I am homeowner and mother of two children living in Jamaica Plain. I enjoy the Southwest Corridor several times each day, as a runner, a cyclist and a pedestrian with children. Most everyone who uses the Southwest Corridor prefers to use the bike lane for a variety of reasons. Cyclists are happy that this section of city has a designated bike path. Pedestrians and runners enjoy the bike path because the interior location offers more shade, a greater distance from motor vehicles and a smoother surfaces for strollers.
I also used to use the designated bike path exclusively for all of these reasons until I had an accident this past summer. One morning in June, I was cycling to work on the bike path near English High School. I came to a portion of my bike route where the width of the path was filled solidly with pedestrians, specifically an individual with a stroller and a couple walking together. They did not hear me say “Excuse me!” and I was forced to swerve off the bike path onto the grass.
My handlebars tapped into an electrical box and I was knocked off of my bike. I had to return home to change my ripped clothes and tend to my wounded knee and elbow. Later that week, my elbow developed an infection that required two trips to my doctor and a 10-day course of oral antibiotics. I have a 3-inch scar on my elbow now, but of course I still prefer this outcome over hitting innocent pedestrians or children on the bike path.
In the time since my accident, I have added a bell to my bike and I very deliberately use the paths only as they are specifically labeled. In any given section of the Southwest Corridor, there are at least three options for pedestrians and sometimes more, but only one for cyclists.
I do understand that residents may prefer the designated bike path for a number of reasons. However, I would caution pedestrians to avoid the bike path during the morning and evening rush hour, for the safety of all of us.