Middle of the Road

Whenever a person first discovers I bike, they reply with a story. And it’s always the same story.

“I was driving down [insert any road name] when all of the sudden I saw a cyclist in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!” Inevitably it always ends with them saying they “just tapped on their horn” or “squeezed by” or “yelled out to the cyclist.” 

And many many times I’ve been the cyclist in one of these stories- the one sharing the road with a driver that isn’t aware of the basic road rules regarding bikes.

What’s worse is that sometimes reasonable people panic at the sight of a bicycle in the lane… and then all that reason flies out the window.

Middle of the Road

So I wanted to explain it to those who have never biked in the city:

Middle of the Road

And there’s more. Bikes are small, but they still need space. Cars should give cyclists the same amount of space when passing as another vehicle, at least 3 ft. However, not all roads allow for that, particularly in Boston:

Middle of the Road

So don’t panic when you see a bike in your lane. Just treat it like another vehicle. If you can pass safely, that’s fine. If not, most likely you won’t be slowed down much if at all. In the city, I find that car traffic slows me down much more than the other way around.

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89 Comments on "Middle of the Road"

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You beat me to it! Great post! The comment I’ve been saving was, “When does a bike lane feel like you’re riding in the gutter?…Just about all the time.”


Excellent resource to educate drivers, I plan to share and thank you for creating this. Hats off! All of this also applies to our little city of Burlington, Vermont as well.
-Roger in Vermont

Margaret Evans

wish your great cartoon was used as a public service message across the U.S.A.


The 3″ of passing room illustration made me anxious just to look at it!
The mini tourists reminded me of the “Little People Project”: http://little-people.blogspot.com/

BicyclistsBelong InTheTrafficLane

Outstanding post! This is the very message we’re trying to convey to motorists everywhere! Please join us on Facebook.