Each of the four Hubway cities -- Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville -- own the stations within their boundaries. Thinks work seamlessly but there are small differences.
About two years ago I wrote on my blog that bike helmets have nothing to do with safety. Things haven't changed much in that department: plastic hats still don't prevent crashes, and helmet propaganda still increases fear of cycling, and car advocates (including most media outlets) still use helmets as a entry into victim blaming after every crash.
Recently I came across this strange sticker on the Coolidge Corner Hubway station (which may be as far from the center of Coolidge Corner as possible, by the way). It seems to be on all Hubway stations in Brookline.
The sentence makes no sense. Despite the Town of Brookline's desperate attempt to tell users they must wear a helmet, what the sign actually says is you don't need one.
- You must be at least 16 years old (and have a credit card) to use Hubway.
- Skates?? Note to Brookline: these are bicycles.
The sticker can only be understood as part of a perpetual fear machine: trying to shame you into wearing a plastic hat. To recap from my original post:
And we know from experience that blaming the victim:
- makes bicycling seem very dangerous, which keeps new bicyclists off the streets,
- sends the message that dangerous driver behavior is not a problem,
- says that bicyclists are irresponsible and their concerns are unimportant, and
- discourages the police from taking conflicts seriously, adding insult to injury and making it difficult or impossible to seek justice when needed.
All of these are significant obstacles to bicycling and violate basic principles of freedom and equity of access/mobility.