Nothing like a quick trip involving planes, trains, subways, taxis and buses to really wear a guy out. None the less, last week I headed to Boston with my family. Actually it was a business trip for L so I went along as a tour guide for M. With all those modes of transportation you’d think that I would be craving just sitting somewhere but after watching how well cyclists, pedestrians and motorized traffic interacted in the city I became very attuned to a need to pedal my way around town. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t happen on this trip.
As I walked around the city I became very aware of the difference in attitude that those living in a major city have regarding how others get around compared to those of us in the smaller towns like Little Rock. We like to talk about “Southern Hospitality” and we do show it when dealing one on one with each other (for the most part) but I was surprised to see that Bostonians could teach us a thing or two about respect for others while in route. I watched as cyclist, pedestrians and motorists intermingled throughout the city. There were plenty of all these participants in the ebb and flow of the streets. A father was comfortable pulling a child in a trailer behind his bike through rush hour traffic. Cabbies waited patiently while pedestrians crossed at intersections or cyclists waited to turn right. During my entire stay, I never once saw a motorist honk at a cyclist or pedestrian. Nirvana.
Here in Central Arkansas we like to think we are building a bicycle friendly community. This seems to be measured mainly in the bike/pedestrian trails being built. Trails and bike lanes are good and maybe what we need to get to a better place for cyclists. That better place is where bikes and cars can share the road with mutual respect. Nirvana.
I was curious about any rules that Boston may have set in place to facilitate this wonderful interaction between motor and man powered transportation. If you are interested, check out these links:
- Bicycling in Boston
- Don’t be a Road Hog
- Don’t be a Road Warrior
They also seem to have quite the history of cycling: