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July 19, 2005

Cell phones - one more thing

OK, here's the last word on cell phones, at least for now.

Seen yesterday while driving in Belmont: an older man riding his bicycle, not wearing a helmet, talking on his cell phone.


Posted by David at 08:58 AM in Random | Permalink


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Hoo Lordy, don't get me started. I once saw a guy weaving through Harvard Square on a bike, no helmet, talking on the cell phone.

Enforcing bike laws in general -- now that's something that needs to happen in a serious way. They are vehicles, and I've always been told that all the rules that apply to cars apply to bikes as well: one way streets, NO RIDING ON THE SIDEWALK, etc.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA | Jul 19, 2005 9:17:58 AM

I agree with Charley to a point...

Enforcing laws on roads in general -- thats something that needs to happen in a serious way.

The reality is that bikes are second class citizens on the road, so it feels perfectly reasonable to take liberties (right or wrong). Examples include:
* double parking
* parking on bike lanes
* bike lanes filled with rubbish, broken glass, and going unmaintenanced
* cars acting like jerks, in a way that really endangers cyclists
* cars driving across bike lanes without looking, or yielding
* cars sticking out of driveways to see whos coming... right on bike lanes or right in front of bikes
* drivers simply "not seeing" cyclists. This is a very real phenomonon -- but one that makes riding a bike on the roads require more improvisation.

The reality is that its good for cars and bikes for bikes to flaunt some driving rules. For example: I ride from Kenmore Square across the Mass Ave Bridge into Cambridge many days. The second traffic light on Mass Ave in that direction is a T intersection, with the third part of the intersection on the left side of the road. If the light is red, I move into the shoulder and pass stopped cars on the right, and then run the light. This is good for me, since I don't have to wait. This is good for the cars behind me, since they're not stuck directly behind a bicycle when the light turns green. It's safe since I'm not in the intersection, and my path doesn't cross that of any moving vehicles.

It's also against the law.

Before you worry about a bicylce crackdown, lets get cars to stop racing through yellow lights and to stop racing between red lights. They are far more dangerous than bikes riding the wrong way down a one way street, and there's orders of magnitude more of them.

Of course, if the city/county/state gov't would put more money into bike paths that interconnect, cyclists would spend less time sharing the road with drivers...

Lastly: while a guy like the one discribed might cause serious harm to himself or others in an accident as a result of poor decisionmaking, a car in the same situation will cause serious harm to himself or others.

Posted by: stomv | Jul 19, 2005 9:33:09 AM

I', all for it.
(no helmet, cell phone talking, elderly bike riders i mean)

Posted by: the troll | Jul 19, 2005 10:34:32 AM

Yes, it does seem that cyclists are much more likely to hurt themselves than others through poor choices on the road. And, I would love to see greater Boston become a more bike-friendly area. I could describe the time that I was knocked over by a cyclist on the sidewalk and had my glasses broken -- but that would weaken my argument, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Michael | Jul 19, 2005 11:41:32 AM

^ It depends on where that sidewalk was. The law on riding on the sidewalk varies not just from town to town, but within different neighborhoods in a city or town.

In some place in Boston and Cambridge, cycling on the sidewalk is prohibited. In other places, it is permitted. In either case, riding in such a way that you can't prevent a collision is usually bad policy on the riders part.

But -- individual experiences do not good policy make.

Posted by: stomv | Jul 19, 2005 3:58:06 PM

I agree with Charley.

People do need to realize that bicycle riders do have rights, but bikers need to remember that they are less visible than cars, so weaving around through traffic is not wise.

I have a cell phone & everything, but in general cell phones can bring out the worst in people. Talking while driving, biking, at a restaurant, at the check out counter while a cashier is trying to ask them if they have their Shaws card, talking loudly on the T...all egocentric behavior. Just put down the phone for a few minutes and call the person back!

Posted by: Kristine | Jul 19, 2005 9:08:07 PM

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