University of Vermont AAHS

Massachusetts Riding on Public Roads Statutes and Regulations

 

MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAWS
PART I. ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
TITLE XIV. PUBLIC WAYS AND WORKS
CHAPTER 84. REPAIR OF WAYS AND BRIDGES
HIGHWAYS AND TOWN WAYS

 

 

1. Repair of highways and town ways at expense of towns

Highways and town ways, including railroad crossings at grade with such highways and town ways, shall be kept in repair at the expense of the town in which they are situated, so that they may be reasonably safe and convenient for travelers, with their horses, teams, vehicles and carriages at all seasons. A city or town shall submit a letter of request for such repair and for approval by the state department of highways. Upon receipt of such approval, the city or town shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth from monies which may be appropriated therefor by the commonwealth and the federal government to defray expenses of such repairs for safety programming. Such reimbursement will not create liability, of any kind, either civil or criminal on the part of the commonwealth or the federal government.

 

CHAPTER 85. REGULATIONS AND BY-LAWS RELATIVE TO WAYS AND BRIDGES

 

2B. Limited access and express state highways; regulation of use

The department for purpose of promoting public safety upon limited access and express state highways, may from time to time make, alter, rescind or add to regulations to exclude, govern and restrict the use of such state highways by horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and vehicles determined by the department, because of their type or because of materials or products being transported, as unsafe for limited access and express state highways, bridges, tunnels or overhead highway structures, which regulations may provide penalties for the violation thereof not exceeding thirty-five dollars for each offense, excepting regulations prohibiting the transportation of unsafe materials or products, the penalties for violation of which shall not exceed five hundred dollars for each offense. The department for the purpose of promoting public safety and convenience during periods of commuter and holiday traffic, inclement weather conditions or construction activity, or for other good cause, may promulgate rules and regulations limiting the time and hours of travel of vehicles one hundred and two inches in width, semi-trailers of up to and including 53 feet in length when operating in semi-trailer unit and tandem units, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, on the National Network, as defined in section nineteen F of chapter ninety, and routes of reasonable access, as designated by the department under provisions of section nineteen G of chapter ninety, or any parts thereof, and such rules and regulations may provide penalties for the violation thereof not exceeding five hundred dollars for each offense.The state police, may, during declared weather emergencies order all trucks off of the roads.

4. Construction of sidewalks by adjoining landowners

A person owning or occupying land adjoining a public way in a town may construct a sidewalk within such way and along the line of such land, indicating the width of such sidewalk by trees, posts or curbstones set at reasonable distances apart, or by a railing; and, if a sidewalk is so constructed, whoever rides or drives a horse or team upon and along the same shall forfeit one dollar, to be recovered by such owner or occupant in tort. 

But this section shall not affect the authority of surveyors of highways or of road commissioners, or any other authority which can legally be exercised over ways, or diminish the liability of any person for unreasonably obstructing ways, nor shall it apply to cities.

   

CHAPTER 89

3. Sleigh or sled; bells

No person shall travel on a way with a sleigh or sled drawn by a horse, unless there are at least three bells attached to some part of the harness.

 

CHAPTER 90. MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT
MOTOR VEHICLES

