Take two bike rides and call me in the morning

Under a new city program, doctors at Boston Medical Center can now write prescriptions for Hubway memberships, as a low-cost exercise option for low-income residents.

Under Prescribe-a-Bike, patients will pay only $5 for an annual membership in the bike-sharing system, which gets them an unlimited number of 30-minute Hubway rides. Patients also get a free helmet.

"Obesity is a significant and growing health concern for our city, particularly among low-income Boston residents," said BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh, adding that statistics show that close to one in four low-income Boston residents is obese, almost double the rate for higher-income residents. "Regular exercise is key to combating this trend, and Prescribe-a-Bike is one important way our caregivers can help patients get the exercise they need to be healthy." A recent study of the health benefits of the London bike share system found that using bike share had a positive overall impact on health, particularly among older users.

The city hopes to enrol 1,000 low-income residents in the program.



    Free tagging: 


    Honest question

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    ...because I don't know, but are there many hub bikes available in low-income neighborhoods? And would those residents feel safe riding bikes? I drove through road construction in Mattapan a few weeks ago and saw a sign that read "Bikes can use full lanes." It stuck out to me because I never see bike riders in Mattapan in the first place.

    It's getting there

    They put the Hubways in the busiest tourist/commuter locations first, but they've been slowly spreading out from there. Someone could hop on a Hubway in Egelston or outside the Dudley Square Branch library and ride it to their BMC appointment if they wanted to. I'm not sure there are too many (any?) in Mattapan, but it's only a matter of time. That said, I generally encounter a lot more people on beat up old bikes than on rented Hubways as I pass through Dudley each morning on my bike commute to work.

    last year there were no stations south of jackson

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    they were supposed to go all the way down to forest hills last season, but that ended up not happening. biggest noise I've heard over wanting stations is from people in Rozzie and Mattapan. the Faulkner Hospital is offering to pay for a station there.

    Rozzie would be great because then you could get to/from forest hills instead of waiting for the bus (or sitting on a bus stuck in traffic).


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    there was one at the monument in JP.

    There were stations south of Jackson

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    There was definitely a Hubway station across the way from the entrance to the Green street subway station. And that one on Centre Street which had the local NIMBYs up in arms.

    You are right, it will be nice when they can expand in that area and further south. Main issue is that they cannot be stretched too thin. You cannot just plop a single Hubway station down in an isolated way. It must be within a few blocks of existing ones. In Montreal, they have bike share stations every 2 blocks.

    they exist

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    and they mostly ride on the sidewalks because they feel (probably rightly so) that it's not safe to ride in the streets around there - if you head toward rozzie you see that plenty of people use the bike lanes on cummins - especially once the weather gets nicer. I see mostly teenagers that direction though - but I'm sure a lot more regular people would ride if there were better bike facilities. You also see a handful of spandex-clad middle-aged guys on expensive road bikes who go through there on the weekends heading to blue hills... IMO - cummins that direction could definitely use a cycletrack - at least through the section of the cemetaries - and I think traffic counts on cummins in mattapan are low enough to remove a lane.

    anyway - I know that businesses in Mattapan square, several neighborhood groups, and the folks working on the Fairmount Greenway project really want hubway in Mattapan. it would be nice if there were a bike shop around there, though.

    Not just cardio

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    Under a new city program, doctors at Boston Medical Center can now write prescriptions for Hubway memberships, as a low-cost exercise option for low-income residents.

    and go ride a bike on the icy SWC path in winter for an "impact gymnastics" workout.


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    A week of icy, crappy weather has really scarred you folks for life, eh? This is like #firstworldproblems for cyclists.


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    An entire winter of icy crappy weather has really scarred you folks for life, eh?

    Fixed it for you.


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    Definitely!! I thought the icy-bike-path thing was overblown but this winter seems to have been designed to turn us stalwart, Goretex-wearing New Englanders into a bunch of weary, exhausted shadows who'd sell their mother for a 60-degree day.

    I wish...

