Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Bike Commute?

I continue to anguish over commuting to my job at Lasell College by car. I know that an 8-mile commute against the flow of traffic is not terrible, but I still feel I can do better. I teach environmental science and I think it is important for students to observe their professors practicing sustainability. I've tried taking the bus, the T, and the commuter rail. The length of the trip and the fact that my son travels with me to the daycare center on campus present the biggest challenges. I don't have many obligations on campus this summer, so I have time to think about my approach to commuting for the fall. This weekend, I borrowed a Chariot bike trailer from friends, and it now has me thinking.

The Chariot is cool, and my son likes the ride. I would love to ride my bike from Cambridge to Newton every morning, but safety is my biggest concern. The number of bike riders in the Boston area continues to increase, and drivers are more aware of their presence. I can make most of the trip along the Charles, but, at some point, I have to cut up through Newton to reach campus. Will drivers late for work, drinking coffee, and talking on the cell phone give us the room we need to safely reach Lasell? How do I test this? Maybe make the trip with bike and an empty carrier.

I've read countless posts by people praising the bike culture in Europe. I wish we had that culture here. Our friends at the Green Decade Coalition have launched a campaign to promote biking in Newton. I hope they are successful in their efforts and I can feel completely safe riding to work.

1 comment:

stephm said...

I have the same dilemma as you doing a short Brighton to Newton commute every morning. I've often considered biking to work but the few times I've tried to ride in the city have been stressful and as motorist I'm often concerned I'll accidentally hit a biker as they weave through traffic. You're correct a lot of drivers are distracted and annoyed by the bikers who are taking up their lane and slowing them down. For me I feel unsafe biking but maybe with the rising increase of gas we'll see a few less cars on the road and I'll be brave enough to tackle a greener commute.