14. Precautions for safety of other travelers

Every person operating a motor vehicle shall bring the vehicle and the motor propelling it immediately to a stop when approaching a cow, horse or other draft animal being led, ridden or driven, if such animal appears to be frightened and if the person in charge thereof shall signal so to do; and, if 
traveling in the opposite direction to that in which such animal is proceeding, said vehicle shall remain stationary so long as may be reasonable to allow such animal to pass; or, if traveling in the same direction, the person operating shall use reasonable caution in thereafter passing such animal. In approaching or passing a person on a bicycle the operator of a motor vehicle shall slow down and pass at a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed. In approaching or passing a car of a street railway which has been stopped to allow passengers to alight from or board the same, the person operating a motor vehicle shall not drive such vehicle within eight feet of the running board or lowest step of the car then in use by passengers for the purpose of alighting or boarding, except by the express direction of a traffic officer or except at points where passengers are protected by safety zones. When approaching a vehicle which displays a sign bearing the words "SCHOOL BUS" and which is equipped with front and rear alternating flashing red signal lamps which are flashing, as provided in section seven B, and which has been stopped to allow pupils to alight from or board the same, a person operating a motor vehicle or trackless trolley shall, except when approaching from the opposite direction on a divided highway, bring his vehicle or trackless trolley to a full stop before reaching said school bus and shall not thereafter proceed until the warning signals are deactivated, unless directed to the contrary by a police officer duly authorized to control the movement of traffic. Any person who violates the preceding sentence shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250; and for a second offense by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000; and for a third or subsequent offense by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000. A second conviction or third or subsequent conviction as set forth in the preceding sentence shall be reported forthwith by the court or magistrate to the registrar who shall revoke immediately the license or right to operate of the person so convicted and no appeal, motion for a new trial or exceptions, shall operate to stay the revocation of the license or right to operate; provided, however, that no license or right to operate shall be issued by the registrar to any person convicted of a second such offense until 6 months after the date of revocation following said conviction or to any person convicted of a third or subsequent such offense until 1 year after the date of revocation following said conviction; and provided, further, that if the prosecution against such person has terminated in his favor the registrar shall forthwith reinstate his license or right to operate. No person shall operate a motor vehicle within a distance of 100 feet behind a school bus. Every school bus shall have the words "keep back 100 feet" prominently displayed on the back of the bus, in type large and dark enough so that the words are legible at a distance of 100 feet. Upon approaching a pedestrian who is upon the traveled part of any way and not upon a sidewalk, every person operating a motor vehicle shall slow down. The person operating a motor vehicle on any way or a curve or a corner in said way where his view is obstructed shall slow down and keep to the right and upon approaching any junction of said way with an intersecting way shall, before entering the same, slow down and keep to the right of the center line. When turning to the right, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic nearest to the right-hand side of the roadway and as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway. When approaching for a left turn on a two-way street, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic to the right of and nearest to the center line of the roadway and the left turn shall be made by passing to the right of the center line of the entering way where it enters the intersection from his left. When turning to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway an operator shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard. When approaching for a left turn on a one-way street, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic nearest to the left-hand side of the roadway and as close as practicable to the left-hand curb or edge of roadway.

The department, on ways within their control and at the intersection of state highways, and other ways, the metropolitan district commission, on ways within their control and at the intersection of metropolitan district commission roadways, except state highways, and other ways, the traffic and parking commission of the city of Boston, the traffic commission or traffic director of any city or town having such a commission or director with authority to promulgate traffic rules, the city council of any other city, and the board of selectmen of any other town may provide for the placing of traffic control devices in accordance with department standards to indicate the course to be traveled by vehicles turning at such intersections. Such course may be other than as is prescribed by the requirements for lane usage set forth in this section.

Such regulations and devices shall be, so far as applicable, subject to the provisions of section two of chapter eighty-five.

 

CODE OF MASSACHUSETTS REGULATIONS
TITLE 730: MASSACHUSETTS TURNPIKE AUTHORITY
CHAPTER 7.00: USE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS TURNPIKE AND THE METROPOLITAN HIGHWAY SYSTEM

 

 

7.05: Limitations on Use of Ways 

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(5) Prohibited Entry to or Use of a Way. The Authority prohibits the following vehicles from entering or using a way:  

(a) Improperly Seated. A vehicle carrying an individual who is not properly seated within the confines of the vehicle. 

(b) Flat or Inadequate Tire. A vehicle with a flat, bald, unduly or unevenly worn, solid, or metal tire mounted on a wheel in contact with the roadway surface or with a tire mounted on a wheel in contact with the roadway surface that poses a risk to individuals or property or may render the use of the way unsafe by disintegrating or partially disintegrating during travel and distributing tire debris upon the way. 

(c) Obstructed Window. A motor vehicle having a window or windshield obstructed in a manner prohibited by M.G.L. c. 90, 9D.

(d) Propelled by Muscle Power. A vehicle propelled by muscle power, including without limitation a bicycle or a vehicle drawn by a horse or other animal, or a motorized bicycle or moped.

 (e) Construction and Similar Equipment. A vehicle in contact with a way that has caterpillar treads or that is a type of construction, agricultural, or similar equipment not designed for or employed in general highway travel, whether designed to be self-propelled or towed.

 (f) Falling Debris. A vehicle upon or in which snow, ice, or other unsecured or improperly secured article or material (debris) has gathered or been placed such that the debris may fall from the vehicle and endanger individuals or property or render the use of the way unsafe.

(g) Inadequate Brakes. A vehicle with inadequate brakes.

(h) Over-weight Vehicle. An over-weight vehicle, except under, and in accordance with the terms of, a special permit that the Authority issues pursuant to 730 CMR 7.06(3)(b) or 730 CMR 7.06(3)(c).

