This Is Framingham

This Is Framingham
Life in the ‘ham

Yes please

August 4th, 2007

I know this is a touchy subject with some people but I’m glad the town has posted a sign about cars and bikes sharing the road.
As a bike rider I have had a few people drive by me and yell out something like “USE THE SIDEWALK!” and “GET OFF THE ROAD!”  I can understand if someone is driving and there are a group of bikers riding in triple file taking over the whole side of the road, that is frustrating and wrong but I’d like to point out that I really try to stay to the very far right, inside any white lines or breakdown lanes when possible.  I WANT to stay out of the way of traffic, I don’t get my thrills out of making any car slow down but I think the people who yell things like this should know a few things before they do so like if I’m not so close to the curb that my pedals are scraping it, there’s a reason.  Some drivers don’t realise the far right can be a debris field of various objects not safe to ride over  like broken glass, large branches, nails, crumbled pavement, road kill etc..
Also, (according to the Mass bike laws) in general, bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks.  Only outside business disctricts and when necessary in the interest of safety.  As a pedestrian, it can be uncomfortable to be taking a walk and getting surprised by someone zooming up behind you or someone coming at you who doesn’t slow down.  Or sometimes you can be faced with a swerving cyclist on the phone and doesn’t seem to care about having a steady path:

I know it might seem silly but when I’m riding in non business disctrics I still stay on the road because 1) there isn’t heavy traffic to avoid and 2) I’ll feel bad if I see someone walking their baby or a dog or just people talking to each other and they feel nervous having a bike come at them, but that’s just because I feel like that as a pedestrian.
My commute to work, is basically through downtown and 135 east to Wellesley.  I’m lucky there is a generous breakdown lane for most of 135 and it slims down in some parts but there are people using the sidewalk by the T stops and in random areas.  I just wanted to say I agree with the sign; just because someone wants to ride their bike doesn’t mean they’re fair game to yell at about getting off the road.


  1. This is all true but the one thing that irks me most is that bicyclists – at least many that I have seen on Belknap, Pleasant and Edgell simply do not respect the rules of the road. I have seen many riding without helmets, not stopping at stop signs, turning without any indications and weaving in and around the cars waiting at the stop signs (particularly at the intersection of Belknap and Edgell). I have no problem with bikers on the road but I do wish they would respect the rules of the road as drivers have to. If they want to share the road, share the rules as well….

    Comment by Brad August 5, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  2. Yes Brad, I totally agree with that. I didn’t think of writing about that but I’m always baffled when I’m waiting at a stop light with traffic and I see another biker breeze through the traffic lights (that are red) and wonder how they know a car in the right of way isn’t going to hit them.
    Everyone needs to follow the rules of the road to get along

    Comment by michelle August 5, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  3. I am fairly new to biking and find it a great way to stay in shape. I really was thrilled that most people seem to be willing to share the road and cut me some slack, but I was stunned a few weeks ago when I was riding on a residential/rural road and encountered a driver who not only zoomed by me then swerved and cut me off, (I was well onto the shoulder), but had the nerve to stop in the middle of the road, making me slam on my brakes as I wondered which way to go to get around him, and when I finally managed to pass by on the passenger side he yelled out the window “you’re gonna kill somebody”! I was so shocked, all I could manage in retort was “me? what about YOU!” It is the law that bikes share the road and if I am following the rules and doing my best to not interfere with traffic flow, I expect that drivers will respect that law. I only wish they would.

    Comment by Mary August 7, 2007 @ 2:49 am

  4. This is something that I’m very passionate about. I am a cyclist, both competitively and recreationally. I race in local races and participate in charity events like the PMC (thanks again for the donation, Michelle – I’m still in the process of writing my thank you notes.)

    Riding on the sidewalk is not an option for someone like me who often travels on the road at speeds in excess of 25-30 mph, it’s also illegal as Michelle pointed out, and VERY dangerous to pedestrians. I do share the road.

    I do wear a helmet and I do obey the traffic laws. I stop at red lights and stop signs. I signal when I’m slowing and when I am turning. I also make eye contact with drivers to let them know when I have the right of way (i.e. if a car is pulling out of a driveway or turning right on red.) I respect the road, we know many drivers don’t – road rage anyone?

    A few weeks ago while I was out on a training ride for the PMC, some jerk in a beat up rickety pick-up truck drove by me and my friend while on route 30 by the TJX offices and threw a full gatorade bottle out the window at us!!! That same jerk just a few minutes earlier was pulled over on the side of the road by a police officer. WTF!?

    It is the people on bikes that Brad is referring to that give us cyclists in general a bad name. Just because there are some idiots out there that don’t pay attention, don’t signal, don’t respect others on the road, you shouldn’t write off cyclists in general. There are also jerky drivers that feel entitled to the road, such as the one Mary mentioned.

    Cyclists also have a sense of community. I’ve flatted (got a flat tire) far from any place with a pump, and foolishly left my spare tube and CO2 pump at home. I was fortunate enough to have someone drive by me who recognized my situation and stopped to help. He drove to his house, thankfully just a few minutes away, got a tube from his supply and came back with a pump.

    I respect the rules of the road and wish all other riders would too. It would certainly make it easier for all of us on bikes while on the road. I always slow and ask a cyclist stopped on the side of the road if they need help. Sometimes they are far from home with no easy way to get back to where they came from.

    PLEASE, Share the road, be respectful.

    Comment by Scott August 8, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  5. my husband gets a kick out of that sign – not b/c of the message, but b/c he always says it’s telling the bike rider to share the road with exotic cars, as though everyone in framingham drives lambourghinis.


    Comment by erinb August 10, 2007 @ 12:18 am

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