Commentary

Point/Counterpoint: Are Hubway bikes good for Boston?

Point/Counterpoint is a recurring feature on BDCwire which explores the pros and cons of various parts of life in Boston. These arguments may, or may not, break any new ground, but are meant as a starting point for you too to make an argument. What do you think? Are you pro-Hubway or anti-Hubway?

Perry Eaton, arguing in favor of Hubway:

Fine, so Hubway definitely has its flaws, but I think we can agree that its heart is in the right place. Boston is an incredibly biker-unfriendly city, not to mention it is filled with an abundance of unfriendly drivers. In a utopian Boston, the increase of Hubway users would either show the powers-that-be that our city needs safer bike lanes, or teach drivers to be more respectful of bikers’ rights. We all know the latter will likely never happen, but with an influx of new bikers on Boston roads, the former may be forced to occur. Hubway riders often don’t wear helmets, so hopefully persuasion to change will come in the form of a natural increase in bikers, and not an increase of accidents. Hubway gives mobility to a city that struggles to provide just that, so it would behoove the city to tailor itself to accommodate this biking population. Giving the city more bikes is a good start, and if these bikes are used, hopefully the next step is to create safer spaces in which to ride them. That, and well, riding bikes is fun and makes you less of a fatty-boombalatty.

Jerard Fagerberg, arguing against Hubway:

Let me start by dispelling a major misconception – Hubway does not encourage bike awareness in the city. It encourages disdain and disdain-fueled ignorance. The last thing serious bicyclists need are a bunch of helmet-less chuds trolling the sidewalks and dumbly bounding into traffic two abreast. Hubway users are the Zipcar drivers of the cycling world – they’re tourists into the world of people who use transportation for necessity. Want to encourage biking in the city? How about tax incentives for buying a bike or creating safer, wider bike lanes to encourage new bikers? Or maybe passing stricter laws for maiming bipedal commuters would work. Who knows. At any rate, the answer isn’t coming on the treads of these 1,000-pound monstrosities.