Boston Brakes is an outreach and education campaign created by the Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. We want to raise awareness of, and increase safety for, pedestrians with disabilities on Boston’s public rights of way.
Pedestrians with disabilities have unique needs when navigating sidewalks, intersections, and mixed-use paths. The goal is to raise awareness among pedestrians that disabled residents and visitors need access to a clear path of travel on:
- sidewalks and at curb ramps
- in crosswalks, and
- to HP-DV accessible parking spaces on city streets.
Changing Infrastructure along the Curb
Boston Brakes Public Safety Announcement (PSA) - 1:30
On the streets of Boston there is space for all of us.
Boston Brakes Animation
Share the street with wheels and feet animation.
An introduction to Boston Brakes
An introduction to Boston Brakes by City of Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh.
Boston Brakes Short PSA - 1:00
Lets make Boston welcoming and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.
Boston Brakes Interview - Colleen Flanagan
An interview with City of Boston Disability Commission Outreach and Engagement Specialist.
Boston Brakes for College Students
Sharing the space awareness for college students.
Quick Safety Tips
Share the Space
Boston is a diverse city filled with people on the move. Riding your bike is a great way to get around. But, it’s important to remember to share the space with pedestrians. This includes people with disabilities who face unique challenges when navigating Boston. Please be aware and share the space.
White Cane Law
When you see a pedestrian walking with a white cane this indicates that the user is blind or visually impaired. You must come to a complete stop to allow them to safely cross the street.
When parking your bike, leave at least four feet of space for pedestrians. Never block sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, or accessible parking spaces. Poles that designate accessible parking spaces may not be used to lock your bike.
Obey traffic laws
When cycling through the City, give pedestrians the right of way. Always give an audible signal before overtaking or passing. Be aware, someone who is deaf or hard of hearing will not know you are approaching. Older adults may also not be able to move quickly out of your way. Please always use caution.
Avoid riding on sidewalks
Only ride on sidewalks when necessary for safety and always use bike lanes when they’re available. This will prevent unnecessary conflict with pedestrians.
Yield at curb ramps and crosswalks
When approaching a crosswalk with a curb ramp, always leave the curb cut open for pedestrians. People with disabilities need access to ramps to safely transition off the sidewalk. Those with visual disabilities rely on the yellow bumpy surface to know they are about to leave the sidewalk. They feel the surface with their cane or feet — or their service dog does! — so they know to stop until it’s safe to cross.