Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from msantos1116. Show msantos1116's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Commuting by bike is great, if it's possible.

    It's not possible for everybody, though. 

    And a side note....this guy "Ty Burr" throws things like "climate changing legislation" and "global warming" around like it's just that simple.

    Just stick to the topic, and stop trying to link climate change and global warming to every story.  Do your writers have ADD and have trouble actually sticking to the subject of the story?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from gernn. Show gernn's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    In terms of accepting bike traffic Boston may have it worse than many major metro areas.  Narrow streets, congested inersections and the culture of vehicular traffic all create a hostile bike commute.  I have to admit I make an effort to share the road with bikers but I find it amost impossible to keep track of them.  Cambridge scares me with it's bike lanes- not only do you have to make sure there's no bike in your blind spot when making a right turn, the paths often emerge from behind parked cars, making bikers impossible to see.  Add to that that it's sometimes bikers that add to the problem- witness the guy on the bike I've almost killed twice because he insists red lights on Boylston Street do not apply to bicycle traffic.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from jfarelli. Show jfarelli's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I try to bike to work at least three times a week.  I live in Watertown and work in Roxbury/South End, so it's about a 15 mile round trip. 

    I think the author is correct about wearing clothes to bike in with, and changing when you get to work.  I wouldn't want to bike 15 miles in work clothes!

    Be safe, assume 1) everyone is going to turn right, and 2) that every parked car has someone inside about to get out. 


     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from tpdboston. Show tpdboston's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I like to keep things pretty simple.  If you are able to ride, go for it, I do and enjoy it.  I pay $0 on gas, and get my excercise, but I do have access to a shower once I get to work, so that might be a catch for some people.  That being said, drivers and bikers must both be careful, and to obviously obey traffic laws.  I personally stop at all stop signs, red lights ect.. wait until it's green and then go like a car would.  I see so many bikers just ignore redlights/stop signs, well in that case, they should not be surprised if they get creamed by a car.  I don't know, I am just one person, I try to respect the road whether I drive or bike, and be as safe as possible.  Happy riding
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from ChrisUnit1. Show ChrisUnit1's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Good article.  Ty Burr's advice is  excellent.  

    I think the leader beneath the headline is misleading:

    "Ty Burr offers his advice on how to get a bike and keep your commuting costs to zero."

    Bicycling is not zero cost.  The costs are just far, far lower (both on an individual and aggregate basis) than automobile driving.

    I should also point out that it is possible (but requires much more equipment and therefore cost) to bicycle even when there is ice on the roads.  There are studded  bicycle tires that are manufactured and sold, and quite effective for riding on ice.  Most local bike shops do not sell them, nor do their employees have any experience with, or know very much about the tires because there is no market for them here.  Even Ty, a dedicated cyclist, does not ride when the roads are icy.  It is a sensible approach though, given that - as Ty pointed out -  the greater Boston area is afflicted with "...lousy roads, bad drivers, and car-centric civic attitudes."  This description is true of most of this country as well, but it is unusually and persistently bad in this area.

    The bicycle needs to be recognized for the extremely efficient and useful tool for personal mobility that it is.  Anything that gets more people to ride their bikes more will have profound impacts.

    When a greater percentage of the population participates in cycling - whether for transportation, recreation, or sport - the accident and injury level for cyclists also decreases.  This will help lower the single greatest obstacle to greater participation in bicycle commuting in this area: safety.


     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from tchoyce. Show tchoyce's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    great article ty. movie reviews are not your only talent i see.

    i bike daily to work, in all weather, 3 miles to allston from brookline, and a once a week trek 24 miles to framingham.  i've been doing it so long that using a car to get to work never enters my mind.  if the weather is too yucky (i ride thru snow and rain- windy days keep me off 2 wheels), i'm lucky enough to be on a bus route and my employer contributes 3/4 the cost of a charlie card. 

    bike lanes are ok, but busses and cars do block them now and then.  I think alert and smart riding is the best way to go.  I always look for the back of heads in parked cars, and assume they will fling open the door at any minute.

