At-Large City Councilor Felix Arroyo, who lives in Jamaica Plain, got a first-hand account on bike safety on Dec. 6 when he cycled to work with several bike activists and later co-hosted a City Council hearing on the issue.
Arroyo and fellow At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley held the hearing where it was announced that three years of police crash data on bicycle accidents will soon be analyzed to help pinpoint trouble spots in the city.
Boston Cyclists Union Executive Director Pete Stidman said the data is the best information to find the cause and severity of bicycle accidents. Stidman, who spoke during the hearing, rode that morning with Arroyo and several others on bikes from the Forest Hills T Station to City Hall to raise the awareness of bike safety.
“I learned I got to get in better shape,” Arroyo joked about the bike ride.
The councilor said that while it was a “nice ride” through the Southwest Corridor Park, once they hit Massachusetts Avenue, that changed as they had to share the road with cars.
“It can be a little touch-and-go,” said Arroyo. “We want to make sure it’s safe for folks.”
The issue of bike safety was highlighted when, while the group was cycling to City Hall, Boston University student Christopher Weigl was killed in a bicycle accident in Brighton. He became the city’s fifth cyclist killed this year.
“That clearly was on the front burner of our minds and reinforced the issue of bike safety,” said Arroyo.
Also discussed during the hearing was the possibility of having a public service campaign to educate motorists that cyclists have a right to the road and the possibility of creating cycle tracks. A cycle track creates a barrier between cyclists and motorists.
Stidman said the fact that city officials have begun a “sincere effort” at improving bike safety shows how much has changed.
“It shows that the City cares about us,” he said. “Five years ago, nobody would have said that about the City.”