But the main topics on everyone’s mind seemed to be cars and buses — specifically, how to avoid collisions, and how to make drivers more aware of the cyclists with whom they must share Boston’s crowded, potholed roads.
It’s a persistent concern, given the approximately 1400 accidents recorded in the city from 2008 to 2009, 14 of which were fatal, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
“I bike out in Lexington and Concord,” says Rhonda Teck, an avid cyclist from Somerville, “but I don’t bike in the city because it’s too dangerous. There’s too many cars.”
Officials at the summit promised the assembled crowd of more than 100 that a number of changes would be forthcoming. Among them, word from new MBTA head Davey that T officials would load “bike scenarios” into bus-driving simulators. The T followed up the summit with a statement affirming: “Our Bicycle Safety Program/Campaign will also identify ways to increase mutual respect between bus drivers and the biking community.”
See Something, Say Something
There are countless ways that you personally can make the city a better place to bike, all in a few moments’ time.
JOIN a local advocacy group, which does everything from lobby officials to review proposed city plans — in short, they get stuff done.
>Cambridge Bicycle Committee
>Boston Cyclists Union
REPORT accidents, bike thefts, hazardous intersections, and unclear signs.
>For potholes in Cambridge, call 617.349.4854
>For potholes or hazardous road conditions in Boston, call 617.918.4456
>Go to cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=179, email@example.com, or use the city’s free Citizens Connect iPhone app, which allows users to submit photos and work requests
>For bicycle thefts in Boston, or to register your bike in the event it is stolen, go to stolenbikesboston.com
REQUEST a bike rack or free bike map.
>For bike racks or maps, call 617.918.4456
>Go to cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=179, or firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, MBTA personnel reportedly met with representatives from Boston Cycling Union (BCU), MassBike, and the City of Boston to discuss additional reforms, including placing stickers on buses that would inform bikers of blind spots.
Perhaps the biggest coup of the night, though, was the announcement by Commissioner Davis that bike accidents would be specifically flagged in police reports so that trends and trouble spots could be studied — something that Cambridge has been doing for years.
According to the BCU, “a drop-down list will be added to the BPD database that will allow a ‘bicycle-related’ designation at the data entry stage.” New incident-report forms expected to be introduced in 18 months will also contain “bicycle related” check boxes.
Davis says he will work with his officers to make them more aware of cyclists, and that parking in a bike lane will now warrant a steep $100 fine.
BUILDING A SAFETY NETWORK
Since Freedman was appointed as Boston’s so-called bike czar, she has overseen the implementation of those 15 miles of bike lanes and the installation of 500 bike racks. The city plans to add another 20 miles of lanes and 250 more racks this year.
“When you put bike lanes on the road,” says Freedman, “it slows down traffic and, also, bikes tend to obey the rules more because they feel legitimized on the road.”