Dear Billy T and Somerville News Weekly Speakup Line,
As a fairly new resident of Winter Hill, having moved here from a city in the UK where cycling is widespread, I’ve read with some bemusement the letters and comments regarding the installation of the protected bike lanes on Broadway. I feel I’m in as good a position as any to share my thoughts. Cycling has been my main form of transport for about four years – I commute to work by bike and use it to get around the city. This includes using the bike lanes the entire length of Broadway, every day, regardless of the weather.
I’m grateful for the protected bike lanes. This is because as a cyclist on a busy road, even with all safety equipment, I am extremely vulnerable. If I’m hit by a car, there’s a good chance I will be killed. There’s no doubt there are reckless cyclists out there who cause issues, but I believe these are in the minority and in my experience, when compared to the drivers back home, the drivers in Boston are aggressive and often hostile to cyclists.
This hostility is misplaced, for several reasons. Bikes on the road mean fewer cars. This means people are healthier, which means your health insurance costs are reduced. It means one less contributor to climate change. That 72F day we had a couple of weeks ago? It means cleaner air for your kids.
I understand people are angry that local businesses are losing out because people can no longer park outside. This is a fair complaint. However, the reality is that local businesses were suffering long before the introduction of the protected lanes. Wage stagnation, increasing rents and Amazon.com have done more harm to traditional retail stores than any amount of bike lanes.
I would therefore encourage everyone, in a world ever increasing in temperature, to cool it with the cyclists.
￼ Matthew Nolan