(i) Over-size Vehicle. An over-size vehicle, except under, and in accordance with the terms of, a special permit that the Authority issues pursuant to 730 CMR 7.06(4)(b) or 730 CMR 7.06(4)(c).

(j) Propelled by a Special Fuel in the Tunnels or in the Boston Extension Tunnel. A vehicle propelled by a special fuel while traveling in the Tunnels or in the Boston Extension Tunnel, except a vehicle propelled by compressed natural gas, provided the tunnel exhaust fans are in operation, and so long as the vehicle has a maximum fuel capacity consistent with safe practice and national standards, including Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards #303 and #304, and is equipped with excess flow valves for fuel lines with an inner diameter larger than 1/2 ", and is identified by a blue-and-white diamond shaped decal attached as specified in NFPA 52, and is not used to transport compressed natural gas.

(k) Carrying an Explosive. A vehicle carrying an explosive except pursuant to a special permit for explosives that the Authority issues in accordance with 730 CMR 7.06(5).

(l) Carrying a Special Fuel. A vehicle, however propelled and whether or not carrying a special fuel, used to carry a special fuel, except under a special fuel transportation permit that the Authority issues pursuant to 730 CMR 7.06(6).

(m) Carrying a Hazardous Material. A vehicle carrying a hazardous material except as 730 CMR 7.10 permits; provided that a vehicle may carry individual packages containing non-hazardous materials and carbon dioxide in solid or dry ice form for refrigeration purposes.

(n) Vehicles Posing Special Risks in Tunnels. In the Tunnels, a tandem unit; a vehicle carrying bulk liquid of any kind; or a vehicle carrying radioactive materials. In the Tunnels or in the Boston Extension Tunnel, a vehicle carrying explosives; a vehicle used for carrying hazardous materials as defined and listed in 49 CFR Chapter 1, Subchapter C; an empty tank vehicle or a vehicle transporting empty containers which were last used for the transportation of a flammable compressed gas, flammable liquid, a poisonous substance, or an explosive.

(o) Other Prohibited Vehicles. A vehicle emitting an offensive or obnoxious odor; a vehicle emitting an excessive amount of smoke; or a vehicle towed by chain, rope, or other non-rigid device.

(6) Pedestrians and Animals. No pedestrian may enter or use a way, and no person may allow a horse or other animal not properly contained in an appropriate vehicle to enter or use a way.

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TITLE 740: MASSACHUSETTS PORT AUTHORITY
CHAPTER 11.00: MAURICE J. TOBIN MEMORIAL BRIDGE

                

 

11.05: Vehicle Operations 

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(5) Prohibited Use of Way. The Authority prohibits the following on the Tobin Memorial Bridge:

(a) Hitch-hiking. No person may solicit a ride commonly known as "hitch- hiking" on the Tobin Memorial Bridge. No person shall loiter on the Tobin Memorial Bridge for any other unauthorized purpose.

(b) Trash. No person may throw or otherwise dispose of trash or personal property of any kind from a motor vehicle on the Tobin Memorial Bridge nor shall any other nuisance or disorderly conduct be committed on the Tobin Memorial Bridge. The Authority shall be entitled to reimbursement for the cost of removing trash or personal property improperly discarded and for the cost of responding to public nuisances.

(c) Designated Areas. No person may travel on any portion of the Tobin Memorial Bridge, except on the roads, walks or places expressly provided by the Authority with its permission. No person shall occupy these roads, walks or places in a manner that will hinder or obstruct the proper flow of vehicular traffic on the Tobin Memorial Bridge.

(d) Advertising, Solicitation. No person may advertise, solicit, sell or distribute any commodity or personal property of any kind on the Tobin Memorial Bridge without the prior written permission of the Authority.

(e) Propelled by Muscle Power. No person may operate a vehicle or device propelled, in whole or in part, by muscle power on the Tobin Memorial Bridge including without limitation, a bicycle, a vehicle drawn by a horse or other animal, a motorized bicycle, a moped, a motorized scooter.

(f) Properly Confined Animal. No person may travel on any portion of the Tobin Memorial Bridge with a horse or other animal not properly contained in an appropriate vehicle.

(g) Improper Loading. No person may operate a motor vehicle on any portion of the Tobin Memorial Bridge unless such motor vehicle is constructed or loaded so as to prevent any of its contents from dropping, shifting, leaking or otherwise escaping therefrom while traveling on the Tobin Memorial Bridge.


Amended in 2002.
Reviewed and updated by AAHS in May 2003.


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