Scary Moments Project

First responders are called to 160 crashes every year involving a person on a bike being struck by a car according to Cambridge Police Department data, but we know there are many more that go unreported.

Every day people on bikes have close calls or are hit by cars on our streets. Unless it’s a major crash, we don’t know about it or don’t hear about it but these experiences exact a toll on the person riding a bike, their friends, and family who sometimes have to deal with years of trauma or injury.

The Scary Moments project seeks to hear about the untold experiences of people who ride in Cambridge and why it is so important that the City rapidly move toward a city-wide network of protected bike lanes.

 

Click here to share a moment now.

 

Below are the stories of people who cycle in Cambridge, ranging from age 16 to 70:

Tracy W. (age 56)

When my child was small, we rode a cargo bike with her in the front box. We avoided Mass. Ave. at all costs, sticking with quiet streets. One day I had to ride Mass. Ave. for just 1 block North of Rindge before turning onto Day Street. Traffic was quiet. I rode slowly and carefully, keeping an eye on the parked cars to the right, but suddenly we were doored. The driver flung her door wide, grazing the side of the box. Thankfully, it did not stop us completely. I swerved slightly, then stopped just ahead. I was nearly hysterical. I told her just how close a call it was. That we could have been badly hurt. That she nearly hit my daughter. I made her promise to always check before opening her door. By that time, she was nearly hysterical, too. She promised.
We never rode Mass. Ave. again.

 

Tamara (age 17)

I was biking from school. I was wearing a helmet and I was very safe in every move I did, then suddenly this car pops out of nowhere and I lost my balance. I ended up on the ground with an open wound in my right knee and my bike crashed on my front wheel. The driver didn’t stop or apologize but instead he kept going. He turned to the right and left me in the ground. That day, I had to walked home with my knee bleeding because my front wheel was broken.

 

John C. (age 42)

Riding west on Mt. Auburn Street during evening rush hour, with bright head and tail-lights, I was riding slowly on the right side of the lane between cars stopped at the stoplight at the Hawthorne st. intersection and the parked cars. One car was waiting to turn left and a car behind him swung into me without signaling to try to get around him. I got knocked off my bike but was not injured. Had I fallen wrong I could have been badly hurt.

 

Jonathan F. (age 59)

On 1/16/2018 at approx. 6:15 pm I was bicycling eastbound on Mt. Auburn St., approaching De Wolfe St. in Cambridge. Light was red and there was a car stopped, a black SUV or truck behind it, and a third car behind that. The black vehicle had its right turn signal on. Slowly passing the black vehicle in the bike lane I contacted the right rear door which I never saw open. I fell over onto the sidewalk. Removing the mitten and glove, my left forefinger was bleeding from a gash about 1 inch x 1/4 inch. The driver assisted me by giving me a band-aid and asking if I needed to go to the hospital. They left the scene without offering identification. I consider myself lucky that there was no other injury or damage. As a high priority I would ask for a safer route from Porter Sq. to Central Sq.

 

Brendan L.

The night before Thanksgiving I was riding my bike home from work along Mass Ave. and had just reached Central Square. I was in an unprotected bike lane while wearing a helmet, reflective jacket, and front and back lights. I was hit by a car that stopped in the street and opened their passenger door into the unprotected bike lane. I was briefly knocked out from the impact and didn’t know where I was after the incident. I injured my hand, and for a month it hurt to work or pick up my daughter. I paid for my subsequent medical treatment and to replace my helmet, which cracked. I still bike to work most days but am afraid I will get hit again, and last week had another “close call” from a car door.

 

 

Elizabeth L. (age 26)

In a single bike ride on Mass Ave from Kendall to Harvard, two drivers opened their car door into the bike lane without looking, just as I was level with them. Had I been just a few inches further to the right, either one of those could have been a major accident. 

 

 

 

 

Amy C. (age 64)

I was doored on Mass. Ave. in Harvard Square. The door pushed me over into the car travel lane (I was on the section where the bike lane disappears) and I remembered that a truck was behind me. All I could think about was being run over by the truck. Luckily, that did not happen, but I was quite shaken and badly bruised. The driver of the car was also shaken. Any accident involving more than one person, affects more than one person. That driver has to live with the memory of pushing me over and I live with the memory of being pushed over.

 

 George S. (age 33)

In December 2012 I was biking from home from work on the Longfellow bridge. As I got to Cambridge a car passed me on the left and made a right turn. I barely missed contact but I tumbled off my bike onto the pavement.

The driver backed up to check on me and a taxi stopped to see if I was ok. I said I was fine, went home and cried to my partner. At the end of the week I quit my job and found a different commute.

 

 

Colin F. (age 24)

I was biking along Mt Auburn St. by the cemetery on my way home in December. I was hugging the right shoulder of the road when I heard an SUV rev its engine and speed up behind me. It swerved past me and cut me off to make a last minute turn right onto Aberdeen Ave. If I hadnt jumped off my bike onto the sidewalk, I fear what might’ve happened to me.

 

Roy R. (age 60)

I have ridden my bike almost every day in Cambridge since 1975. I’ve been run off the road a few times, usually by drivers who didn’t realize I was there. Every few weeks someone opens a car door without looking and I have a close call. I have learned that I need to keep my distance from parked cars and make myself visible. I often “take a lane,” especially when there is heavy traffic next to parked cars. I get honked at occasionally for doing this. I am sure that none of this will happen when I am on the wonderful new cycle tracks on Vassar St., Western Ave, Binney St, Concord Ave, etc.

