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In what can only be described as click bait written by a person who seems to have suffered a head injury (perhaps a helmet would help?) Jeff Jacoby continues the Globes tradition of publishing foolish OpEd’s about cycling (see here here and here).
The death last month of cyclist Anita Kurmann, who was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer turning from Mass. Ave. onto Beacon Street, was a terrible tragedy. The 38-year-old medical researcher was at least the 13th cyclist killed in collisions with motor vehicles on city streets since 2010. That number is sure to rise if Boston keeps encouraging people to ride bicycles where bicycles don’t belong.
Busy thoroughfares aren’t meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation’s cities. Those vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, operate at 300-plus horsepower, and are indispensable to the economic and social well-being of virtually every American community. Bicycles can be an enjoyable, even exhilarating, way to get around. So can horses, skis, and roller skates. Adding any of them to the flow of motorized traffic on roads that already tend to be too clogged, however, is irresponsible and dangerous.
I can’t imagine a less tactful way to talk about the very real problem of cyclist road safety. Not only is he being incredibly crass about a recently killed person, he is missing the point that cycling as a mode of road share has been growing rapidly over the last 5 years. With surging numbers of cyclists on the road, you would expect much higher number of fatalities in a city so poorly designed for cyclists (like Boston). Indicating that cycling is a much safer mode of transportation than he lets on.
He goes on to assert that because someone died we shouldn’t use that method of transportation anymore? Did anyone tell him that in the same 5 year period (2010 to 2015) over 1000 people have died in Massachusetts due to fatal car crashes. (source) many of them in Boston, including pedestrians. Are we to assume no one should walk or drive either?
He also seems to forget that it was cars that were added to pedestrian and cycling traffic, not the other way around. Cars were late comers to the road mix, and have done nothing but kill and maim since they were introduced.
He also fails to address that Boston is only several feet above sea level, and continued use of oil (cars still run on oil) puts the very city itself in danger of destruction. Business as usual use of oil will not only clog city streets with traffic, it will submerge those streets under water. Also you know cars make people fat, angry and clog our air with pollution. Cycling, solves many if not all of those problems, and causes very few new ones.
He continues to confuse his imagination with reality to such an extent that it seems to be pointless to even type out a response to the whole mess.
Seriously this guy…I think this comment summed it up best:
The distinction between a newspaper columnist and an internet troll gets more subtle every day.
Tags: boston globe, it burns, Jeff Jacoby, the stupid
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
Here is my first go, share any fun data tricks you figure out in the comments:
July saw a whopping 48,851 cyclists ride past both sides of the bike counter, if we assume most of those people are riding to and from work (divide by two) we get about 24,426 “people trips” that is people who rode their bikes that month. Wow! June numbers were basically the same. (do note that this could be the same 1000 or so people riding every day)
Offsetting A Large Amount Of Car Traffic:
What if all 24,426 of those trips had been taken alone in a car instead? The average car is about 13.5 feet long, that is a line of cars roughly 62.5 miles long! That is an additional 2 miles worth of cars on the street every day. Just think about that the next time you are stuck in traffic and you think that cyclists are “slowing you down.”
Clocking Impressive Miles:
The average bicycle trip is about an hour (source), which I think is about right for the total time of riding to and from work. I would say the average cyclists travels about 10-12 miles per hour while in the city, meaning that people are doing around 10 miles a day, for a total of about 244,260 miles of total cycling a month! That’s more than the distance from here to the moon! (238,900 miles)
Saving A Shit Load Of Gas:
The average fuel efficiency for the US car fleet is 24.6 miles per gallon (source) if you drove said average car 244,260 miles you would be using about 9929 gallons of gas every month.
That’s A Lot Of Money:
At the time of this writing gas was about 2.30 a gallon (source) at that price 9929 gallons of gas will cost you about $22,837 saved every month. That money most likely got plowed back into the local economy (cyclists got to eat) instead of making it way off to big oil companies far away.
Preventing A Lot Of CO2 Emissions:
Burning one gallon of gas produces about 20 lbs of CO2 (source), if cyclists are preventing 9929 gallons of gas from being burned every month that means they are preventing 198,580 lbs of CO2 from being emitted every month. (if you take into account that cyclists themselves breath out about .8 lbs of CO2 per hour of cycling, using the assumptions above, you are still left with a very impressive 179,039.2 lbs of CO2 reduction (5,955,600- 19,540.8) )
And of course these are just cyclists going down this one (admittedly cyclists heavy) street. There are many hundreds if not thousands of other cyclists not being captured by this counter. I can’t wait to see more data collection like this, as it will give us a real picture of all the benefits cycling is bringing to our city.
What sort of trends can you tease out of this data? Found any trouble with my math (I don’t math all that well)? Leave it in the comments.
