State Sets Up Bike Lanes, Vandals Toss Cones In Icy River

Bicycle commuting promotes healthy lifestyles, reduces emissions, and eases traffic congestion for all. So why are Massachusetts officials busy retrieving bike lane traffic cones from the Charles River?

“This bike lane stuff and the candlesticks has pissed me off!!!” – Motorist response to bike lane project 

BOSTON (AP) — People keep tossing traffic cones in the Charles River. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation keeps retrieving them.

[Allstate’s America’s Best Drivers Report ranked Boston last in its list of 200 cities, Boston Magazine reported in 2017, though the nation’s worst-drivers ranking has since be claimed by Oakland.]

Surveillance video released Friday following a public records request by NBC Boston showed several people hoisting the orange cones and tossing them one by one off the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Earlier this month, workers spent hours retrieving more than 100 cones from the ice on the river.

“It is a little bit of a dicey operation whenever you have ice on a river. It can be dangerous,” MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told NBC Boston at the time.

The cones have been repeatedly removed from the bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge. They are part of a bicycle safety pilot program that launched in November.
MassDOT officials said it was unclear why people have tossed the cones off the bridge.

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“The health benefits of cycling are even more powerful than walking.”

By Emma Brown, September 9, 2017:

Cycling to work means better health and a longer life. Here’s how to get started.

The Washington Post – A British medical journal published a study this spring that seemed to confirm what dedicated bicyclists had long suspected: Commuting on two wheels is really, really good for your health.

Compared with driving or taking public transit, bicycling to work is associated with a substantially lower risk of heart disease and cancer — and even premature death from all causes.

The health benefits of cycling are even more powerful than walking, according to the study.

That’s not to say that biking doesn’t come with risks. Without the protective steel casing of a car, bikers are vulnerable to being hit by distracted drivers or “doored” — knocked off their bikes when someone exiting a parked car unwittingly opens the door into their path.

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“So why do some people get so pissed off when a few lousy feet are finally set aside for the benefit of someone else?” – Biking In L.A. 

But even as bicycling is becoming a more popular way to get around, the number of bicyclists injured in crashes with motor vehicles declined 10 percent nationwide from 2014 to 2015, according to the most recent data available from the Department of Transportation.

The number of deaths rose 12 percent, but fatalities among bicyclists remain relatively rare. In 2015, 818 U.S. bicyclists died in accidents with motor vehicles, accounting for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The worst cities for fatalities that year were Albuquerque, with nine deaths per million residents; Tucson, with 7.5 deaths; Las Vegas, with six; and Phoenix, with five.

In the District, there were about 1.5 bicycle fatalities per million residents, about the same as New York City. That makes the nation’s capital — where city officials have pushed to improve biking infrastructure — among the safer cities to bike … read more [subscription may be required]


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