Bike lane? What bike lane?

February 7th, 2009

Somewhere in the back of my ice-choked skull I remember some talk about a bike lane on Mass Ave. Wasn’t there one? Well, even if so, there isn’t any more.

Sure, things are tough when you’re in the middle of a winter as snowy and cold as this one. The flakes are fluffy and white one moment and plate steel the next. At first plows and tow trucks are aggressive, pushing back the snow and hauling away cars. But as the weeks turn into months, and one storm’s debris piles on another’s, some things get lost. Bike lanes, for instance.

Yesterday I rode from Boston to Harvard Square on Mass Ave, and it was not pretty. During a good stretch, cars might have grabbed half of the bike lane; during bad runs, they took it all. Even more laughably, on the ride from Cambridge to Boston, at one point the bike lane goes straight into a massive snowbank. Any sign that anyone’s going to take care of that? Nope.

During my ride to Harvard Square, I followed another cyclist, taking pictures of him dodging the cars and trucks as I did the same. All hail Cambridge for creating a space for bicycles on the busiest street in the city; what’s needed is follow-through, throughout the year.

Today was actually a lovely day for riding, with mild temperatures and clear skies. Alas, riding wasn’t quite so delightful, as hunks of black-brown ice littered the road, grit was everywhere, and drivers even more psychotic than usual. While I’m out all the time, no matter what the conditions (I actually like bad-weather riding),  a lot of riders aren’t so determined. Bike lanes are good things, and having them consistently available and respected by cars and city workers alike is essential to building a real, durable bike culture in Boston.

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