    happy and safe riding!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from newbiker. Show newbiker's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    i'm just about to start biking to work (probably 1-2 days to begin with).  i'm writing because Partners Healthcare has 18,000 employees, and i'm betting that very few of them know that MGH at least makes things very easy on employees who choose to cycle in to work.  First, there's a keycard-protected bike cage on campus, which you can get access to for a $10 one-time registration charge.  Second, that also lets you use free showers and day lockers (about 10 yards from the bike cage).  Not sure, but I'm thinking the Brigham has something similar.  I have no idea why the hospital doesn't publicize this more, not only because of gas prices but because of its own difficulty making parking available to employees.  Happy riding!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from tpdboston. Show tpdboston's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    [Quote]I've been biking 10 miles each way to work for three years now.  Ty's remarks are spot on, except for the need to shower at work.  Generally, it's cool in the morning.  Rarely is it above 65 degrees.  Dress cool, don't race to work, and there is really no need to shower.[/Quote]

    jmiecz, LOL LOL  I could sweat even if it was 40 degrees, I guess that is just me, I guess you are lucky.  Lately it has been above 65, but it is the humidity that sucks.    Do whatever works, I guess.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from grrizzli. Show grrizzli's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I wonder why it's important not to buy a bike from a chain store. Is it just prejudice against big corporations? I personally dislike bike stores for their anti-car, holier-than-thou attitude. Also, their cheapest bikes are at least 50% or 100% more expensive than those in Target or Wal-Mart. Isn't it possible to promote biking in Boston on its merits, such as speed - it's faster to bike in Boston than to drive - or the cost (or the lack) of parking?

    By the way, I bike to work almost every day for practical reasons and I love to drive too and do it without any guilt.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from BD1958. Show BD1958's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I've been a city biker all my life, as well as an avid pedestrian, and have a few more suggestions for the new bicycle enthusiasts out there:

    First, if you must use the sidewak, WALK YOUR BIKE!  It's against the law to ride our bike on the sidewalk in the City of Boston, so please respect the rights of pedestrians to use the sidewalks without having to worry about jumping out of your way.

    Second, RIDE WITH TRAFFIC!  I've had some pretty hair-raising experiences on the road, but the worst is cycling along one of Boston's narrow streets and suddenly coming upon a bicyclist riding the wrong way on the street, against traffic.   Head on collisions are no fun, period.

    Finally, please YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS in crosswalks.  As the streets get busier the more bikes, I think we need to remember the rules of boating that keep the waters safe:  faster vessels yield to slower ones.  It's great to be able to break the rules occasionally on a bicycle, but at the end of the day, an enjoyable and safe bike ride is possible only if you observe the same rules of thumb as when you are driving or walking:  give yourself plenty of time, give the folks around you plenty of space, expect the worst, and remember to enjoy the sights and sounds around you.  

    See you out there! 
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from heliossunchild. Show heliossunchild's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I am 37 years old and for 32 of those years I was car-less. I biked everywhere because I had to. The bus routes did not run where I needed to go.  I still bike to work when I feel like it, but after having to ride for so many years, its really nice to be able to take the car. No place I have worked has ever had the luxury of showers and I have to say its awesome to ride in an air conditioned vehicle. I have a 2008 Altima and it's really good on gas anyway.

    I also updated my bike (as it is more for pleasure now) to a 1200.00 Specialized mountain bike. Now when I take it out, it's specifically to rip up some trails!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from BlueAlvarez1. Show BlueAlvarez1's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    [Quote]I wonder why it's important not to buy a bike from a chain store. Is it just prejudice against big corporations? [/Quote]

    It's just more likely the bike will not be put together properly if you buy it at a large chain, possibly specialty chains like REI being the exceptions (and even that I can't be sure of).  So if you confident doing your own tuning and fixing, or know some place that does it for you with a smile even though you didn't get your bike from them, then sure, go for the discount.

    Better bet might be to say to your LBS (local bike store), "Hey. I really want to buy this from you, because I know I'll get better service.  But Store X has the same model for 20% less. (better have printed proof when you say this).  Any way I could get some kind of discount or maybe a free tuneup, etc?  I am committed to supporting your business, but I also need to save as much money on this as possble."

    You never know, sounds like a polite way to cut a deal to me.  Worst case scenario they say no.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from neo2112. Show neo2112's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    biking in massachusetts with its horse-trails-turned-to-roads is tough.  what gets me is some groups of cyclists like to double or triple up on narrow but very busy roads, instead of going single file until they're in a safer place.  otherwise, cyclists don't really bother me all that much; if people can bike to work, great.  wish i could.

    in terms of oil prices, it should not take $5 a gallon for people to get on a bike and ride, or run, or go swimming, or doing any kind of activity that's good for your body every day or every other day.  but since ty brought it up, if the US stopped EXPORTING $35billion in oil a year and instead kept that oil to help reduce gas prices (while, hopefully, seriously thinking about a future without nonrenewable energy sources), the recent price increases wouldn't be so significant.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from BobBos. Show BobBos's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    The claim in this article that you can cut your commuting costs to zero by biking is absolutely not true.  If you want to commute by bike, you have to shell out for a bike ($200-700 minimum), of course, as well as regular maintenance (about $150-$200/yr).  It's a lot cheaper than similar stuff for a car, and you don't have to buy gas, and it's even a bit cheaper than a T pass.  But it's not free.

