Now that I’m without a work subsidized T (subway) pass, I’ve been biking absolutely everywhere. Read: I’m a grad student and refuse to pay for a T ride in tiny Boston. This has been pretty obvious to my classmates as I show up to class, bars and other events on a bike*. The reactions have been intriguing. Some are surprised I ride to and from bars and others don’t understand why I will not ride the wrong way down a street. It has made me think a lot about bike safety and culture in Boston and professional life.
First a fun bit on safety. Helmets make my hair gross. I have to run into the bathroom once I get to school to fix my hair before class. Obviously once I start going for interviews, I’ll need to reevaluate transportation preference vs. looking professional. However a solution is currently in the works:
The technology is very impressive. I have a lot of questions regarding the safety of it, size and convenience. But it is promising to think the helmet as we know it may be changing.
I was also happy to read Jonathan Simmon’s piece in the “On Biking” column at Boston.com. Titled “How to Encourage Cyclists to Ride Safely,” Simmons approached how to make other bikers follow street laws and make the road safer for everyone from a behavioral science perspective. The ultimate recommendation was that of social sanctioning. Put crudely – people will follow by example. This is my current m.o. – I’ll sit at a red light to make a point that while it stinks to wait, I recognize that as a biker on the road in Massachusetts I need to follow traffic laws too. I’m not just showing other bikers, but also cars. I want other bikers to recognize that it’s in their own interest to stop at lights and to show cars that I’m respecting you, so you need to respect me on the road. It’s small but a start. This article makes me wonder what else I can do.
*Sometimes I end up with well done bike shop marketing in my basket like the awesome postcard above from UrbandAdventours.