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It always strange to me how one day can have a completely different traffic situation than the day before or after it. Something must have been in the air yesterday (all the students returning?), but it was total gridlock traffic in the morning and afternoon commute. And then this morning, almost no traffic, but crazy amounts of cyclists on the road. Coincidence, I think not! (perhaps)
Bikes, good for traffic, good for you.
Tags: gridlock, ride bikes every day
Posted in bostonbiker, Commuting | No Comments »
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 | 1 Comment »
For the last 7 or so work days I have noticed that on my morning commute, there are significantly more cyclists than their are motorists. The insane part of it is, the cars still take up vastly more room.
You will pull up to a red light and see 10 cyclists crammed into the tiniest little area, and next to them 3 people in cars taking up the entire road. The light changes green and all the cyclists cram into a narrow bike lane (happily I might add), while the 3 or 4 cars struggle to find room on roads clogged with on street parking and construction.
There are two lessons I have learned form this.
1. WE ARE WINNING! Cycling is clearing a preferable form of transportation, this is due to many peoples hard work promoting cycling infrastructure and education.
2. Driving a car is about the dumbest way to get to work. If you don’t have a really good reason, leave the 4 wheel vehicle at work, dust off that bicycle, and join the crowd!
Have you seen an uptick in the number of cyclists on your commute? Have you noticed that you are outnumbering cars? Let me know in the comments.
Tags: cars, cyclists, outnumbering, winning
Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker, Commuting | No Comments »
I am back from Iowa, 520-ish miles over 6 days, lots of fun. Expect a full review post later.
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
Anyone else doing RAGBRAI this year? Want to see if we can make a little Boston meet-up in the corn?
Let me know in the comments.
Tags: boston biker, RAGBRAI
Posted in bostonbiker | No Comments »
It was never acceptable that people got hurt and killed in motor vehicles, but we now have the technology to drastically reduce traffic fatalities.
Operating a motor vehicle is not a right, its a privileged, and we need to take the safety of the operation of motor vehicles more seriously. Because lets be clear, the vast vast majority of traffic fatalities are caused by big heavy fast moving pieces of metal operated by people who are very bad at operating big heavy fast moving pieces of metal.
This is not to say that everyone is a bad driver, but that no one is a good driver. Human beings didn’t evolve to drive around in cars, and as such we lack many of the skills that one would need to operate them effectively. Combined with our penchant for drinking, falling asleep, texting, and other distractions behind the wheel and you end up with a murderous rampage killings tens of thousands of people every year.
The “freedom” provided by owning and operating motor vehicles in the way we do currently is not worth the cost in human lives. There are a host of well tested and proven methods shown to reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities, all we need to do is enact them in our city. Speed reduction, automated cars, better enforcement, better infrastructure, driver education, and many more. Start with the easy ones, and work your way up to the hard ones. It’s time we stop allowing those we love to die needlessly.
Tags: no more deaths, vision zero
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
Anyone paying attention knows that the mode-share (as those in the transportation biz call it) has been shifting. Less people are using cars, and more people are using other things to get around.
In my mind roads are a public utility, who’s purpose is to move people and stuff around. There are a lot of ways these people and stuff can get around. We could use cars, trucks, buses, trains, trolleys, walking, carts, bicycles, horse and buggy, dog sled, etc. These methods all have pro’s and con’s. An efficient city would use the methods best suited to its people, and economic activity.
For a long time people thought the best way to use roads, was to cram them full of cars and trucks, and as such they kept running into the same problem. They would build a road, then a bunch of cars and trucks would drive on it, the road would get clogged, so they would build bigger roads and then these bigger roads would get clogged, so they built bigger roads, etc etc. These larger roads lead to people moving out of the city centers and out to the burbs, so you had decreasing tax bases in cities, and lots and lots of commuter traffic.
This downward cycle got pretty bad. We ended up with giant multi-lane highways through the centers of cities. Inner cities devoid of people, traffic, air pollution, obesity, and a lot of other problems we didn’t think would happen. All because we decided the best use of the public utility that is our roads, was to fill them with cars and trucks.
But that is changing, rapidly. In our modern, technologically advanced cities, filling our streets with cars makes very little sense.
Gilles Vesco calls it the “new mobility”. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones. He anticipates a revolution which will transform not just transport but the cities themselves. “The goal is to rebalance the public space and create a city for people,” he says. “There will be less pollution, less noise, less stress; it will be a more walkable city.” (via)
We have seen this trend right here in Boston. The entire Big Dig (for all its failings) was basically removing an eyesore highway that bisected downtown Boston. Highway overpasses are being removed in Somerville, in JP, and elsewhere. The city is being re-designed to accommodate human beings, not cars and trucks. With beneficial effects for its citizens.
This trend will only increase with a multitude of factors contributing to the decline of car use. Uber, Zip Car, Hubway, self driving cars, better and more public transportation, cycling and walking infrastructure are all chipping away at car ownership and use. The high cost of car infrastructure (like car parking), the poor health and environmental effects of cars, rising income inequality, combined with new expectations of ownership (the so called sharing economy) have all converged to really put the hurt on car mode-share.
The upshot is that you should expect a future filled with cycling, walking, and public transportation, not single use car trips. We have reached “peak car.” This will usher in a new era, one significantly better for everyone.
Have you given up your car? Do you use ride share services instead of owning a personal car? Have you switched to walking, cycling, or public transportation? If you have a car does it get much use? Has your personal mode-share changed? Let us know in the comments.
Tags: cars are dead, mode share, peak car
Posted in bostonbiker | 1 Comment »
Oh man what a difference a couple degrees makes. Its like a someone pushed a button and all of a sudden all the cyclists are back on the road! Welcome back everyone, we missed you, and are super happy you are back. Just an FYI, while you were gone the roads were destroyed by several snow-blastings. There are now pot holes, piles of sand/salt/rocks, still a lot of ice, and in general they are slightly more narrow.
All that being said, its been GLORIOUS riding these last couple days. I actually got to wear actual bike shoes, instead of winter boots, and I feel like a million bucks. HURRAH SPRING!
Have you started riding again? Do you remember what green plants look like? Have you figured out what that glowing thing in the sky is?
Tags: back, cyclists, spring
Posted in bostonbiker, Commuting, fun | 1 Comment »