Saturday, 2:15 PM
With gas rising towards $4, bikers hoping for a boom
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
A hearty biker in Boston last fall. Mayor Thomas Menino wants to make the city more bike-friendly.
By Globe Staff
With gas prices edging towards $4 a gallon, biking activists are hoping that more people will take to the streets on their two-wheelers.
While there’s no hard data showing that people are getting more interested in biking, David Watson, executive director at the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, said there has been increased demand for the bicycle commuting talks his group gives at workplaces.
In the past two months, the group has given seven or eight, which is more than twice as many as the three it did all last year.
Bikers out on the road are also telling the group they’re seeing more people out riding, he said. And the bike racks on some MBTA buses, which were mostly empty last year when they were introduced, are being used more.
“I think the arguments that it’s good for your health and it’s good for the environment and it’s fun have always been true. I think what has really gotten people off the fence is the increasing gas prices,” he said.
He said statistics show that 50 percent of workers live within five miles of their jobs, which he called an “extemely bikeable distance.”
“I think people are recognizing it’s very doable to bike,” said Watson, whose group promotes bicycle safety while encouraging people to ride. “We want more people on bikes.”
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