Menino's bike plans

Today’s Globe features a front page, above the fold story about Mayor Menino’s plans to make Boston more bike friendly (titled “Pedal Pushing,” ugh. Did someone’s grandmother think up that headline?). It’s serendipitous timing since, as I was biking to work today I:  a) was nearly hit by some dude in a black two-door of some sort, who sped past me to get to the um, red light. Which was about 50 feet ahead. And b) was nearly hit by a white SUV of some sort, which swerved in front of me just over the BU bridge, in an apparently speedy race to get to the quiet neighborhoods of Brookline.  So now Boston's going to become a biking city?

Menino has big plans:

“A newly converted cyclist himself, Menino will announce today the hiring of a bike czar, former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman, and a first phase of improvements to include 250 new bike racks across Boston and an online map system.

In the next several years, Menino said, he plans to create a network of bike lanes on roads such as Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay and the Fenway. Paths could also be constructed to connect the Emerald Necklace system of parks, and the mayor is looking at facilities like showers, bike storage areas, and automated bike rental systems that make wheels instantly available to anyone with a credit card.”

There’s more!

“Boston's planners also hope to address a major concern: About one-fourth of respondents to a 2005 Internet poll of area residents said they would ride to work more often if there were showers available.

Officials plan to encourage businesses to offer shower facilities, and will try to encourage local gyms to allow nonmembers to use their showers. The city is also considering coin-operated public showers.”

That all sounds great, but what’s not discussed in the story is an epiphany I had after my frustrating ride to work today, is that there’s a massive problem with driver mentality.  The people that speed past bikers, or cut us off, or honk their horns, and give us dirty looks think of the road as their road. They think the road belongs to cars, and we bikers are permitted to use it occasionally, provided we stay out of the way, like polite road guests. There’s a reason those “Share the road” stickers are kicking around - those of us who choose to bike are tired of this mode of thinking. Menino’s bike lanes might give us a bit more space, and a shower here and there would be nice (gotta shed that whole smelly biker rep), but until Boston’s drivers are willing to be conscious of the fact that the road belongs to everyone, Boston’s spot at the top of worst biking city lists will hold firm. So, what's Menino's plan of attack for that?


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