On a cold Wednesday evening on October 17, just after the rain had let up, over 175 supporters of safe infrastructure gathered at City Hall in a CBS rally to make visible the urgent crisis on our streets and to officially kick-off our petition to get a citywide network of protected bike lanes in five years.
Each year, first responders like police and EMS are called to 160 crashes between bikes and cars in Cambridge. As we filled up the east lawn with bicycles, laid down to symbolize the dangers that people face everyday trying to get to and from school, work and daycare, it was easy to see how much this impacts our community. We read off the names of 9 people who have died while walking or biking in Cambridge since 2015, including three people this year alone. Charged up by the The Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, and with speeches from community members and elected officials, we called on the city to do more.
The solution is clear: the city’s own 2015 Bike Plan includes a 20-mile network of protected bike lanes and other systematic changes to reduce speed and volume on many side-streets, making the streets safer for everyone, whether you’re riding, walking or driving. These lanes (PBLs, for short) would make 40% of the reported crashes in Cambridge, such as doorings, physically impossible, and make many others less likely. But, since this “master plan” has been announced, only 1.2 miles have been built.