The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 26, 2002


Police to enforce Carlisle's bike law

In November 2001 Carlisle passed a law that would allow police to fine bicyclists who break the law up to $20. So what behaviors are ticketable? In Massachusetts, bicycles are required to follow the same rules as motorists, (see "bicyclists vs. motorists..." on page 6) and therefore can be fined for breaking these same rules. Ticketable behavior includes, but is not limited to:

· failure to yield at a yield sign

· failure to yield at a rotary

· failure to stop at a stop sign

· riding more than one abreast (except when passing)

· speeding.

Police chief David Galvin indicated that it is not the town's intention to "target" bicyclists by setting up "bike traps." Rather, the police plan to use the fines as a tool to enforce the law in the course of daily patrols or in response to complaints they receive about specific offenders. Galvin will also monitor bike rides that are scheduled to go through Carlisle, such as permitted fundraising rides and club time trials. The primary reason for monitoring these rides is safety. Since 80 percent of accidents occur at intersections, ensuring compliance at intersections will go a long way toward preventing injuries.

Galvin emphasized that both motorists and bicyclists should strive to be more tolerant and understanding of one another. Both parties have a right to be on the road and should behave accordingly. If you encounter a motorist or a bicyclist that you believe is breaking the law, you should report the incident to the police. The more detail you can provide about the incident, the better. Specifically, note the time and exact location of the incident, the direction of travel for all involved and a detailed description of all the parties. If you are reporting a bicyclist, note the details of what he or she was wearing. If you are reporting a motorist try to get a description of the car and a license plate.

If you would like more information regarding bicycling laws in Massachusetts, the Carlisle police department has printed material available . Additional information can be found at Finally, the police department will be holding their annual bike safety day before the end of June. The event provides a great forum to educate children on bicycling safety. Keep your eye out for the date.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito