Everyday, it seems as if there are more and more Boston bikers on the road.
Whether they’re soaring over the Harvard Bridge or locking cycles up along Beacon, Boston is not short on citizen bikers. Hubway stations now control every block of Commonwealth Avenue and elected officials are encouraging citizens to transition to green transportation. But with all this, the number of Boston bikers has tripled in the last decade. And it’s clear that Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, is struggling to keep up.
A fatal hit-and-run between a car and biker last month that resulted in the death of 29-year-old cyclist Rick Archer. Afterwards, 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.
Suffice to say, Boston bikers are not happy.
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.
So now what?
After weeks of pressure, Mayor Walsh announced that he will be budgeting an extra million dollars to the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition. This organization is 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’ safety. 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. Even though elected officials are taking the initiative to protect bikers, citizens must still do their part. The rules of the road must be learnt and followed now more than ever with biking’s popularity surging. Bostonians must learn to co-exist on the streets, whether by foot, car, or cycle.