 

Ian W. (age 31)

I was biking straight through Inman Square, in the bike lane but flowing with traffic, when a motorist attempted an unsignaled, last minute right turn, directly across my path. Shouting, I slammed on my brakes, locked *both* wheels, and with luck skidded around the car to a stop, somehow completely avoiding any contact. To their credit, the motorist did stop, but feigned ignorance and claimed they “didn’t see me” even though it was clear that they were too busy looking at their phone to pay attention to operating their vehicle.

 

John C. (age 42)

Riding west on Mt. Auburn Street during evening rush hour, with bright head and tail-lights, I was riding slowly on the right side of the lane between cars stopped at the stoplight at the Hawthorne st. intersection and the parked cars. One car was waiting to turn left and a car behind him swung into me without signaling to try to get around him. I got knocked off my bike but was not injured. Had I fallen wrong I could have been badly hurt.

 

Max K. (age 16)

As I was riding to school one day on Cambridge St towards CRLS, I was right hooked by a pickup truck. I was using the bicycle lane, riding careful and quite alert, and yet nothing that I did could have kept me safer. The driver accelerated from behind me and pulled onto a side street very close in front of me. To avoid getting injured I had to pull over to the right and brake hard, but nevertheless ended up crashing into the side of the truck. Although I was uninjured, I was quite scared by the incident and do not want something like that to happen again. I was lucky that day, and it could have very easily been much worse.

 

Douglas G. (age 43)

I was riding where the bike lane comes to an end before the road splits into two lanes, a right turn lane with a green arrow and a straight lane with a red light. I was riding right-of-center in the right turn lane when a stopped car suddenly pulled out from the straight lane into my lane, jamming me between the curb and his car, luckily, I only twisted my ankle, but my front tire popped. I told him he was going to have to pay for my tire. He told me he would wait around the corner for me, out of traffic’s way and drove off to the right. I got up on the sidewalk with my bike and walked quickly up to the intersection, only to watch him continue on his way. He had no intention of stopping.

 

S. Z.

I was biking along Memorial Drive in the bike lane, and I wanted to turn at Vassar St. As I was turning, a car cut in front of me from the lane beside me and cut me off as I was turning. Suddenly the car cuts into the bike lane on Vassar St., and I was turning so I couldn’t stop. I ended up stopping myself by pushing against the rear windshield of the car, but I no longer had balance and I fell off my bike on to the sidewalk. The chain of my bike was derailed since my bike fell over, and the car just drove away like nothing happened.

 

Janie K. (age 60)

I have biked in Cambridge ever since moving here in 1980, despite the rudeness and meanness some drivers show towards cyclists. I have been screamed at, had vehicles of all sizes pass me just inches away, and had people honk car horns right in my ear.

A few years ago, I was biking home from an evening play at the elementary school on Linnean Street with a bunch of kids, all on bicycles, wearing lights and reflective vests, and riding single file as they were trained to. As we turned onto Mass Ave toward Porter Square a male driver (a man 60+ years old, with a woman in the passenger seat) decided to show us that the road belonged to him. He drove right toward the kids in front, almost right into them. I screamed at him.

I felt sorry for his passenger, having to be with such mean person.

 

Al S. (age 47)

In December of 2017, traveling north on Mass Ave after a group ride, I passed an MBTA “group ride” bus, parked just north of Porter Square. Even though the operator clearly saw me as he was looking in the side view mirror, he still began to move the bus out, right in my path, resulting in me brushing the side of the bus (his move coincided with me already being alongside the bus). Having passed the bus, I shook my fist at him, only to be flipped off.
Apparently, MBTA doesn’t care about its drivers running cyclists off the road, or running them over…

 

 

Jason R. (age 25)

Biking down Main St, I took the lane to go around a car that was parked in a bike lane. Immediately, the car behind me started honking and yelling. Once the bike lane was clear and I had moved back to it, this guy pulled up next to me, rolled down the window, and shouted “I’m gonna kill you!” before speeding off.

 

 

Z.

I was biking down Memorial Drive, heading straight in the bike lane towards Landsdowne Street. There was a car in the right lane with the right turn signal flashing, but there was no traffic and the car wasn’t moving, so I decided to continue biking straight. Without any warning, the car turns, and nearly ran into me. I managed to brake fast enough to stop in front of the turning car, and the driver flipped me off as if he was in the right for not doing a shoulder check or checking the mirrors before turning spontaneously.

 

Ryan F. (age 31)

As a bike commuter, I always use bright blinking lights and reflective gear, and am used to hazards like bike lanes blocked by delivery trucks, taxis, or “dooring”. But even all that caution can’t protect you from drivers who don’t pay attention. While riding home one night, I was going north in the bike lane on Mass Ave. toward Albany St. I always look out for cars trying to turn right onto Albany while I proceed straight through the bike lane, but no one had a turn signal on. I thought I was in the clear, but not quite! A car suddenly veered right toward me as we both entered the intersection, and I was inches from being hit before they stopped suddenly and I swerved. It’s hard to feel safe when you take all the proper precautions and still almost get in a crash.

 

Julia P.

Riding out of Alewife to connect to the Minuteman Bikeway, I had a driver wave me through the crosswalk and then proceed to drive through anyway. I had to stop short and fell off my bike. The driver carried on as I scrambled to get up. Entering and exiting the Alewife Station area I consistently encounter aggressive drivers who refuse to share the road in the tight areas where exit lanes converge.

