Globe Attacks Cyclists, MassBike Responds

Today's Boston Globe included an anti-bicyclist column that focused on a narrow view of bicyclist behavior to argue that we should be banned from Boston streets. While risking drawing more attention to this screed than it deserves, MassBike thought it necessary to respond. MassBike Executive Director David Watson submitted the following letter to the editor:

While I agree that too many bicyclists fail to obey the traffic laws (along with vastly larger numbers of motorists and pedestrians), shame on The Globe for publishing the sort of uninformed, inflammatory nonsense Brian McGrory expressed in “Make Boston bicycle-free”. Yes, everyone should obey traffic laws, and the police should enforce those laws. Targeted enforcement against bicyclists might encourage more bicyclists to follow the rules, but it does nothing to address the larger problem of everyone’s lack of respect for everyone else on the road, whether they are cyclists, drivers, or walkers. Stoking resentment of bicyclists among those driving several tons of steel is no way to improve roadway safety. There is no measure by which bicyclists cause more than a small fraction of the safety problems on Boston roads, and we are disproportionately the victims. Mr. McGrory also grossly mischaracterizes and stereotypes bicyclists. I respectfully suggest that he go outside and actually look at who is riding bicycles: he will see that many (perhaps most) of the people biking in Boston today are not packs of Lance Armstrong wannabes but individuals wearing regular clothes using a bicycle as transportation to get somewhere. Bicyclists are not going away and have in fact quadrupled in Boston in just the last three years. Bicycles are an efficient, affordable way to get around town, and enable people to get to jobs, school, and other opportunities that otherwise may not be easily accessible without a car or a T pass. The bike share program is a supremely flexible and affordable public transportation system that taps into this growing need, and it has been successful in big cities all over the world.

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