Law requiring bike lane installation passes, celebrated by advocates as first in the nation

A law requiring construction of protected bike lanes on streets in the city’s five-year sidewalk and street reconstruction plan was voted in Monday by the City Council – a move bike advocates are calling the first law of its kind in the country.

“That’s a huge step forward,” said Sam Feigenbaum, a volunteer with the Cambridge Bicycle Safety group who worked on the ordinance with city officials to craft the law. He used his time during public comment to read a text from the city manager promising that the city would work to stay in full compliance with the city’s bike plan and that less than full compliance would be “infrequent, irregular and exceptional” – only when protected bike lanes are physically impossible, and after “good-faith dialogue.”

“This ordinance gives the bike plan teeth,” Feigenbaum said.

The Cycling Safety Ordinance was voted in 7-1-1, with councillor E. Denise Simmons out of the room and Tim Toomey opposed because he found it “ironic” that a law bearing that name wouldn’t require bicyclists to take steps for their own personal safety, such as wearing helmets or lights.

Read More