It’s not fun to drive around Boston. The road system is circuitous, indirect, and overloaded. The drivers are impatient, inattentive, and aggressive. I have spent the last few days ferrying some customers around, from hotel to office to restaurant to airport, the most time I’ve spent behind the wheel, in and around the city, in a long time.
It was awful, but also pretty eye-opening.
What I saw was that people drive badly. Some of that is cell phone distraction, but most of it is just carelessness, I think. Everyone is so frustrated by the inability to get places efficiently that they have sort of given up driving well. They just don’t really care. Whether it’s worse now than it was 5 or even 10 years ago, I couldn’t say definitively.
The other thing I saw was more cyclists, and I can understand why. I can imagine some tipping point in the zeitgeist of city driving when the masses cotton onto the fact the bike, despite the effort involved, is just a lot more efficient. These folks won’t be saving the planet or investing in their health. They’ll just be getting to work more quickly. Cycling, they may finally see, is easier.
And what I noticed about the cyclists I saw is that most of them are riding better, following the rules more, behaving more predictably, and that fewer of them seem interested in conflict with drivers. This may contribute to the tipping point (my apologies to Malcolm Gladwell) I mentioned above.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how do the cyclists ride where you live? Do they follow the rules, by-and-large? Or are cyclists compounding their conflicts with traffic by ignoring the rules and riding erratically? Am I completely wrong in thinking a big change is coming?