The Daily Free Press, the Independent Student Newspaper at Boston University, ran an article yesterday detailing the events of the first-ever biking safety summit held at Morse Auditorium on BU’s Campus on Wednesday. Surrounded by government officials and bicycle enthusiasts, Mayor Menino declared that “the car is no longer King in Boston.”
The summit is a direct result of the tragic death of Eric Michael Hunt on April 7 at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and South Huntington. An MBTA was stopped in the bike lane while picking up passengers when Eric tried to pass the bus, lost control, and was caught under the moving vehicle. “We should have a shared, common respect for everyone who uses Boston’s roads . . . we all have the right to safe passage through our city streets,” continued Menino.
Featured speakers and/or panelists include:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino
Boston Police Commissioner, Ed Davis
Boston Transportation Commissioner, Thomas Tinlin
Boston EMS Chief, James Hooley
State Transportation Secretary, Jeffrey Mullan
MBTA General Manager, Rich Davies
Boston Bikes Director, Nicole Freedman
Mayor Menino highlighted some of his plans for increasing transportation safety (for all passengers): lowering of the speed limit to 25 mph for all of Boston, bike safety classes at City Hall, and the creation of 50 miles of bike lanes throughout the city, proposed making it illegal for cars to be parked in bike lanes, and installing 400 new bike racks across Boston.
If you are a fellow attendee of Boston University, you probably got a kick out of Mayor Menino saying “We have to have a balance between making sure the Green Line runs and ensuring bike safety.” I started riding my bike to class, even during the winter, because we all know that the Green Line often DOESN’T run. I think we’d all be happy with a little more emphasis on BOTH of those concerns.
Members of the audience both advocated and questioned the Mayor’s plans to enforce traffic laws for cyclists as well as drivers. Menino assures that “rogue-bikers” that disobey traffic laws such as running stop signs and red lights will be reprimanded. Some audience members were frustrated, saying that it is irresponsible driving that should be the main concern.
Since I started riding my Montague Folding Bike, I’m able to hop off my bike at any time, fold it up, and take it on the T with me. This cuts down on waiting for the T, but if an impromptu thunderstorm pops up (like yesterday!) on my way home, I can jump in a cab, bus, or on the T. Since I have started to vary my modes of transportation around the city, I would like to see improvements all around.
I hope that this is the start of a safer, less hostile transportation environment in Boston-a city not known for its cordial drivers or public transportation officials. With new regulations and a wider range of safety concerns, perhaps we are looking at a lower-stress environment in our day-to-day lives. Let’s hope so!
In the meantime,
The Montague Corporation