Bicycle Safety and Registration

Conflict between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists is commonplace in the hectic world in which we live. It is up to all of us to do our part to minimize these conflicts and hopefully avoid any injuries. The following is some information that will give you some insight into the rules of the road as well as laws for bike riding in the City of Cambridge. Please share the road.

 

How do I register my bicycle with the Cambridge Police Department?

The Cambridge Police Department is no longer offering bicycle registrations.  If you previously registered your bike with CPD, it will remain on file.

Bicycles are very portable, often expensive, and highly susceptible to theft if not stored or locked properly and securely.

For this reason, EVERYONE is encouraged to document their bicycle’s serial number as well as take a picture of their bicycle to keep for their records in the event that it is lost or stolen.  If you can’t take a picture, be sure to document the serial number and make/model, color, etc. of your bicycle. 

This information is important to share with police as soon as you notice your bike is missing or stolen.

See the below image for common bicycle serial number locations:

Bike Serial Number Chart

What are the bicycle laws in Cambridge and Massachusetts?

The following is a summary of Massachusetts General Laws and Cambridge ordinances concerning the operation of bicycles. Click here to read the full Mass. General Law concerning bicycles . You may also want to look at the bicycle section of the Massachusetts Driver's Manual . Also, the Cambridge Community Development Department has a section devoted to Bicycling Rules of the Road.

  • All bicyclists must obey all traffic laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including red lights, stop signs, and riding with traffic.
  • All bicyclists should stay to the right of the roadway, except for left hand turns, or where bike lanes direct otherwise and must ride single file.
  • Cambridge discourages the riding of bicycles on sidewalks throughout the city and has provided bicycle lanes on certain streets.

 

Can I ride my bicycle on the sidewalk?

Below are the City Ordinance guidelines addressing the issue of biking on sidewalks in the City.   Bikes are not banned from all sidewalks, only the ones listed below in the business districts.  If a bike is operated on any other sidewalk it must be done with regards to the safety of pedestrians and an operator of same could still be cited if a violation is observed.

 

SECTION 12.7: RIDING ON SIDEWALKS 

  • Pedestrians have the right of way on all sidewalks. The operator of a bicycle shall yield to pedestrians in all traffic situations.
  • The operator of a bicycle shall ride at a speed no greater than an ordinary walk when on a sidewalk or when entering or leaving a sidewalk.
  • The operator of a bicycle shall give an audible warming before passing a pedestrian far enough in advance to allow the pedestrian time to react.
  • No one shall operate a bicycle on a sidewalk in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.

 

SECTION 12.8: SIDEWALK BICYCLING BANNED ON CERTAIN STREETS AND DISTRICTS

  • No person shall ride a bicycle on any sidewalk described in schedule 4B attached to and made part of these regulations and which has been posted with appropriate signs.
  • No person thirteen years of age or older shall ride a bicycle on any sidewalk described in schedule 4B attached to and made part of these regulations and which has been posted with appropriate signs.

 

SECTION 4B: ALL BICYCLE RIDING PROHIBITIED ON SIDEWALKS ALONG CERTAIN SIDES OF CERTAIN STREETS 

STREET

SIDE

FROM

TO

EFFECTIVE DATE

Cambridge St.

North

Prospect St.

Camelia Ave.

May 1, 1997

Cambridge St.

South

Highland Ave.

Prospect St.

May 1, 1997

Hampshire St.

East

Prospect St.

City Line

May 1, 1997

Hampshire St.

West

City Line

Prospect St.

May 1, 1997

Huron Ave.

North

Lakeview Ave.

Fayerweather St.

May 1, 1997

Huron Ave.

South

Lakeview Ave.

Fayerweather St.

May 1, 1997

Mass. Ave.

West

Cogswell Ave.

Shepard St.

May 1, 1997

Mass. Ave.

East

Wendell St.

Russell St.

May 1, 1997

Somerville Ave.

North

City Line

Mass. Ave.

May 1, 1997

Somerville Ave.

South

Mass. Ave.

City Line

May 1, 1997

Are there maps of business districts showing where bicycles cannot be ridden on the sidewalk?

Bicycles MAY NOT be ridden on sidewalks in the several areas of the City. You can examine maps of these areas using the list below.  In the banned areas bicyclists must either walk their bike, ride on the street, or take an alternate route.  Banned areas on the maps are indicated either with white shading (Harvard and Central Square Business Districts) or thickened lines (all other locations).

 These files are in PDF format and require use of the free Adobe Acrobat viewer .

 

Where can I find more information about biking in Cambridge and Massachusetts?

Any questions on the information contained on this page, please call:

City Of Cambridge Bicycle Program at 617 349-4604

Cambridge Police Department's Community Relations Unit at 617 349-3236


For more information about bicycling in Massachusetts, try the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition at http://www.massbike.org.

Visiting CPD

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Cambridge Police Department

Robert C. Haas
Commissioner

Email Us with general inquiries about the department or questions about resources/programs offered by the police. DO NOT use this form to submit tips or report crimes in progress.

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142

Phone:617.349.3300