Proposals Of Ticketing Cyclists Without Lights To Make Cycling Safer

Bike Headlight

 

Whenever the local media decides to “investigate” bicycling safety in Boston, I feel the need to tune in, just to see where cyclists stand with the media and the public. Such an event was recently held by the Boston Globe as part of their “Globe Talks” series.

They put together a panel of cycling experts who discussed major issues related to how safe or unsafe it was for cyclists to ride on the streets of Boston. The panel consisted of the City of Boston’s Bike Czar, the Executive Director of the LivableStreets Alliance, the Boston Transportation Department’s Director of Policy and Planning, a local bicycle commuting advocate and a lawyer who specializes in representing cyclists who have been injured during run-ins with cars.

I did not watch this event live. As with most things that happen these days, a video of the broadcast was made available online, and I watched it while doing some less mentally challenging activities.

I agreed with much of what was said. Why wouldn’t I? Every member of the panel was pro-cycling.

They brought up the usual issues concerning the difficulties of riding in traffic such as the negative attitudes of drivers towards cyclists, problems with cyclists getting doored and helmet use.

Since the discussion was about safety, the subject of helmets was raised. The moderator, and most of the panel, regarded wearing a helmet as a way to increase a cyclist’s safety.

Only one panelist spoke out against helmets as a safety measure — the lawyer. He came across as believing that helmets did not make a cyclist safer, although he didn’t really explain why. An assertion like that, out of the blue and on a public forum about bike safety, was a bit perplexing.

While I’m not in favor of making helmet use mandatory, I do see value in wearing a helmet, particularly when riding in traffic. It won’t protect a cyclist against many types of injuries related to a collision with a car. But, it will reduce the likelihood of head injuries.

Still, this lawyer’s angle was baffling; he was supposed to be defending cyclists who had been injured by cars, but he was saying things that would antagonize anti-cycling proponents. Had I been him, I probably would not have spoken out against helmets, or at least would have toned it down by saying that helmets alone do not make a cyclist safe.

As the conversation moved on from this point,the same lawyer made another unusual comment. As “proof” that not wearing helmets was not what made cyclists unsafe, he brought up the issue of cyclists not having lights on their bikes while riding at night.

Front and rear bike lights are required by Massachusetts law. Cyclists are supposed to turn them on just before sunset and use them until sunrise. With respect to this law, the lawyer-panelist said that he sees a lot of bicycles without lights. As an aside, I don’t know where he rides because, where I ride, I see a small number of cyclists without lights.

He admonished cyclists for not using lights and cited this lack of lights as the cause of most accidents. A statement like that will certainly draw attention away from helmet-less riders as the ones getting into accidents, but it makes cyclists look like the bad guys.

I was hoping he would leave it at that when he turned towards the city’s Bike Czar, as if expecting her to agree with him, and asked why the police don’t issue citations to cyclists who ride without lights on their bikes. When she didn’t reply, he turned the other way and addressed the same question to the rest of the panel, all of whom remained silent.

No one would think it was wise to ride a bicycle after dark without lights. However, many people who are new to cycling don’t know that the law requires them to have lights on their bikes. Therefore, issuing citations to cyclists without lights would not be a good way to curb this practice. Education would be preferable because it would reach a larger audience.

Maybe it would help if bike store employees told customers about these laws when they were buying new bikes. But, even if they did, only a fraction of the bikes sold each year would be covered since many bikes are bought used, directly from the bike’s owner. Conversations about safety and laws don’t usually come up during such transactions.

None of the panelists agreed with the lightless bikes causing accidents argument, probably because riding without lights only accounts for a small percentage of total incidents and because making such an argument blames cyclists for the negative encounters they have with cars. Surely, this could not have been the bike lawyer’s intention.

Although I don’t know this bike lawyer personally, I do know of him. I would have expected him to say more pro-cyclist things rather than antagonistic and cyclist-blaming things. And, I would expect a lawyer to be familiar with the major causes of cycling injuries.

In Boston, dooring accounts for the largest share of cycling injuries. And, most car versus bicycle incidents happen in the daytime, not at night — so I really don’t know what he was getting at.

Perhaps the lawyer was just nervous about being on TV and, consequently, didn’t articulate his points well. If so, this is a good example of why preparation for interviews is necessary. Fortunately, most of the audience appeared to be pro-cycling, judging by the comments they made.

