Mayor Menino Comments On Bike Safety In Boston

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 12

The mayor lets us know what he is doing to help increase bicycle safety.

Last week our cycling community, and the city, was rocked by the tragic death of Boston University student Christopher Weigl. By coincidence, a hearing on bicycle safety brought the community together at City Hall later that day. Both events have many left asking what’s being done to make our city safe for cyclists, and rightfully so. Personally, I have been inspired by the outpouring of concern, support, validation, and sense of togetherness in our efforts to make Boston a world-class caliber city for bicycling.

Over the past five years, our Boston Bikes program has grown tremendously. Bicycle infrastructure is popping up in every neighborhood. A few years ago, when I announced “the car is no longer king” in Boston, it was before we had 675,000 trips on Hubway and before 9,000 young people went through bicycle education classes in schools around the city. That vision has guided the rapid growth in cycling throughout Boston.

It is the close-knit sense of community that impresses me most about bikers in Boston, and it is that community that came together last week. It is the collective force of that community and the unfortunate accidents of this summer and fall that are cemented in our minds today. Through our Boston Bikes program, we speak often about the six “E’s” of bicycle planning. And, it’s the six “E’s” that become the constant refrain when discussing solutions that can bring an end to these tragedies.

While there is certainly more work to be done, sometimes it is helpful to share some of the pieces already in action:

You can read the rest here

I don’t disagree with anything he is saying. But its not enough. My new motto is “More and Better!” More cyclists on the street, better infrastructure for those cyclists. I think if we stuck to that as our goal we will do alright.

We were so far behind here in Boston that its going to take a decade of hard work to only get us to “alright.” Lucky for us there are places in the world that have already done the hard work, the research, and the trial runs. All we need to be able to do is find these places and copy them.


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Posted in advocacy, news | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “Mayor Menino Comments On Bike Safety In Boston”

  1. By Rebecca on Dec 12, 2012 | Reply

    “One cyclist going through a red light hurts all cyclists in the court of public opinion. In addition to the work of Boston Police, cyclists must self-police.”

    One car driver going through a yellow light hurts all car drivers in the court of public opinion. In addition to the work of Boston Police, car drivers must self-police.

    One car driver chatting on a cell phone hurts all car drivers in the court of public opinion. In addition to the work of Boston Police, car drivers must self-police. Oh, right, although it is illegal to talk on cell phones while driving in the Netherlands, it is perfectly legal to do so here.

    Car drivers are NEVER asked to self police. If I see a bicyclist riding towards me going against the flow of traffic, I will speak up. That endangers me. A cyclist going through a red light may endanger only their self. Just as police ticket infractions car drivers make, let them ticket bicyclists if they see them breaking the law. I do not speak up when I am driving my car and I see drivers running yellow lights or texting while waiting at a light, how could I? Nor am I asked to. They are sealed away in their box on wheels. And how many of us speak up to the person who has had a lengthy phone call with us while they were driving? There is something wrong when cyclists behavior is scrutinized by the court of public opinion but car drivers are given a free pass because they are hidden behind the walls of their portable room on wheels.

  2. By Chris on Dec 13, 2012 | Reply

    One cop ignoring cars repeatedly breaking the law, yet harrassing cyclists, hurts all cops in the court of public opinion.

    One mayor blaming the victim in yet another tragic incident caused solely by a motorist violating the law, hurts the entire city in the court of public opinion.

  3. By Grim on Dec 13, 2012 | Reply

    Much like Chris and Rebecca, I’ve witnessed repeated daily instances of cars running red lights and cruisers observing violations and just letting them go.

    In addition, in the last two months I have called the police because of either being hit by a car or observing a car endangering cyclists. The police showed up only ONCE to assist me.

    Conversely, each time I’ve had a motorist call the police while I was observing, a cruiser showed up within five minutes.

    What does this say about the state of ‘Enforcement’? To me it says that the police do not take cyclist safety seriously, and are doing absolutely nothing to protect cyclists from angry, self-important and neglectful motorists.

    I see cars break the law more than ten times more often than cyclists. It’s time for the police to ‘step it up’ quite a bit more.

  4. By h4ckw0r7h on Dec 13, 2012 | Reply

    Is red light running even a main cause of cycling accidents? From what I understand, the main causes (in order) are right hooks, getting doored, motorist inattention, wrong-way cycling, THEN other illegal cycling like red light running, riding on sidewalks, no lights, etc.

    The risk/reward profile for red light running by a cyclist just isn’t the same as it is for an automobile — cyclists who run reds treat them like yields and don’t ride into automobile traffic, from what I’ve seen. I think there is a tendency to confuse what’s high risk behavior for a MOTORIST with what’s high risk behavior for a CYCLIST.

    I don’t expect the police to do anything, they’re either powerless or apathetic. I’ve approached them with video evidence of dangerous driving along with plate numbers and the responses were basically “I’m on detail and I can’t leave, we can’t stop people for every little infraction, we can’t do anything unless we see it, video evidence doesn’t count in court”, and “cyclists break lots of rules”. Once a hackney officer called me back but she basically said there would be a note made in case other people complained about that particular cabbie, but no action would be taken on this incident.

  5. By Hugh Kelley on Dec 14, 2012 | Reply

    Has anybody seen/participated in this?

    http://www.cityofboston.gov/Images_Documents/Updated%20directions%20for%20using%20google%20map_tcm3-27140.pdf

    The execution is rather primitive but I like the intent. If we really want “More and Better”, tools like this ought to help ensure it is created in the right areas.

  6. By sunfighter17 on Dec 17, 2012 | Reply

    When I moved to this area from DC about 40 years ago, one thing I noticed right away is that the cops don’t enforce traffic laws. It was a striking difference from DC. During the last 40 years, very little has changed. We still have police resources being wasted in details, when we don’t have enough officers to do important things, like direct traffic when the signals go out.

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