THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
DO BIKES BELONG ON BOSTON’S STREETS?

Get rid of cars first

(Istockphoto)
July 18, 2011

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BRIAN MCGRORY MAKES a lot of valid points about Boston’s bicyclists. As someone who only walks or takes public transportation, I have almost been hit by bikes several times. Give me a citation notebook, I’ll start taking names.

But by his logic we should also ban motorists. If you think bicyclists have superiority complexes, try crossing the street in front of a BMW.

Clare Froggatt
Boston

In a city of scofflaws, why pick on bikers? BRIAN MCGRORY is absolutely correct that many cyclists disregard traffic laws and are disrespectful to motorists and pedestrians (“Make Boston bicycle-free,’’ Metro, July 15). However, his proposal to ban cyclists seems arbitrary. After all, drivers and pedestrians routinely disregard traffic laws too. The fact of the matter is that all three groups should be showing more respect for their fellow citizens. So rather than focusing on cyclists, McGrory should propose a way for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to show more respect on the roads that we all share. Once he works that out, he can move on to achieving world peace.

Jeremy Gregory
Arlington

An efficient option, cycling’s here to stay RE “MAKE Boston bicycle-free’’ (Metro, July 15): Yes, everyone should obey traffic laws, and police should enforce those laws. Targeted enforcement against cyclists might encourage more to follow the rules, but stoking resentment among those driving several tons of steel is no way to improve safety. There is no measure by which cyclists cause more than a small fraction of the problems on Boston roads; we are disproportionately the victims.

In his column, Brian McGrory also grossly stereotypes cyclists. The people biking in Boston today are not packs of Lance Armstrong wannabes, but individuals wearing regular clothes using a bicycle as transportation to get around.

Cyclists are not going away, and have in fact quadrupled in Boston in just the last three years. Bicycles are an efficient, affordable way to get to jobs, school, and other places that may not be easily accessible without a car or a T pass. Boston’s bike share program is a flexible and affordable public transportation system that taps into this growing need, following a model that has been successful in big cities all over the world.

David Watson
Executive director, MassBike
Boston

Bikes lower gas costs RE “MAKE Boston bicycle-free’’ (Metro, July 15): It would be helpful for motorists to remember how upset they get at gas prices. Those prices are caused by supply and demand. If you’d prefer bicyclists to drive cars, be prepared to pay even more for gas. And be prepared for more traffic jams, competition over parking spaces, and air pollution.

Gary Brine
Rockport

Be careful what you ask for BRIAN MCGRORY’S chances of “finding parking near my gym’’ would be far worse if all us cyclists had to drive there instead.

Christopher Raia
West Newton

Motorists need help sharing the road I SUPPORT Boston becoming more friendly to cyclists, but bike-friendly measures have left many of us confused (“Boston looks to make city safer for bicycles; Police up patrols ahead of Hubway,’’ Metro, July 14). There’s been no education on how to share the road. For example, driving with a bike lane to my right, I don’t know how to safely and legally make a right turn.

I also fail to understand why bicycles are allowed to share the road without paying for the privilege, as automobile drivers pay. If cyclists had to register their bikes and wear a visible license plate, they would be easier to track down if they disobey the law.

Ellen Connorton
Brookline

Tired of attacks WE NEED to foster cooperation between drivers and cyclists. What we don’t need is another diatribe against bicycles as a mode of transportation (“Make Boston bicycle-free,’’ Metro, July 15). Bicycles are part of the solution to many of our biggest social and environmental problems - oil consumption, global warming, pollution, obesity, and inhospitable cities. Based on Brian McGrory’s article, he’s part of the problem.

Nathan Aronow
Steering committee, Bike Newton
Newton

Streets need separate facilities for cyclists THE SOLUTION is to make some corridors of the city bike-friendly. I’m not talking about bike lanes. In the Netherlands, they have separated bike tracks that end the dangerous conflict between cars and cyclists altogether. I’ll give you one guess which country’s obesity rate is higher.

Mike Tremblay
Haverhill