Sara Oaklander

  • donated 2016-12-30 21:18:48 -0500

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  • Another perspective to be considered in the effort to achieve safe cycling.

    I bike a lot but am not what I call a "spandex cyclist." I wear street clothes, have two baskets on my bike, run errands, commute to work, etc. All around Somerville and Cambridge and into Boston. And I am grateful for your advocacy efforts in support of safe cycling.

    That said, my on-the-road experience suggests that you're overlooking a key factor in the mix, which is the behavior of cyclists. Just yesterday, I observed in succession two acts by cyclists that could easily have resulted in serious accidents - both in or near  Inman Square of all places (thinking of Amanda, of course). These accidents would have been considered the fault of the drivers but, in fact, in both cases they would have been caused by erratic and unpredictable behavior of the cyclists. In one, a cyclist unexpectedly cut from the far right bike lane across four lanes of traffic to get to the sidewalk on the other side - it was in a spot just shy of an intersection, just as the light turned green and the cars were beginning to move. In the other case, a very fast moving cyclist came from my right as I moved along in the bike lane on Hampshire Ave (I'm not sure where he came from, to be honest) and as he approached a cross street, a car was already in its right turn onto that street but the cyclist zoomed through in front of the car, swerving to avoid it, which to me was further evidence of the car being well into the turn by this time.

    On top of this, just a few hours later, I saw yet another cyclist riding on a busy sidewalk just outside of Davis Square. 

    None of these incidents are rare occurrences. I see this sort of thing all the time, as I'm sure the rest of you do, as well.

    And all of these incidents are happening in places where city officials and advocates are working hard to improve bike infrastructure, and yet these folks are flaunting those efforts to the detriment of the larger cause. It's maddening, to be honest, and something I think must be addressed for us to make the kind of progress we so dearly need regarding safe cycling.

    Thank you.

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