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Old 12-18-2018, 02:08 PM   #3281
cden4
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Re: Biking in Boston

Most dangerous thing about biking in winter in Boston? When the roads have been poorly plowed, the temperature has dropped, and the remaining uneven bits of snow on the road have frozen, creating a minefield of ice mounds. Also, occasionally, black ice.

The only days I don't bike in winter are when it's actively snowing and I know the plows won't be able to keep it clear down to the pavement.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:25 PM   #3282
CSTH
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by cden4 View Post
Most dangerous thing about biking in winter in Boston? When the roads have been poorly plowed, the temperature has dropped, and the remaining uneven bits of snow on the road have frozen, creating a minefield of ice mounds. Also, occasionally, black ice.

The only days I don't bike in winter are when it's actively snowing and I know the plows won't be able to keep it clear down to the pavement.
Yeah as well both know the only thing worse than a thin layer of black ice is a thin layer of black ice with a light coating of cold, dry snowflakes on top of it...
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:40 PM   #3283
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Re: Biking in Boston

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What's the most dangerous thing about biking in the winter relative to the summer, in Boston?
For two years I commuted by bike from Allston to Back Bay. I rode a standard Hybrid bicycle, which I think is a reasonable year-round urban bicycle. The most dangerous part of my biking commute in the winter was in Kenmore Square. On 3 occasions in two weeks, my tires and tubes were destroyed by the road salt used by Boston University... it was the shard'y salt crystal type, not the white beads. As a consequence, I opted to walk Commonwealth Avenue during the winter months instead of bike it (which, frankly, was even faster than the B-line during rush hour most nights).
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Old 12-18-2018, 03:08 PM   #3284
jass
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I have a few questions for you more seasoned vets:

What's the most dangerous thing about biking in the winter relative to the summer, in Boston? Darkness? Cold? Ice? Snow banks narrowing the roads?

Also, if you were to use alternate transportation on the "worst" days of the year, what would those days be? Heaviest snowfall? Immediately following a flash freeze? Most bitterly cold days? Deepest snow depth - presence of huge snowbanks?
I rarely bike, but I know a lot about bike safety from the data side.

Number 1 issue, by far, is darkness.

Yeah, slipping on ice sucks, but a quick tumble is nothing compared to being slammed into due to a left hook.

Make sure you're well lit up!
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Old 12-18-2018, 03:46 PM   #3285
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Re: Biking in Boston

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I rarely bike, but I know a lot about bike safety from the data side.
This is very interesting to me. Do you have any sources of data to share?
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:01 PM   #3286
jass
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Re: Biking in Boston

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This is very interesting to me. Do you have any sources of data to share?
On a national level, this is the best source:
https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Query...electYear.aspx

Sort of a pain to use though.

However, each state has their own reporting database which may do things better. I am not sure what the MA system is, but it is likely owned by DOT or State Police. Usually the data is quasi-public. That is, youre entitled to see it, but they dont make it easy.

Note that this data is mostly going to show crashes involving another vehicle.

Something like 60% of bike crashes happen alone. IE, the bicyclist slips on ice, falls at a pothole, loses balance etc. The vast majority of these are not reported. Even if the bicyclist goes to the hospital, it rarely ends up in a dataset.

Studies have been done to query hospital data (which is where the 60% stat comes from) but this process is expensive, time consuming, and irregular.
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Old 12-18-2018, 07:35 PM   #3287
FK4
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I have a few questions for you more seasoned vets:

What's the most dangerous thing about biking in the winter relative to the summer, in Boston? Darkness? Cold? Ice? Snow banks narrowing the roads?

Also, if you were to use alternate transportation on the "worst" days of the year, what would those days be? Heaviest snowfall? Immediately following a flash freeze? Most bitterly cold days? Deepest snow depth - presence of huge snowbanks?
I sadly dont do the commuter bike thing anymore, but used to... for me, getting wet was the biggest factor... dry cold is fine, up to a point, and it's rarely cold enough in Boston that decent gloves and pedaling fast doesnt keep you warm. But getting rained on and/or sloshed by slush while riding is something I cant stand. If my work actually provided a locker room and shower I would have felt totally different on this, and might still bike now. But it doesn't, and I have to dress nice at work, so the choice is either change in some nasty bathroom into rumpled clothes in your backpack while you're still sweaty, or ride in clothes that were never meant to be ridden in. Kinda sucks, but that's the way it goes.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:15 AM   #3288
HenryAlan
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Re: Biking in Boston

I wonder, with the move toward more electric powered or assisted bicycles, what changes will be needed for people to remain comfortable in the cold. I definitely generate a fair amount of body heat, but if I were exercising less or not at all during the ride, then I'd need quite a bit more temperature protection.

