I wrote up the following about two years ago, and in the wake of this week’s events, thought it was appropriate to bring back out.
To be perfectly clear, this post is not directly about Christopher Weigl, who by all accounts seems to have been a responsible and good guy, who was in a tragic accident. What it is about, is the larger discussion that this event has re-ignited around the safety of cyclists in a busy city like Boston.
Originally Posted On 5/28/2010
I live in Boston, and am both a driver and a biker. And depending on which set of wheels I am behind at the time, I am known to curse out each camp equally for their respective idiotic behavior. But I do understand that as an idiot driver, I am in a position to do far more harm to a biker than an idiot biker may do to me and my 2,000 pound car. And as such, I try to be hyper-aware of the city bikers as I drive around in my SUV.
The recent addition of the bike lanes on Commonwealth Ave, and other main streets around the city, is fantastic. They force motorists to respect the space and rights of the cyclists, and I think it just makes things generally safer for everyone. And if you read the papers, watch the news, or just generally talk to anyone with an opinion and a bike these days, you hear lots of chatter about how bikers in Boston are finally getting some respect and some protection from the awful and law-flouting local drivers.
But if bikers want to really get some respect and protection, there is a trade-off here. There is something the bikers need to start doing in return. These lanes , bike-boxes, and signage are there to provide rules that will give you (as cyclists) clearly outlined rights, and keep you safe from being steamrolled by mini-vans. So bikers of Boston, in return, it’s time to start following the rules of the road. No more picking and choosing pedestrian rules or vehicle rules based on which suits you better in that moment. No more buzzing through red lights, throwing the middle finger at everyone, and no more weaving in and out of traffic like a bozo, causing everyone to freak out for fear of giving you the fender up the backside that you technically sort of deserve.
It’s a give and take bikers. If you want to be treated like an equal part of the traffic ecosystem, and if you want rights and protections, you too need to step up and set the example of how cars and cyclists can function together safely.