Intersections for Catching Red-Light Runners

Looky all the people talking about Boston PD’s ticketing of cyclists running red lights!

For PDs out there: a short list of  intersections that will net you a good number of red-light runners (think income):

Cambridge/Somerville:

  • Hampshire/Plymouth/Windsor intersection
    *sometimes you’ll also catch cyclists heading the wrong way on Windsor.
  • Mass Ave and Somerville
  • Mass Ave and Beech
  • Mossland and Somerville
  • Beacon and Park Street
  • Beacon and Somerville
  • Beacon and Kirkland
  • Hampshire and Broadway
  • Ames and Broadway
  • Broadway/Main St and Third
  • My guess is that many of those new lights on Somerville Ave are good picks, too

Boston:

  • Charles Street, between Long Fellow Bridge and the Boston Common. Any of those lights will do.
  • School Street Street where it T intersects into Washington Street.
    Cyclists traveling on Washington Street always blow through this light.  Sadly, I’ve seen (more than once) Boston police officers on bikes run this light. While going the wrong way on Washington. Riding two abreast. Yea, it was all sorts of wrong.
  • Crosswalk on Cambridge St near Whole Foods and Joy St.
  • Summer and Chauncy.
    Once upon a time I was riding through a green on Summer. A police officer in a cruise nearly hit me while making a right from Chauncy onto Summer. He yelled at me for not paying attention, and insisted that I must yield to police vehicles. I reminded him that I had the green and his emergency lights were not on. He started to say “be careful who you raise your voice at..” and I rode off – during my green light – unimpressed.

And here’s one for the cycling team: While you’re out there ticketing, PDs, please, please put more sets of eyes on this one intersection:

Cambridge St heading to Longfellow Bridge, in front of Liberty Hotel and Charles/MGH T stop.

Cars waiting to turn off Cambridge onto Soldiers Field Rd, and cars coming off the ramp heading toward Charles street routinely cut off cyclists going into Cambridge, heading straight. I have been in more accidents and close calls at this intersection than any other intersections combined, in the seven years that I’ve tooled around Greater Boston on two wheels. (Before readers file this under my inability to ride safely:  I’ve been in less than five – thankfully small – accidents. This does not change my previous statement. The math is correct.)

From my understanding, this is one of those ambiguous intersections where the State Police and/or Boston Police can be called, in the event of an accident. (Insert long boring story of me trying to get ANY police officer to show up here after a hit-n-run) I don’t know who is responsible for this intersection today, but if you’re reading this and you are (or your department is), please be more proactive here before somebody gets killed.

Now off you go to make some money!

6 Comments »

  1. dotriderblog Said,

    September 27, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    Five accidents? Slow down eh? I’ve been in 3 over the past 46 years. The first two before 1966 and one the bike fender failed and jammed the front wheel. The only one I had in Boston I got hit by a car that was unregistered and uninsured. The guy gave me $60 and I got a used fork and wheel installed for $75. Had a sore rib for a while though. Are bike accidents that common for regular riders? Anyone else?

  2. yourstruly Said,

    September 27, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Good for you for being in only three accidents!

    As I wrote, my five accidents were all small. My definition of an accident is where I’m thrown off my bike, resulting in bumps, bruises, and scrapes. I don’t think of myself as a fast rider – neither do many cyclists who pass me daily.

    My first two accidents I chalk up to inexperience: panicked and tossed myself, both happened within the first year. Last three were all at that intersection, with cars cutting me off as I try to head straight.

    I think five small accidents in seven years of nearly daily riding is not terrible. Curious about other daily riders, though.

  3. John W. Said,

    September 28, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    You’re absolutely right about this intersection. It’s poorly planned, poorly managed, and I’ve been trying to get the city/state to give me some information on any plan/intention to make the intersection better. Nicole Freedman’s office responded to me saying, in a nutshell, ‘We know about it’. I posted on SeeClickFix.com and was reprimanded by someone at City Hall for not writing the appropriate and responsible state agency (the state received the same posting, of course). Other emails and letters have gone unanswered.
    The current problems could, it seems to me, be alleviated by some decent patrolling of the intersection. Police direct traffic at so many intersections throughout the city, why not this one?
    Since I have little faith in a top-down solution anytime soon, I’ll keep doing what seems to work well for me. I take full use of the left lane at or near the top of the hill on Cambridge St., breath evenly and calmly, and I ride with traffic.
    I still have the occasional close call–since half of the drivers in the left lane want to cut someone off in the right lane to make some whacko-typical-Boston-driving-right-turn and half of the drivers in the middle lane (a turn-only lane, by the way) want to drive straight through the intersection–but so far, so goodish.

  4. Aaron Said,

    September 29, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    Just in terms of red-running, it would be a veritable gold mine of tickets if an officer was posted at any of the intersections in the Longwood Medical area, especially Brookline & Longwood or the Riverway & Longwood.

  5. yourstruly Said,

    September 29, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    John W: I typically merge into middle lane and take that whole lane, while I watch for left laners who want to cut off middle laners. I had no idea that middle was right-turn only!

    If we ever happen to be at that intersection you’ll know it’s me by my incredulous shout of “Seriously?” at whatever driver pulling whatever stunt.

    Aaron: Thanks for the tip. My Boston riding knowledge is not nearly as extensive. Last time I rode down by Longwood, the worst part was crossing BU bridge. I hope they get that project wrapped up soon.

  6. Bicycle Canticles » Response to Mr. Jacoby’s Opinion Said,

    September 2, 2015 @ 10:48 am

    […] since then. I think it’s fine for cops to ticket red light running cyclists, for the record. You can see my plea here for them to do more of it here. A more accurate question, then, is “Have you seen cops ticket ALL cyclists who ran a red […]

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