A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts

by Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Play Video
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts
A Bicyclist-Friendly Massachusetts

Project Report | Nov 28, 2016
Freight & Bikes, Sparking Change from Tragedy

By Richard Fries | Executive Director

Freight and Bikes - How the Porter Square Tragedy Can Spark Real Change

Interactions between large vehicles and bicycles remains a huge issue in our urban centers. The most recent incident in Porter Square that killed 60-year-old Dr. Bernard “Joe” Lavins of Lexington had a unique component. The door on the cab of the truck showed the name of the company.

MassBike contacted Mitlitsky Eggs, a Connecticut based firm founded in 1964, for comments and information. In the conversation, a representative of the firm made comments about the chaotic nature of Porter Square and the growing density and frenetic nature of traffic in the Metro Boston area. This chaotic, clumsy and deadly drama is playing to a packed house every rush hour in every major league metropolitan area in the U.S.

The trucking industry is crying out for less cars and better infrastructure. This means - albeit indirectly - more transit, more bikes, better infrastructure, and way better enforcement.

Want to know more? Ask 'what can brown do for you'?

“My business is mostly about the truck. Because the last mile in the life of every product in America happens in a truck,” said a representative of the Southern California District President of the United Parcel Service. “The glasses on your face, the tie you’re wearing, the phone in your pocket. It may get here in a container. It may spend on a train. It may fly in a plane. But the last mile is always in a truck.”  

“It’s simple really. Trucks are like the bloodstream in the human body,” we were told. “If your blood stops flowing, you would die. If trucks stop moving, the economy would die.”

At this point, bike advocates and transportation officials will quickly point out that the most important thing on our highways are people. And that the “lifeblood of our economy” is truly mixing tragically with the very real blood of 38,000 deaths on our roadways last year or the 2.5 million emergency room visits from roadway crashes, or the  4.5 million annual medical consultations resulting from crashes each year. That figure of medical consultations is more than every war America ever fought combined…..every year.

In short, the trucking lobby could become a tremendous ally to the bicycle lobby. More bicycle and pedestrian accommodation could greatly abet the trucking industry.

We need to respect that the work of truck drivers is indeed ‘necessary.”  But consider the number of bicycle riders struck and killed by truck drivers in the past few years. Surgeons, immunologists, students….Truck drivers may be driving freight, but those people on bicycles are driving our economy… in equal measure.

Both truck drivers and bicycle advocates simply want government to take charge of a system that is chaotic, environmentally destructive, economically unsustainable and deadly.  

Anybody that has ridden a bicycle in Metro Boston during rush hour has seen the chaos. Bike lanes become loading zones, double parking lanes, drop-off zones, etc. And yet, we still have curbside policies developed in 1965.

MassBike offers the following six considerations:

1. Vastly expand loading zones for deliveries.

2. Completely eliminate cab stands. These are spatially and environmentally stupid in the 21st Century.

3. Create drop-off zones where private citizens, cabbies, and Uber and Lyft can all do drop-offs and pickups. Those curbside zones can be flexed to serve as loading zones between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

4. Create cell phone lots where drivers can wait for a call to service without spawning dangerous double-parking and dooring circumstances.  

5. Integrate congestion mitigation pricing that discourages all rush-hour driving and encourages alternative transit.

6. Discourage all deliveries - either through toll pricing or outright bans - during peak hours. Like a snow storm, just give it a few hours and let the roads clear.

This is not a wild idea. These same principles have been put in place in Europe with great effect. A big part of the reason so many Americans are enchanted with the streetscapes of Brussels or Paris or Barcelona is that the rumbling terror of trucks is restricted to off-hours. This has been explained in detail in this EU report.

But we in bicycle advocacy must not vilify the people who are working hard to deliver the goods that we demand. We must remain vigilant in our cities to reduce the use of single-occupant automobiles, which remains the biggest problem to our environment, our public health, and our economy.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @massbike
Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Edward Thomas
Project Leader:
Edward Thomas
Boston , MA United States

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in United States or in Education that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.