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    All money and vacation time is taken up with visiting family, none of whom live anywhere warm, sadly.next year...

    Oh, I see

    Sell your mother, and then you don't have to visit her ... (kidding!)

    It's all good.

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    And if nothing else this reinforces the idea that exercise is just plain essential for good health.

    What's needed next, IMO, aside from the planned expansion, is some good community outreach that helps people learn how to use the system, how to bike safely, hook people up with helmets, etc. If you haven't done it before it can be intimidating.

    Not that I'm Complaining

    In most places outside of the US bikes are seen as an easier alternative to walking, not as exercise. I once had a doctor concerned that I might not be getting enough exercise when I told her I often rode a bike for commuting. I alleviated her concerns when I added that my commute was from Boston to Lexington.

    The doctors are correct that Hubway is better for one's health then using the T/Cab/Car but if the problem is lack of exercise it would be better off by walking more even if that means taking the T for half the trip and getting off a few stops earlier and walking from there.


    I do walk a lot ... but I am ultimately limited by arthritic knees.

    My point was that people will get exercise and save some money versus paying $2 to get 2 miles by bus (walking 2 miles takes most people 30-40 minutes, but biking it takes about 15 at 8 mph average). There is some evidence from the hubway data that people are doing exactly this.

    More handouts.

    Low or no income people are coming to Massachusetts in droves because everything is given to them. Come to Boston! We'll give you brand new housing with solar panels on the roof, free community college, pay your utilities for you, offer free daycare, and now we'll even through in a hub way bike. Meanwhile, the working and middle class pay for everything and get nothing.

    Yeah!! Where can I my free solar house?

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    Eye roll. You don't really understand the concept if you're calling it a "free bike." And if you think this is really the way things work around here, here's a question--would you rather a guy get a discounted bike membership or would you rather be paying for the surgery to amputate his feet after his diabetes spins out of control and then his wheelchair, his care attendant, his special handicapped-accessible housing (with solar panels of course) and his dialysis? If you really think we live in this blissful welfare state, wouldn't you still rather spend money on prevention rather than cure?

    You're going to need to

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    You're going to need to provide a citation on your claim that low or no income people are coming to Massachusetts in droves if you want us to take you seriously.
    Just Sayin'

    Here are some stats

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    From 2010 to 2013, Massachusetts added about 145,000 residents, with domestic migration accounting for -13,000 of that. The states one up and one down from Massachusetts in population added about 246,000 residents (Washington State, with 58,000 being domestic migrants) and about 234,000 residents (Arizona, with 74,000 being domestic migrants) respectively. Moreover, in the most recent year tabulated (July 2012 to July 2013) the top states for new residents were Texas, California, and Florida.

    I forgot, what was the question? Oh, yeah, people are flooding to Massachusetts for free houses with solar panels and being able to avoid $80 of the $85 membership to the Hubway. Definitely. The $80 savings on the Hubway will cause a flood of new residents.

    Thank you John Silber

    I'll bet that I pay a lot more taxes than you. I also pay for a full hubway membership because it means "handy bike, in city, anytime" much of the year.

    I'm also all for this, as it extends and expands the system, normalizes cycling for people in low income areas, and has the handy prevention features for people who are the most vulnerable to isolation and sedentary environments.


    Ever ride the orange line from forest hills to downtown crossing? It's like a cattle car.

    Oh yeahhhhh

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    Oh yeahhhhh. Go hang out in a mall in Hot-lanta or whatever. Not that we're all starving up here but....


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    Do we really have to compare ourselves to the rest of the US? A fat slob is a fat slob.

    Just don't bring the bikes to Eastie because they'll all be stolen overnight. Then the perpetrators will migrate around town throwing trash all over the sidewalks at higher rates of speed!

    except people who ride bikes/hubway

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    are also somehow hipster/yuppies who are gentrifying our neighborhoods... and poor people... and tourists... and stupid tech workers... and dumb college students... and your mom... but since I don't ride a bike I just pick whatever group I feel prejudiced against today.