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Citizen complaint of the day: The Public Garden's Bluebike infestation

A vexed citizen files a 311 complaint about the situation in the Public Garden - and a possible solution:

There are too many blue bikes violating the no biking rule in the Boston Public Garden every day. My suggestion is to install the same mechanism on those bikes that is on shopping carts so the back tires lock if the bike enters the park.

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Comments

Before we start geofencing bikes we should geofence cars to keep them off of sidewalks, bike lanes, and people’s living rooms. This technology along with speed limiters has been available for a long time but for some reason we only think it is applicable to small two wheeled vehicles with no/low emissions and minimal risk to others instead of several ton machines, which produce most of this region’s pollution and are by far the biggest safety risk on our streets. Backwards.

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At least require cars to have speed limit alarm that goes off like the seat belt alarm.

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The easiest fix for violations of a dumb rule is to get rid of the rule.

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Can ride down the bike lane?

Understood. Thanks.

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Cars in bike lanes can kill people, bikes in pedestrian areas at worst result in bumps and scrapes but usually result in people just being able to get around a bit more easily without a car.

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I was hit by a bicyclist in the Public Garden. The accident drew blood and I had pain for days. Sure, agreed that it wasn't as bad as the worst case scenario with a car. I still support more serious attention to bike violations in pedestrian-only zones.

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I’ve been hit by a car twice, and those close to best case scenarios for what that could have meant were both worse than your worst case scenario with a bike. Being hit by a human on bike is literally not comparable to being hit by a several ton machine capable of going at much higher speeds. It is a basic question of physics. Until we reign in cars, which killed hundreds of people in the state last year, I have no patience for these arguments about bikes which killed no one. Pedestrian areas are safer to ride in than streets and until the streets are made safe you cannot blame the cyclists for using them.

The best solution to avoiding conflicts between bikes and pedestrians in pedestrianized areas is to explicitly allow bikes and to create clear and obvious bike lanes/routes through the space so people know where the bikes are supposed to be and vice versa. You can see examples of this in pedestrian areas around the world, including several linear parks in and around Boston.

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n/t

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You can just stand by the Draw You For a Dollar Guy and I can drive into you.

I will give you time to wake up after you are concussed and then explain slowly to you the fallacy of your statement. I will bring the ice and towels to help with the bleeding until Boston EMS arrives.

There are nice bike lanes surrounding the Common and the Public Garden. Use them, not the park paths. Thanks.

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And I’ll take you to the cemetery after an SUV drives into you. See the difference? A human on a bike is both significantly lighter and slower than cars, SUVs, and trucks are, meaning the force of impact is orders of magnitude less. This is a basic question of physics. The only fallacy is comparing the potential dangers of being hit by cars which kill hundreds of people in this state every year (more than guns) and bikes which have killed no one.

The lanes around the common/Garden are not actually that nice. They only go in one direction which makes for annoying detours. At minimum these should be bi directional. In my experience the people riding through the garden are usually going straight across to avoid the detour, and usually straight along the widest path. The risk there is minimal and could be made less with signage about being aware of bikes or specific space for bikes through it.

The problem when you try to block people from going through the most direct route is that some people will do so anyway. It’s best to actively accommodate them in the first place.

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Not bikes in general.

Take the bike lines around the park set up for you.

Leave the park to the pedestrians.

Greedy prick.

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If a bike hits someone elderly there's a good chance it will lead to a broken hip, which can be life-threatening. Bike collisions can also lead to concussions, which can have long-lasting cognitive effects.

Less likely to be killed than if hit by a car? Yes. But not innocuous.

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People are good at avoiding each other at low speeds, that includes on bicycles. How often are you claiming this actually happens?

Other places that allow more access to pedestrian areas with bikes like the Netherlands or Japan don’t seem to have epidemics of hip surgeries either.

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Was destroyed by a bike courier? Ended up w serious brain damage but you tell your pretend stories.

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Since 1997, a dozen couriers have been murdered by drivers.

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Remind me never to have you represent me in a court case.

Killed maybe. Murder? No.

There was someone who was decapitated on the South Shore a few years ago by a wire while dirt biking. The wire was holding up a sign which said "No Trespassing". Some people called it murder. Other people said, perhaps you should read the sign.

As someone who has worked downtown for a very long time, the biggest traffic violators were the couriers.

Just because those legal documents have to be in Post Office Square in 10 minutes, doesn't justify your Kevin Bacon Quicksliver fantasies about the need to stop at stop signs and red lights.

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Search this on google and count the bodies. Read any report on a cyclist's death by law enforcement and witness the verbal gymnastics they go through to blame the cyclist.

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Don't give the cars agency, they do as their drivers direct them to do.

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fixed it.

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You sound like a city councilor with motor vehicle issues.

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No, it's actually a pretty OK rule. I have ridden my bike through the wide paths at the edge of the Common and I would agree that that is OK and should be allowed. The Public Garden has narrower paths and more peds. Bikers can easily detour around the Garden and they should.

