(Sara Brown for Boston.com)
Armed with helmets, reflectors, and their wheels, a group of bikers stood in the Boston Common Friday evening, raised their hands and pledged to be respectful and courteous, comply with city and state laws, and follow their "ride guides."
With that, about 50 bikers took off for Courteous Mass-Boston's six-mile loop through the Back Bay and the Financial District, biking with the goal of celebrating cycling, promoting "the rights of all people to co-exist and use pubic space" and emphasize safety on the roads.
According to Chris Ditunno, a spokeswoman for the group, Courteous Mass-Boston is a "very loose grassroots group" with a group of guides on hand to organize and lead the bike ride through the city.
Friday's ride was the first group bike ride that the current group has planned, she said. Before the event, guides--identifiable by large orange signs--made sure people signed safety waivers, handed out route maps and passed around spare lights and reflectors.
Bike riders said the group, and Friday's ride, was a way to spread awareness about biking safety and encourage other road users, like pedestrians and bikers, to share the road.
Guide Laura Smeaton, who said she rides her bike daily, said discourteous behavior is "pervasive with all road users."
"Everyone is in a hurry," she said. The ride is a "great way to get people to think about the awareness."
"I feel threatened by aggressive drivers," said Corina Cisneros, an Allston resident who said she rides her bike 125 miles each week. She said she heads out of the city to be more at ease when she bikes.
"I think we have to find a way to educate the drivers and the cyclists to share the road," she added, noting that she's been involved in several incidents with cars.
Bikers also need to obey traffic lights, Cisneros said. "That lessons the respect that drivers have for us."
With the sun setting, the bike riders and their bikes--a few Hubway bikes were present, as were some with decorated baskets and others with flashing lights--pledged to be safe and courteous, and then set off towards Beacon Street, accompanied by a Boston Police officer on his bike.
Though most traffic incidents involve drivers, said Steve Miller, who said he is a frequent Boston biker, and some walkers are reckless, there are no calls to ban those forms of transportation, he noted.
"The overwhelming majority of bikers are courteous" and friendly," he said before the ride. "No smaller proportion than the drivers and walkers."