 

Andrew I. (age 37)

So many to choose from! Like the time I was nearly right-hooked by a construction truck, or all the times I’ve nearly been sideswiped by a bus pulling in or out. But I most want to tell people about the time a car flung open it’s driverside door right in front of me on the bike lane on Columbus Ave. I hollered, he apologized. Please everyone: learn The Dutch Reach! www.dutchreach.org

 

 

Nikki B. (age 26)

I was biking down Mass Ave from Harvard to Porter Sq (about 2 years ago, before the protected bike lanes), when a shared ride vehicle suddenly pulled over next to me and the passenger door swung open. I did not have enough time or space to swerve out of the way, and hit the door head on and went flying off my bike onto the curb. Thankfully the damage was minimal–bruising and several weeks of back pain from where I hit the curb, and some minor bike repairs. The experience was terrifying. I am so grateful for the protected bike lanes along Mass Ave now, but I still have frequent close encounters with shared ride vehicles suddenly pulling over or driving in the bike lane.

 

Nate S. (age 30)

Biking home from work along Hampshire St. at night in the bike lane approaching Inman Square. Long line of cars stopped at the red light, but I was still ~150ft back from the stop line with a clear bike lane ahead, cruising at 10-15 mph. A passenger opened the back door of a car in the road, forcing me to slam on my brakes and swerve to avoid the door, crashing my bike and sending me out onto the pavement. Was then yelled at by the passenger for scaring them. They walked off still yelling at me as the light turned green and the car drove off.

 

Amy C. (age 64)

I was doored on Mass. Ave. in Harvard Square. The door pushed me over into the car travel lane (I was on the section where the bike lane disappears) and I remembered that a truck was behind me. All I could think about was being run over by the truck. Luckily, that did not happen, but I was quite shaken and badly bruised. The driver of the car was also shaken. Any accident involving more than one person, affects more than one person. That driver has to live with the memory of pushing me over and I live with the memory of being pushed over.

 

Jared P. (age 33)

When stopped at a red light, a driver pulled up behind me and my wife (on bikes). He started honking over and over, revving his engine, screaming at us, unleashing a profanity-laced tirade. He screamed that he wanted to “murder” us, that he wanted to run us over, that he was going to spit on us as he drove by. My heart was pounding; all I could think to do was to turn back to him and yell his license plate number at the top of my lungs – evidence that he could be found if he harmed us. Once the light turned green, we braced for impact, but he raced around us on the left, a near miss; I think he would have spit on us except his elementary school son was in the front passenger seat. He would have had to spit OVER his son and out the passenger window to hit us.

 

 

Aaron C. (age 42)

I was riding to work on a sunny winter day after a previous snowy day, heading uphill on Hampshire Street towards Inman Square. A motorist unexpectedly pulled out from a side street on the opposite side of the road, then drove directly into my path — they were trying to go to the Walgreen’s parking lot. I wasn’t able to stop, and crashed into their passenger side door. They didn’t see me because they hadn’t cleared snow off their passenger side window. I was bruised and shaken, but otherwise unhurt; the driver got out and apologized and we went our separate ways.

 

 

Zeke S. (age 26)

Driving into work one morning, I was going north on Mass Ave having just passed Vassar. As I was getting to the Albany intersection, I saw a long line of cars (3 maybe 4) using the bike lane as a right turning lane. I went to the left (and only legal) lane to continue riding straight but as I reached the corner, I just barely got missed by a driver who had, ironically, tried to turn right. While the entire intersection is dangerous at these hours, the fact that the only driver doing the right thing was the one that almost hit me (because of several others that did not care at all about the bike lane) feels like we need to do a better job of adding protected bike lanes, thereby avoiding these situations.

 

Alex A. (age 33)

When riding home where the Dudley bike path merges into “bike lane” on BU bridge a car swerved into the bike lane to avoid rush hour traffic and struck me. I flew off my bike onto the sidewalk. The car quickly drove away once it had realized what it had done. I was luckily only shaken and bruised but did not file a report because I did not have time to document the car that had struck me.

 

Mary M. (age 24)

I’ve been clipped by mirrors on cars multiple times and have called the police and no cops show up. Drivers + passengers of SUVs have thrown glass bottles at me and the police don’t bother to come check on me, despite HQ being only a few yards down the street. Dr Anita Kurmann was killed and police didn’t care to evaluate the crash with any respect for a defenseless human. The ONE time I walk on the bike path and was assaulted by a white male cyclist, the police show up – why don’t they care about me as a cyclist being attacked and assaulted by cars and their passengers, but made it a priority to address a pedestrian concern involving a cyclist within three minutes? Dr Kurmann’s death highlights the facts: Boston and Cambridge Police prioritize motor vehicle comfort over cyclists’ lives.

 

Willliam v.d. K. (age 26)

During the morning commute last summer, I was biking on Beacon St. in Somerville, which is a pretty busy bicycle corridor. A truck driver passed several cyclists (myself included) who were travelling in the non-protected door zone bike lane at a distance of about a foot. MA law passing at a safe distance — the distance this driver passed at was terrifying. Someone could have easily been injured or killed. When I stopped to ask the driver if he was aware that he passed so close he got confrontational, told me to ‘stay in my lane’ and made a threatening gesture at me, pounding a fist into his palm.

 

Adam B. (age 30)

Mt Auburn St and Fresh Pond Parkway, which is a convoluted intersection and a little unclear how a bicyclist should cross in any direction. On a bitter cold morning, I was bundled up heading west on Mt Auburn in the far right lane. A car passed me on my left and turned right onto Fresh Pond Parkway, missing me by a couple of inches. The driver appeared to be oblivious to my situation. I was shocked both by the incident and by how normal this type of interaction has become. 

 

 

Chris S. (age 46)

I was riding home from work in the bike lane when a man suddenly opened his door inches ahead of me. I tried to swerve but hit the door, flew over my handle bars and hit my head on the ground. Apologizing profusely, the driver rushed from the car to offer aid, explaining that he himself bikes regularly and felt terrible about causing an accident. Thanks to my helmet and good luck, injuries were limited to a broken pinkie (which hit the door). I declined the help (and offer for compensation), assured the driver I was ok, bought a new helmet at a nearby bike store, and rode home.

