Boston Bikers Rejoice: We Don’t Ride in New York!

Filed in Local Events, Local News by on April 30, 2010 0 Comments

In all my years of riding bikes, I have never once been body-checked to the ground by a police officer. For this, I am thankful, not only because of the resultant dearth of injuries, but also because it shows a level of respect toward bikers from the Boston police force that, unfortunately, is not true in all cities.

Take, for instance, the case of New York cop Patrick Pogan, who just yesterday was found guilty of lying about an incident from a June 2008 Critical Mass bike ride there. That incident, which went viral when posted to Youtube, showed Mr. Pogan rushing at a passing cyclist, Christopher Long, and launching Mr. Long from his bike onto the pavement. In a criminal complaint, Mr. Pogan asserted that the cyclist veered at him (the cyclist didn’t) and that he, Mr. Pogan, was the one knocked to the ground (he wasn’t.)

Either Pogan is very, very stupid, or he has never heard of citizen journalism, let alone Youtube, blogs, or even the fact that just about every phone on the market now has a built in camera function. Regardless, he assaulted a biker, lied about it, and now faces up to four years in prison.

Good riddance.

By contrast, officers in Boston have been fairly cordial toward cyclists, at least in my experience. At one Critical Mass ride, officers even formed an ad hoc escort to keep belligerent motorists at bay. And while that behavior certainly isn’t standard practice, it is reflective of the city’s overall attitude toward bikers.

Though Boston is a labyrinth of narrow, one-way streets and cobblestones that make traversing the city by bike difficult, the attitude toward biking is far more welcoming than that. Mayor Menino, an avid biker himself, has repeatedly sought to make Boston more bike friendly—even if only through strongly worded press releases.

So, despite the occasionally cantankerous motorist, whose belly, it seems, is so rotund from sitting behind a wheel all the time—rather than biking and getting some exercise—that said belly is perpetually thrust against the car’s horn, Boston is a pretty good place to be a cyclist.

With Boston Critical Mass set to roll out from Copley today, Boston’s bikers should be glad they get to ride here and not in, say, New York.

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