Big Metal Things

When I bike, I’m pretty by the book when it comes to the rules of the road. It used to be that I expected everyone else to do the same. But experience has made me more empathetic. So when I hear someone demand something like:

“We need all cyclists to follow the rules of the road. They’re giving us a bad name!”

I roll my eyes.

You won’t get everyone following the rules. Take a look at drivers. And the “bad name” is more complex than just stopping at a red light- it’s a generalization from a car-centric culture.

Once you’ve biked in a city you quickly realize one rule trumps all road rules: self preservation.

Big Metal Things

However, people who bike may have varying opinions on how to safely keep away from the big metal things. And it’s chaotic. Why? Because the infrastructure and rules are built around cars, not vulnerable road users.

If you really look at what people are doing (without judgement) you may catch a glimpse of where the real problem lies.

Big Metal Things

Yes, there will always be those to do what they can get away with. But perhaps some are just doing what they feel they need to get away with to get to work or school or back home safely.

Big Metal Things

I still take care to follow the road rules, but I’ll also take care of myself if needed.

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33 Comments on "Big Metal Things"

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[…] Agree on the eye-roll. More from Bikeyface. […]

Bill Kennedy

Ask and you shall receive! Boston was named as one of 6 US cities to receive a grant from People for Bikes to Develop Green Lanes (separate routes, cyclo-tracks) for bicycles.

I also feel there’s room for plenty of education all around


I find myself more and more becoming the girl who wants a clear bike route.

3-Speed Indeed

Very true and quite timely for this article that has been going around:
Definitely worth reading no matter what mode of transportation you use.

Uncle Robot

I spent several days in Washington DC last week. There were no cross-walk buttons anywhere because every stop light automatically goes to pedestrian first. And there are bike lanes everywhere including a cycle-tracks. Pedestrians and bicyclists largely follow the rules. It was dismaying coming back to Boston. As for mirrors – I am with Tim, I have been using a bike mirror on my helmet for 25 years and been hit only once since. We drive cars with mirrors, lights, and airbags for good safety reasons – the same reasons apply to biking.

Rog in Miami Gardens

I’m a bit confused. What are bicycle mirrors supposed to do? In other words, how can it make bicyclists safer in relation to cars?

I’ve been to Indianapolis, IN, many times, and I can attest that their pedestrian signals work much like you describe: they have the green when the through traffic has the green. It’s not universal in Indy, and they do road works and improvements the same as any other city, but I still was impressed. In my hometown in MA, we’re lucky to get a “beg” button (though I hate using that phrase). In fact, I use a crosswalk button nearly every day in order to effect a left turn on to a main road because the traffic light sensors do… Read more »

To reply to my own post re: bike lanes in Indianapolis: I just found StreetFilm’s great video on the trail. I’ve biked it end-to-end-to-end and can personally attest that it’s a wonderful bike trail.