After hearing this interview of local cycling advocates, I am more convinced than ever that cyclists must talk among themselves and get on the same page about what they will say in public venues. Otherwise, cyclists may end up shooting themselves in the foot while trying to be clever in front of a camera.

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18 Responses to Proposals Of Ticketing Cyclists Without Lights To Make Cycling Safer

  1. Charlie says:

    I don’t have the stats, but I think I understand his point about lights. His main emphasis was on prevention of crashes and following the law. Helmets don’t prevent crashes, but they prevent certain types on injuries in a crash. Lights actually do prevent crashes by making cyclists visible at night, and they are legally required for everyone (unlike helmets). I agree that his statement against helmets may have been a bit stronger than it needed to be, but I do agree that helmets tend to get more attention by safety campaigns than lights do. (Just look at the Boston Public Health campaign that put stencils of helmets in the bike lanes.) And I also agree that a helmetless rider who is riding predictably and defensively is much safer and less likely to be in a crash than one who is wearing a helmet but riding recklessly or carelessly.

    • As a cyclist, I also knew what he meant when he mentioned lights as being more of a problem, with respect to accidents, than helmets. I’m less certain that a non-cyclist would have been able to guess what he meant. Your suggestion about adding lights to safety campaigns is better than his point about having police ticket cyclists for not having lights. That is also the point I was making. Educating cyclists about the need for lights is a better way to make them safer. There is one caveat, though. Most cyclists ride during the day, not at night. So lights really do play less of a role in biking safety than helmets do.

      The reason for this is that avoiding crashes isn’t as important as avoiding injuries. I’ve walked away from serious crashes with nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises. Lights were unnecessary because it was broad daylight when I was hit by a car. But, my helmet did help to protect my head. Therefore, lights would not have prevented my crash, nor would they have prevented my injuries, but my helmet did help to prevent injury to my head. So, we need to include both helmets and lights in safety education campaigns as ways to help improve cyclist safety.

      • Charlie says:

        Good points. I agree, ticketing for not having lights should come secondary to educating that it’s illegal to not have them. The police could hand out helmets during the day and lights at night (or both!)

        In some ways you’re echoing Nicole was saying: it’s not about doing one thing vs another to make bicycling safer. It’s doing all the steps that we can do, whether it’s infrastructure, education, enforcement, etc.

  2. JonT says:

    This blog seems to take an attitude of “Either you’re with us or your against us”. Anyone who says anything negative about someone else’s cycling behavior is accused of either not really being a cyclist, or, as is done in this post, somehow “betraying the cause”.

    It is certainly the case that a lot of what we need to do to make cycling safer for all of us (and yes, whether you believe it or not, I too am a cyclist, doing a commute of 6 miles each way multiple times per week, and also running many neighborhood errands on my bike) is going to be targeted at motor vehicle drivers, whether it’s education, enforcement, or facilities design. Cars are big, heavy and dangerous vehicles and trucks even more so, and they certainly need to be regulated, and their drivers held accountable for behavior (don’t get me started on the abysmal lack of enforcement of traffic laws in this commonwealth)!

    But you seem to consider it heresy to even hint that some car-bike collision might be even a little bit the cyclist’s fault. Tell me — if you heard about a cyclist who rode full speed against a red light (one that had been red for a while, not one that just turned red while the cyclist was entering) at a busy intersection, and got creamed by a car that had the green light, what would be your response? Can’t we agree that in such a case maybe we could have prevented such an accident by targeting cyclists?

    You acknowledge that biking at night without lights is not wise, but then assert that “riding without lights only accounts for a small percentage of total incidents”. If you look at the stats for incidents at http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/uploads/16776_49_15_27.pdf you’ll see that while it’s true that the absolute number of incidents in the day is more than at night, but as a percentage of trips (that graph uses Hubway rentals as a measure of number of trips), it’s quite a bit higher — indicating that it is in fact more dangerous to bike at night than during the day.

    Keep in mind that a traffic stop doesn’t necessarily imply a fine or citation. Certainly when I’ve been pulled over in my car for a minor violation (e.g. broken headlight), I haven’t been ticketed, merely warned. Similarly, a Brookline cop once pulled me over when I was on my bike, for running a red light (yes, I did pause and look for traffic before going through), and he let me off with a warning. You suggest education as preferable to ticketing, and I agree. But the police can play a part in education too, and make a much larger impact, not only on those they stop directly, but all their friends (both physical and virtual) as well.