 

Ruthann R. (age 54)

Every morning when my teen leaves the house to bike to school, I have a scary moment of worrying if he will come home safely. As his Mom I want to keep him safe, and as a bike commuter I know the risks. I’ve heard my son talk about vehicles passing too close – aggressively close — to try to push him over to the side of the road. I’ve read the stories of cyclists being injured and killed as they try to “share the road” with vehicles, and of road rage drivers assaulting cyclists. My son has learned the basics of safe city bicycling and we try to design low-stress routes, but without a network of protected bicycle lanes, I know the risks are substantial. So each morning I call on the bike angel (pictured) to protect him, and I keep supporting efforts to build better bike infrastructure.

 

Kathleen M. (age 31)

A driver in an SUV followed me for a mile yellowing out his window, whenever we pulled even, that I was the reason people got hit by cars.

 

Colin D. (age 41)

Around 10 years ago, while biking down I was cut off by a driver who tried to take a turn in front of me. It was so abrupt, I ran into his car because I didn’t have time to react. The impact sent me over my handlebars, bouncing off his car and falling into the street. This was during the morning commute near Porter Sq with commuters everywhere and a crossing guard who witnessed everything. No one came to my help and in fact the driver hopped out, yelled at me and then took off before I could get his insurance. No one tried to stop him. I had a bruised rib and my bike, which I had just bought, was totaled. The fact that the driver showed no remorse was hard enough but the fact no one stopped to help made matters worse.

 

Mark M. (age 60)

Yesterday morning (23 JAN 2018) I was biking east bound on Mass Ave, after Middle East and before the Fire Station. It was raining and there were 2 bikes in front of me. Suddenly the lead bike went sideways into a parked car and I heard a loud bang. He had been trying to pass between what I took to be a Lyft/Uber driver who had stopped in the bike lane and the parked cars on the right. The passenger in the rear seat had opened the door in to the bike lane to exit the vehicle . A second or two later and the cyclist would have run into the car door and or passenger with absolutely no way to avoid the accident. The cyclist appeared mostly uninjured, except for his left hand which had been struck. I always slow to a walking pace when threading the needle between Uber/Lyfts and parked cars.

 

Ted M. (age 30)

An Uber driver pulled directly in front of me and stopped while I was traveling in a bike lane. I had to slam on my brakes hard to avoid rear-ending them. Then of course I was forced to merge into a busy car lane. This action is unacceptable in car lanes too, but I feel that bikes are much more vulnerable to it due to our size and our inability to damage (or even honk at) the offending car.

 

Itamar T. (age 37)

Sometime in 2017, I was stopped at a light on Trowbridge, to the right of the cars, in the unprotected bike lane. As the light turned green and I started going forward, the police car to my left turned right, in front of me, without bothering to check for bikes. We almost smashed into each other, but luckily we both managed to stop in time. My bike front went way up into the air, but I managed to land OK and didn’t get hurt.

 

 

Melissa M. (age 28)

On River Street, heading into Central Square (trying to be a good bicyclist and follow the rules of the road – the protected bike lane on Western Ave is one way!). I got buzzed by a speeding van. As the driver sped away, they put their hands out the window as if to say, “Move over – what are you doing?” But I was riding in the shoulder, while they had two whole lanes – it was 5:45am and they were the only car on the street. It was too close for comfort and made me think twice about biking to the gym in the morning. And yes, I had lights and a helmet.

 

 

Tim R. (age 45)

After dinner with friends in Cambridgeport, I rode back home to North Cambridge. I took Mass Ave between Central and Harvard Squares. I had just passed Dana street when a parked driver threw open his car door. I instinctively swerved around the door. Luckily, there was enough room between cars driving down Mass Ave. I was not hit. To take luck out of the equation, I now avoid this section of Mass Ave and try to take the whole lane when a bike lane is not available. All of this just to avoid being hit by people exiting their cars.

 

Y. Tung (age 38)

Traveling on Ames St. northeast I signaled left to merge left to take a left turn onto Broadway. EZ Ride bus tries to pass me on my left (crossing over double yellow line to do this) as I hold my left turn signal, gets to < 5 feet away, far too close for a bus traveling at about 15-20mph. Bus route turns left at Broadway; bus passes after the turn and pulls over to stop ahead of me, nearly clips another cyclist ahead of me. Have video proof, submitted complaint, director replied with, “I don’t see anything wrong with this.”

 

Jonas K. (age 32)

I was waiting for a left turn at the traffic lights at Mass Ave. and Sidney St. intersection. It was a morning and the sun was shining directly in front of me, making it really hard to see anything. I had two back lights blinking and wearing a reflective vest to counteract the sun but nonetheless somebody managed to bump into me. It was a very light touch, the bike didn’t even fall. I looked to see if my bike was fine, and the driver got out saying apologetically “it’s the sun”, so I just shrugged “please be more careful” and continued. But now I’m even more scared that somebody could bump into me from behind even with all these lights on.

 

Shannon (age 49)

I was walking that day (I usually bike), so I was on the sidewalk heading down Warren Street towards Cambridge Street in East Cambridge. There was a small van making a left on Warren from Cambridge and just as it did, a bicycle came along traveling west on Cambridge Street in the bike lane. The van struck her and knocked her off her bike. The driver of the van stopped and got out to be sure she was okay. She was shaken, but claimed to be unhurt and got back on her bike and rode off.

