable flyer for motorists.

Be Bright, Please Use a Light

The law requires using a white light in front that is visible for at least 500 feet, pedal reflectors, and a rear red reflector and/or rear red light that is visible for at least 600 feet. The more illuminated you are, the better. Supplementary visibility measures such as blinking lights, reflective straps and reflective tires are particularly helpful.

Remember that motorists and pedestrians need to see you. Many cyclists believe that lights in the city are not necessary, as the streets are relatively well lit. The point is not so much what you as a rider see; it is that you are seen by others.

Nearly half of all cycling deaths in the US involve cyclists riding at night without lights, although only 3% of biking is done after dark.

Link to printable flyer.

Check out this great brochure by the Cambridge Police Department on Bike Safety. Also, don't miss this Public Service Announcement from the CPD.

For More Information

For more information about bicycling in Cambridge, please contact Cara Seiderman, cseiderman@cambridgema.gov, at 617/349-4629.