Bicycling can get you around quickly and affordably, while keeping you fit and reducing air pollution. It is also a very efficient form of transportation for many trip types and purposes. Based on the 2009 National Household Travel Survey, approximately 50 percent of all trips in the United States are 3 miles or less, a distance that can be very practical and convenient for bicycling.
The GreenDOT Policy encourages this healthy and green form of travel as part of our Mode Shift Goal, which sets a target of tripling the amount of walking, bicycling, and public transit use in Massachusetts between 2010 and 2030.
MassDOT Bicycle Resources
The GreenDOT Office works closely with other MassDOT units on bicycle system planning and implementation.
MassDOT’s Office of Transportation Planning manages long-range bicycling planning, along with outreach and education through MassRIDES.
The MBTA works to connect bicycling and transit with Pedal & Park secure bicycle parking at transit stations, Hubway bike-share stations at many transit hubs, as well as bike racks on 95% of MBTA buses.
The Highway Division provides bicycle accommodation in project design and system operation whenever possible, following the Project Development and Design Guide and the Healthy Transportation Engineering Directive (PDF). Links for MassDOT's bicycle-related plans and additional resources are listed below.
State Bicycling Initiatives
A wide range of initiatives and events supporting bicycle transportation in Massachusetts are listed below. For additional resources and information, visit the Documents and Resources page or contact the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators.
The Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board serves in an advisory role on advancing bicycle and pedestrian transportation for MassDOT and other State Agencies. Visit the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board page for more information.
Bay State Bike Week is the annual springtime celebration of bicycling in Massachusetts. Every May since 2010, MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) have joined forces to present this fun, healthy, and green statewide event.
Moving Together is the Commonwealth’s annual conference on healthy transportation modes. The conference brings together professionals from state and local government, advocates, and design professionals to advance bicycling, walking, and transit. Visit the Moving Together website for more information.
The Massachusetts Clean Air Challenge encourages Massachusetts residents and employees to leave their cars in the driveway and try bicycling, walking, public transit, carpooling, or vanpooling, for one week each September. This event was inspired by the global event, World Car Free Day, which takes place annually in over 1,000 cities in 40 countries in an effort to showcase the community and environmental benefits of reducing the number of vehicles on the road. This event supports GreenDOT goals while promoting the environmental, financial, community, and health benefits of using public transportation, carpooling, bicycling, and walking.
Mass in Motion is an initiative of Health and Human Services that aligns with the vision of the Healthy Transportation Compact. Mass in Motion was launched to address the social and transportation conditions that contribute to Massachusetts’ increasing obesity rates. The initiative seeks to promote healthy community design, better eating habits, and increased physical activity among Massachusetts residents.
Safe Routes to School is MassDOT’s statewide program that is designed to better enable elementary and middle school students to walk and bicycle to school. MassDOT manages the program through our MassRIDES travel options team, which works directly with schools to educate students and staff about the benefits of walking and bicycling for improving students’ health, reducing traffic congestion, and improving air quality in Massachusetts communities. This program is a key initiative of the Healthy Transportation Compact.
Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day
Part of the Safe Routes to School program, May 5th is a celebratory day for thousands of elementary and middle school aged children to participate in hundreds of walking and bicycling events across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts established the Commonwealth's Walk to School Day in 2007. Since then, partner schools have conducted over 500 walking and bicycling events to celebrate Walk and Bicycle to School Day. Register your Event.
Bicycle Laws in Massachusetts
Bicyclists have a legal right to use all public roads in this state except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted. Like motorists, they are also required to know and obey traffic laws and regulations. MassBike provides a useful summary of laws, rights, and resources related to bicycling in the Commonwealth.
In 2009, to further promote safe interactions on our roads between bicycles and motor vehicles, several new laws were created. For a brief description of these changes, see page 76 and 102 in the Driver’s Manual (PDF). The General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Chapter 26 Sections 3 and 11, Chapter 65 Section 6, and Chapter 525 expand the rights of bicyclists and make it easier to cite them for their own traffic violations.