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As BU students turn to scooters to get around, school asks city for help

The Daily Free Press reports growing numbers of BU students are using scooters - most of them non-electric - to get from A to B on the elongated BU campus; quotes a BU official as saying there's only so much they can do to keep scootin' scholars from getting flattened on public roads in a city with no formal scooter regulations.

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Boston University Police Officer Peter Shin said scooter riders should keep safety practices in mind and use the same lanes as bikes, electric scooters and skateboards.

Considering that I regularly BU facilities trucks and Ubers blocking the bike lanes while BUPD ignores blocked bike lanes, its hilarious to hear them suggest using the bike lane. Oh and what a useless suggestion of enforcing mandatory helmet and reflective clothing because they do such a great job of enforcing the current road laws.

The protected bike lanes between BU Bridge and Packards Corner are so much better than the old painted ones, there are fewer places to double park and it accommodates skateboards and scooters really well too.

It just sucks that its been 2 years of construction and its only just started to be open for use, while for the majority of the project there was zero infra for bikes/scooters/skateboards to use.

We don't need more laws and victim blaming, we need better infrastructure, the proof is literally right there snaking along their campus.

EDIT: Credit where credit is due, riding home last night I saw BUPD actually pulling up behind motorists blocking the bike lane and flashed their lights/sounded the horn to get them to move, saw them do this in multiple instances which is encouraging.

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Voting closed 48

BU branded trucks/cars are no friend to cyclists. Although BU is hardly the only school in the city that thinks their vehicles are exempt from bike lanes.

Suggesting that cyclists/scooters riders be required to wear reflective gear is like saying woman should be required to wear long pants and shirts "for their own good".

The separated bike lanes on Comm Ave SUCK. As predicted, they just get used as an extension of the sidewalk. If people walk in them, oblivious on their phones, they are worse than just riding in the street. What a horrible waste of money. The bike lanes should have been along the left side of the road where they'd be no parked cars or pedestrians. (Like in the Back Bay.)

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Voting closed 22

The Dutch model shows that lanes inside of cars is way, way safer. Better to expect people to learn to stay out of the lanes than assume the best we can do is leave bikes in the car door zone.

My question about those lanes is they seem narrow - how are they to ride in (when not full of people)

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Voting closed 8

Having ridden in Europe I can say first hand that Holland is the exception. In other countries where they have marked sidewalks with lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, people commonly walk on the bike side.

Cyclists are going to learn to just ride in the road long before pedestrians learn to stay out of the bike lanes.

The bike lanes in the Back Bay are great because there's no parking on the left side of the road so there's no possible interference with the door zone. They should have done the same thing along Comm Ave all the way to Allston.

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Voting closed 8

In France, if you walk in the bike lanes you will be yelled at. If you cross such a bikeway without looking, you can get hit and it will be your fault. And you will be yelled at. People take personal responsibility a little bit more seriously over there.

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Voting closed 7

In Amsterdam, you'll get a polite ding of a bicycle bell. No yelling involved.

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And maybe a stupid one, but why aren't bicycles ridden on the sidewalk? At least for certain stretches. I get the accidents between bike riders and pedastrians but that seems more favorable to accidents between cars and bicycles.

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Voting closed 3

Bikes have to go pretty slow if they are to safely mix with any significant pedestrian presence. The best option is three facilities for three different speeds. Lacking that, we can usually ride safely on most streets, or at least at a reasonable trade off of speed and risk.

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Voting closed 12

I get the accidents between bike riders and pedastrians but that seems more favorable to accidents between cars and bicycles.

Favorable to whom exactly?

Bicycles don't belong on sidewalks. There are a few where, some of the time, it's feasible to mix bikes and pedestrians safely...but not enough for it to make sense. The exceptions are too many. IF the sidewalk is x wide AND it's not taken up with restaurant tables potted plants store signs bus stops AND it isn't ripped up by construction AND if the pedestrian density is less than x...

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Voting closed 11

An accident between a person and a bike probably won't have the same consequences as a bike and a moving car. I'm obviously not an avid bike rider and I am unfamiliar with many of the laws/rules. I was just curious why the road was deemed to be better than the sidewalk given the potential severity of accidents.

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Voting closed 3

If the bike is moving at a walking pace, that's true - but how often is that the case? A cyclist won't be riding at max speed on a sidewalk, but there can still be quite a difference. Imagine a sprinting person running into you full on - that's what we're talking about. In other words, less likely to be fatal, but still a good chance of serious injury. The issue is the differential in speed.

(as a cyclist I prefer to be in the street by far. "Bike paths" are deadly because of the number of pedestrians, strollers, dog walkers, etc. Bad mix)

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Voting closed 10

A sidewalk crowded with parents and strollers, grandpa walking with a cane, people in wheelchairs, shoppers stopping to browse store windows, lost tourists, etc. does not make for a smooth and speedy bike ride.

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Voting closed 8

... does not make for a smooth and speedy bike ride.

You're starting to sound like a car driver.

(written with tongue in cheek)

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Voting closed 2

Riding on the sidewalk, maybe you won't get hit by a car. But you could still easily end up with a broken arm or concussion if you hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian won't do so well either. And the risk of such a collision is high.

And if there are any cross streets or driveways that cross the sidewalk, you're still likely to get hit by a car.

It's better to avoid the accident in the first place. By riding in the street, 3 feet to the left of parked cars.

