Wednesday, July 7, 2010



The DPW – Transportation Division provides staff support to the members of the Brookline Advisory Committee which was created by the Transportation Board to advise the Board on issues related to bicycling in Brookline. Members are appointed by the Board to serve three year terms. Meetings are usually held on the first Monday of the month in the library of the Edward Devotion School, 345 Harvard Street, Brookline. We welcome members of the public. For more information on the activities of the Bicycle Advisory Committee go
In order to improve bicycle safety and promote greater bicycle use, the Brookline Bicycle Advisory Committee developed a master plan for a network of safe bicycle routes. This plan should be complemented with other Town efforts to improve conditions for cycling, including provisions for bicycle parking, safety education, and ensuring that every street project undertaken by the Department of Public Works includes reasonable accommodation of bicycles and pedestrians. Click here to view the Safe Routes Plan

Think Safety First When Using the Public Way

As the Town continues to focus on building a strong multi-modal transportation network that encourages cycling and public transportation as reasonable alternatives to personal vehicle use, we strongly encourage all bicyclists and motorists to check out the new initiative "Same Roads. Same Rules.": a guide to safer bicycling and driving within Massachusetts launched by MassBike and Massachusetts Departments of Transportation, Public Safety & Security, and Conservation & Recreation.

Bicycling Safety

Bicycling is an important means of transportation used by many for traveling to work or school. To provide a safe travel environment, drivers must take special care to watch out for bicycle riders, and bicyclists must obey all traffic laws by riding in a responsible manner. Bicyclists are legally entitled to use the roads in Brookline, even though their slower speeds can pose problems for motorists. It’s easy to share the road when we all drive safely and are considerate of others. Here are some basic driving rules that motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to follow.

Always be aware of bicyclists that may be on the road. As motorists, we must all respect the rights of other road users, including bicyclists. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.
Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially if the road is narrow.
Don’t blast your horn when approaching a bicyclist – you could startle them and cause an accident.
When a road is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride safely side by side, bicycles will move into the center of the travel lane.
Recognize obstacles that may be hazardous to bicyclist – such as potholes, debris, and drain grates – and give them adequate room to maneuver around them.
Do not pass bicyclists if oncoming traffic is near. Wait as you would with any slow-moving vehicle. Your patience could help prevent an accident.
In bad weather, give bicyclists extra trailing and passing room. Also use extra caution during the morning and evening hours when bicyclists are traveling and traffic is heaviest.
Give at least 3 feet of passing room space between the right side of your vehicle and a bicyclist, just as you would with a slow-moving car.
After passing a bicyclist on your right, check over your shoulder to make sure you have allowed enough room before moving over. Experienced riders often travel 25-30 mph and may be closer than you think.
Do not pass bicyclists if you will be making a right turn immediately afterwards. Always assume a bicyclist is traveling through unless they signal.
When turning left at an intersection always yield to oncoming bicyclists, just as your would to an oncoming motorist.
Before opening your car door, always look for bicyclists that may be approaching.
Children on bicyclists are unpredictable – expect the unexpected and proceed very cautiously.

Maintain and regularly inspect your bike and always wear a helmet to prevent head injury.
Be visible and predictable when riding your bike. Wear bright colors, ride straight in a predicable manner, and signal before changing direction
Ride with traffic. Always ride on the right side and do not pass motorists on the right. If you approach an intersection with a right turn lane and want to continue straight, ride with through traffic. When a road is too narrow to ride side by side, take the travel lane.
Watch for potential hazards such as drains, potholes, train tracks, or debris. Allow time to maneuver safely around these obstacles while negotiating traffic. Avoid riding into open car doors by giving yourself 3-4 feet separation distance.
Signal all turns. Look back before your make a lane change or turn, and signal well in advance of your turning movement.
Make a left turn by either moving into the left travel lane (or turning lane) and turning with the traffic, or by stopping, dismounting, and walking across a crosswalk like a pedestrian.
Obey all traffic laws including stops signs, traffic lights, and other traffic controls. Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.
Ride in single file in traffic, except when passing others.
Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians. Be courteous when approaching others by a warning sound or signal.
Many sidewalks in Brookline are too narrow to accommodate 2-way pedestrian travel and bicycle travel. Please respect the safety of pedestrians by traveling on the street. State Law forbids riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in commercial districts where pedestrian travel is heaviest.

On Biking: some bike slang for beginners - Brookline - Your Town -

On Biking: some bike slang for beginners - Brookline - Your Town -

Worried you won’t be able to follow the water cooler chatter as your co-workers talk about the Tour de France, which starts Saturday? Here’s a short list of bicycle slang for beginners :

Animal is a strong rider.

Bail is to quit a race or a ride.

Bonk is to lose all your energy, usually from overexertion and a lack of food or fluid, it happens to the best of us, even Lance.

Broom wagon is a van that follows the race and picks up riders who are injured or unable to finish.

Cadence is how fast you pedal.

Cleat is the plastic on the bottom of your cycling shoe that clips into your pedals.

Crump is another word for bonk.

Cobblestones are roads paved with stones that jut out and look like cracked teeth, they are technically challenging to ride and usually result in a nasty crash.

Dialed in means your bike fits you perfectly.

DNF is did not finish, meaning you bonked, crashed or bailed.

Echelon is a line of cyclists that snakes across the road so that each rider blocks a crosswind for the biker behind him.

Domestique is a biker with no hope of winning, he’s only riding to assist the team leader.

Endo occurs when you crash and vault end over end across your handlebars, often you land on your head

Epic is a long ride that animals love.

Gap is the distance between you and the rider up ahead.

Grand Classification, or GC, is the overall winner, the rider with the lowest cumulative time; he’s the one he gets to wear the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey.

Green jersey is awarded to the rider who wins the most points for sprinting.

Grind is to use a hard gear and really push, it’s bad for your knees and you have to be built like a fullback to effectively ride this way.

Hammerfest is a ride where everyone grinds.

King of the mountains is the best climber of the Tour, he wears the polka dot jersey.

Lantern rouge is the last person to finish the Tour de France, like the red lamp on a caboose.

Peloton is a group of bikers riding together to block the wind for each other and make the pedaling easier.

Stage is a single day of a multi-day bike race.

Prologue is a short time trial that starts off a stage race.

Tacoed is when your wheel collapses and looks like a taco shell.

Toasted is when you are spent but you have not bonked.

Wheel sucker is someone who hangs onto your back wheel and uses your draft to get a free ride without sharing the load.

White jersey is given to the best young rider of the Tour.

Jonathan Simmons is a Brookline psychologist and avid cyclist. Read his column about the Tour de France here.