[*BCM*] Longfellow/Cambridge Bike Police, Systemic Change, Courteous Mass...
jdionne at SleepMed.md
Thu Jul 31 11:55:47 EDT 2008
Include Peabody in that list!
From: bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org
[mailto:bostoncriticalmass-bounces at bostoncriticalmass.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 11:45 AM
To: Boston Critical Mass
Subject: Re: [*BCM*] Longfellow/Cambridge Bike Police, Systemic
try biking in the Malden, Everett areas... they honk and yell "Get on
the sidewalk!", and much much worse. I lived there for 6 years, and I
decided to move to a more bike friendly area.
Areas like that really NEED a Critical Mass... they dont deserve a
Courteous Mass yet ;)
----- Original Message ----
From: "TSmith4918 at aol.com" <TSmith4918 at aol.com>
To: list at bostoncriticalmass.org
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 11:38:28 AM
Subject: Re: [*BCM*] Longfellow/Cambridge Bike Police, Systemic Change,
<<making mental note not to honk or yell at any female bikers on
yer a saint, Kate! I usually kindly offer the same instruction about
traffic laws but not nearly so calmly and collectedly...
In a message dated 7/31/2008 11:25:23 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
ziegler.kate at gmail.com writes:
I just want to say, firstly, that I've really enjoyed all of the
discussion that's been going on the past few days. There have been a lot
of interesting perspectives brought forward, and though I don't
necessarily subscribe to all of them personally, I think sharing and
seeing all sides is essential.
That being said, I was really struck by someone else bringing
forward the idea of systemic change - this really is the heart of the
issue, as I see it, and I think between all of our individual road rage
and buggaboos on a daily commuting basis, the larger systemic picture
gets lost too often. Still, this is the argument I tend to take on when
challenged - the problem is not specifically motorists or cyclists, but
the system in which we all operate. The basic system and culture needs
to be changed to alleviate the tensions of biking in a city as
unfriendly to bikes as Boston. Yes, I run red lights - I slow down
first, and look, but I would much sooner keep moving that have traffic
honking and swerving around me when the light turns green. Yes, I move
between lines of traffic, because I've been rear-ended when stopped in a
lane. Yes, I ride more than three feet away from the curb, often taking
a lane, even in moderate traffic, but if I'm moving at a reasonable
speed I will always do so, to avoid dooring and debris. Would I opt to
ride differently and follow the rules if it were safe for me to do so?
On a study abroad experience in Geneva, Switzerland, I biked
everywhere. Geneva has raised bike paths, bike traffic signals and bike
turning lanes. You can rent bikes for free with a 10 franc, refundable
deposit. Women bike in their heels and men bike in their suits. While
certainly this is a European-style ideal, it makes a world of difference
- and running a red light from your bike lane most often would mean
collision with other cyclists, not collision with cars.
Another city that has made some radical changes to promote
cycling and human friendly spaces in general is Bogota (I'm dying to
go!) - this video with the former mayor highlights a lot of the changes
made, and explains the challenges and obstacles in doing so.
On a slight tangent, I had an interesting altercation on my ride
to work this morning - On the underpass on Huntington, going under Mass
Ave, a woman pulled next to me, rolled down her window, honked and
yelled that the road is not a bike lane. As is my standard reaction,
especially in the morning commute downtown, I kept my eye on her car and
of course caught up to her a few lights down. I got off my bike, crossed
in the crosswalk and stopped at her car window, and began to explain
(calmly, I'd like to emphasize - I always try to be polite and calm, as
people are usually so startled at being recognized from inside their
rolling castles that being angry would only escalate) that traffic law
both allows and requires me to ride in traffic, not on the sidewalk, and
that I'd like to apologize for any inconvenience to her. Mid-speech, she
rolled up her window, locked her door and RAN A RED LIGHT to get away
from me. I've never seen such a thing, in all the people I've stopped
and all the biking I've done. And really, I can think I'm that
intimidating. Any similar experiences, anyone?
Back to my argument for systemic change (and I think Courteous
Mass is a great addition to Critical Mass in awareness-raising!), this
is also and interesting video on bike-friendly cities:
Peace and safe riding,
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