Home
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

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.