 

Jeffrey O. (age 53)

This happened in Harvard Sq on Jan 18 around 8:30pm. I entered the square from the north, riding south on Mass Ave, eventually going to end up on JFK street going out to the river. As I was passing the right turn to Brattle St the car I was overlapped with decided to take the right turn. The driver did not have their turn signal on, was more toward the left side of his lane than the right, and he was past the point where you’d normally start a turn. If Brattle St was two way, he would have ended up on the wrong side of the street. I was able to turn with the car to avoid getting hit although it was close. The driver of the car heard my surprised exclamation and stopped. We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.

 

Rebekah W. (age 40)

I was biking westbound on Newton street and stopped stop sign at Springfield street, signaled a left turn, and then proceeded to go since it was clear. Before I finished my turn a driver behind me rolled through the same stop sign, sped up and swerved around me very closely while honking. Then they nearly clipped a car coming in the opposite direction on Springfield while trying to hastily squeeze to get in front of me.

 

Susannah H. (29)

This is one of several examples. I used to live in Cambridgeport, and would bike through the BU bridge rotary every day. One day, a driver coming off of Mem Dr westbound came careening into the rotary at about 40mph, did not yield for rotary traffic (me), and also started yelling at me as I swerved out of the way—this road rage, on top of almost getting hit, made me feel even more unsafe. Bike infrastructure should help reinforce the notion to drivers that bikes BELONG on the road, and are due the same rights of way as cars.

 

Eugenia S. (age 35)

Since the whole episode took place in slow-motion, I can’t pretend to describe the events with perfect accuracy. But my scary moment happened when I tried to cross an intersection. It’s a low-traffic intersection, but still: the cars come from both directions. I thought I’d made eye contact with a driver approaching the crosswalk. In fact, I thought we’d agreed I had the right of way. But when I went through, I discovered: nope! My bike wheel didn’t survive, but I did. I cut up my elbow – no biggie – though it still hurts when I bend it sometimes. The best part was how kind passersby were to me. Someone called 911, and a lovely EMT told me to sit down – I was in shock. The worst part was I thought it was my fault, and didn’t press charges. Looking back, I do regret that.

 

Vivek S. (age 42)

One weekday afternoon I was riding down Mass Ave from Porter to Harvard. As I reached Shepard Street I was moving along at a pretty good clip.

Suddenly a minivan turned right from Mass Ave onto Shepard Street right in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes to keep from smashing into the minivan. My life flashed before my eyes, as it does on a weekly basis as I ride my bike along the streets of Cambridge.

The minivan got nowhere as there was another car blocking Shepard Street. I rode down Shepard St and pulled alongside the minivan. The driver turned towards me and flipped me off! I hadn’t even said anything. It was clear that this was a deliberate act against a random cyclist. I shook my head and rode off in disgust.

A road system that made clear to everybody who belongs where would reduce anger and make for a safer commute for everybody.

 

Jenny T. (age 36)

I had just crossed Mass Ave from Wendell to Shepard and was about to pass a parked pickup in front of the Starbucks. I saw its passenger door open. Expecting what was about to come next, I tried to swerve, but was swept off my bike by the driver’s door opening. Fortunately there were no cars behind or next to me at the time, and I was only bruised.

The driver was very nice and apologetic, and even drove me and my bike home. It’s just not something people are looking out for half the time.

 

Martina B. (age 39)

I was on my way biking into work one morning and was biking in the bicycle lane on Hampshire street direction Kendall. A big truck from outside of Cambridge pass me and suddenly after passing me he starts driving into the bicycle lane as he wants to make a right turn on Colombia or Windsor street (can’t remember which one). I was ok but had to steer to the right and luckily there was space for me to get away.

 

Gail W. (age 63)

I was biking on the sidewalk next to the Alewife Brook Pkwy from the Alewife T and over the bridge towards Concord Ave. As I came around the corner by the TD Bank I then needed to cross Wheeler St. As I did, a car right-hooked me as it turned onto Wheeler without looking. I was going quite slowly and managed to veer right enough to fall over gradually. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and my bike was fine too. The driver stopped to see if I was okay as did passersby who were surprised he didn’t see me. It was daylight and I was wearing a red jacket. He had two young children in the car who may have distracted him.

 

Giuseppe B. (age 52)

I was riding due West on Brattle St, in the bike lane, in daylight. I rode towards the intersection with Fayerweather St, while several cars in the opposite lane were waiting to turn left into Fayerweather. As I approached the intersection, the first car on the line to turn left was waiting, but the the second car suddenly snapped left, tires screeching, cutting through the line as I was crossing Fayerweather. It missed me by a few inches as it entered Fayerweather on the wrong lane. I am grateful I was a few seconds behind my encounter with death.

 

 

Nadeem M. (age 34)

I was biking down mass ave towards MIT, past Flour, careful to stick to the part of the right lane close to the parked cars. Traffic was intense and someone had been run over by a bus in that precise location before. I was moving at the speed of traffic, how I felt safest. Unbeknownst to me at the time, someone parking their car was about to open their door into traffic, hitting my bike, clipping my body, sending me over the handle bars and over-and-around the car door. I lay face down on the street for only a split second before I could collect myself – just long enough to see an mbta bus pass right by my face, inches (not feet) away from hitting or crushing my head. Cambridge needs protected bike lanes along the entire length of Mass Ave. Lives continue to be at stake.

 

Hannah M. (age 24)

The first day of day light savings, during rush hour and rain, I was biking down the (marked but unprotected) bike lane on Mass Ave, between Harvard Sq and Porter Sq. I had lights and a bright jacket and thank goodness a helmet. A Florida license plate truck pulled straight into me, to get to a parking spot. His window was open, so when I braked suddenly, I fell into his window. He apologized and said that he didn’t see me and asked if I was ok. It wasn’t until later that I realized how horribly bruised my shoulder was and bloody my hand was(through gloves). That same night I was almost hit two other times by drivers making risky left turns and buses pulling into the bike lane.