    In sum, if we want to make cycling safer for all of us who cycle now, as well as for those we hope to recruit into our ranks, there’s nothing wrong with calling out dangerous behavior of our fellow cyclists. We might even save a few lives that way.

    • Jon,

      Before you accuse me of banning your comment — since it did not appear at the time you wrote it — let me assure you that the banning process is entirely automated. Your comment was automatically moved to my spam folder (by Akismet, a spam filtering service) because you included two links (URLs) in a single comment. Fortunately, I go through the spam folder (which accumulates thousands of spam comments at a time) periodically, and noticed your comment.

      As you can see, I have approved it, even though it is somewhat critical of my blog.

      In response to your comment, I offer the following:

      “This blog seems to take an attitude of ‘Either you’re with us or your against us’. Anyone who says anything negative about someone else’s cycling behavior is accused of either not really being a cyclist, or, as is done in this post, somehow ‘betraying the cause’.But you seem to consider it heresy to even hint that some car-bike collision might be even a little bit the cyclist’s fault… Tell me — if you heard about a cyclist who rode full speed against a red light (one that had been red for a while, not one that just turned red while the cyclist was entering) at a busy intersection, and got creamed by a car that had the green light, what would be your response?”

      You appear to be reading my blog selectively and seeing only what you want to see. I never said that cyclists were never at fault in car versus bicycle accidents. With respect to the post you mentioned above, I questioned whether the commenter was really a cyclist because the Town of Wellesley had conducted a thorough crash investigation and had overwhelming evidence that the truck driver who killed a cyclist was negligent — and the commenter claimed to have spent hours researching this accident and still believed that the cyclist was to blame. I even posted a video of the moments before the crash, which showed the truck driving recklessly around the cyclist. This video was available online, and the commenter could have found it, just as I did. I also quoted eyewitness testimony from the police report stating that the cyclist was not to blame … and you still see this as an “either you’re with us or you’re against us” attitude on my part? Why?

      On numerous occasions I have admonished cyclists for running red lights and have stated that they should be held responsible for any collision which was caused by their choice to disobey the traffic laws. (One example of this: http://isolatecyclist.bostonbiker.org/2012/08/09/cyclists-who-eschew-traffic-laws). I even got into a heated debate with a couple of readers who firmly believe that cyclists should not be required to obey the traffic laws. They want different traffic laws enacted for bicycles, including the right to ride through red lights whenever they see fit.

      I vehemently disagreed with them because having two sets of rules would confuse drivers, who would have difficulty avoiding red light running cyclists. In such cases, cyclists would have no leg to stand on (legally) if they were seriously injured. And the behavior of the red light running cyclists could be used in court against those of us who do not run red lights, should we get hit by a car.

      I always stop at red lights and stop signs. And I want all cyclists to do the same thing. How do you see this as my never being critical of other cyclists’ behavior?

      “you’ll see that while it’s true that the absolute number of incidents in the day is more than at night, but as a percentage of trips (that graph uses Hubway rentals as a measure of number of trips), it’s quite a bit higher — indicating that it is in fact more dangerous to bike at night than during the day.”

      You’re manipulating statistics here. Very few accidents occur at night because there are very few bicycles on the roads at night. And you have no way of knowing whether those accidents were caused by having no lights or other factors such as drivers not expecting to see cyclists at that hour, or cyclists not riding as well as they do during the day because they can’t see as well.

      By the way, I ride my bike almost every night (in the dark) year-round. I have been hit by a car three times — all during the day, in broad daylight. I have never even had a close encounter with a car at night. And, let me add that when I was a student, I rode my bike everywhere, day and night, and I did not have any lights on my bike. No car came close to hitting me. So, based on my own experience, which I admit is highly anecdotal, I do not see riding at night as “more dangerous” nor do I see riding without lights as the main cause of having an accident at night.

      “Keep in mind that a traffic stop doesn’t necessarily imply a fine or citation.”

      I agree with you. But the lawyer-panelist said that the police should issue citations, not stop cyclists and give them a warning. A warning would be more appropriate.

      “In sum, if we want to make cycling safer for all of us who cycle now, as well as for those we hope to recruit into our ranks, there’s nothing wrong with calling out dangerous behavior of our fellow cyclists. We might even save a few lives that way.”

      I am in complete agreement with this statement.

      • cliff says:

        “…and the commenter claimed to have spend hours researching
        this accident and still believed that the cyclist was to blame.”

        No! I never said I blamed the cyclist nor do I think the
        driver to be blameless.

