New Bike Parking Regulations Now in Effect

No bicycle parking to any disability/handicap sign poles


9/13/2012

Cambridge has been working to improve mobility for people with disabilities, while also seeing the amazing success generated by its programs to encourage bicycle use in the City. Even with the greatly expanded commitment to provide additional bike parking spaces, these two goals sometimes come in conflict. When a bicycle is locked to a signpole marking a disability parking space, that bicycle can interfere with a disabled person’s ability to access his or her vehicle. Access to the trunk as well as the front of the vehicle can be blocked. Sometimes cyclists abandon their bicycles on the disability signpole for days or even weeks. This can become a real nuisance especially in winter when snow and ice begin to accumulate.

One member of the Cambridge community shared the following story. She and her husband on their way home from the Museum of Science with their grandchildren decided to stop for ice cream. Her husband has a disability and uses a cane and sometimes a wheelchair. They parked at the designated disability parking space in front of an ice cream shop in Cambridge.

Thinking that this would create easy access for her husband who was on the passenger side of the vehicle, they were in for a surprise. The disability parking space had not just one bike but four bikes -- two bikes locked to each of the disability signpoles! Needless to say, this made it very difficult for her husband to get in and out of the vehicle so that he could participate in this family event. Their grandchildren, then ages 5 and 8, watched and even helped him maneuver around these bicycles so that he could join them for ice cream. They saw how frustrating this was for their grandfather and asked: “Why are these bikes here? They make it hard for Grandpa to get in and out of the car.”

The CCPD recognized the seriousness of this problem several years ago and has been working on ways to educate cyclists so that they will no longer park bikes on the disability signpoles. CCPD also recommended revisions be made to the Cambridge bicycle parking regulations and invited Sue Clippinger, Director of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department (TP&T), to meet to discuss this issue. Ms. Clippinger listened to CCPD’s concerns and understood the problem. As a result, TP&T has added language to its bicycle regulations to clarify that cyclists shall not lock their bicycles to signpoles that delineate on-street disability parking spaces.

The new regulations address the difficulty people with disabilities often encounter trying to get in and out of their vehicles when bicycles are locked to disability parking signpoles. “The CCPD is very pleased with the efforts TP&T has made with these new regulations to improve accessibility for motorists with disabilities,” said Michael Muehe, CCPD Executive Director.

Over the next several months signs will be added to the poles for the disability parking spaces notifying bicycle riders of the new regulation.

Simultaneously the CCPD will be working to help get the word out about the new regulation. In the meantime, TP&T continues to assist the Community Development Department in their efforts to add additional bike racks throughout the City.

Maybe now we can all go out for ice cream and enjoy it thanks to this collaborative effort on the part of CCPD, TP&T and the Community Development Department.

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