Tags: cambridge bike counter, math is fun
Posted in advocacy, fun | No Comments »
(pardon the poor pictures it was dark)
Took these late last night, lane markings are back, but still no flexible bollards up. In the five or so minutes I sat there about ten cars went by, oh which about 3 were going way too fast and driving in the newly created bike lane. I am hoping once they put up some bollards this will stop, but its a clear indicator that lane markings alone are not going to solve this problem. Might not hurt to have a week or two of targeted enforcement at this intersection Cambridge PD style.
Tags: lane markings, mass ave.
Posted in infrastructure | No Comments »
For a single day next month, locals and visitors will be able to experience Paris without motorized traffic, giving the city over to pedestrians and bikers. Free of traffic congestion, noise pollution and vehicle emissions, the Day Without Cars will transform the physical and auditory landscape, enabling views and revealing ambient sounds ordinarily drowned out by the urban cacophony on September 27th.
Timed to coincide with a United Nations climate conference and European Mobility Week, the move is partially a display of possibilities for car-free cities as well as a statement about the environment. The 1st through 7th, 10th and 11th arrondissements (city sections) will all participate; monuments and gathering spaces such as the Champs Élysées, the Bastille, and the Eiffel Tower are included as well. (via)
Oh how I wish we could do this, even for one day, even once a year, pretty please with cycling on top can we exclude all cars from the city for one day?!?!?
Tags: Car free, lets do this, paris
Posted in advocacy, Commuting | No Comments »
As I noted before, the intersection is definitely under construction.
A protected bike lane, signs calling for turning motorists to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, and optimized traffic signals are some of the improvements coming to the Boston intersection where a bicyclist was killed this month.
The intersection at Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street has been repaved, new striping will be applied, and flexible posts protecting the bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue will be installed starting this week, said Vineet Gupta, director of planning for the city’s Transportation Department.
“Our goal is to make it safe for everyone at that intersection,” Gupta said.(via)
I would have liked to see more improvements, but this is a start. Keeping Mass. Ave. to two lanes as it exits the bridge heading into Boston and making the right most lane a protected cycle track with a large curb bump to slow right turning vehicles (the curb bump out could have a cut through for cyclists) would have been more optimal in my opinion. The curb bump out would also make it easier for pedestrians to cross.
Even though they have known it was the most dangerous intersection in the town since at least 2013(pdf), it apparently took a fatal crash to get them to fix it up. While I am very glad they are addressing this concern, will it take a dead cyclist at every dangerous intersection to get these well known problems fixed? The truck drivers name/company still has not been released, and they have still not filed any charges.
It looks to me like he was clearly making a right hand turn from the left most lane. And if the city has these images, they probably have many more. This person needs to be charged with something.
A ban on crazy huge vehicles without escorts should also be put in place.
Tags: danger, mass ave., too little too late
Posted in news | 5 Comments »
The Mass. Ave. intersection at the base of the Mass. Ave. Bridge has been repaved, and all the street markings are gone. This, as you may recall, is the scene of the recent hit and run that killed Anita Kurmann. The driver of that truck has of yet not been charged with anything.
Two thoughts immediately came to mind. Is this going to affect any investigation into her death? And two, is this in direct response to the crash?
As of now there are no lane markings, making what was already a very dangerous intersection, more so. Be careful out there.
Tags: anita kurmann, Mass Ave Bridge, mass ave., repairs
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure, news | 2 Comments »
Tags: road diet, video
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure, video | No Comments »
NPR reported today that Boston ranks 6th! Sixth! Sadly it isn’t “Awesome Cities”, it was Cities with the highest level of time wasted in traffic. We didn’t get here by accident. It was years of decisions, choices we have made about how we built roads, and what sort of traffic we promote.
On top of the 64 hours wasted by the average car driver every year, traffic also causes lots of other problems:
The report finds that traffic congestion caused U.S. drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel last year, and exacted a nationwide price tag of $160 billion, when fuel and car costs and lost productivity are added up.
The “congestion cost” per car commuter in the Boston area — a region that includes parts of New Hampshire and Rhode Island — was nearly $1,400 last year, per the report. That’s ninth-highest among U.S. metros.
I have said before, roads are a public utility designed to move people and goods around, the best way to do that is not necessarily by car. If you are wasting $1400(!!) dollars a year being stuck in traffic its time to re-evaluate your method of transport.
It’s also worth noting, that we used to be a country where cities were full of more and more varied public transportation options, until large car companies got them removed. Your commute is miserable in large part because a big company wants to make money off your suffering.
Buy a bike, get a t-pass, walk, ride a bus, anything but drive your car.
If only there was
Tags: cars are dumb, ride a bike, you are wasting your life stuck in a metal box
Posted in Commuting | 1 Comment »