The recent biking accident that involved a Boston University student reinforces the need for Boston to reassess its biking environment.
While the full details of Monday’s incident have not been revealed, there have been enough accidents and near-accidents involving drivers and cyclists to indicate that the driver-cyclist relationship is shaky and needs to be addressed.
Boston is recognized for its hectic traffic. People commute to work each day, and families travel in and out of the city. A number of cyclists are college students who live on their own and may not always realize the dangers this traffic poses. They weave in between cars and run red lights. Even when they are cautious, dangers emerge nonetheless. Drivers hit cyclists with their car doors or overtake bike lanes without realizing it.
In spite of all these dangers, the city encourages residents to opt out of driving and adopt bicycles time and time again. The Hubway program offers people an opportunity to bike around the city, regardless of their riding abilities. Even tourists, people unfamiliar with Boston’s traffic patterns, can hop on a bike and go. Since bicycles serve as a convenient mode of transportation, it is crucial that the city provide a safe environment for riders to travel.
The drawbacks of traveling by bicycle might not outweigh the benefits. It’s a convenient and affordable alternative to being in packed subway cars and driving on city streets, but when biking becomes unsafe, the city needs to address that. While it is unclear what the solution would be, the city needs to focus more on this issue.