[*BCM*] Friday's Boston Critical Mass Ride

thom3 at aol.com thom3 at aol.com
Mon Oct 1 13:36:19 EDT 2007

I read somewhere that 66% of all trips in a car are withing a 5 mile radius

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Leonard <jim_bcm at xuth.net>
To: Boston Critical Mass <list at bostoncriticalmass.org>
Sent: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 12:19 pm
Subject: Re: [*BCM*] Friday's Boston Critical Mass Ride

Thank you for taking the time to write down your observations both of 
cycling and of CM.  However, what is really necessary is to make more 
people aware of your thoughts.  Especially state and local officials.
Most of the people on this list are in complete agreement with you.
The one thing that I really appreciate about your email is that you 
are pushing the point that bicycles are more than just toys and can be
used for all of your daily needs.  This is a message that is lacking
in the US almost completely.

Also note that one of the needs that you took care of so well is actually
not allowed in MA.  Per MGL 85-11b clause 2 subclause ii "The operator 
shall not transport any person under the age of one year on said bicycle."
I believe that you're allowed to huck your 6 month old in a trailer 
though.  I much prefer your solution.

Family and cargo solutions for bicycle are rather difficult to find here
while in other parts of the world they are considered commonplace.  But 
until people start to see them as viable they aren't going to be 
available.  It's a frustrating chicken/egg problem.  Actually good 
solutions can be found but they're expensive and very few options are 
available without mailorder.


On Sat, Sep 29, 2007 at 10:09:58PM -0400, Rebecca Albrecht wrote:
> Reflections from a 57 year old woman after my first CriticalMass ride.
>   I have been riding on Boston streets since 1973.I do all of my errands 
> on my bike within a 3 mile radius. Within a 10 mile radius I would 
> probably take my car if it is available.Otherwise I take my bike. I 
> avoid going by bus or T. They take long circuitous routes and trip time 
> is longer than by bike. I rode all the way through both my pregnancies 
> and it never seemed a problem; I guess because I automatically adjusted 
> to the gradual weight gain and body dimension. Some people thought I was 
> crazy though I doubt that they would in The Netherlands. My first child 
> when she could sit up unassisted sat in a bicycle seat between me and 
> the handlebars. I bought the seat in Amsterdam. It felt safer than 
> having her behind me. If she fell asleep I could support her head and I 
> could talk with her. I see children asleep in rear seats and they look 
> like they are going to fall out! After my second child was born we 
> bought a bike cart that could hold four children. We would take it down 
> to "First Night" with blankets, "Fourth of July" and just general around 
> town errands. That cart is now 18 years old and occasionally put in to 
> service to go to the Farmer's Market or to the grocery store.
> I feel that I don't have to take back the streets for bicycles because I 
> have never been away from them. When I ride I am continuously checking 
> behind me. I ride an open car door's width away from parked cars when 
> ever possible. I assert my right to use the right hand lane when 
> necessary. I  make eye contact with drivers when our paths could collide 
> and assess the safety of making my move. I do not like the bike lanes 
> that I see in Boston and in Brookline where I live. Riding in the center 
> of the bike lane means that you are too close to parked cars. Since I am 
> also a car driver I pull into that lane to parallel park or to drop 
> someone off. The problem is not with drivers in the "bike lane" but with 
> the placement of the bike lane. Give us the right- hand lane out far 
> enough from the door-zone with room to pass other cyclists or in my case 
> to be passed. I also think that by having the kind of bike lanes that we 
> do indicates to car drivers that bikes should know their place, stay in 
> their lane and not impede their progress. A bike lane should be safe 
> enough that a grade school kid could ride in it. What we have now is a 
> sop thrown to us bicyclists to show that they are doing something. It's 
> really nothing at so little expense as to be laughable. And yet the 
> powers-that-be are applauded for these so-called bike lanes. I would 
> love to see real bike lanes that are safe along country highways. I 
> think riding on those roads are deadly. Especially when cars are driving 
> fast and only occasionally see cyclists who must ride on the debris- 
> strewn shoulder. At least in the city cars drive slower and are 
> accustomed to seeing bicyclists. Many cyclists feel safer on those 
> country highways. Go figure! An aside about rails to trails. I think 
> it's a shame that we removed our railroad tracks thus killing a good 
> alternative to auto travel. Like I said I would rather see excellent 
> paved bike paths separated a safe distance from the roads that would 
> truly allow us cyclists to travel city to city all across the 
> country.Most people drive to a rails to trails path for recreation. I 
> would like bicycling seen as more than just recreation but seen as a 
> form of serious transportation on an equal footing with autos. This 
> would be a revolution!
> So about last night's ride. Before I rode with you guys I had heard that 
> it was a car mocking Demonstration that flaunted the road rules and gave 
> bicyclists a bad name. I realized during the ride that it was really a 
> celebration/parade on self-propelled wheels. The harmonica,drum player 
> added to the festivities. And then a by-stander on Newbery Street joined 
> in on the fun and played his saxophone while we rolled on by. We were 
> really a large mobile party more than a demonstration/protest. The 
> bystanders that I saw got a real kick out of seeing us especially in the 
> North End. Most of the car drivers seemed okay with us. There were just 
> a few that seemed put out. We couldn't have held any one up more than 
> ten minutes and probably less than that.Drivers can't be surprised that 
> occasionally there are traffic tie-ups. At first I thought that we 
> shouldn't ride through red lights. Whereas I think that the lead people 
> should stop for a red light; once we go through an intersection for our 
> own safety it is critical that we stay massed together and not be 
> separated. What a good idea that there are riders who take on the 
> responsibility of blocking individual cars  preventing them from 
> dividing up our group. Concerning emergency vehicles getting through; I 
> think that when you get a large group moving together many people become 
> oblivious to what is happening around them. They just need to be told by 
> the more aware cyclists among us to stop riding and move over to the 
> side to let the vehicle pass by.  Once in Coolidge Corner we stopped to 
> let a wheelchair bound person cross the street and not be stranded in 
> the middle of the street.All it took was one person to notice and to say 
> something and then another person noticed and then cyclists stopped. A 
> bunch went through at first because they hadn't picked up on what was 
> happening but it was understandable and not a problem. The group behind 
> them stopped and the person crossed.I don't think we need a rule saying 
> that we need to stop for emergency vehicles. It's just common sense to 
> stop. So those more aware among us just need to herd the rest of us off 
> to the side.
> So I had a lot of fun Friday night and hope to ride again in October!
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