Bicycle Safety

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) has a helpful summary of bicycle safety tips and rules of the road. In addition, the publication entitled "Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely" is available from the University's CommuterChoice Program. To request a copy please email

The booklet provides both beginner and expert riders a valuable understanding of the rules of the road and how to build confidence while bicycling on any road.

The CommuterChoice web site provides maps showing local bike routes on the Cambridge/Allston campuses and to the Longwood campus from Cambridge.

Bicycles MAY NOT be ridden in Harvard Yard, or in any areas that are marked with signs reading "Please Walk Bikes" such as in segments of the northeast campus.

In the following areas bicyclists must either walk their bikes, or ride on the street, or they should take an alternate route:

  • Harvard Square Business District
  • Central Square Business District
  • Huron Village
  • Inman Square
  • Massachusetts Avenue: Wendell Street and Shepard Street to Russell Street and Cogswell/Somerville Avenue

In all other areas in the city of Cambridge a bicyclist, while riding on the sidewalk, may not ride at a speed "greater than a normal walk". A bicyclist shall give an audible warning before passing a pedestrian far enough in advance to allow the pedestrian time to react. Pedestrians have the right of way on all sidewalks, and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in all traffic situations. When bicycles are on the road, they are considered vehicles; therefore, cyclists should ride with traffic, not against it, and should obey traffic lights and stop signs.

While in Cambridge, bicyclists must obey the following rules:

  • Between dusk and dawn a bicycle is required to have a red light or reflector on the rear and a white headlight on the front, as well as side reflectors.
  • Bicyclists must obey all traffic laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including red lights, stop signs, and riding with traffic.
  • Bicyclists should stay to the right of the roadway, except for left-hand turns, or where bike lanes direct otherwise, and must ride single file.
  • A bicyclist shall not pass to the right of a bus stopped at a bus stop.
  • A bicyclist shall park his/her bike upon a way or sidewalk so as not to obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • When involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage in excess of $100, a bicyclist must notify the police in writing on a Cambridge Police Department Bicycle Accident Report.
  • In the event of a collision between a bicyclist and a pedestrian or with another bicyclist, both parties shall stop and exchange information required to complete a Cambridge Police Department Bicycle Accident Report.

All violations of these laws are punishable by a fine of $20. A person who refuses to state his or her true name and address when stopped by a police officer for violating these laws is subject to arrest and a fine of $50.