        I was just trying to show that it is possible that the grand
        jury’s decision was based on law and not on anti-bicycling
        sentiment.

        • “No! I never said I blamed the cyclist nor do I think the driver to be blameless.”

          Hey, Cliff, it looks like you’re backpedaling. Maybe you’re a cyclist after all! 😉

          Here is what you wrote in your original comment on the subject:

          “As for the Wellesley crash I read, reread, and studied the police reports. I viewed the area on google maps. I even downloaded a photo of the crash site from a local newspaper. Everything shows that it is most likely that either the drain or the cyclist’s reaction to it caused him to fall in to the side of the trailer. Therefore, the grand jury did the only thing it could.” http://isolatecyclist.bostonbiker.org/2013/06/20/injuring-a-pedestrian-with-a-bicycle-is-assault-with-a-deadly-weapon-but-killing-a-cyclist-with-a-car-is-not/#comment-45849

          You said that either the drain or the cyclist’s reaction to it caused him to fall into the side of the trailer. How is that not blaming the cyclist for causing his own death? And, in what way would the driver be to blame in this scenario?

          Your argument was that the cyclist caused his own death, therefore the grand jury “followed the law” by not indicting the truck driver. In your clarification comment, you did explain your reasons for taking this stance, but you did not place any blame on the truck driver for causing the cyclist’s death.

          If the grand jury was following the law when they decided not to indict the driver, it could only have been the result of insufficient evidence to bring charges against him. I know from both the information I posted online — the video showing the moments leading up to the crash and the eyewitness testimony — and conversations with people who live in Wellesley that there was enough evidence to bring charges against the driver. The DA’s office and the Town of Wellesley would not have spent so much time and money on this case otherwise.

          Lawyers who specialize in bicycle versus car cases will tell you that juries favor drivers over cyclists. It’s just a fact of life.

          Why have you suddenly reversed your position on who’s to blame in this incident? Did something change your mind? If so, what was it?

          • cliff says:

            I have always blamed the driver for not waiting
            for the other lane to clear. I also blame the state
            for not taking his license years ago. I blame his
            company for giving him a driving job. I blame
            the engineers for the road design. I could go on,
            but why? These are my personal feelings. They
            have nothing to do with your original theory that
            the grand jury’s decision was based on anti- bicycling sentiment. I believe the evidence
            shows that it is possible that something other
            then the driver was the direct cause of this crash. Under the state’s current laws the grand
            jury’s decision was legally right.

            I know you find my views confusing or even somewhat contradictory. Now it looks like I’m
            about to add to it.

            If this had happened in another state, such as
            Utah or Arizona, we would be in complete agree-
            ment.

            The bottom line for me is that I believe in the
            law. Most of the time our laws work. When they
            don’t we can change them. Until then the courts
            must still follow them.

  3. Chris says:

    Safety is not having an accident. A helmet does NOT lessen the chances of having an accident; it only potentially reduces the injuries sustained when you have an accident. So no – helmets do NOT contribute to bike safety.

    Also – lights are NOT required in the State of Massachusetts. They are *only* required “During the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise” (MGL 85.11B). If you are like 90% or more of cyclists, you won’t need lights, ever.

    • Chris,

      I don’t mean to be unkind, but did you actually read what I wrote before commenting? No one ever said that a cyclist was required to have lights during the day. I said that lights were required just before sunset and until sunrise — the hours when it is dark. I also said that most accidents occur during the day, when lights would be of no value in preventing an accident.

      Please refer to my reply to Charlie’s comment for further clarification with respect to your comment about “safety is not having an accident.” In a nutshell, “safety” is about not getting injured, not avoiding an accident. Some crashes cause serious injuries and others do not. So, our goal as cyclists should be to do as much as possible to avoid injuries, not just accidents.

      And, by the way, you can get injured when cycling, without having an accident. For instance, some cyclists sustain injuries related to the pressure caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time on a bicycle saddle. Changing saddles can lessen the odds of such an injury. Teaching cyclists about this problem is another way to help them avoid injury. Let’s look at the big picture when trying to figure out how to keep cyclists safe.

      • Chris says:

        Your 11th paragraph begins: “Front and rear bike lights are required by Massachusetts law. Cyclists are supposed to turn them on just before sunset and use them until sunrise.”

