Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycling

Massachusetts Official: Boston’s Winter Cyclists “Living in the Wrong City”

2:26 PM EST on February 19, 2014

Bostonians making polite requests for a clear path on one of the city's key bike routes were met with disdain from the state agency responsible for maintaining the paths.

Social media campaigns by Boston cyclists seized on some unfortunate remakrs by state officials to dramatize the plight of the city's winter cyclists. Image: Boston Cyclists Union
With a rapid-response social media campaign, Boston residents put a face on the purported ".05%" of cyclists who bike through the winter. Photo: Boston Cyclists Union
false

Here's how one unnamed official from the Massachusetts' Department of Conservation and Recreation responded in an internal email thread to a message from a Boston resident asking for better snow removal on the Southwest Corridor, an important off-street bike path. The leaked email was published on the Boston site Universal Hub (emphasis ours):

Frankly, I am tired of our dedicated team wasting valuable time addressing the less than .05% of all cyclists who choose to bike after a snow/ice event… We should not spend time debating cyclists with poor judgement [sic] and unrealistic expectations, and stick with [the staffer]‘s recommendation that they find other transportation. If someone is completely depending on a bike for year-round transportation, they are living in the wrong city.

Bikes advocates in the Boston region didn't take those remarks lying down. The Boston Cyclists Union, working with Allston-Brighton Bikes and Southie Bikes, asked local cyclists to share photos of themselves on social media with the slogan "I am the .05%" to demonstrate their numbers and their normalcy. Local cyclists also took to tweeting under the hastag #winterbiker to explain why biking in cold weather months is their best option.

Those efforts appear to have found their target. The Boston Cyclists Union is reporting today that DCR has agreed to meet with local cyclists to discuss their concerns regarding snow and ice clearance on bike paths.

And, for the record, cold weather cities that put real effort into making it safe to bike see little drop-off in cycling during the winter. Copenhagen, for instance, retains 80 percent of its peak-season bike traffic in the cold months.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Tuesday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

Our investigative reporter Jesse Coburn won a Polk Award for his three-part, seven-month "Ghost Tags" investigation. Plus other news.

February 20, 2024

Komanoff: What Was Left Unsaid to Congestion Pricing Opponents

Politicians can be diplomatic, but subject matter experts have a responsibility to say the quiet part out loud. Charles Komanoff learned that last Thursday at the latest congestion pricing gripefest.

February 20, 2024

Henry Hudson Bridge Will Get a Real Bike Lane By 2025

The path will close for construction this fall.

February 20, 2024

Streetsblog Wins Polk Award for ‘Ghost Tags’ Series

Reporter Jesse Coburn received the prestigious award for exposing a vast black market for temporary license plates that reckless drivers use to avoid accountability on the road.

February 19, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Presidents’ Day Edition

We're off today, but we'll give you something to chew on.

February 19, 2024
See all posts