Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bicyclists to Action: Enter Your Bike Routes Into MassBike Survey

For those whose idea of a hybrid vehicle has two wheels, not four, MassBike has rolled out a survey to find out your riding routes.

What you do is go to this website, and follow the instructions to enter your route into Google Maps. Note that you will have to log out of your own Google account in order to enter the route into massbike's survey account on Google. Here's MassBike's description of the survey:
We are looking at the array of programs and services available for cyclists in Boston and we want your input. We are hoping to gather information on cycling patterns to use as a guide when updating and evaluating cycling routes, lanes, rack disbursements, etc. We hope you will help us gather information on cycling behavior in Boston by tracking your rides through Boston.

We invite everyone who rides a bicycle within or to/from Boston to participate including commuters, racers, recreational riders, families, and even people who exercise once a year… All ages are welcome.

Participation takes just a few minutes. We will ask you to go on-line and track an actual day of riding for us using a website we have created. We want you to record exactly where you biked on this given ride.
Who do they want to do it? Anyone who rides once a year or more often. That list of people would appear to include Mayor Menino, too:

Menino purchased a silver Trek road bike three weeks ago and has been riding it regularly through his Hyde Park neighborhood. Each weekday at about 5 a.m., the 64-year-old mayor straps on a black cycling helmet and an arm band with red reflector lights and sets off alone on a leisurely, 45-minute pedal. He acknowledges that another public crusade is brewing.

"We're going to do more in our city with bikes," Menino decreed upon his return home from a ride yesterday.

Well, the first thing to do is to bring back the Boston bicycle coordinator position that he created and then promptly canned. Second thing: tell those guys in BTD to change their thinking to install bike lanes throughout the city.

Funny, I didn't see Menino's route entered in MassBike's survey. I don't think he does the internet... maybe one of his henchpeople can enter his photo-op morning route for him. Also, the pre-dawn, 5:00 am photo appears to be more than 30 minutes before sunrise. According to State Law [MGL Chapter 85, section 11B (8)], his bike should have a rear red light/reflector and a front white light; it is hard to tell from the picture, but it appears as though he has only a reflector on the front which, if true, qualifies him for a fine of $20. Safety begins at home, in Hyde Park, and in City Hall. Cute, retro choice in a bike:


What will be the most immediate benefit to having a Mayor who rides a bike? Potholes and other road surface problems, at least in Hyde Park, will get fixed pronto. Nobody notices potholes as much as a cyclist.

A cyclist I know wrote a letter to Menino recently offering him a tandem ride into work. Imagine the look on the face of the City Hall parking garage attendant if the Mayor were to pull in on a tandem?


jht said...

"Second thing: tell those guys in BTD to change their thinking to install bike lanes throughout the city."

No, please don't.

jht said...

tell those guys in BTD to change their thinking to install bike lanes throughout the city.

No, please DON'T. At least, not if they're like the bike lanes in Brookline and Cambridge, that are set up on streets with parallel parking and frequent intersections. Such lanes increase the risk of dooring and right-hook accidents (see http://bicyclesafe.com/ for definitions of these kinds of collisions and how to avoid them).

I frequently bike on Beacon St. Ever since they installed the bike lanes there, I find that I often have to ride in the regular travel lanes to avoid the above types of collisions, as well as the occasional double-parked vehicle, or the car moving into or out of a parking space. I get honked at a lot more now that they have bike lanes. I felt a lot safer before they put the lanes in.