Riding from City Hall the other day at around 6:30, I passed, by my count, 56 cars backed up on Beacon Street (eastbound) from Centre Street back to Laurel Street (or thereabouts). I had turned left from Walnut Street, so I rode only a small stretch before I hit the traffic knot. No more than five or six of the cars had passed me before I passed them.
- That's a lot of cars stopped at a light; traffic can be brutal in Newton
- Bikes have a tremendous edge in congested traffic, an edge that people should be encouraged to take advantage of
- If traffic is jammed up enough, it is likely that bikes will be passing cars that haven't first passed them -- a cyclist has to be extra, super-duper careful because motorists won't have been given the notice of their presence that passing gives
- If traffic is jammed up enough, it is likely that bikes will be passing cars that haven't first passed them -- a motorist has to be aware that a cyclist may come along on the right that the motorist hasn't seen yet
Mass law is not great on this point:
No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper. MGL ch. 90, sec. 14
Why shouldn't a motorist be required to give a cyclist a safe margin before turning right, regardless of whether or not the motorist has first overtaken the cyclist?