09 April 2010

"We all have to respect each other"

I think Nicole Freedman's statement regarding the two recent cycling accidents pretty much sums it up. We just all have to respect each other.

Please, stay safe and courteous. What sad days in Boston.

12 comments:

Astroluc said...

I completely agree. There are too many blanket statements being made on all sides; the world does not work in absolutes.

Ride safe.

dr2chase said...

I am relatively courteous, but it's not out of respect. I don't want to accidentally incite the random bozo who cannot control his emotions while behind the wheel of a car.

There are plenty of reasons to not have much respect for people who drive, especially when it's just single-occupancy vehicles, especially when they are yakking on a cell-phone while they are at it. Cars are fundamentally antisocial -- they provide the illusion of personal safety (from crashes, not from heart attacks) at the expense of everyone else's safety. They consume public space when parked, they help boost our CO2 emissions, they're noisy, and we import economically unhealthy amounts of oil from not-so-friendly parts of the world. There ARE some people who need cars to get around, but most of them have little blue handicapped stickers on their cars.

This is, of course all "crazy talk", but it is inconveniently true. Sorry if I'm ruining the Kumbayyah, but I think this is not a symmetrical situation. Bikes are much less anti-social than automobiles, and we should stop pretending that they are equivalent just because they're both "vehicles". Bikes don't deserve equal rights, they deserve MORE rights.

cycler said...

This is so sad.
One thing I will say, is that the newspaper article seemed remarkably balanced in its approach.
It did not use the word "accident" It quoted both "sides" and didn't use inflammatory language.
Unfortunately you see so many biased reports, that it's good to see more balanced reporting.

espressoandbicycles said...

The MBTA was quoted as saying that no one has ever complained about the trolley tracks. I urge you to do so if you've had a bad experience. Here's the e-mail I just sent the MBTA:

"hello - i am writing to address the MBTA's comment in the Boston Globe coverage of Eric Hunt's death that the T has "never received any complaints about the trolley tracks."

Here is one.

Seven years ago I was bicycling along Centre St. in Jamaica Plain. A bus was at a bus stop and to go around it I had to cross the trolley tracks. You guessed it, my tire got stuck and I kept going, flying off my bike which remained in the track. I ended up fracturing my shoulder and knee, with a black eye to boot. Luckily the bus had not left the stop. [The bus driver was very kind and asked if I needed help.]

So there is my complaint. Now you have one. Seems rather silly to have to send one as I imagine there is very little that can be done except to remove all parked vehicles that are next to trolley tracks, to create a bike lane. Or to remove the trolley tracks, which seem as much a feature of the street as the other vehicles and the asphalt itself."

Send a comment here: http://www.mbta.com/customer_support/contact/

Velouria said...

I avoid cycling near an MBTA bus like the plague after a couple of close calls. I used to think it was my own fault, as an inexperienced cyclist, for getting into compromising situations with the buses, but later I learned that it was common for them to ignore cyclists and bike lanes.

Regarding the fatal accident - I don't understand how it can be that several eye witnesses (according to other articles) saw the boy's tore get stuck in the track a considerable amount of time before the bus hit him, yet this is being ignored in favour of MBTA's story?...

And dr2chase - Sorry, but I do not agree with your statement that "There are plenty of reasons to not have much respect for people who drive, especially when it's just single-occupancy vehicles". The moment we begin to scrutinise each other's lives for how "ethical" they are, is the moment we turn into a very frightening society.

MamaVee said...

I think the mention of the cyclists lack of helmet is very important int he article. b/c a helmet would really have saved him from being underneath a bus. I'm just saying...

Very very sad and I am sorry that this happened. Of course my safety worriers will have more info to tell me why biking with my kids is unsafe...

dr2chase said...

Velouria, I think Mamavee nailed it (indirectly). The scrutiny is already there -- notice the mention of the "no helmet" in the article. A Grumpy Old Cyclist might well expect to see mention, in any car crash article, of whether the driver was driving alone on a short trip that could have been done some other way. "Tsk, tsk, no helmet", vs "tsk, tsk, frivolous use of a car". (In this case, of course, the other vehicle was a bus, so not this article.)

Obviously I don't get in people's literal faces about this sort of thing, you catch many more flies with honey than with vinegar, but there are times when I want to yell "I'm 50, I'm fat, I ride, WTF is the matter with you people?"

She Rides a Bike said...

Most of us bike and drive and understand how tricky the road and visibility can be. I know I have been surprised by other bicyclists who seem to come out of nowhere or that I nearly missed because they were in my blind spot. I try to drive with the awareness that I can't possibly know everything that is going on around me. As a bicyclist I act as if I am invisible. Bad behavior happens on both sides so I try very hard not to contribute to it. In terms of promoting greater respect for "sharing the road" I don't think it is helpful to label cars as anti-social. Reckless driving can be pretty anti-social but most communities in the US are organized around cars, with very few public transit or bicycling options, leaving many little choice but to drive. While bike commuting is pretty easy in Portland, it is not so simple in Greenville, SC.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is I still see cyclists riding along that street without helmets. and yes, it does matter: you can be hit by a bus and live to tell about it, I know living proof, (though I do, of course, know that it may not have been the case here). (and for the record, articles do usually say if a car driver wasn't wearing their seat belt, so they weren't picking on cyclists.)

In general, I'm all for finding alternate routes. avoid those busy streets with speeding buses and dangerous train tracks if you can. bike defensively. whether or not you were 'right', it's still just your body versus large metal machines, and being 'right' won't mean much when you're lying in a hospital, or worse. it may be negative, but always assume the worst of the drivers around you. would you enter a crosswalk blindfolded because cars are 'supposed' to stop? this is not to excuse the actions of irresponsible drivers, but as long as there are cars on the road, bikers will always be at a disadvantage and will have to 'be the bigger man' and take additional steps for their personal safety. hating cars and their drivers won't make them go away.

Steve R said...

Two deaths in two years on Huntington Ave. Not a forgiving roadway: narrow lanes, high curbs (no quick escapes), high speeds, lots of out-of-towners in the mix (hospitals, museums, colleges), buses, trucks, frisky college students, T tracks on part of it, sudden stops for pedestrians, bone-tired medical residents... the list goes on and on. I tell my students at Northeastern to stay off Huntington at all costs. (One used to ride, helmetless, of course, through the tunnel under Mass Ave.) The confluence of all this traffic mayhem and youthful feelings of invincibility is just tragic.

Zobi said...

I'm happy to read comments from such reasonable cyclists, especially after a morning dodging them while on my own bike in Boston and Cambridge!

Like Velouria said, using perceived moral superiority to determine right of way is ludicrous. Why stop our point scoring with vehicular transgressions? Why don't we tally up all of our sins? Where would we stop and how would we decide who gets to cut whom off? Cyclists need to take more responsibility for their behavior.

I agree with She Rides a Bike--I bike like I'm invisible and I try not to do anything unpredictable.

The big take away for me is to be vocal to community leaders, not just to jerky drivers. ;)

Akos Szilvasi said...

Unfortunately Boston (metro Boston) prides itself for its third world roads and drivers ("using turn signal is a sign of weakness"...etc). For the latter the police is mostly responsible. Education and reinforcement of traffic laws would (slowly) introduce a courteous driving culture to this area. (Just kidding...I don't think anyone cares here.)