On the workplace facilities, we do have a shower at my office, but I never use it. I find that I can use a towel to absorb the sweat, then a liberal application of deodorant for freshening up. This obviously would not work as well if I rode in during a heavy rain. Also, with proper folding, my work clothes survive the trip just fine, and are still presentable once I put them on.
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Old 12-19-2018, 09:36 AM   #3289
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Re: Biking in Boston

The future was 15 years ago

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Old 12-19-2018, 10:39 AM   #3290
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
I wonder, with the move toward more electric powered or assisted bicycles, what changes will be needed for people to remain comfortable in the cold. I definitely generate a fair amount of body heat, but if I were exercising less or not at all during the ride, then I'd need quite a bit more temperature protection.

On the workplace facilities, we do have a shower at my office, but I never use it. I find that I can use a towel to absorb the sweat, then a liberal application of deodorant for freshening up. This obviously would not work as well if I rode in during a heavy rain. Also, with proper folding, my work clothes survive the trip just fine, and are still presentable once I put them on.
I realize that everyone and their workplaces are different, but I have zero trouble with the rain/slush. I wear waterproof shoes, "rain pants" from columbia that have velcro at the cuff, and both light weight and winterweight waterproof jackets. I wear my work clothes (no-iron dress pants, dress shirt, tie) under all of this and it's not too bulky, nor does anything get wrinkled. I keep dress shoes at the office (it actually extends their lifespan too), and put them on after I drop the rain pants and jacket (no need for dirty bathrooms since I'm fully clothed underneath).

Summer is tricky as there's very little recovery from the sweat without a shower. While we do have one, I really hate getting into work and taking a shower. It negates a lot of the time I save by biking in.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:46 AM   #3291
FK4
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post

On the workplace facilities, we do have a shower at my office, but I never use it. I find that I can use a towel to absorb the sweat, then a liberal application of deodorant for freshening up. This obviously would not work as well if I rode in during a heavy rain. Also, with proper folding, my work clothes survive the trip just fine, and are still presentable once I put them on.
Yeah, clothes stay OK, but they donít stay perfect. I wear dress slacks and they just donít survive without some degree of wrinkling. I also like to ride fast, and get pretty sweaty... especially in the summer, a towel isnít sufficient - it might get you dry, but itís no fun going around all day covered in dried sweat. Having lockers and showers at work is something every large urban employee should have, and itís frustrating that mine does not. It was something Menino used to talk a lot about, pressuring downtown employers to do this, but I havenít heard anything about it from the current genius in city hall.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:11 PM   #3292
HenryAlan
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Yeah, clothes stay OK, but they donít stay perfect. I wear dress slacks and they just donít survive without some degree of wrinkling. I also like to ride fast, and get pretty sweaty... especially in the summer, a towel isnít sufficient - it might get you dry, but itís no fun going around all day covered in dried sweat. Having lockers and showers at work is something every large urban employee should have, and itís frustrating that mine does not. It was something Menino used to talk a lot about, pressuring downtown employers to do this, but I havenít heard anything about it from the current genius in city hall.
To a certain extent, it may depend on how far you go. My current commute is about 5.5 miles and works, but when I worked in Chinatown, that was closer to 7 miles, and I did stop at the YMCA to shower. Big employers should provide facilities, but there should also be public bike commute facilities around the city to cover all the people working for small companies.
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:13 PM   #3293
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I have a few questions for you more seasoned vets:

What's the most dangerous thing about biking in the winter relative to the summer, in Boston? Darkness? Cold? Ice? Snow banks narrowing the roads?

