Yesterday, Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello announced that starting today, April 11, the Somerville Police will increase enforcement of bicycle traffic regulations under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 85, which was recently revised and updated.
What Does this Mean for Cyclists?
In short, like motor vehicle operators, cyclists can and will be ticketed for violating traffic rules. Since bicyclists are not licensed, however, and bicycles need not be registered, the revised law provides special provisions for enforcement: Section 11E states that “a police officer who observes a traffic law violation committed by a bicyclist, may request the offender to state his true name and address”. If the offender refuses, provides false information, or information not ordinarily used, he or she is subject to arrest and a criminal fine of not more than $50.00. Civil infractions are subject to a $20 fine.
Chief Pasquarello urged bicyclists to familiarize themselves with the Traffic Compliance Law. Key rules are summarized HERE. MassBike's "Same Roads, Same Rules" webpage on traffic safety in Massachusetts for all participants offers a useful refresher as well HERE. Somerville Traffic Regulations can be reviewed in detail HERE.
“Bicyclists have a right to share the road and they should command respect from other drivers,” said Chief Pasquarello. “At the same time, they need to show respect for the rights of pedestrians and vehicle drivers. We’re all in this together, which is why we expect full cooperation from everyone on our roads and sidewalks as we work to reduce accidents and improve safety.”
Bicycle Safety Campaign Launching Soon
As part of the City's increasing efforts to promote bicycle safety, a new citywide Bicycle Safety Campaign will also be launching soon. Watch for posters, brochures, and public awareness efforts designed to help all traffic participants--drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists--learn to more safely share our roads.