Riding a bicycle in Boston should be safe. Right now, it’s not. The death of MIT scientist Kanako Miuri, who was hit by a truck near Kenmore Square on Sunday afternoon, was only the latest tragedy on Boston’s streets. Over the last three years the city has suffered nine fatalities, according to a new city survey of accident data, and more than a thousand incidents recorded in police or emergency-medical dispatch records. With cycling’s growing popularity — fueled in part by the city’s successful Hubway bike-sharing program — those are ominous numbers.
Fortunately, the city survey itself is an important step toward a more productive, fact-based discussion of how to make the roads safer for everyone. Too often, discussions over bicycle safety have been framed by personal anecdotes of lawless cyclists recklessly endangering themselves and others, or piggish drivers acting as if they own the road. But the new data provide a way to get beyond those unhelpful stereotypes.