Bike Jam

Not to long ago, there weren’t that many people riding bicycles around Boston and surrounding areas. The few who did were pretty badass. Badass and lonely.

 

Bike Jam

 

Now the lone cyclist is not alone. Roads are changing, more people are riding bicycles…

 

Bike Jam

…and people are learning how to ride around other people who ride bicycles.

While bicyclists are still a small minority of commuters, there is visible growth and growing pains.  I’ve started taking a new commute route through Kendall Square each day. Each day I get stuck in a bike jam.

 

Bike Jam

 

Which is really cool. Except many still operate like they’re a lone cyclist. But hopefully with time, experience, and better infrastructure we’ll find a way to smooth things out.

 

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13 Responses to “Bike Jam”

  • Yeah, the bike jam. But more and more I’m stopping at lights where bikers are lined up really nicely and single file and wait patiently. I love that. Then some dude usually swoops in front, but the other 7 of us are just nice and cued up. I think (and hope) that polite bike culture is seeping in.

  • My theory? Nearly every road-user – cyclist or otherwise – is caught in a constant struggle between maintaining his or her own momentum (a selfish impulse) and braking for others (a considerate impulse). I explained it here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-speeding-cyclist-momentum-and-how.html

    However, the great thing is that even a very selfish cyclist intent on maintaining his or her speed has a hard time doing the damage a selfish motorist will.

    I always enjoy your work, Bikeyface.

    Invisible.

  • Love the website bikeyface…have seen more and more bike jams but is it because there are more people riding or the bike lanes are to small…if we are supposed to act like cars, shouldn’t the lanes be at least a double lane?

  • These are necessary growing pains in a changing culture. If you look at more “mature” biking cultures such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen, the civil lining up and waiting at a stop light is smooth. But they also have a better infrastructure so it all goes hand in hand. (love your site!)

  • Marge

    so good! on my commute there is a bridge that swings open (not everyday) to let marine traffic through. Bike etiquette suggests that one should queue in the order that they reached the barricade. You’d be surprised at the cyclists that don’t understand this.

  • DannyX

    Bikes will have arrived when cyclists are cussing and flipping each other off as much as drivers.

    (I’m doing my part.)

  • Daniel

    Yesterday I had a guy yell at me, “MOVE!!!”. I had slowed to a crawl so the elderly man who was pulling into traffic might notice me before he crushed me against the stopped line of cars. Yes, the elderly man shouldn’t have blocked the bike lane. No, I don’t care to expose myself to harm so the following cyclist could sprint ahead. Yes, that cyclist did swerve through the traffic at the Hampshire/Cambridge St lights, which was red at the time. No, he would not have caused great harm if he hit a car but he did harm our collective reputation.

    The newer cyclists will learn to be polite and maybe they even follow traffic regulations. Today I was chatting with a fellow rider at a light and 7 cyclists blew through the red light while we waited. At least they weren’t pulling in front of us so that we could pass them in the next hundred yards. What do you call those cyclists, the ones who force the slightly faster cyclists to pass them again and again after pulling ahead at lights?

  • Kevin Love

    For a real life bike jam, take a look at this video.

  • Barton

    Most areas I bike in, we all queue up nicely at the light – though we will line up double in the bike lane (where it exists) so we can get through on the (very short) green light. But invariably, there is that one guy (sorry to be sexist, but it is usually a man) who you passed along way back who decides he should be in the front of the queue. Leaving the long line trying to get around him yet again once we start moving. Good times!

  • Howard Abts

    When a jerk gets out of his car and climbs on a bike, he’s not very likely to stop being a jerk. Why would he suddenly become considerate? The immediate good news is that he won’t be able to do nearly as much damage with the bike as he could with the car.

    The slow, gradual good news is that, being less isolated from others than he used to be, he may begin to see other people as human beings rather than obstructions.

  • EthanF

    I actually dread on the day Boston has bicycle traffic jams.

  • Ah yes, the Beacon Street Highway. I know it well. :)

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