        • Yes, that’s correct. I don’t know what your point is. According to the police officers and safety experts whom I’ve spoken with about the subject of vehicle lights, both cars and bicycles should turn on their lights before it starts to get dark and use them until the sun rises and it is light outside. It becomes difficult to see both cars and bicycles around dusk, as the sun is setting, so turning lights on before it starts to get dark improves visibility. This recommendation is for safety, which is what the televised discussion was about, even though cyclists won’t get ticketed for not having lights turned on until half an hour after sunset (at which point it is already dark).

          Even so, the exact timing of when cyclists must turn on their lights has nothing to do with the main point of my post, which was about a panelist claiming that not having lights at night was a safety issue for cyclists (and a leading cause of cycling accidents) while riding without a helmet was not. Both are safety issues because a cyclist can fall off of his or her bike, day or night, with or without contact with a car, and sustain a head injury. Further, ticketing random cyclists who don’t have lights, when many of them don’t know about the legal requirement to have them, will not improve safety because education is the only way you could reach a large enough number of cyclists to make any difference in overall cycling safety.

          If you were trying to make some other point, please clarify it, because I have no idea what you’re getting at.

  4. KillMoto says:

    1. I was there. IMHO, the bike lawyer was using juxtaposition. He was saying essentially this:

    Agencies like BPD and the Boston Public Health Commission are addressing helmet use as if it’s a requirement. But it’s not. Meanwhile, lights are required by law under certain circumstances, but BPD and BPHD don’t address this. In some cases (an unlit cyclist at night), if we can get people to follow the law (WRT the lights), we can PREVENT the wreck and thus not have to mitigate the consequences (i.e., not need styrofoam between head and pavement).

    But that’s just my interpretation of what was said.

    2. I used to be a big fan on Nicole Freedman. Not anymore. In response to another panelist (Richard Fries IIRD, regarding helmet use), she made a big show of pulling a piece of paper from her pocket to recite the recommendations of the 2013 Cyclist Safety Report. The major theme: Boston is taking an “all of the above” approach to cyclist safety, meaning they’ll pursue education, enforcement, and infrastructure and other things simultaneously to improve cycling in Boston. She scrupulously avoided mentioning (beware – all caps ahead) the recommendation that THE CITY CONSIDER A MANDATORY HELMET LAW. I can forgive that omission, if only she didn’t pull a piece of paper from her pocket as a dramatic device as if she was actually reading from the report’s findings (the paper appeared to be blank).

    3. Words matter. Stop using the word “accident” when you mean “wreck”, “killing”, or “collision”. Reread your post and see what I mean.

    An “accident” is when you are potty training your kid and they $#17 their pants on the way to the toilet. When a motorist hits a person – unless and until a fair and impartial investigation rules out all else – it’s a wreck, a homicide, an assault, a roll-over, a collision, or {insert precise and correct adjective here}. “Accident” must stop being the default.

    • “The major theme: Boston is taking an “all of the above” approach to cyclist safety, meaning they’ll pursue education, enforcement, and infrastructure and other things simultaneously to improve cycling in Boston. She scrupulously avoided mentioning (beware – all caps ahead) the recommendation that THE CITY CONSIDER A MANDATORY HELMET LAW.”

      I was unaware of the recommendation that the City consider a mandatory helmet law. Since Nicole Freedman didn’t mention it, I was also unaware of her omission. Even if such a law is recommended by the Cyclist Safety Report, it would probably not become law; there would be too much opposition to it. Maybe the lawyer-panelist should have referred to this situation. Then his argument would have made more sense to the audience.

      “Words matter. Stop using the word “accident” when you mean “wreck”, “killing”, or “collision”. Reread your post and see what I mean.”

      As I told you the last time you made this point: Your choice of words “wreck”, “killing”, or “collision” are often the wrong words to express something that happened.

      Words do matter; that is why I don’t use your choice of words when they are inappropriate or do not make sense. Sometimes a “collision” between a bicycle and a car is an accident (unintentional). And we have this little thing in the U.S. called “laws.” Those laws state that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Therefore, I cannot, and will not default to using words like “wreck” or “killing” when a traffic accident has occurred.

      Yes, words do matter. And the reason I, and many other writers, use the word accident to describe such events is that it is short for the formal name of a thing, namely a “traffic accident.” The term does not necessarily imply that it is accidental, which is how you are interpreting it. According to the MacMillan English Dictionary the word “accident” is used to mean: “1. a crash involving a car, train, airplane, or other vehicle. 1a. a sudden event, usually caused by someone making a mistake, that results in damage, injury, or death.”

