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Huge cartoon cut-outs used to highlight safety message by US cycling campaigners

Eight of the eye-catching boards were installed on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston last night

Cycling campaigners in the United States are becoming ever more creative in their efforts to persuade city authorities to make conditions safer for people on bikes – with this example from Boston, Massachusetts the most striking we have yet seen.

Last night, eight huge cartoon cut-outs were put up on Massachusetts Avenue to act both as a message to Mayor Martin J. Walsh to improve infrastructure and to highlight to drivers the role they can play in keeping cyclists safe.

One showed a female cyclist indicating the lines separating a cycle lane on the road from the cars parked between it and the main carriageway, with a speech bubble that read: “Look for bikes before opening your door. (That’s what this buffer is for.)

According to the Boston Globe, another depicted a caricature of the mayor himself, who last week was criticised by campaigners after he told a radio show that pedestrians and cyclists needed to take more responsibility for their own safety.

During the show, he said: “When you’re riding, a car can’t stop on a dime. And a bike can’t stop on a dime, so people need to understand that.

"All of us need to understand that we need to coexist together on the roads of our city, and on the streets of our city, and we need to stop running across the street and we need to start following the rules.

“The rules of the road are there for a reason.”

The cut-out of the mayor, attached like the others to a bucket filled with cement and topped off with flowers and earth, showed him receiving advice from a cartoon version of Boston native, Matt Damon, who comes from Cambridge, Massachussets, across the Charles River from Boston.

The actor played a mathematics genius in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, for which he and childhood friend Ben Affleck won an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Jonathan Fertig, who led the team that designed and installed the artwork, said they were still in place this morning, and had survived heavy overnight rainfall.

He also wrote about the amount of work that had gone into making the initiative happen

The wands that provide soft protection on the bike lane on Massachusetts Avenue were installed by the city last year in response to another of Fertig’s interventions, which he terms #TacticalUrbanism after he installed a guerrilla bike lane the previous year.

Similar efforts have also paid off in San Francisco, and as we reported last week the group that persuaded city authorities there to make one of its guerrilla bike lanes permanent has more recently come up with the idea of a ‘people protected bike lane’ to get their safety message across to motorists.

> San Francisco cycling campaigners form “people protected bike lane” in call for safer infrastructure

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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TypeVertigo | 6 years ago

Nice to see BikeyFace getting more exposure. Her comics are pretty good.

(Hers is the "buffer" one. Not sure if she did any of the others though.)

dottigirl | 6 years ago

Love it.

We need to be more guerilla-proactive in the UK.

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