    The reason to bike is if you want the exercise, you're able to do it safely, and you want to save time over taking the T (or even driving, in many cases).

    Contrary to popular belief, Boston is an OK city for biking in.  Many of the roads are narrow (which means that you don't have to worry about people passing you, just ride in the center) and low-speed (which means you're at least as fast as the other traffic).  Other roads are strictly not for bikes (Storrow Drive, Mem Drive, etc), so you don't even have to bother with them.  The Charles River bridges are one of the more dangerous aspect of biking.

    Biking takes a lot of skill.  Learning to bike safely is harder to learning to drive safely (although if you're a safe driver, that's an excellent foundation to build upon).
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from JamesEAnderson. Show JamesEAnderson's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    The new interest in bike commuting is wonderful news, and I liked Ty's article. I have bike commuted for many years except when roads were icy, in Boston and in Europe.

    Boston as a city switching to biking could learn a lot from London. I hope Mayor Menino's office is reading this. I biked everywhere there for five months about 4 years ago. I felt quite safe by taking advantage of bike maps distributed through the mayor's office. These had been prepared with the help of biker groups, I believe. Some bike lanes were created with just paint, and a few with concrete barriers. Boston's problems of old and narrow roads are not worse than London's. The transformation of drivers' behavior as biking becomes more common will resemble London's experience. Copenhagen is too much to expect.

    Ty forgot to add that having and using a bell is a very good safetyidea --- for blind corners , passing slower traffic and alertingpedestrians, some of whom are clueless, espcially on the Charles River bikeway. In Europe, bells are mandatory and they should be in the US too.
     
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from heliossunchild. Show heliossunchild's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    [Quote]The new interest in bike commuting is wonderful news, and I liked Ty's article. I have bike commuted for many years except when roads were icy, in Boston and in Europe.

    Boston as a city switching to biking could learn a lot from London. I hope Mayor Menino's office is reading this. I biked everywhere there for five months about 4 years ago. I felt quite safe by taking advantage of bike maps distributed through the mayor's office. These had been prepared with the help of biker groups, I believe. Some bike lanes were created with just paint, and a few with concrete barriers. Boston's problems of old and narrow roads are not worse than London's. The transformation of drivers' behavior as biking becomes more common will resemble London's experience. Copenhagen is too much to expect.

    Ty forgot to add that having and using a bell is a very good safetyidea --- for blind corners , passing slower traffic and alertingpedestrians, some of whom are clueless, espcially on the Charles River bikeway. In Europe, bells are mandatory and they should be in the US too.
     [/Quote]

    Blaa, blaa, blaaa London, Blaa, blaa, blaa Europe, blaa, blaa, blaa copenhagen - Could you be a little more PRETENTIOUS? Who CARES about dirty, smelly Europe! My entire family is European and none of them ever want to go back!
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from sprno. Show sprno's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Biking to work is a great idea; however, Ty Burr would do well to acknowledge the abominable habits of many cyclists on the roads in Boston. To name just a few: riding the wrong way down one-way streets, running stoplights, using crosswalks and sidewalks that are already full of pedestrians, turning left (or right) without using a signal, and, my all-time favorite: acting all self-righteous and indignant when drivers can't read their minds. Please don't blame drivers who are trying their best to be safe on these crazy Boston roads when there are plenty of cyclists out there who are making it more difficult for all of us. Give traffic laws a try! It might help.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from dr2chase. Show dr2chase's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    [Quote]Biking to work is a great idea; however, Ty Burr would do well to acknowledge the abominable habits of many cyclists on the roads in Boston.
    [/Quote]

    True enough, but there's not much a law-abiding cyclist (like me) can do about them.  Twice I've biked after red-light runners (after the light turned green) to give them a hard time about it, and they just look at me like I'm a Martian.  I don't bother any more; it's too much work.

    It's also hard to convince a law-breaking cyclist that his infractions are as serious as a cars', and cars break the law all the time, usually without penalty (not stopping for pedestrians, rolling through stop signs, rolling over stop lines, speeding, not signalling, passing unsafely, running red lights, crossing the double yellow, etc).  Cars are heavier and faster, and do much more damage to whatever they hit; therefore it's much more important that they obey the law, yet many clearly do not.