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Voting closed 7

They're not done yet. There will be bike markings and green paint. There will also be an adjustment period as everyone gets used to them being there. Patience, my friend.

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Voting closed 12

I bet you're one of the people who claim the separated lanes will be plowed and cleared in the winter too. That has never happened. How long should I wait?

The separated bike lanes in the Seaport are horrible. Cars block the entrances/exits, people walk in them, and delivery trucks use them are offloading areas. These lanes are done. They aren't getting better. Comm Ave will be exactly the same.

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Voting closed 16

The problem you describe is real and definitely an issue. However, they are installing flex posts to extend the lane at an angle where it exits from the curb protected section, to connect it with the painted lanes. The posts will make it not usable for parking. Now I still wonder why they didn't just do curb protection the entire route, but at least it will be possible to enter and leave the lanes with this fix.

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Voting closed 6

People will still walk in them even after there's bike markings and green paint.

Look at the cycle track around the North End.

Look at the Vassar St cycle tracks. Those are 10 years old now and are still full of pedestrians ignoring the markings.

You're being a bit too optimistic about how much the average pedestrian is paying attention and cares.

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Voting closed 16

I typically see runners in bike lanes and cyclists on sidewalks.

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Voting closed 4

My god, green paint? Really? I hope it dries before the delivery trucks, Ubers, Lyfts, BU trucks, BPD vehicles and Verizon vans park on it and get their tires dirty.

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Voting closed 4

DO NOT EVER equate advocating scooter riders wear a helmet for safety with blaming women for being raped based on their choice of clothing!

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Voting closed 7

Why not? Serious question, I want to learn.

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Voting closed 2

I think you need to think more about the difference between affecting the likelihood of an incident and mitigating its consequences. It is a meaningful distinction.

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Something to be said about MassDOT managing this vs BTD on the Back Bay lanes, which are amazing themselves and didn't take nearly as long to implement.

But I also gotta imagine that BU had some influence on the aesthetic quality of this protected bike lane, I mean the useless brick details they inlaid are there for what level of protection?

I dunno about them sucking worse than being in the street, its so much better now honestly. I riding this daily and rarely am having issues with students however thats just my own experience and I have seen other twitter posts about the BU bus drop off right in the lane, Paradise Rock Club using it as a loading zone and yeah the obvious student on a phone, we just have to yield to them which is better than contending with cars.

Certainly not German, Dutch or French quality and far too long of a construction time but now that they are here I would never want to go back to the painted lanes.

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Voting closed 10

Why not use Travelators, a moving walkway like the Airports all up and COMM AVE, this would solve all the issues. Might cost a couple of Billion Dollars but BU has it. Or even cheaper give each student a skateboard. Comm ave is way too busy for Bikes or scooters, hop on the T.

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Voting closed 5

I totally agree, we should get rid of parking and make one lane for buses/bikes between the BU bridge and Kenmore.

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This is one of the highest volume bike corridors in the city. From 2007 to 2017, bicycle use on Comm Ave has increased 47 percent during the morning commute and 135 percent during peak afternoon traffic. That was without the now safer protected lanes.

This stretch had crashes at a number roughly twice the state average

http://www.bu.edu/articles/2017/protected-bike-lanes-commonwealth-ave/

Also lets not forget that this has also resulted in the installation of a few floating bus stops that now better serve the bus lines going through here.

But if its an honest argument about cheapness, sure would be cheaper just to remove parking, have pedestrians, bus/bike lanes and light rail only going through here. But lets be honest, its not honest.

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Voting closed 18

School asks city for help. Haha! The city should ask BU how much they paid in lieu of taxes last year.

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non- car culture. also pedestrians please realize when you are in a bicycle lane. notice this: i don't believe cyclists have the right to kill pedestrians with impunity. unlike the way motorists feel about cyclists

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I would never have bought one, but I won one in a Cambridge Community Development Department raffle, and occasionally I find it useful for going places where a bicycle would be inconvenient or difficult to bring along.

One thing I don't really understand is where I should be riding this. My speed when riding this is about 6 mph, which is twice as fast as a pedestrian but half as fast as a bicycle. It seems an uneasy fit on either the sidewalk or the street (whether or not the street has a bike lane). So I find myself switching back and forth between the two a lot.

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Voting closed 5

How about commonsense?

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If the BU Police truly cared about vulnerable road users they’d actually do some traffic enforcement and keep vehicles (including theirs!) from blocking the bike lanes through campus. People don’t ride on the sidewalk because they are law breaking scoundrels, they do it because the city/state isn’t building infrastructure for them to feel safe off the sidewalk, particularly east of the BU Bridge, and the BUPD is doing nothing to keep safe the meager infrastructure that does exist. If BU wants to meet its ambitious climate goals, people using carbon free ways to get around campus need to feel safe doing so.

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People don’t ride on the sidewalk because they are law breaking scoundrels, they do it because the city/state isn’t building infrastructure for them to feel safe off the sidewalk

Where the "people" are BU students, I'm guessing that not feeling safe has a lot to do with never having ridden a bike anywhere but a suburban cul de sac or a "bike path". Neither is good preparation for being a transportational cyclist. Considering a sidewalk "safe" is definitely the hallmark of someone who needs to improve their skills (and, possibly, someone who has lived in a world without sidewalks).

Feeling safe != being safe.

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Voting closed 3