As you may have noticed…

June 8th, 2010

Or not…

This blog has fallen a bit by the wayside in the last couple months. This is not because I’ve been low on complaints about the cycling situation in Boston – far from it. Rather, I am feeling a bit jaded about the struggle to instigate change in a city that is so woefully politically and capitalistically corrupt and totally devoid of compassion. Despite the grandiose claims by Tom Menino, Nicole Freedman, Richard Davey, none of the issues plaguing the city when I began my own campaign for change have been solved, or indeed described any measurable improvement. The MBTA is still totally unaccountable for it’s unlawful transgressions and terrible service. Motorists are as abusive and neglectful as ever to the cycling community. Public servants continue to treat cyclists as second class citizens, and people keep getting hit and menaced with no hope of justice from our fundamentally flawed legal system.

True; there are many new bike lanes in the city. What good does this do if motorists, delivery vehicles, and taxis use them as a traveling and parking lane? And they do, every day, all day. True, there are new signs and sharrows indicating that the traffic respect cyclists as vehicles and allow them to travel accordingly. Motorists still honk, swear and menace cyclists – all day, every day. I know, because I am out there experiencing it.

All the work in the world done on the infrastructure of Boston’s roadways will do dick diddly squat to change the mentality of the area. Pedestrians remain aloof, ignorant, and self absorbed. Motorists will continue to be stressed out, wrathful, self important. Cyclists will remain recalcitrant, self-righteous, easily incensed. Public servants will continue to be lazy, unhelpful, belligerent. MBTA drivers will remain under trained, oblivious, and continue to disregard the safety needs of their position.  What we can do about all this… I really have no idea. I have always tried to do my tiny part to instigating a change in mentality – treating others with respect and care, trying not to be easily thrown into a rage by the abuse I suffer daily from drivers. I can keep this up, I think… but it doesn’t give me much hope for change in the future.

To be fair, hope is in short supply right now, for reasons we all know and I can’t bring myself to discuss in this blog. We are inundated with news of the horrors being wrought on our fellow man, our fellow creatures, our very world, by our own kind. I can’t really blame the average person for not having much good will to impart. Sadly, this is probably the point at which we need it the most.

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5 Responses to “As you may have noticed…”

  1. teeheehee Says:

    Yo, don’t give up, apathy will be the cancer of our cause. (And keep writing to your blog – I read it, I noticed the lapse, and I am guilty of the same stagnation. Instead I find I write lots of long-winded comments. Observe.)

    I think people get used to things being a certain way, and just now things are getting disturbed, and in ways that they need to be. Some minds reel in horror at the thought of sharing pavement with others, and those are going to be the hardest nuts to crack. You pegged it directly, and I think this applies generally for everyone trying to change things: “What we can do about all this… I really have no idea.”

    There are people working very hard to make the right things happen, even in the higher places of government and public transportation. This is very recent, and is still immature in some respects. As a city it can be very costly to experiment and watch a thing fail or cause blow-back. Delicate work requires a patient hand, and this is a thing that can’t be positioned to fail or break as it would mean another 50+ years of car-as-king/disaster-in-a-can.

    And you also elude to the more abstract sickness which causes infinite, minuscule setbacks to our little bit of progress. Wars, disasters, housing crisis, recession… a humanity that is sick is short on temper and long on sadism.

    I remember when I used to drive a car around, I was not very forgiving of the slight infractions of other drivers, and the number of these were great – so, I became quite bitter. After I dropped the car and took up the bike many things about my body and mind became healthier. It took my car’s death to change my attitude on things, and I think there are plenty of other folks out there able to be convinced if only they can get passed that first critical step.

    Combining the macro-issues of the world with the micro-issues of Boston driving and it’s a wonder to me that anyone out there on the streets is sane at all.

  2. mfinnigan Says:

    Hey, we met the other day, L-Train introduced us. But I had been reading the bostonbiker blogs for a while, I didn’t make the connection at the time. I must know too many people named Grimlocke, probably.

    Anyway – change takes time. We need more people like yourself calling out specific incidents so the MBTA and cops can enforce. We need advocacy groups like MassBike doing things for visibility. We need some damned PSAs that say “Bikes are allowed on the road. End of sentence.”

    And all of that will still take time to change the mindset.

  3. bikerboy Says:

    7 News did a segment about MBTA buses not following the rules of the road. Made me think of contacting them about the bike vs. bus issue.

    the video is here:

  4. michaelk42 Says:

    Never give up!

    But it’s OK to take a break for a while. Rage has it’s place but it’ll kill you if you keep it up too long.

  5. kudzuvines Says:

    whoa. this is amazing and I love you!

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