    From a cyclist's point of view, the most important safety choice is to ride the bicycle.  Bikes are lighter, slower, can dodge better, can hear better, and can see better.  Compared to a bicycle, a car is much more dangerous to other people.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenst1. Show shenst1's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Great to see Ty Burr's article, but I wished there had been more acknowledgement of the resources available to bicycle commuters. To characterize MassBike as an activist group is limiting. MassBike also has a broad educational mission--including bicycle skills and safety classes and employer workshops to encourage  bicycle commuting. Many towns also have bicycle advisory committees.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from TonyFlanders. Show TonyFlanders's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Bicycle has been my primary transportation since I was in high school 40 years ago. I learned how to ride safely in cities (first New York, then briefly Dayton, Ohio, now Boston) from my father, who bicycled to work all his life.

    I would do just about anything to avoid having to commute by car, including changing jobs or homes. Driving in traffic, captive inside a little box of glass and steel, is the most infuriating, depressing, and debilitating experience I've ever had. No doubt being in prison is worse, but that's never happened to me.

    Boston is tougher for bicycling than New York because of its narrow streets and careless drivers. (NY drivers are more aggressive, but also much more competent.) But I wouldn't describe it as bicycle-unfriendly, for three reasons. First, being a college town, it's always had a huge number of cyclists, so drivers are used to them. Second, it's compact. More than 1 million people and most of the jobs in MA are within a 1-hour bike ride of downtown Boston. Finally, the traffic is so slow that you're not likely to get hit from behind -- at least downtown.

    Ty Burr's article was excellent, but I concur with another respondent that showers and special clothes aren't needed. My father commuted all his life in a business suit. I rode 8 miles each way to high school in street clothes -- not as far as Ty Burr, but on a much hillier route. As the other respondent noted, just take it easy, don't pretend that you're in a race, and the worst you'll have to do is give your face a thorough washing when you arrive.

    Another respondent noted that not everybody can bicycle to work. That's undoubtedly true, but much less so than most people think. Bicycle is almost always the fastest and most convenient way to get between two points in Cambridge, my hometown, yet most people drive. Even in the remoter suburbs, many people could easily bicycle to the nearest train station on a folding bike and get to work nearly as quickly and much more cheaply than driving.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from tackhead. Show tackhead's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I had a few points of disagreement with the article, as follows:

    - "If you want to dude up like Lance Armstrong coming over the Col du Tourmalet, feel free, but you'll get funny looks."  No you won't.  Boston commuters do not care what other people are wearing.

    - "Shoes with pedal clips are problematic for riding in cities, where you often have to stop in a hurry; I wear sneaks and go clipless."  Boy needs to learn his terminology; if he's wearing "sneaks" he's using platforms, not clipless. 

    - "Hit the bikepaths where possible" -- what "bikepaths"?  They're MUPs, and they're all heavily used by non-cyclists, and really not the way to go.

    - "The shower question tends to be a deal-breaker; if you can't clean up, you can't commute."  Right, but "clean up" != "shower".  Bathe before you leave for work in the morning, use antiperspirant, wear clean clothes, wipe down with baby wipes, use powder and change when you get to work.  Problem solved.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from niagarabob. Show niagarabob's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Not working within the reach of the MBTA, roads out here are less congested by parked cars than trees and there are fewer red lights than blind turns. I consider bike riding in suburban Mass to be akin to Russian Roulette.  There are no shoulders on most roads, trees intrude on the lanes and then there's the highly unpredictable Mass driver...  I'd like the option but the best I can do now is drive a manual shift car and coast as much as possible...

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from lnmonster. Show lnmonster's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    In Holland, an entire infrastructure exists for bicyclists, separate from that for cars and pedestrians. Bike lanes are built between the sidewalks and the parked cars, so that there is no risk of being "doored" on the driver's side, and even if it were to occur on the passenger side, the cyclist would be thrown onto the sidewalk instead of into traffic. Highways all have bike paths built parallel to the roadways. Train stations have huge bicycle parking areas.

    Opportunities for rail trails have been missed or are stalled, including paths from Belmont to Fitchburg, from Watertown to Cambridge, from Somerville to Boston, and from Framingham to Lowell. There is much the government can do to make bicycle use easier and safer, but it is dropping the ball.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from J1aN. Show J1aN's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    Unless you have a bike path to take to work, forget about it. Too dangerous on roads with cars during commute time.
    Forget about it !
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620. Show ml2620's posts

    Is commuting to work by bicycle the safest option?

    I started riding my bike to work in Back Bay from Newton and have enjoyed it, it's mostly marked path and I have to walk the bike in a couple of sections. Unfortunately, the building where my company is located has banned bikes from the building (we used to have a bike rack in the basement). Between the recent rain and my schedule, I don't have a safe place to park my bike (potentially overnight sometimes).

    It seems really strange to me that the building would suddenly go "no Bike" when the rest of the city seems to be in support of biking to work.

    Anyone know of a safe place to leave the bike (indoors) in back bay? Anyone leave your bike at the Back Bay T Station?
     

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