Also, if you were to use alternate transportation on the "worst" days of the year, what would those days be? Heaviest snowfall? Immediately following a flash freeze? Most bitterly cold days? Deepest snow depth - presence of huge snowbanks?
Based on my own experience getting clipped by a driver trying to squeeze past me in the vehicle lane, it's narrowing of the roads. Bike lanes are unevenly cleared (though hopefully changing with new bike lane plows on both sides of the river), so people on bikes are forced to choose between unsafe terrain in the bike lane (where they're "supposed" to be), riding the line between the bike lane and vehicle lane (asking for close calls), or taking the whole vehicle lane (drawing the ire of non-understanding drivers).

Cold is easy to deal with (layers, layers everywhere). Snow... in my experience, if it's bad enough to avoid biking in, then drivers are probably calling in a work-from-home day, too. Flash freeze is very concerning as well. Ride cautiously, ride defensively, ride assertively.
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:00 PM   #3294
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by jass View Post
On a national level, this is the best source:
https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Query...electYear.aspx

Sort of a pain to use though.

However, each state has their own reporting database which may do things better. I am not sure what the MA system is, but it is likely owned by DOT or State Police. Usually the data is quasi-public. That is, youre entitled to see it, but they dont make it easy.
MassDOT has their Crash Portal which is easier to use than FARS but doesn't seem to include bike crashes unless they are with a motor vehicle. The data also lags by a couple of calendar years.
https://services.massdot.state.ma.us/crashportal/

The site requires Adobe Flash to work, so it can be cantankerous on modern web browsers (it only works for me in Chrome).
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:39 PM   #3295
jass
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by elemenoh View Post
MassDOT has their Crash Portal which is easier to use than FARS but doesn't seem to include bike crashes unless they are with a motor vehicle. The data also lags by a couple of calendar years.
https://services.massdot.state.ma.us/crashportal/

The site requires Adobe Flash to work, so it can be cantankerous on modern web browsers (it only works for me in Chrome).
Yeah all crash data is 18 months behind at minimum.

If you see anyone citing 2018 crash data, ignore them.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:26 PM   #3296
FK4
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
Big employers should provide facilities, but there should also be public bike commute facilities around the city to cover all the people working for small companies.
Agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34f34f View Post
Ride cautiously, ride defensively, ride assertively.
Yes. Always this. So many people for some reason bike so unsafely... it kills me. Bright clothes, a high-quality helmet, pay attention, don't drown out sound with headphones... And, pay attention to the reality of the road, and don't assume you're A-OK just because the law says you have equal rights with cars.
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Old 12-27-2018, 09:31 AM   #3297
HenryAlan
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Re: Biking in Boston

The bike components of the Arborway project are complete! Full grade separated paths on both sides of Washington, Arborway, through both plazas and even the whimsical bike rotary are all rideable!
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:38 PM   #3298
rinserepeat
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Re: Biking in Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I have a few questions for you more seasoned vets:

What's the most dangerous thing about biking in the winter relative to the summer, in Boston? Darkness? Cold? Ice? Snow banks narrowing the roads?

Also, if you were to use alternate transportation on the "worst" days of the year, what would those days be? Heaviest snowfall? Immediately following a flash freeze? Most bitterly cold days? Deepest snow depth - presence of huge snowbanks?
I used to be a year round commuter. The worst was riding in unprotected bike lanes or shared streets in rain after dark. People already have trouble seeing and you combine that with people messing around on their phones. I liked riding in snow. The cold wasnít so bad, but you really need things like bar mitts and wind-proof boots and ski goggles for the super cold days.
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:29 PM   #3299
FK4
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
The bike components of the Arborway project are complete! Full grade separated paths on both sides of Washington, Arborway, through both plazas and even the whimsical bike rotary are all rideable!
Nice. I wanted to bike today, but the weather is not permitting. Henry, do you (or does anyone else) know of any plans to take another look at Hyde Park Ave. as far as bike safety is concerned? The reconstruction from a few years ago was a big aesthetic improvement, but itís incredibly unsafe to bike... which is unfortunate, because itís a logical and direct conduit to all of the parks and parkways south of the cityÖ
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:00 AM   #3300
jass
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
The bike components of the Arborway project are complete! Full grade separated paths on both sides of Washington, Arborway, through both plazas and even the whimsical bike rotary are all rideable!
Id love to see photos
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