 

Madeline (age 70)

I had come over the Cottage Farm bridge and in my cautious deliberate and law abiding way had made it safely around the rotary and onto Brookline St. This is a residential area and there are stop signs almost at each corner, so I expect it to be steady. At an intersection a driver honked and was either anxious or frustrated attempted to pass me. BUT there are cars parked on both sides (I was planted on 1/3 of the road) and this driver came within inches of hitting /sideswiping me. At 70, with no accidents under my belt, I’m reaching for a clear slate. This driver almost ruined my record.

 

Karl A. (age 27)

 

It was when the Graham and Parks School moved to Linnean Street as I entered

8th Grade. Having grown up on Richard Ave in North Cambridge, over the summer I purchased a new bike and planned to ride every day to school that year down Mass Ave. If you’re a parent and are imagining your child biking solo down Mass Ave, you can imagine how scary that is. The second day of school came around and I was forced off the road by a truck, ended short my newfound commuting style. 14 years later and road conditions in Cambridge are still not ensuring protection for cyclists. This needs to change now!

 

John H. (age 31)

I was riding NW on Broadway just after Galileo Galilei when a car stopped short, pulling all the way into the bike lane, inches from me. When I leaned down to the open passenger window to ask why the driver (unnecessarily & dangerously) pulled into the bike lane he motioned “shhh” and pointed to his phone, the mouthed “I’m on the phone”.

 

Annie T. (age 27)

Before the Cambridge Street changes, I was biking home one night in the narrow bike lane in front of the War Memorial Rec Center. A few cars were wheel-deep in the already-narrow lane, so I stayed to the left in order to be out of the range of opening doors. Suddenly, a voice screeched at me, “Stay in the bike lane!”, accompanied by giggles. Confused, shaken and frustrated, I yelled back, “I can’t!” but they were already well on their way. I still feel so frustrated when thinking about this moment. There was nothing I could’ve done better. I’ve been in so many close calls that I know I have to stay out of car door range as much as possible. That’s why protected lanes like the one on Cambridge Street now are so important to me.

 

Alyssa L. (age 24)

Sometime in 2017, I was biking on Massachusetts Ave southeast from Harvard Square to MIT. I was in the bike lane throughout the ride. At the intersection of Mass Ave and Vassar St, I was in the bike lane stopped at a red light. The car to my left did not have any turn signal on. Once the light turned green, I started biking forward. The car to my left started making a very tight and fast right turn, almost hitting my front wheel. I had to reach out my arm and yell, but they didn’t stop or give any indication that they saw me. We need protected bike lanes and generous bike boxes all along Mass Ave for cyclists who follow the rules to feel safe.

 

 

Matt C. (age 49)

It had been several days since the record snowfall of January 4, 2018, and the streets were still quite full of snow.  I was on Cambridge Street between Prospect and Webster.  All the parking was full of snow – where else could the city put it?  Motorists were parking in the bike lane, which didn’t bother me because the record snowfall was hard on everybody.  I simply rode in the travel lane which is 100% legal.  Suddenly an impatient driver tried to pass me (which made no sense because I was so close to the next car).  He ran out of passing room though, and instead of braking to re-enter the lane behind me he just came abruptly into my lan

e, squeezing me between his car and the parked car to my right.  I had to brake hard to avoid being squished – a difficult maneuver on dry pavement, all the more dangerous on icy/slushy roads.

Protected bike lanes keep vulnerable road users away from people who make poor decisions behind the wheel.

 

 

 

Jeff G. (age 30)

I was hit by a car as I biked northwest on Hampshire Street toward Inman Square. Car traffic was backed up, so I was carefully moving between stopped cars and parked cars. As I arrived at the intersection with Tremont St, a driver turning left from Tremont onto Hampshire accelerated directly into me, hitting the side of my bike with the front of her car. I was thrown off the bike into the road, miraculously landing on my hands and feet. I left seriously shaken up, but with only some bruises and a busted pannier.

 

Keith C. (age  33)

Biking towards Kendall Sq from Inman Square on Hampshire Street at about 9 AM on a weekday last spring (in perfect weather, with a green light), I encounter a driver coming from the other direction, turning left onto Inman Street, and cutting me off in the process. The driver clearly saw me when starting his turn (there were no cars in front of me to block the view), and if it weren’t for me slamming on my brakes (so that my rear wheel lifted off the ground, moving me off my bike seat), I would’ve been on or under the hood of his car. Instead of apologizing, he insisted he had the right of way, and was apparently willing to run me over to assert it. I asked him to ask someone in the police department if his assumption was correct (it was not), which I’m guessing he did not do.

 

Ashraful

I remember biking one day on my way to school. Taking turns on intersections is a difficulty that many bike riders face. In this particular instance, I waited several minutes waiting for a car to stop, but soon saw a chance for me to turn. As I was doing this, a bus honked their horn at me for absolutely no reason and was headed towards me at a concerning speed; and the bus was at a pretty far distance away from me.

 

 

Laura B. (age 34)

While biking Mass Ave toward Central Sq, a safe distance from the door zone, partially in the car lane, a man parking his car opened his door in my path. I swerved around and said “watch out.” He shouted back, “YOU watch out.” While stopped at the light, I turned and told him it’s illegal to open his door in a lane of traffic. He said, “It’s illegal to open my door?!” I reiterated my point, to which he yelled, “F*** you, bitch.”

