I’m an urban planning student working on a project to try and address cycling/car/pedestrian behavior in Boston–particularly dealing with infrastructure lag (and getting everyone to use what we have, including our bike lanes, in a less contentious way). One of those ideas is to try and move from an aggressive “taking” of space from cars and into a more playful, assertive way of showing that bikes belong on the road as well. If you have any ideas on how to affect car—and cyclist—behavior, please let me know!
To that end, I went on a 2.5 hour ride yesterday along major arterials of Boston to enjoy the good weather and try and test out my theory. I put a sign that said “Hi Cars!” on the back of my basket and on my bike bag, and resolved to be the best version of law-abiding cyclist, stopping and waiting at every red light and stop sign. I then would try and look around and wave at any drivers who were also waiting, in the attempt at making a social connection and showing them I was there (and law-abiding). The photo and map here shows the set up and the results. On the whole, waving was really successful whenever I was at a light for a significant length of time. While there were a few negative interactions– cars blocking the Comm Ave bike box, one cutting me off to park, a few trucks parked in the bike lane, and the backup of taxis turning left onto Comm Ave at the Longfellow Bridge—on the whole I think it was more positive. It also really changed my attitude as a cyclist and my communication with the rest of the street.
I’d be curious if you have any feedback/ideas/comments. Thanks and see you on the streets!
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