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When everything is green and blooming it is harder to see ahead on the twisting paths.

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The wide paths around the common only go in one direction making them inconvenient for a lot of trips by forcing detours. The route most people on bikes take through the garden is straight across the bridge in the most direct route from the Mall to the central Common path. This path is wide and could be made to accommodate bikes if the desire was there.

Putting up a sign telling people not to go the most direct and clear route to their destination and to bike around the block instead isn’t going to be well respected. A better solution is to actively accommodate bikes so as to minimize conflicts.

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When I first started biking around the city (before the good bike lanes around the Common were put in) I would occasionally cut through the park. It's all slowing down, dodging crowds of people, and constantly having to go over the grass instead.

Now that there are perfectly clear and wide bike lanes all around the Common, there's really no need to bike through. If you have a bike and want to go to somewhere within the Common, it's way easier to just hop off and walk your bike.

Sure, it would be nice if there were bike lanes within the park as well, but I don't see them as necessary.

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I bike every day, it's my primary mode of transportation, and I'm here to tell you that bikes and pedestrians do not mix well, and specifically shouldn't mix in the bucolic confines of the Public Garden. The park has really good bike lanes around the entire perimeter. There is no need to bike through it, and the paths aren't well designed for bike use anyway, since they meander, rather than providing a direct path, as do the routes through the Common.

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617-635-4505

They are empowered to enforce the rules of no bikes in the Public Garden or in the Common.

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Smithers, release the hounds!

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a Boston Park Ranger do anything??

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Yes I have, and it involved Dunkin.

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Many (but not all) entrances to the Garden have a prominent "no bikes" sign. But I can't picture any such signage on any of my usual paths through the Commons.

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They are talking about the Public Garden, not The Common.

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The comment I replied to said garden AND Common.

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Some entrances to the Common have "no bikes" stenciled on the ground. https://goo.gl/maps/e9yrFk9mikVb6pgU7

But biking is not actually a problem, especially on the really wide paths.

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Have City Year kids to jam broom sticks in the bike spokes as these folks ride by. We could then monetize the Youtube and TikTok videos.

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Let's take an annoying action mostly done by teenagers and clueless tourists and turn it into outright assault and physical injury. What fun!

/s

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Have separate lanes or paths for bikes vs pedestrians. The trick there is the pedestrians respect the difference. There's a dedicated bike lane within the sidewalk (wide sidewalk btw) on Summer Street before crossing over to Boston proper and too many times, pedestrians are meandering in that lane without looking out for bikes. It is doable to have both in the park, other cities have been doing for years if not decades. It wouldn't be Boston without months of bitching about it instead of doing it and acting like it's impossible (all evidence to the contrary) in the meantime.

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I have issues with this all the time, especially in the Seaport. Pedestrians will blindly walk directly into the bike lane (both protected bike lanes and lanes on the sidewalk), a lot of times carrying luggage out of a hotel or just popping down to avoid a crowd. I had a pretty bad crash over the winter when a pedestrian stepped directly in front of me and I had to slam the brakes and bail so I didn't hit them, resulting in some pretty severe bruising and cuts.

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I have issues with this all the time, especially in the Seaport. Pedestrians will blindly walk directly into the bike lane (both protected bike lanes and lanes on the sidewalk), a lot of times carrying luggage out of a hotel or just popping down to avoid a crowd. I had a pretty bad crash over the winter when a pedestrian stepped directly in front of me and I had to slam the brakes and bail so I didn't hit them, resulting in some pretty severe bruising and cuts.

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I have issues with this all the time, especially in the Seaport. Pedestrians will blindly walk directly into the bike lane (both protected bike lanes and lanes on the sidewalk), a lot of times carrying luggage out of a hotel or just popping down to avoid a crowd. I had a pretty bad crash over the winter when a pedestrian stepped directly in front of me and I had to slam the brakes and bail so I didn't hit them, resulting in some pretty severe bruising and cuts.

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...that you have to post that three times. SPAMMER ALERT!

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I click once, it posts 3 times. Sometimes the internet doesn't work so well.

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The key to biking in the Boston Common and the Public Garden is to go in the early evening hours. No Rangers around and the tourist traffic dies down dramatically. Back when I was 14 or so my buddies and I would have epic races through both areas. That would have been in the 1970s.

Best races started at the top of Flagstaff Hill and down to the corner of Boylston and Charles Street around to the entrance of the Public Garden. Once in the Public Garden it was down to the foot of the Lagoon Bridge at the Swan Pond and around the pond back to the foot of the bridge. We never hit, hurt, or harassed anybody.

I just can't imagine anyone trying anything like that at the height of tourist season and in the morning or in the middle of the day. Even without the tourist lots of people use those paths to get to and from work and for their lunch breaks. If anyone actually closed the gates to the Public Garden I don't think bike races would be an issue.

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