The police officer I gave a detailed account to, including the licence plate number, treated me as though I was wasting his time since I wasn’t hurt/no crash resulted. He claimed there was nothing he could do. He even said, “how do we know a friend wasn’t driving his car?” It was an infuriating waste of my time trying to report my incident to the Cambridge Police.

 

 

 

Hailey B. (age 35)

I was doored in Harvard Square by a women getting out of an Uber in the bike lane. I was lucky to be going very slowing and coming to a stop (in the (unprotected) bike lane at a yield sign) when she hit me with the car door. My left hand was injured, and has not fully healed.

I am always vigilant and cautious, but this incident in Cambridge taught me that even barely moving, wearing a helmet and bright clothing, and using lights still can’t protect me from cars. Had the bike lane been divided and prevented the Uber from pulling up next to me, I wouldn’t have to deal with this injury to my left hand.

 

Ryan C. (age 34)

I was riding through Central Square on a fall afternoon and several people had parked in the bike lane, forcing me into mixed traffic. Suddenly, one of the people who had parked in the bike lane pulled out into traffic next to me while a bus was passing in the opposing lane. I swerved to miss the person pulling out of the bike lane and came within inches of the bus.

Unfortunately, the person who pulled out of the bike lane and nearly pushed me into the bus just honked at me to get out of their way. They probably never saw me before this point. Both scary and disheartening.

 

Mark F. (age 32)

I was biking home from work on Webster Ave after work (Cambridge into Somerville). There was no bike lane, so I was riding with traffic. An SUV tailgated me and honked at me; even without direct physical danger that made my heart race. Then when there was a break in opposing traffic, the driver passed close by me, yelling, and when I took a photo of their license plate, yelled back to me more. Reassuringly, though, that two other drivers checked to make sure I was OK.

On the same street, a pedestrian later yelled at me for riding on the sidewalk, though we had a good conversation when I stopped to talk with them. Now, there’s a bike lane in part of Webster, but not Columbia or part of Webster closest to it.

 

Justin G. (age 30)

While heading towards Kendall Square on Broadway from the Longfellow Bridge an Uber driver used the painted bike lane to back up on this one way stretch while I was in the bike lane even while my headlight was flashing at them. After swerving around the left of their SUV while sounding my siren, the driver sped up to yell at me about how they shouldn’t need to worry about bicyclists in their way and then began to make violent threats at me. We need more protected bike lanes at an increased rate.

 

Julia H. (age 29)

I live in Cambridge but work in downtown Boston and bike to work daily over the Longfellow Bridge and Cambridge St (Boston side). My worst experiences (a crash, two narrowly avoided right hooks, and unhinged rage from a driver) have all been on Cambridge St. However, a couple years ago, while biking home along Highland Ave in Cambridge, which is one lane in one direction and has parking on two sides of the street, a car driving behind me started honking and shouting for me to get out of the way. I was biking downhill and at a decent speed, but in the middle of the lane since I’m afraid of being doored or overtaken too closely (the cause of my crash in Boston). The driver’s aggression forced me to pull over into a parking space to let him pass.

 

Abra B. (age 30)

I never know what to expect en route to the Longfellow Bridge every morning. Monday there might be new cones that narrow traffic after the intersection of Broadway and Main St and before Memorial Drive, Tuesday those cones are still be there but there’s an excavator hole digging and the lane’s even narrower, Wednesday there’s a space for pedestrians to walk which is great, but the road you thought couldn’t get any narrower somehow did, and Thursday a car speeds up to pass you before that new pedestrian crossing so that they aren’t stuck behind you, but you nearly hit the cones trying to avoid a collision. Who knows what happens on Friday.

 

Arthur S. (age 70)

A foot or two from the curb and bearing right onto Belmont Street just before the traffic light from Mount Auburn Street, I was overtaken by a (very) fast moving Home Depot rental flatbed truck, so near that its right mirror left a puff of wind in my left ear.

 

Carla D. (age 32)

I was biking on Cambridge st within the bike lane, when close to Lechmere station a car driver opened the door of his parked car hitting my bike and making me fall. Fortunately, the backpack softened the fall, I got angry at him but let him go. I was very naive, it was my first ever accident, I hopped on the bike and went to work. Only there I realized my wrist was swollen and I couldn’t twist it, it was getting very painful. I went to the walk-in at MGH, they did an x-ray, fortunately it was not broken. They gave me a wrist mobile support and pain killers, it took 2 weeks to get back to normal. Also, I went to check my bike at a bike repair shop and they found a wheel piece bended that needed to be replaced. End of story I had to pay my own health insurance expenses and bike repair.

 

Jessica M. (age 66)

In February 2005, I was on my way to the State House to testify in favor of plowing state-owned bike paths. I avoided the snow-covered Charles River Bike Paths by taking Broadway from Harvard Square toward Beacon Hill. While going around a pothole in the underpass, I was hit from behind, thrown off my bike, and knocked unconscious. I came to while EMTs were putting me on a stretcher. I lost a tooth, had some bad bruises where I bounced, and a surgeon fastened me back together with 13 stitches. Everyone said that the pothole caused the crash, but my rear wheel was potato-chipped by the impact while my weight was on it. Forgetting the impact seems to be a symptom of being rear-ended, so I couldn’t remember being hit. There being no witnesses beyond whoever hit me, no charges were pressed.

 

Colin M. (age 30)

I was biking home at night from Kendall square toward Inman on Hampshire St. in an unprotected bike lane. I had plenty of lights and a hi-vis jacket. A minivan ran a stop sign trying to cross Hampshire St and hit me. I was able to swerve at the last second, otherwise I would have ended up underneath the van. The driver said I shouldn’t have been riding a bike on Hampshire St.

