Whether they’re soaring over the Harvard Bridge or locking their cycles up along Beacon Street, Boston is not short on citizen bikers. With Hubway stations lining every block of Commonwealth Avenue and encouragement from elected officials to transition to green transportation, the number of Boston bikers has more than tripled in the last decade. However, Boston (and its Mayor, Marty Walsh) is struggling to keep up.
After a fatal hit-and-run between a car and biker last month that resulted in the death of 29-year-old cyclist Rick Archer, Mayor Marty Walsh went on record saying that bikers need to more closely follow the rules of the road to avoid collisions with cars and pedestrians. Needless to say, the bikers of Boston were not pleased.
Among battle cries and angry remarks directed at Mayor Walsh, cycling advocates called attention to their concerns by petitioning, protesting, and holding vigils for citizens who have died while biking. A local artist supported the cause by putting up comic strips in popular bike lanes overnight with blurbs advising drivers on how to accommodate street bikers.
After weeks of pressure, Mayor Walsh announced that he will be budgeting an extra million dollars to the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, an organization dedicated to reducing (and eventually eliminating) fatal traffic injuries. But even with the controversy surrounding his cycling comments, Mayor Walsh has been extremely encouraging of bikers and their safety within the city — his initiatives have helped Boston rank as the fifth friendliest biking city in the country and lower the city’s rate of cycling-related injuries by over 14% since 2009.
Regardless, there are still many changes to make in order for Boston bikers to be as safe as possible. Besides elected officials taking the initiative to protect bikers, drivers and cyclists need to learn the rules of the road for their counterparts and make sure that they always traveling safely. With new bike lanes (and bikers) surfacing every year, Bostonian drivers and bikers must learn to co-exist on the streets of Boston.