Boston has recently ranked among the best places for bicycling in the country. Among U.S. cities with a population of more than 300,000, Boston ranked as one of the most “bikable” places.
It’s a status and reputation city officials hope to further improve. It’s why they have focused resources on renovation of traffic-dense streets to be safer for cyclists. It’s also why they are installing an ever-increasing number of bicycle rental stations throughout the city.
Still, there are those who prefer to bike outside the bustle of Boston. And lucky for them, there are plenty of options throughout Massachusetts.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com, our bicycle accident lawyers promote safe cycling but know too often an accident is the fault of other drivers. Trail riding can be a safer alternative in many cases.
Here, we offer an overview of some of the most popular bike trails in the Boston region and remind riders that just because these trails are free of motor vehicle traffic doesn’t necessarily mean they are free of risks.
Riders must still use caution. Cyclists and passengers under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet, and those who are older are encouraged to do so by safety advocates.What the City Says
The city’s commitment to enhancing bike-riding experiences goes back to the late 1990s, when then-Mayor Thomas Menino signed off on a transportation initiative called, “Access Boston 2000-2010” that incorporated plans to improve bike safety and increase ridership in the city.
This started with publishing current bicycle parking maps, creating more sheltered bike parking in private buildings, increasing awareness of the “Bikes-on-the-T” program, improving bicycle signage and supporting the bike tourism industry. That last one eventually dovetailed into the Hubway bicycle rental system and promotion of many of the city and state bicycle riding trails.
It also included plans – which are now being realized – for more bicycle lanes, wider shoulders, reorganized roadway lane widths, intersection improvements, signage and improvements to off-road bicycle accommodations and linkages into Boston.What the Bike Path Plans Say
As of 2016, there were 13 existing bike paths and bike trails in the City of Boston and 10 planned new routes and extensions, as well as 11 existing trails and paths in Metro Boston and 14 planned new routes and extensions, according to MassBike.org.
Existing City of Boston Trails:
- Arnold Arboretum
- Paul Dudley White Charles River Bike Paths
- Forest Hills Cemetery
- Franklin Park
- Pierre Lallement Southwest Corridor Bike Path
- Melnea Cass Bike Path
- Millenium Park
- Muddy River Bike Path
- Jamaicaway Bike Path
- Neoponset River Greenway
- North Bank Bridge Connector
- Stony Brook Reservation Bike Paths
- Bike Path to Logan International Airport
Planned City of Boston Bike Paths
- Charles River Bike Path Harbor Extension
- Charles River Upstream Extension
- Boston Harbor Path
- Boston Harbor Walk
- Charlestown Waterfront Bike Path
- East Boston Greenway
- Emerald Necklace Greenway
- South Bay Harbor Trail
- West Roxbury Linear Park
- Winthrop Greenway
Existing Metro Boston Bike Paths
- Assabet River Rail Trail
- Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge Bicycle Trails
- Battle Road Trail
- Bay Circuit Trail
- Bedford Narrow-Gauge Rail Trail
- Bruce Freeman Trail
- Fitchburg Cutoff Bike Path
- Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
- Lexington Bike Routes
- Mystic River Bike Paths
- Wompatuck State Park
Planned Metro Boston Bike Paths
- Alewife Brook Bike Path
- Bedford Reformatory Branch Trail
- Bike to the Sea
- Central Mass. Rail Trail
- Cochituate Rail Trail
- Dedham Rail-Trail
- Minuteman Charles River Connector
- Mystic Crossing
- Somerville Community Path
- Assembly Square/ Mystic River Connection
- Tri-Community Bikeway
- Upper Charles Trail
- Watertown Branch Rail Trail
- Wayside Rail Trail
Trails and paths for non-motorized use are especially popular in Boston, where most roads are incredibly congested and often hazardous.
According to a study by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (RITA), bike paths and lanes are the chief infrastructure that might be expected to boost more bicycling safety in any region. Only about a quarter of the U.S. population have access to both bike paths and bike lanes and a third have access to one or the other. Most people with access to bicycles will ride them regardless of whether these options exist, but most report feeling far more safe on bike paths – with no cars – than on roads with no designated bike lanes.
Usually, it is the state and/or local government responsible for maintaining these routes for safe travel.
In cases where the owner/ manager of a trail fails in this duty and it results in a bicycle accident, the injured cyclist could take action – assuming plaintiff could show defendant had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous problem and failed to take reasonable action. This is why it’s important for all cyclists who ride the trails to report any potential safety hazards or path defects to officials. If you have been involved in an accident, we can help.
Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com at (888) 789-BIKE.