 

Daniel S. (age 59)

Big bus rumbles by
Has not a care in the world
Knocks me down, unseen

On June 15, 2016 at ~8:45 AM, I was stopping for a red light on Mass Ave heading east at Walden St. A bus driver thought he could make the magic 5 second rule of driving through the red light before cars start when they get the green. He sped past me, through the red light. As he sped past me, I was putting my left foot on the pavement as I stopped. But the bus was so close to me (a foot at most) that I would have been hit had I set my foot down and stayed there. Instead, I leaned to the right and fell on the sidewalk. As I brushed the dust off me and people comforted me, I saw the bus stopped at the next light – it was a busy morning traffic. I reported this to the Cambridge police, to no affect.

 

Louisa R. (age 37)

I commute with my kids in a box bike and we mostly love it. But one of the most pervasive obstacles is cars parked in the bike lane. We then have to ride into the car lane, which is more dangerous and defeats the whole purpose of providing a bike lane. One evening on Vassar a car was parked in the bike lane so close to where it goes up onto the sidewalk that it was hard to squeeze by. As I walked my bike past, I motioned to the driver that it was hard to get by. He went off, shouting obscenities and giving me the finger – all in front of my 3 year old son! And all because he had been parked illegally! I’ll never understand why drivers think they’re so entitled just because they’re driving a bigger vehicle, but I do understand why this keeps more people from feeling comfortable biking.

 

Jesse L. (age 26)

I was biking on Webster Avenue where, at the time there were no bike lanes whatsoever (protected or otherwise). The street is very narrow and there are lots of side streets which connect to Webster which people drive very fast on. As I biked down Webster I heard a loud screech as a car slammed on their breaks, stopping just before colliding with the biker directly in front of me. This was the exact location where I witnessed a crash earlier that month involving a biker.

 

 

 

 

Andrew S. (age 34)

I was riding in the bike lane on Mass Ave along the Harvard Bridge, heading north. As I proceeded straight through a green light at Memorial Dr, an SUV made a sudden turn right to get into memorial. I got caught in the right hook, my body slamming into the side of the vehicle. I feel off my bike and rolled as my bicycle rolled over me. The driver continued onto Memorial without so much as slowing down, as far as I could tell. I was lucky and emerged with nothing but minor scratches, but needless to say the outcome easily cold have been much worse.

While an unfortunate death prompted Boston to provide a buffered lane on the southbound side of the bridge, but the northbound side shamefully remains the same as when this happened a decade ago.

 

 

Doug M. (age 51)

A good day is when nothing makes me feel seriously threatened, a bad day is a call close enough to trigger a panic attack and make it impossible for me to continue my commute. Worst things: cars turning left not yielding when I’m going straight, cars overtaking, then turning right across bike lane (bike lanes don’t help with these), vehicles abruptly swerving into bike lane from road or parking space, opening doors forcing me into vehicle lane. I commute about 2500 miles a week mostly in Cambridge; I see all of these multiple times a week, suffer panic attacks 3-4 times/yr.

 

 

 

Dan Y. (age 38)

I was riding along JFK Street toward Mass Ave, through Harvard Square, as I do most mornings in my 5 mile commute to work. Suddenly, I noticed a huge flatbed 18-wheeler passing me on the left. I moved over to give him more room, but he continued to pass, taking up the entire bike lane. If I hadn’t jumped off my bike and onto the sidewalk, I would have met the same fate under those huge rear wheels as so many other unfortunate victims.

 

 

 

Sarah J.

I was riding on Mass Ave from Porter Square towards Harvard Sq. A motorist made a right turn into Lancaster St while passing me. I had to jerk my bicycle to the right into Lancaster St as well to avoid getting hit. He didn’t even have a signal on.

 

Katie D. (age 41)

I was riding east on Cambridge St with my young daughter (<2 yrs) in a carrier behind me. It was late Saturday morning on a bright summer day and I was thoroughly enjoying the ride when a driver in a parked car to my right threw his door open. I saw it happening in slow motion as I passed on the bike, but couldn’t react before the door hit the carrier behind me and it was dumped upside down into the street. Luckily there was no traffic next to us and I was able to remain on my feet – righting the carrier, pulling my daughter out and promptly melting down in tears. The carrier had a roll cage and she was totally unharmed, but I struggle with how quickly something can happen, even when you think you’re being vigilant (pedestrian, door, slick road) sending you unexpectedly into traffic.

 

Christopher C. (age 45)

I have biked into Boston area for 20 years, about 200 days per year. I’ve had numerous close calls and was hit by a car once. Thank you for making Boston safer for biking. I was hit at Alewife Brook Parkway where the bike path crosses an entrance to the parking lot for Trader Joe’s. The driver made a turn without looking and I wasn’t able to get out of the way. Luckily I had only minor injuries and I never reported the accident. I’ve had many close calls over the years. Thank you for making biking safer for bikers and everyone!

 

 

Hermella K.

When I was walking home from school, someone was driving on the bike lane while there was a person was cycling there. The biker nearly fell off and was visibly shaken up.

 

Mark B. (age 47)

About two years ago, I was riding a bicycle home from work on Broadway northbound near the intersection with Fayette Street. It was at night. The street becomes a bit narrow on this section and I, like most bicyclists, was forced to ride a bit too close to the cars parked next to the curb. I try to ride very slowly and cautiously in these situations. Suddenly a driver door popped open right in front of me. Fortunately I was able to stop in time before making impact with the open door. Quite shaken, I pleaded with the driver to look before opening the door next time. The driver understood what almost happened and told me, “I know. I was doored here last year.” Moments like this make me very thankful for the separated bike lanes the City has installed in 2017. We need more of them to prevent this kind of near crash.