discouraged

maybe it’s just me but I found last night’s Boston Bikes update to be discouraging. we had the usual giggling about fake bike lanes, the self-patting-on-back about all the accomplishments of the last five years, the hokey stand-up-if-you’re…breathing! routine, but at the end of it I was left with the feeling that

– most of what will be done with infrastructure has already been done. you can see from the chart that the rate of progress has slowed considerably. sure, there is talk about cycletracks but it’s been awhile since western ave went up. this year they are going to paint a few bike logos in the existing shoulder of VFW parkway and declare probably Five More Miles Of Bike Lanes when there is no net gain in safety.

– and safety is the big thing. the crash survey was interesting but I just find the data a bit hard to swallow in some parts. even if we overlook the egregious estimate of redlight/stopsign running at 25% (and then disingenuous attempts to revise it down to 5% – glad to see they are finally adopting the 12% figure I came up with after reviewing the raw data in the report), there is still nonsensical stuff like 6% of bikers “speeding”. Speeding? What’s the last time you saw a cyclist exceed the speed limit? Also, sorry but I think Motorist-Did-Not-See-Cyclist should be renamed Motorist-Claims-Not-To-Have-Seen-Cyclist. Face it, if you get stopped for hitting someone, what are you going to say? I bet half the time the reason they didn’t “see” the cyclist is because they were texting or dialing.

– this “driver education” initiative is a joke. sorry, but adding a bill stuffer asking motorists to be nice to cyclists isn’t going to do anything. well-intentioned I’m sure and not expensive, but half the motorists won’t ever see it and half of the others, if the comments on that recent Herald story are to be believed, will laugh and redouble their efforts to drive carelessly.

– so if driver education won’t help much and infrastructure takes too long to develop, there has to┬ábe SOMETHING we can do to prevent deaths. I laud the initiative to put sideguards on city trucks, but that leaves so many private trucks. how about a quick law to make that mandatory? is that too much to ask? how many more cyclists need to be crushed to death before that happens?

– also, I know I’m becoming a broken record on this topic but I would still like to see uniformed police officers riding around the city on bikes…especially in the “hotspot” accident areas, and especially during rush hour. I think this could have several benefits:

  1. drivers would see officers in the bike lane, and probably give them space. that could spill over to other cyclists
  2. cyclists following the officers would be more likely to obey traffic laws
  3. officers would get a sense for “what it’s like” to ride in the city
  4. cars parked in bike lanes might be more likely to be ticketed (ditto for law-violating cyclists)

 

3 Comments so far

  1. KillMoto on May 22nd, 2013

    More police on bicycles is a great idea. And it has short and long term dividends. I’ll bet that even at its most expensive, buying an officer a police bicycle, riding clothes and providing training would cost maybe 3-6 months in maintenance and fuel costs for a police car. Let’s also assume that “Police biking season” is only the peak civilian riding season: May through October. The police agency therefore breaks even the first year and lowers costs thereafter.

    Moreover, health care costs will go down in the long run.

  2. TurkeyWatch on May 23rd, 2013

    I’d also like to see more police on bicycles. Unfortunately, the example they set on bicycles is about as good as the example they set in cars, which is to say- no better than the average driver.

  3. momo_j on May 23rd, 2013

    What about Bicycle Driver Ed curriculum that is incorporated into Massachusetts’ Drivers Ed Program? Has there been legislative movement on this? Or evidence from other states and/or countries if this works?

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