Massachusetts Law and the Bicyclist

Every year there are thousands of bicycle accidents in Massachusetts and many involve serious personal injury.

Bicycle riding has become a mainstream form of transportation and as more and more people take their cycling to the busy streets of Massachusetts more accidents are bound to occur. For overall safety, it is important to understand the law as it pertains to bicycling in Massachusetts.

With the exception of highways where signs prohibit bike riding, you are allowed to ride on any public street, road or bikeway. Unless prohibited by local law, riding on sidewalks outside of business districts is allowed. You may pass cars on the right.

The operator of a bicycle is required to report any accident involving either personal injury or property damage in excess of one hundred dollars, or both, to the police department in the city or town in which the accident occurred.

Bicycle safety is also the responsibility of motor vehicle operators. Before opening their vehicle doors, motorists and passengers must check for passing bicyclists. Opening a vehicle door into the path of any other traffic including that of bicyclists and pedestrians is subject to a fine of up to $100.

When passing, motor vehicle operators must remain at a safe distance to the left of any other vehicle including a bicyclist and must be safely clear of bicyclist before returning to right.

The motorist must pass at a safe distance. When the lane is too narrow to safely pass then the motorist must use another lane to pass or hold back until it is safe to pass.

After passing a bicyclist it is illegal to make an abrupt right turn at intersections and driveways

When turning left the motorist must yield to oncoming bicyclists. The law includes yielding to bicyclists riding to the right of other traffic, for example, on the shoulder. The fact that a bicyclist was riding to the right of traffic is not a legal defense for a motorist causing a crash with a bicyclist.

If you were hit or run off the road by an automobile, you may be entitled to compensation. We can help you recover no fault damage by dealing with the insurance companies and filing a properly drafted claim. If the injuries caused you to miss work, you may be entitled to loss of wages. We represent clients who have been run off the road by cars. You may be entitled to compensation even if the car did not hit your bike.

If you were injured in a bicycle-car accident, contact our office. If your injuries prevent you from coming to our office, we can come to you. We do not charge attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation for your injuries.