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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  • tinyhonkshus March 18, 2014   Reply →

    Now draw Longwood x Brookline!

    Great comic, and if you ever feel inclined to make it into a series, I think it could be a really, really awesome communication device – “this bicyclist is going during the pedestrian signal because left-turning cars don’t yield to her on green”, “this bicyclist is in the ‘middle of the road’ because he wants to be out of reach of car doors”. I keep wanting to write a blog about “this is why bikers do this” but it always goes too ragey.

  • Jesse Metzler March 18, 2014   Reply →


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  • bex April 3, 2014   Reply →

    great blog! i think this message needs to be communicated to all road users a lot more often. what is legal does not necessarily equal what is SAFE, and until laws change to reflect that I will continue to ride in a style that preserves my own safety, even if it means breaking traffic laws sometimes.

  • Microzen April 23, 2014   Reply →

    A strange thing I found when biking in Boston & nowhere else I’ve ever lived: I felt safer on a bike than in a car because I could jump out of the road to avoid a crazy driver. I felt like a sitting target in a car there. Nowhere else in the world have I felt the need to jump out of the roadway to avoid a vehicle :)

  • Shawn January 5, 2015   Reply →

    Bike mirrors are great! Lets you keep an eye on the bleepity-bleeps coming up behind you (i.e., everybody). Plus, when no one is behind you, you can bike in the middle of the street! I own the road, oh yeah!

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