      According to Wikipedia:

      “Many different terms are commonly used to describe vehicle collisions. The World Health Organization use the term road traffic injury,[1] while the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term motor vehicle accidents (MVA),[2] and Transport Canada uses the term “motor vehicle traffic collision” (MVTC).[3] Other terms that are commonly used include auto accident, car accident, car crash, car smash, car wreck, motor vehicle collision (MVC), personal injury collision (PIC), road accident, road traffic accident (RTA), road traffic collision (RTC), road traffic incident (RTI), road traffic accident and later road traffic collision, as well as more unofficial terms including smash-up, pile-up, and fender bender.”

      Whether the crash between two vehicles was accidental (a mistake or error of judgment) or intentional (premeditated) is up to a court of law to determine, not you. Therefore, I use words such as “incident” or “collision” as appropriate and “accident” when referring to the events which occurred but which have not been adjudicated. If you reread what I write on this blog, you will see that I use the terms “incident” and “collision” frequently to refer to crashes between cars and bicycles.

      Also, as I have pointed out to you before, not all car versus bike accidents are collisions or wrecks. Drivers sometimes run cyclists off of the road or force them into debris which causes them to crash – a term I often use, but which you seem to think is irrelevant. If the driver’s actions caused the cyclist to crash, and he is injured, a court of law can find the driver guilty of causing the cyclist’s injuries and can sentence him to time in jail or require him to compensate the cyclist. Why do you expect me to use the wrong words to describe this sequence of events?

      Until due process has occurred, I will refer to many of these incidents as accidents, as is customary in the U.S. (see U.S. Census Bureau term above). I will use the word “killed” if a court of law has determined that a driver’s actions qualified as homicide or if there is clear negligence demonstrated, based on facts, not your preferences for words. And, by the way, using several terms to describe such events, as I always do throughout this blog, does not make the term “accident” the default. This would only be the case if I used it exclusively, which I do not.

      • KillMoto says:

        RE: “Accidents”. The fundamental problem with defaulting to the word “accident” is it presumes…. no culpability on the parties. Only an investigation will determine whether or not there is culpability. Let’s not assume up front there was none.

        All we know when something goes wrong on the roads is the impartial facts. If the reporter sees an SUV on it’s roof, the proper word is “roll over,” not “accident”. But culturally we’ve been conditioned to say “accident”, and until someone in a position of leadership starts to influence the culture, we’ll continue to assume that people are powerless to prevent roadway mishaps.

        Using “accident” for to describe a mishap is simply lazy. We all do it – me too – it will take sustained effort to stop.

        If we know just cursory facts, we can use precise words: if a car hit a tree, it’s a collision. If someone died because of an interaction with a 3000lb vehicle, its a killing (killing carries no motive – it simply means that someone is no longer living).

        Do you think Alexander Motsenigos died in an accident? And that McCoomb was powerless to stop that wayward dump truck? It’s OK to say a truck driver hit a cyclist and the cyclist is now dead. Saying it’s an accident judging the outcome before the investigation, before the the grand jury and before the trial. The family of the bereaved has to fight all the more for justice when we assume all harm on the roadway is accidental.

        I guess I should stop crying over spilled milk.

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. Maybe the NYPD and MassDOT are wrong just like me.

        I’ll stop bringing this up. I don’t want to detract from your insightful posts. I’m right there with you – and really enjoy your posts. but misuse of that wors is something I feel I need to comment about.

  5. Bruce says:

    The panel session was very interesting and informative. Not surprisingly, the panel and audience was very pro-cycling. Plus, it seems that there were a number of “old timers” who had long associations with one another and the panelists. They should have kept their mutual back-slapping to the pre-session rather than consuming valuable discussion time with irrelevant insider comments.

    The comments by the lawyer was fine – they were extemporaneous and well meant. I got his points. It seems some others want to quibble. Go ahead.

    The main disappointment for me was the lack of appreciation of how deteriorated our roads are. My commute is 8 miles each way daily. I go through Arlington Center, Harvard Square and Central Square. The roads are appalling. The bike lane markings, such as there are any, are faded or worn to nothing. There are potholes, ruts and debri. ALL UNSAFE. But the panel only spoke about the City of Boston and it seems all is perfect there and Cambridge & Somerville are on another planet.

    • mouth breather says:

      boston infrastructure is also abysmal – have you tried riding washington street in roslindale up through forest hills? it’s safer to ride on the sidewalk. it’s as if the entire southern part of the city doesn’t exist.

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