Helping bicyclists understand their role in keeping themselves, and other street and sidewalk users, safe is an important issue for the City of Cambridge. While CPD does provide some level of traffic enforcement, to include for cyclists, it is spotty at best and is generally ad hoc in nature. Additionally, overall, traffic enforcement has been going down over the past several years.
Last year, a group of Harvard Kennedy School students, in part using data I provided, came up with an idea they called “Respect the Red” as a way of providing a common ‘nudge’ to help cyclists understand that they, including me, have laws to follow and that it is irresponsible, often dangerous and sometimes deadly to feel that traffic laws like stopping for stop lights don’t apply to them.
I think this is a great starting point for a city-wide, or even region-wide, education and outreach program to help change the normative behavior of too many cyclists and help them, as a body, become more law abiding, make their behavior more predictable and, ultimately, make everyone safer, including the cyclists themselves. From rural New Hampshire to Downtown Boston, people are thinking of new, gentle ways to help cyclists become safer and more responsibility riders and we in Cambridge need to do so as well.
Send me an email at CKelley@Cambridgema.gov if you want to join me in this effort.